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The History of the Peloponnesian War
By Thucydides

Translated by Richard Crawley


Chapter I

The State of Greece from the earliest Times to the Commencement of
the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war between the
Peloponnesians and the Athenians, beginning at the moment that it
broke out, and believing that it would be a great war and more worthy
of relation than any that had preceded it. This belief was not without
its grounds. The preparations of both the combatants were in every
department in the last state of perfection; and he could see the rest
of the Hellenic race taking sides in the quarrel; those who delayed
doing so at once having it in contemplation. Indeed this was the greatest
movement yet known in history, not only of the Hellenes, but of a
large part of the barbarian world- I had almost said of mankind. For
though the events of remote antiquity, and even those that more immediately
preceded the war, could not from lapse of time be clearly ascertained,
yet the evidences which an inquiry carried as far back as was practicable
leads me to trust, all point to the conclusion that there was nothing
on a great scale, either in war or in other matters.

For instance, it is evident that the country now called Hellas had
in ancient times no settled population; on the contrary, migrations
were of frequent occurrence, the several tribes readily abandoning
their homes under the pressure of superior numbers. Without commerce,
without freedom of communication either by land or sea, cultivating
no more of their territory than the exigencies of life required, destitute
of capital, never planting their land (for they could not tell when
an invader might not come and take it all away, and when he did come
they had no walls to stop him), thinking that the necessities of daily
sustenance could be supplied at one place as well as another, they
cared little for shifting their habitation, and consequently neither
built large cities nor attained to any other form of greatness. The
richest soils were always most subject to this change of masters;
such as the district now called Thessaly, Boeotia, most of the Peloponnese,
Arcadia excepted, and the most fertile parts of the rest of Hellas.
The goodness of the land favoured the aggrandizement of particular
individuals, and thus created faction which proved a fertile source
of ruin. It also invited invasion. Accordingly Attica, from the poverty
of its soil enjoying from a very remote period freedom from faction,
never changed its inhabitants. And here is no inconsiderable exemplification
of my assertion that the migrations were the cause of there being
no correspondent growth in other parts. The most powerful victims
of war or faction from the rest of Hellas took refuge with the Athenians
as a safe retreat; and at an early period, becoming naturalized, swelled
the already large population of the city to such a height that Attica
became at last too small to hold them, and they had to send out colonies
to Ionia.

There is also another circumstance that contributes not a little to
my conviction of the weakness of ancient times. Before the Trojan
war there is no indication of any common action in Hellas, nor indeed
of the universal prevalence of the name; on the contrary, before the
time of Hellen, son of Deucalion, no such appellation existed, but
the country went by the names of the different tribes, in particular
of the Pelasgian. It was not till Hellen and his sons grew strong
in Phthiotis, and were invited as allies into the other cities, that
one by one they gradually acquired from the connection the name of
Hellenes; though a long time elapsed before that name could fasten
itself upon all. The best proof of this is furnished by Homer. Born
long after the Trojan War, he nowhere calls all of them by that name,
nor indeed any of them except the followers of Achilles from Phthiotis,
who were the original Hellenes: in his poems they are called Danaans,
Argives, and Achaeans. He does not even use the term barbarian, probably
because the Hellenes had not yet been marked off from the rest of
the world by one distinctive appellation. It appears therefore that
the several Hellenic communities, comprising not only those who first
acquired the name, city by city, as they came to understand each other,
but also those who assumed it afterwards as the name of the whole
people, were before the Trojan war prevented by their want of strength
and the absence of mutual intercourse from displaying any collective

Indeed, they could not unite for this expedition till they had gained
increased familiarity with the sea. And the first person known to
us by tradition as having established a navy is Minos. He made himself
master of what is now called the Hellenic sea, and ruled over the
Cyclades, into most of which he sent the first colonies, expelling
the Carians and appointing his own sons governors; and thus did his
best to put down piracy in those waters, a necessary step to secure
the revenues for his own use.

For in early times the Hellenes and the barbarians of the coast and
islands, as communication by sea became more common, were tempted
to turn pirates, under the conduct of their most powerful men; the
motives being to serve their own cupidity and to support the needy.
They would fall upon a town unprotected by walls, and consisting of
a mere collection of villages, and would plunder it; indeed, this
came to be the main source of their livelihood, no disgrace being
yet attached to such an achievement, but even some glory. An illustration
of this is furnished by the honour with which some of the inhabitants
of the continent still regard a successful marauder, and by the question
we find the old poets everywhere representing the people as asking
of voyagers- “Are they pirates?”- as if those who are asked the question
would have no idea of disclaiming the imputation, or their interrogators
of reproaching them for it. The same rapine prevailed also by land.

And even at the present day many of Hellas still follow the old fashion,
the Ozolian Locrians for instance, the Aetolians, the Acarnanians,
and that region of the continent; and the custom of carrying arms
is still kept up among these continentals, from the old piratical
habits. The whole of Hellas used once to carry arms, their habitations
being unprotected and their communication with each other unsafe;
indeed, to wear arms was as much a part of everyday life with them
as with the barbarians. And the fact that the people in these parts
of Hellas are still living in the old way points to a time when the
same mode of life was once equally common to all. The Athenians were
the first to lay aside their weapons, and to adopt an easier and more
luxurious mode of life; indeed, it is only lately that their rich
old men left off the luxury of wearing undergarments of linen, and
fastening a knot of their hair with a tie of golden grasshoppers,
a fashion which spread to their Ionian kindred and long prevailed
among the old men there. On the contrary, a modest style of dressing,
more in conformity with modern ideas, was first adopted by the Lacedaemonians,
the rich doing their best to assimilate their way of life to that
of the common people. They also set the example of contending naked,
publicly stripping and anointing themselves with oil in their gymnastic
exercises. Formerly, even in the Olympic contests, the athletes who
contended wore belts across their middles; and it is but a few years
since that the practice ceased. To this day among some of the barbarians,
especially in Asia, when prizes for boxing and wrestling are offered,
belts are worn by the combatants. And there are many other points
in which a likeness might be shown between the life of the Hellenic
world of old and the barbarian of to-day.

With respect to their towns, later on, at an era of increased facilities
of navigation and a greater supply of capital, we find the shores
becoming the site of walled towns, and the isthmuses being occupied
for the purposes of commerce and defence against a neighbour. But
the old towns, on account of the great prevalence of piracy, were
built away from the sea, whether on the islands or the continent,
and still remain in their old sites. For the pirates used to plunder
one another, and indeed all coast populations, whether seafaring or

The islanders, too, were great pirates. These islanders were Carians
and Phoenicians, by whom most of the islands were colonized, as was
proved by the following fact. During the purification of Delos by
Athens in this war all the graves in the island were taken up, and
it was found that above half their inmates were Carians: they were
identified by the fashion of the arms buried with them, and by the
method of interment, which was the same as the Carians still follow.
But as soon as Minos had formed his navy, communication by sea became
easier, as he colonized most of the islands, and thus expelled the
malefactors. The coast population now began to apply themselves more
closely to the acquisition of wealth, and their life became more settled;
some even began to build themselves walls on the strength of their
newly acquired riches. For the love of gain would reconcile the weaker
to the dominion of the stronger, and the possession of capital enabled
the more powerful to reduce the smaller towns to subjection. And it
was at a somewhat later stage of this development that they went on
the expedition against Troy.

What enabled Agamemnon to raise the armament was more, in my opinion,
his superiority in strength, than the oaths of Tyndareus, which bound
the suitors to follow him. Indeed, the account given by those Peloponnesians
who have been the recipients of the most credible tradition is this.
First of all Pelops, arriving among a needy population from Asia with
vast wealth, acquired such power that, stranger though he was, the
country was called after him; and this power fortune saw fit materially
to increase in the hands of his descendants. Eurystheus had been killed
in Attica by the Heraclids. Atreus was his mother’s brother; and to
the hands of his relation, who had left his father on account of the
death of Chrysippus, Eurystheus, when he set out on his expedition,
had committed Mycenae and the government. As time went on and Eurystheus
did not return, Atreus complied with the wishes of the Mycenaeans,
who were influenced by fear of the Heraclids- besides, his power seemed
considerable, and he had not neglected to court the favour of the
populace- and assumed the sceptre of Mycenae and the rest of the dominions
of Eurystheus. And so the power of the descendants of Pelops came
to be greater than that of the descendants of Perseus. To all this
Agamemnon succeeded. He had also a navy far stronger than his contemporaries,
so that, in my opinion, fear was quite as strong an element as love
in the formation of the confederate expedition. The strength of his
navy is shown by the fact that his own was the largest contingent,
and that of the Arcadians was furnished by him; this at least is what
Homer says, if his testimony is deemed sufficient. Besides, in his
account of the transmission of the sceptre, he calls him “Of many
an isle, and of all Argos king.” Now Agamemnon’s was a continental
power; and he could not have been master of any except the adjacent
islands (and these would not be many), but through the possession
of a fleet.

And from this expedition we may infer the character of earlier enterprises.
Now Mycenae may have been a small place, and many of the towns of
that age may appear comparatively insignificant, but no exact observer
would therefore feel justified in rejecting the estimate given by
the poets and by tradition of the magnitude of the armament. For I
suppose if Lacedaemon were to become desolate, and the temples and
the foundations of the public buildings were left, that as time went
on there would be a strong disposition with posterity to refuse to
accept her fame as a true exponent of her power. And yet they occupy
two-fifths of Peloponnese and lead the whole, not to speak of their
numerous allies without. Still, as the city is neither built in a
compact form nor adorned with magnificent temples and public edifices,
but composed of villages after the old fashion of Hellas, there would
be an impression of inadequacy. Whereas, if Athens were to suffer
the same misfortune, I suppose that any inference from the appearance
presented to the eye would make her power to have been twice as great
as it is. We have therefore no right to be sceptical, nor to content
ourselves with an inspection of a town to the exclusion of a consideration
of its power; but we may safely conclude that the armament in question
surpassed all before it, as it fell short of modern efforts; if we
can here also accept the testimony of Homer’s poems, in which, without
allowing for the exaggeration which a poet would feel himself licensed
to employ, we can see that it was far from equalling ours. He has
represented it as consisting of twelve hundred vessels; the Boeotian
complement of each ship being a hundred and twenty men, that of the
ships of Philoctetes fifty. By this, I conceive, he meant to convey
the maximum and the minimum complement: at any rate, he does not specify
the amount of any others in his catalogue of the ships. That they
were all rowers as well as warriors we see from his account of the
ships of Philoctetes, in which all the men at the oar are bowmen.
Now it is improbable that many supernumeraries sailed, if we except
the kings and high officers; especially as they had to cross the open
sea with munitions of war, in ships, moreover, that had no decks,
but were equipped in the old piratical fashion. So that if we strike
the average of the largest and smallest ships, the number of those
who sailed will appear inconsiderable, representing, as they did,
the whole force of Hellas. And this was due not so much to scarcity
of men as of money. Difficulty of subsistence made the invaders reduce
the numbers of the army to a point at which it might live on the country
during the prosecution of the war. Even after the victory they obtained
on their arrival- and a victory there must have been, or the fortifications
of the naval camp could never have been built- there is no indication
of their whole force having been employed; on the contrary, they seem
to have turned to cultivation of the Chersonese and to piracy from
want of supplies. This was what really enabled the Trojans to keep
the field for ten years against them; the dispersion of the enemy
making them always a match for the detachment left behind. If they
had brought plenty of supplies with them, and had persevered in the
war without scattering for piracy and agriculture, they would have
easily defeated the Trojans in the field, since they could hold their
own against them with the division on service. In short, if they had
stuck to the siege, the capture of Troy would have cost them less
time and less trouble. But as want of money proved the weakness of
earlier expeditions, so from the same cause even the one in question,
more famous than its predecessors, may be pronounced on the evidence
of what it effected to have been inferior to its renown and to the
current opinion about it formed under the tuition of the poets.

Even after the Trojan War, Hellas was still engaged in removing and
settling, and thus could not attain to the quiet which must precede
growth. The late return of the Hellenes from Ilium caused many revolutions,
and factions ensued almost everywhere; and it was the citizens thus
driven into exile who founded the cities. Sixty years after the capture
of Ilium, the modern Boeotians were driven out of Arne by the Thessalians,
and settled in the present Boeotia, the former Cadmeis; though there
was a division of them there before, some of whom joined the expedition
to Ilium. Twenty years later, the Dorians and the Heraclids became
masters of Peloponnese; so that much had to be done and many years
had to elapse before Hellas could attain to a durable tranquillity
undisturbed by removals, and could begin to send out colonies, as
Athens did to Ionia and most of the islands, and the Peloponnesians
to most of Italy and Sicily and some places in the rest of Hellas.
All these places were founded subsequently to the war with Troy.

But as the power of Hellas grew, and the acquisition of wealth became
more an object, the revenues of the states increasing, tyrannies were
by their means established almost everywhere- the old form of government
being hereditary monarchy with definite prerogatives- and Hellas began
to fit out fleets and apply herself more closely to the sea. It is
said that the Corinthians were the first to approach the modern style
of naval architecture, and that Corinth was the first place in Hellas
where galleys were built; and we have Ameinocles, a Corinthian shipwright,
making four ships for the Samians. Dating from the end of this war,
it is nearly three hundred years ago that Ameinocles went to Samos.
Again, the earliest sea-fight in history was between the Corinthians
and Corcyraeans; this was about two hundred and sixty years ago, dating
from the same time. Planted on an isthmus, Corinth had from time out
of mind been a commercial emporium; as formerly almost all communication
between the Hellenes within and without Peloponnese was carried on
overland, and the Corinthian territory was the highway through which
it travelled. She had consequently great money resources, as is shown
by the epithet “wealthy” bestowed by the old poets on the place, and
this enabled her, when traffic by sea became more common, to procure
her navy and put down piracy; and as she could offer a mart for both
branches of the trade, she acquired for herself all the power which
a large revenue affords. Subsequently the Ionians attained to great
naval strength in the reign of Cyrus, the first king of the Persians,
and of his son Cambyses, and while they were at war with the former
commanded for a while the Ionian sea. Polycrates also, the tyrant
of Samos, had a powerful navy in the reign of Cambyses, with which
he reduced many of the islands, and among them Rhenea, which he consecrated
to the Delian Apollo. About this time also the Phocaeans, while they
were founding Marseilles, defeated the Carthaginians in a sea-fight.
These were the most powerful navies. And even these, although so many
generations had elapsed since the Trojan war, seem to have been principally
composed of the old fifty-oars and long-boats, and to have counted
few galleys among their ranks. Indeed it was only shortly the Persian
war, and the death of Darius the successor of Cambyses, that the Sicilian
tyrants and the Corcyraeans acquired any large number of galleys.
For after these there were no navies of any account in Hellas till
the expedition of Xerxes; Aegina, Athens, and others may have possessed
a few vessels, but they were principally fifty-oars. It was quite
at the end of this period that the war with Aegina and the prospect
of the barbarian invasion enabled Themistocles to persuade the Athenians
to build the fleet with which they fought at Salamis; and even these
vessels had not complete decks.

The navies, then, of the Hellenes during the period we have traversed
were what I have described. All their insignificance did not prevent
their being an element of the greatest power to those who cultivated
them, alike in revenue and in dominion. They were the means by which
the islands were reached and reduced, those of the smallest area falling
the easiest prey. Wars by land there were none, none at least by which
power was acquired; we have the usual border contests, but of distant
expeditions with conquest for object we hear nothing among the Hellenes.
There was no union of subject cities round a great state, no spontaneous
combination of equals for confederate expeditions; what fighting there
was consisted merely of local warfare between rival neighbours. The
nearest approach to a coalition took place in the old war between
Chalcis and Eretria; this was a quarrel in which the rest of the Hellenic
name did to some extent take sides.

Various, too, were the obstacles which the national growth encountered
in various localities. The power of the Ionians was advancing with
rapid strides, when it came into collision with Persia, under King
Cyrus, who, after having dethroned Croesus and overrun everything
between the Halys and the sea, stopped not till he had reduced the
cities of the coast; the islands being only left to be subdued by
Darius and the Phoenician navy.

Again, wherever there were tyrants, their habit of providing simply
for themselves, of looking solely to their personal comfort and family
aggrandizement, made safety the great aim of their policy, and prevented
anything great proceeding from them; though they would each have their
affairs with their immediate neighbours. All this is only true of
the mother country, for in Sicily they attained to very great power.
Thus for a long time everywhere in Hellas do we find causes which
make the states alike incapable of combination for great and national
ends, or of any vigorous action of their own.

But at last a time came when the tyrants of Athens and the far older
tyrannies of the rest of Hellas were, with the exception of those
in Sicily, once and for all put down by Lacedaemon; for this city,
though after the settlement of the Dorians, its present inhabitants,
it suffered from factions for an unparalleled length of time, still
at a very early period obtained good laws, and enjoyed a freedom from
tyrants which was unbroken; it has possessed the same form of government
for more than four hundred years, reckoning to the end of the late
war, and has thus been in a position to arrange the affairs of the
other states. Not many years after the deposition of the tyrants,
the battle of Marathon was fought between the Medes and the Athenians.
Ten years afterwards, the barbarian returned with the armada for the
subjugation of Hellas. In the face of this great danger, the command
of the confederate Hellenes was assumed by the Lacedaemonians in virtue
of their superior power; and the Athenians, having made up their minds
to abandon their city, broke up their homes, threw themselves into
their ships, and became a naval people. This coalition, after repulsing
the barbarian, soon afterwards split into two sections, which included
the Hellenes who had revolted from the King, as well as those who
had aided him in the war. At the end of the one stood Athens, at the
head of the other Lacedaemon, one the first naval, the other the first
military power in Hellas. For a short time the league held together,
till the Lacedaemonians and Athenians quarrelled and made war upon
each other with their allies, a duel into which all the Hellenes sooner
or later were drawn, though some might at first remain neutral. So
that the whole period from the Median war to this, with some peaceful
intervals, was spent by each power in war, either with its rival,
or with its own revolted allies, and consequently afforded them constant
practice in military matters, and that experience which is learnt
in the school of danger.

The policy of Lacedaemon was not to exact tribute from her allies,
but merely to secure their subservience to her interests by establishing
oligarchies among them; Athens, on the contrary, had by degrees deprived
hers of their ships, and imposed instead contributions in money on
all except Chios and Lesbos. Both found their resources for this war
separately to exceed the sum of their strength when the alliance flourished

Having now given the result of my inquiries into early times, I grant
that there will be a difficulty in believing every particular detail.
The way that most men deal with traditions, even traditions of their
own country, is to receive them all alike as they are delivered, without
applying any critical test whatever. The general Athenian public fancy
that Hipparchus was tyrant when he fell by the hands of Harmodius
and Aristogiton, not knowing that Hippias, the eldest of the sons
of Pisistratus, was really supreme, and that Hipparchus and Thessalus
were his brothers; and that Harmodius and Aristogiton suspecting,
on the very day, nay at the very moment fixed on for the deed, that
information had been conveyed to Hippias by their accomplices, concluded
that he had been warned, and did not attack him, yet, not liking to
be apprehended and risk their lives for nothing, fell upon Hipparchus
near the temple of the daughters of Leos, and slew him as he was arranging
the Panathenaic procession.

There are many other unfounded ideas current among the rest of the
Hellenes, even on matters of contemporary history, which have not
been obscured by time. For instance, there is the notion that the
Lacedaemonian kings have two votes each, the fact being that they
have only one; and that there is a company of Pitane, there being
simply no such thing. So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation
of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand. On
the whole, however, the conclusions I have drawn from the proofs quoted
may, I believe, safely be relied on. Assuredly they will not be disturbed
either by the lays of a poet displaying the exaggeration of his craft,
or by the compositions of the chroniclers that are attractive at truth’s
expense; the subjects they treat of being out of the reach of evidence,
and time having robbed most of them of historical value by enthroning
them in the region of legend. Turning from these, we can rest satisfied
with having proceeded upon the clearest data, and having arrived at
conclusions as exact as can be expected in matters of such antiquity.
To come to this war: despite the known disposition of the actors in
a struggle to overrate its importance, and when it is over to return
to their admiration of earlier events, yet an examination of the facts
will show that it was much greater than the wars which preceded it.

With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered
before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself,
others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult
to carry them word for word in one’s memory, so my habit has been
to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by
the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to
the general sense of what they really said. And with reference to
the narrative of events, far from permitting myself to derive it from
the first source that came to hand, I did not even trust my own impressions,
but it rests partly on what I saw myself, partly on what others saw
for me, the accuracy of the report being always tried by the most
severe and detailed tests possible. My conclusions have cost me some
labour from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences
by different eye-witnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory,
sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other. The absence
of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest;
but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact
knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future,
which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect
it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work, not as an
essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession
for all time.

The Median War, the greatest achievement of past times, yet found
a speedy decision in two actions by sea and two by land. The Peloponnesian
War was prolonged to an immense length, and, long as it was, it was
short without parallel for the misfortunes that it brought upon Hellas.
Never had so many cities been taken and laid desolate, here by the
barbarians, here by the parties contending (the old inhabitants being
sometimes removed to make room for others); never was there so much
banishing and blood-shedding, now on the field of battle, now in the
strife of faction. Old stories of occurrences handed down by tradition,
but scantily confirmed by experience, suddenly ceased to be incredible;
there were earthquakes of unparalleled extent and violence; eclipses
of the sun occurred with a frequency unrecorded in previous history;
there were great droughts in sundry places and consequent famines,
and that most calamitous and awfully fatal visitation, the plague.
All this came upon them with the late war, which was begun by the
Athenians and Peloponnesians by the dissolution of the thirty years’
truce made after the conquest of Euboea. To the question why they
broke the treaty, I answer by placing first an account of their grounds
of complaint and points of difference, that no one may ever have to
ask the immediate cause which plunged the Hellenes into a war of such
magnitude. The real cause I consider to be the one which was formally
most kept out of sight. The growth of the power of Athens, and the
alarm which this inspired in Lacedaemon, made war inevitable. Still
it is well to give the grounds alleged by either side which led to
the dissolution of the treaty and the breaking out of the war.

Chapter II

Causes of the War – The Affair of Epidamnus – The Affair of Potidaea

The city of Epidamnus stands on the right of the entrance of the Ionic
Gulf. Its vicinity is inhabited by the Taulantians, an Illyrian people.
The place is a colony from Corcyra, founded by Phalius, son of Eratocleides,
of the family of the Heraclids, who had according to ancient usage
been summoned for the purpose from Corinth, the mother country. The
colonists were joined by some Corinthians, and others of the Dorian
race. Now, as time went on, the city of Epidamnus became great and
populous; but falling a prey to factions arising, it is said, from
a war with her neighbours the barbarians, she became much enfeebled,
and lost a considerable amount of her power. The last act before the
war was the expulsion of the nobles by the people. The exiled party
joined the barbarians, and proceeded to plunder those in the city
by sea and land; and the Epidamnians, finding themselves hard pressed,
sent ambassadors to Corcyra beseeching their mother country not to
allow them to perish, but to make up matters between them and the
exiles, and to rid them of the war with the barbarians. The ambassadors
seated themselves in the temple of Hera as suppliants, and made the
above requests to the Corcyraeans. But the Corcyraeans refused to
accept their supplication, and they were dismissed without having
effected anything.

When the Epidamnians found that no help could be expected from Corcyra,
they were in a strait what to do next. So they sent to Delphi and
inquired of the God whether they should deliver their city to the
Corinthians and endeavour to obtain some assistance from their founders.
The answer he gave them was to deliver the city and place themselves
under Corinthian protection. So the Epidamnians went to Corinth and
delivered over the colony in obedience to the commands of the oracle.
They showed that their founder came from Corinth, and revealed the
answer of the god; and they begged them not to allow them to perish,
but to assist them. This the Corinthians consented to do. Believing
the colony to belong as much to themselves as to the Corcyraeans,
they felt it to be a kind of duty to undertake their protection. Besides,
they hated the Corcyraeans for their contempt of the mother country.
Instead of meeting with the usual honours accorded to the parent city
by every other colony at public assemblies, such as precedence at
sacrifices, Corinth found herself treated with contempt by a power
which in point of wealth could stand comparison with any even of the
richest communities in Hellas, which possessed great military strength,
and which sometimes could not repress a pride in the high naval position
of an, island whose nautical renown dated from the days of its old
inhabitants, the Phaeacians. This was one reason of the care that
they lavished on their fleet, which became very efficient; indeed
they began the war with a force of a hundred and twenty galleys.

All these grievances made Corinth eager to send the promised aid to
Epidamnus. Advertisement was made for volunteer settlers, and a force
of Ambraciots, Leucadians, and Corinthians was dispatched. They marched
by land to Apollonia, a Corinthian colony, the route by sea being
avoided from fear of Corcyraean interruption. When the Corcyraeans
heard of the arrival of the settlers and troops in Epidamnus, and
the surrender of the colony to Corinth, they took fire. Instantly
putting to sea with five-and-twenty ships, which were quickly followed
by others, they insolently commanded the Epidamnians to receive back
the banished nobles- (it must be premised that the Epidamnian exiles
had come to Corcyra and, pointing to the sepulchres of their ancestors,
had appealed to their kindred to restore them)- and to dismiss the
Corinthian garrison and settlers. But to all this the Epidamnians
turned a deaf ear. Upon this the Corcyraeans commenced operations
against them with a fleet of forty sail. They took with them the exiles,
with a view to their restoration, and also secured the services of
the Illyrians. Sitting down before the city, they issued a proclamation
to the effect that any of the natives that chose, and the foreigners,
might depart unharmed, with the alternative of being treated as enemies.
On their refusal the Corcyraeans proceeded to besiege the city, which
stands on an isthmus; and the Corinthians, receiving intelligence
of the investment of Epidamnus, got together an armament and proclaimed
a colony to Epidamnus, perfect political equality being guaranteed
to all who chose to go. Any who were not prepared to sail at once
might, by paying down the sum of fifty Corinthian drachmae, have a
share in the colony without leaving Corinth. Great numbers took advantage
of this proclamation, some being ready to start directly, others paying
the requisite forfeit. In case of their passage being disputed by
the Corcyraeans, several cities were asked to lend them a convoy.
Megara prepared to accompany them with eight ships, Pale in Cephallonia
with four; Epidaurus furnished five, Hermione one, Troezen two, Leucas
ten, and Ambracia eight. The Thebans and Phliasians were asked for
money, the Eleans for hulls as well; while Corinth herself furnished
thirty ships and three thousand heavy infantry.

When the Corcyraeans heard of their preparations they came to Corinth
with envoys from Lacedaemon and Sicyon, whom they persuaded to accompany
them, and bade her recall the garrison and settlers, as she had nothing
to do with Epidamnus. If, however, she had any claims to make, they
were willing to submit the matter to the arbitration of such of the
cities in Peloponnese as should be chosen by mutual agreement, and
that the colony should remain with the city to whom the arbitrators
might assign it. They were also willing to refer the matter to the
oracle at Delphi. If, in defiance of their protestations, war was
appealed to, they should be themselves compelled by this violence
to seek friends in quarters where they had no desire to seek them,
and to make even old ties give way to the necessity of assistance.
The answer they got from Corinth was that, if they would withdraw
their fleet and the barbarians from Epidamnus, negotiation might be
possible; but, while the town was still being besieged, going before
arbitrators was out of the question. The Corcyraeans retorted that
if Corinth would withdraw her troops from Epidamnus they would withdraw
theirs, or they were ready to let both parties remain in statu quo,
an armistice being concluded till judgment could be given.

Turning a deaf ear to all these proposals, when their ships were manned
and their allies had come in, the Corinthians sent a herald before
them to declare war and, getting under way with seventy-five ships
and two thousand heavy infantry, sailed for Epidamnus to give battle
to the Corcyraeans. The fleet was under the command of Aristeus, son
of Pellichas, Callicrates, son of Callias, and Timanor, son of Timanthes;
the troops under that of Archetimus, son of Eurytimus, and Isarchidas,
son of Isarchus. When they had reached Actium in the territory of
Anactorium, at the mouth of the mouth of the Gulf of Ambracia, where
the temple of Apollo stands, the Corcyraeans sent on a herald in a
light boat to warn them not to sail against them. Meanwhile they proceeded
to man their ships, all of which had been equipped for action, the
old vessels being undergirded to make them seaworthy. On the return
of the herald without any peaceful answer from the Corinthians, their
ships being now manned, they put out to sea to meet the enemy with
a fleet of eighty sail (forty were engaged in the siege of Epidamnus),
formed line, and went into action, and gained a decisive victory,
and destroyed fifteen of the Corinthian vessels. The same day had
seen Epidamnus compelled by its besiegers to capitulate; the conditions
being that the foreigners should be sold, and the Corinthians kept
as prisoners of war, till their fate should be otherwise decided.

After the engagement the Corcyraeans set up a trophy on Leukimme,
a headland of Corcyra, and slew all their captives except the Corinthians,
whom they kept as prisoners of war. Defeated at sea, the Corinthians
and their allies repaired home, and left the Corcyraeans masters of
all the sea about those parts. Sailing to Leucas, a Corinthian colony,
they ravaged their territory, and burnt Cyllene, the harbour of the
Eleans, because they had furnished ships and money to Corinth. For
almost the whole of the period that followed the battle they remained
masters of the sea, and the allies of Corinth were harassed by Corcyraean
cruisers. At last Corinth, roused by the sufferings of her allies,
sent out ships and troops in the fall of the summer, who formed an
encampment at Actium and about Chimerium, in Thesprotis, for the protection
of Leucas and the rest of the friendly cities. The Corcyraeans on
their part formed a similar station on Leukimme. Neither party made
any movement, but they remained confronting each other till the end
of the summer, and winter was at hand before either of them returned

Corinth, exasperated by the war with the Corcyraeans, spent the whole
of the year after the engagement and that succeeding it in building
ships, and in straining every nerve to form an efficient fleet; rowers
being drawn from Peloponnese and the rest of Hellas by the inducement
of large bounties. The Corcyraeans, alarmed at the news of their preparations,
being without a single ally in Hellas (for they had not enrolled themselves
either in the Athenian or in the Lacedaemonian confederacy), decided
to repair to Athens in order to enter into alliance and to endeavour
to procure support from her. Corinth also, hearing of their intentions,
sent an embassy to Athens to prevent the Corcyraean navy being joined
by the Athenian, and her prospect of ordering the war according to
her wishes being thus impeded. An assembly was convoked, and the rival
advocates appeared: the Corcyraeans spoke as follows:

“Athenians! when a people that have not rendered any important service
or support to their neighbours in times past, for which they might
claim to be repaid, appear before them as we now appear before you
to solicit their assistance, they may fairly be required to satisfy
certain preliminary conditions. They should show, first, that it is
expedient or at least safe to grant their request; next, that they
will retain a lasting sense of the kindness. But if they cannot clearly
establish any of these points, they must not be annoyed if they meet
with a rebuff. Now the Corcyraeans believe that with their petition
for assistance they can also give you a satisfactory answer on these
points, and they have therefore dispatched us hither. It has so happened
that our policy as regards you with respect to this request, turns
out to be inconsistent, and as regards our interests, to be at the
present crisis inexpedient. We say inconsistent, because a power which
has never in the whole of her past history been willing to ally herself
with any of her neighbours, is now found asking them to ally themselves
with her. And we say inexpedient, because in our present war with
Corinth it has left us in a position of entire isolation, and what
once seemed the wise precaution of refusing to involve ourselves in
alliances with other powers, lest we should also involve ourselves
in risks of their choosing, has now proved to be folly and weakness.
It is true that in the late naval engagement we drove back the Corinthians
from our shores single-handed. But they have now got together a still
larger armament from Peloponnese and the rest of Hellas; and we, seeing
our utter inability to cope with them without foreign aid, and the
magnitude of the danger which subjection to them implies, find it
necessary to ask help from you and from every other power. And we
hope to be excused if we forswear our old principle of complete political
isolation, a principle which was not adopted with any sinister intention,
but was rather the consequence of an error in judgment.

“Now there are many reasons why in the event of your compliance you
will congratulate yourselves on this request having been made to you.
First, because your assistance will be rendered to a power which,
herself inoffensive, is a victim to the injustice of others. Secondly,
because all that we most value is at stake in the present contest,
and your welcome of us under these circumstances will be a proof of
goodwill which will ever keep alive the gratitude you will lay up
in our hearts. Thirdly, yourselves excepted, we are the greatest naval
power in Hellas. Moreover, can you conceive a stroke of good fortune
more rare in itself, or more disheartening to your enemies, than that
the power whose adhesion you would have valued above much material
and moral strength should present herself self-invited, should deliver
herself into your hands without danger and without expense, and should
lastly put you in the way of gaining a high character in the eyes
of the world, the gratitude of those whom you shall assist, and a
great accession of strength for yourselves? You may search all history
without finding many instances of a people gaining all these advantages
at once, or many instances of a power that comes in quest of assistance
being in a position to give to the people whose alliance she solicits
as much safety and honour as she will receive. But it will be urged
that it is only in the case of a war that we shall be found useful.
To this we answer that if any of you imagine that that war is far
off, he is grievously mistaken, and is blind to the fact that Lacedaemon
regards you with jealousy and desires war, and that Corinth is powerful
there- the same, remember, that is your enemy, and is even now trying
to subdue us as a preliminary to attacking you. And this she does
to prevent our becoming united by a common enmity, and her having
us both on her hands, and also to ensure getting the start of you
in one of two ways, either by crippling our power or by making its
strength her own. Now it is our policy to be beforehand with her-
that is, for Corcyra to make an offer of alliance and for you to accept
it; in fact, we ought to form plans against her instead of waiting
to defeat the plans she forms against us.

“If she asserts that for you to receive a colony of hers into alliance
is not right, let her know that every colony that is well treated
honours its parent state, but becomes estranged from it by injustice.
For colonists are not sent forth on the understanding that they are
to be the slaves of those that remain behind, but that they are to
be their equals. And that Corinth was injuring us is clear. Invited
to refer the dispute about Epidamnus to arbitration, they chose to
prosecute their complaints war rather than by a fair trial. And let
their conduct towards us who are their kindred be a warning to you
not to be misled by their deceit, nor to yield to their direct requests;
concessions to adversaries only end in self-reproach, and the more
strictly they are avoided the greater will be the chance of security.

“If it be urged that your reception of us will be a breach of the
treaty existing between you and Lacedaemon, the answer is that we
are a neutral state, and that one of the express provisions of that
treaty is that it shall be competent for any Hellenic state that is
neutral to join whichever side it pleases. And it is intolerable for
Corinth to be allowed to obtain men for her navy not only from her
allies, but also from the rest of Hellas, no small number being furnished
by your own subjects; while we are to be excluded both from the alliance
left open to us by treaty, and from any assistance that we might get
from other quarters, and you are to be accused of political immorality
if you comply with our request. On the other hand, we shall have much
greater cause to complain of you, if you do not comply with it; if
we, who are in peril and are no enemies of yours, meet with a repulse
at your hands, while Corinth, who is the aggressor and your enemy,
not only meets with no hindrance from you, but is even allowed to
draw material for war from your dependencies. This ought not to be,
but you should either forbid her enlisting men in your dominions,
or you should lend us too what help you may think advisable.

“But your real policy is to afford us avowed countenance and support.
The advantages of this course, as we premised in the beginning of
our speech, are many. We mention one that is perhaps the chief. Could
there be a clearer guarantee of our good faith than is offered by
the fact that the power which is at enmity with you is also at enmity
with us, and that that power is fully able to punish defection? And
there is a wide difference between declining the alliance of an inland
and of a maritime power. For your first endeavour should be to prevent,
if possible, the existence of any naval power except your own; failing
this, to secure the friendship of the strongest that does exist. And
if any of you believe that what we urge is expedient, but fear to
act upon this belief, lest it should lead to a breach of the treaty,
you must remember that on the one hand, whatever your fears, your
strength will be formidable to your antagonists; on the other, whatever
the confidence you derive from refusing to receive us, your weakness
will have no terrors for a strong enemy. You must also remember that
your decision is for Athens no less than Corcyra, and that you are
not making the best provision for her interests, if at a time when
you are anxiously scanning the horizon that you may be in readiness
for the breaking out of the war which is all but upon you, you hesitate
to attach to your side a place whose adhesion or estrangement is alike
pregnant with the most vital consequences. For it lies conveniently
for the coast- navigation in the direction of Italy and Sicily, being
able to bar the passage of naval reinforcements from thence to Peloponnese,
and from Peloponnese thither; and it is in other respects a most desirable
station. To sum up as shortly as possible, embracing both general
and particular considerations, let this show you the folly of sacrificing
us. Remember that there are but three considerable naval powers in
Hellas- Athens, Corcyra, and Corinth- and that if you allow two of
these three to become one, and Corinth to secure us for herself, you
will have to hold the sea against the united fleets of Corcyra and
Peloponnese. But if you receive us, you will have our ships to reinforce
you in the struggle.”

Such were the words of the Corcyraeans. After they had finished, the
Corinthians spoke as follows:

“These Corcyraeans in the speech we have just heard do not confine
themselves to the question of their reception into your alliance.
They also talk of our being guilty of injustice, and their being the
victims of an unjustifiable war. It becomes necessary for us to touch
upon both these points before we proceed to the rest of what we have
to say, that you may have a more correct idea of the grounds of our
claim, and have good cause to reject their petition. According to
them, their old policy of refusing all offers of alliance was a policy
of moderation. It was in fact adopted for bad ends, not for good;
indeed their conduct is such as to make them by no means desirous
of having allies present to witness it, or of having the shame of
asking their concurrence. Besides, their geographical situation makes
them independent of others, and consequently the decision in cases
where they injure any lies not with judges appointed by mutual agreement,
but with themselves, because, while they seldom make voyages to their
neighbours, they are constantly being visited by foreign vessels which
are compelled to put in to Corcyra. In short, the object that they
propose to themselves, in their specious policy of complete isolation,
is not to avoid sharing in the crimes of others, but to secure monopoly
of crime to themselves- the licence of outrage wherever they can compel,
of fraud wherever they can elude, and the enjoyment of their gains
without shame. And yet if they were the honest men they pretend to
be, the less hold that others had upon them, the stronger would be
the light in which they might have put their honesty by giving and
taking what was just.

“But such has not been their conduct either towards others or towards
us. The attitude of our colony towards us has always been one of estrangement
and is now one of hostility; for, say they: ‘We were not sent out
to be ill-treated.’ We rejoin that we did not found the colony to
be insulted by them, but to be their head and to be regarded with
a proper respect. At any rate our other colonies honour us, and we
are much beloved by our colonists; and clearly, if the majority are
satisfied with us, these can have no good reason for a dissatisfaction
in which they stand alone, and we are not acting improperly in making
war against them, nor are we making war against them without having
received signal provocation. Besides, if we were in the wrong, it
would be honourable in them to give way to our wishes, and disgraceful
for us to trample on their moderation; but in the pride and licence
of wealth they have sinned again and again against us, and never more
deeply than when Epidamnus, our dependency, which they took no steps
to claim in its distress upon our coming to relieve it, was by them
seized, and is now held by force of arms.

“As to their allegation that they wished the question to be first
submitted to arbitration, it is obvious that a challenge coming from
the party who is safe in a commanding position cannot gain the credit
due only to him who, before appealing to arms, in deeds as well as
words, places himself on a level with his adversary. In their case,
it was not before they laid siege to the place, but after they at
length understood that we should not tamely suffer it, that they thought
of the specious word arbitration. And not satisfied with their own
misconduct there, they appear here now requiring you to join with
them not in alliance but in crime, and to receive them in spite of
their being at enmity with us. But it was when they stood firmest
that they should have made overtures to you, and not at a time when
we have been wronged and they are in peril; nor yet at a time when
you will be admitting to a share in your protection those who never
admitted you to a share in their power, and will be incurring an equal
amount of blame from us with those in whose offences you had no hand.
No, they should have shared their power with you before they asked
you to share your fortunes with them.

“So then the reality of the grievances we come to complain of, and
the violence and rapacity of our opponents, have both been proved.
But that you cannot equitably receive them, this you have still to
learn. It may be true that one of the provisions of the treaty is
that it shall be competent for any state, whose name was not down
on the list, to join whichever side it pleases. But this agreement
is not meant for those whose object in joining is the injury of other
powers, but for those whose need of support does not arise from the
fact of defection, and whose adhesion will not bring to the power
that is mad enough to receive them war instead of peace; which will
be the case with you, if you refuse to listen to us. For you cannot
become their auxiliary and remain our friend; if you join in their
attack, you must share the punishment which the defenders inflict
on them. And yet you have the best possible right to be neutral, or,
failing this, you should on the contrary join us against them. Corinth
is at least in treaty with you; with Corcyra you were never even in
truce. But do not lay down the principle that defection is to be patronized.
Did we on the defection of the Samians record our vote against you,
when the rest of the Peloponnesian powers were equally divided on
the question whether they should assist them? No, we told them to
their face that every power has a right to punish its own allies.
Why, if you make it your policy to receive and assist all offenders,
you will find that just as many of your dependencies will come over
to us, and the principle that you establish will press less heavily
on us than on yourselves.

“This then is what Hellenic law entitles us to demand as a right.
But we have also advice to offer and claims on your gratitude, which,
since there is no danger of our injuring you, as we are not enemies,
and since our friendship does not amount to very frequent intercourse,
we say ought to be liquidated at the present juncture. When you were
in want of ships of war for the war against the Aeginetans, before
the Persian invasion, Corinth supplied you with twenty vessels. That
good turn, and the line we took on the Samian question, when we were
the cause of the Peloponnesians refusing to assist them, enabled you
to conquer Aegina and to punish Samos. And we acted thus at crises
when, if ever, men are wont in their efforts against their enemies
to forget everything for the sake of victory, regarding him who assists
them then as a friend, even if thus far he has been a foe, and him
who opposes them then as a foe, even if he has thus far been a friend;
indeed they allow their real interests to suffer from their absorbing
preoccupation in the struggle.

“Weigh well these considerations, and let your youth learn what they
are from their elders, and let them determine to do unto us as we
have done unto you. And let them not acknowledge the justice of what
we say, but dispute its wisdom in the contingency of war. Not only
is the straightest path generally speaking the wisest; but the coming
of the war, which the Corcyraeans have used as a bugbear to persuade
you to do wrong, is still uncertain, and it is not worth while to
be carried away by it into gaining the instant and declared enmity
of Corinth. It were, rather, wise to try and counteract the unfavourable
impression which your conduct to Megara has created. For kindness
opportunely shown has a greater power of removing old grievances than
the facts of the case may warrant. And do not be seduced by the prospect
of a great naval alliance. Abstinence from all injustice to other
first-rate powers is a greater tower of strength than anything that
can be gained by the sacrifice of permanent tranquillity for an apparent
temporary advantage. It is now our turn to benefit by the principle
that we laid down at Lacedaemon, that every power has a right to punish
her own allies. We now claim to receive the same from you, and protest
against your rewarding us for benefiting you by our vote by injuring
us by yours. On the contrary, return us like for like, remembering
that this is that very crisis in which he who lends aid is most a
friend, and he who opposes is most a foe. And for these Corcyraeans-
neither receive them into alliance in our despite, nor be their abettors
in crime. So do, and you will act as we have a right to expect of
you, and at the same time best consult your own interests.”

Such were the words of the Corinthians.

When the Athenians had heard both out, two assemblies were held. In
the first there was a manifest disposition to listen to the representations
of Corinth; in the second, public feeling had changed and an alliance
with Corcyra was decided on, with certain reservations. It was to
be a defensive, not an offensive alliance. It did not involve a breach
of the treaty with Peloponnese: Athens could not be required to join
Corcyra in any attack upon Corinth. But each of the contracting parties
had a right to the other’s assistance against invasion, whether of
his own territory or that of an ally. For it began now to be felt
that the coming of the Peloponnesian war was only a question of time,
and no one was willing to see a naval power of such magnitude as Corcyra
sacrificed to Corinth; though if they could let them weaken each other
by mutual conflict, it would be no bad preparation for the struggle
which Athens might one day have to wage with Corinth and the other
naval powers. At the same time the island seemed to lie conveniently
on the coasting passage to Italy and Sicily. With these views, Athens
received Corcyra into alliance and, on the departure of the Corinthians
not long afterwards, sent ten ships to their assistance. They were
commanded by Lacedaemonius, the son of Cimon, Diotimus, the son of
Strombichus, and Proteas, the son of Epicles. Their instructions were
to avoid collision with the Corinthian fleet except under certain
circumstances. If it sailed to Corcyra and threatened a landing on
her coast, or in any of her possessions, they were to do their utmost
to prevent it. These instructions were prompted by an anxiety to avoid
a breach of the treaty.

Meanwhile the Corinthians completed their preparations, and sailed
for Corcyra with a hundred and fifty ships. Of these Elis furnished
ten, Megara twelve, Leucas ten, Ambracia twenty-seven, Anactorium
one, and Corinth herself ninety. Each of these contingents had its
own admiral, the Corinthian being under the command of Xenoclides,
son of Euthycles, with four colleagues. Sailing from Leucas, they
made land at the part of the continent opposite Corcyra. They anchored
in the harbour of Chimerium, in the territory of Thesprotis, above
which, at some distance from the sea, lies the city of Ephyre, in
the Elean district. By this city the Acherusian lake pours its waters
into the sea. It gets its name from the river Acheron, which flows
through Thesprotis and falls into the lake. There also the river Thyamis
flows, forming the boundary between Thesprotis and Kestrine; and between
these rivers rises the point of Chimerium. In this part of the continent
the Corinthians now came to anchor, and formed an encampment. When
the Corcyraeans saw them coming, they manned a hundred and ten ships,
commanded by Meikiades, Aisimides, and Eurybatus, and stationed themselves
at one of the Sybota isles; the ten Athenian ships being present.
On Point Leukimme they posted their land forces, and a thousand heavy
infantry who had come from Zacynthus to their assistance. Nor were
the Corinthians on the mainland without their allies. The barbarians
flocked in large numbers to their assistance, the inhabitants of this
part of the continent being old allies of theirs.

When the Corinthian preparations were completed, they took three days’
provisions and put out from Chimerium by night, ready for action.
Sailing with the dawn, they sighted the Corcyraean fleet out at sea
and coming towards them. When they perceived each other, both sides
formed in order of battle. On the Corcyraean right wing lay the Athenian
ships, the rest of the line being occupied by their own vessels formed
in three squadrons, each of which was commanded by one of the three
admirals. Such was the Corcyraean formation. The Corinthian was as
follows: on the right wing lay the Megarian and Ambraciot ships, in
the centre the rest of the allies in order. But the left was composed
of the best sailers in the Corinthian navy, to encounter the Athenians
and the right wing of the Corcyraeans. As soon as the signals were
raised on either side, they joined battle. Both sides had a large
number of heavy infantry on their decks, and a large number of archers
and darters, the old imperfect armament still prevailing. The sea-fight
was an obstinate one, though not remarkable for its science; indeed
it was more like a battle by land. Whenever they charged each other,
the multitude and crush of the vessels made it by no means easy to
get loose; besides, their hopes of victory lay principally in the
heavy infantry on the decks, who stood and fought in order, the ships
remaining stationary. The manoeuvre of breaking the line was not tried;
in short, strength and pluck had more share in the fight than science.
Everywhere tumult reigned, the battle being one scene of confusion;
meanwhile the Athenian ships, by coming up to the Corcyraeans whenever
they were pressed, served to alarm the enemy, though their commanders
could not join in the battle from fear of their instructions. The
right wing of the Corinthians suffered most. The Corcyraeans routed
it, and chased them in disorder to the continent with twenty ships,
sailed up to their camp, and burnt the tents which they found empty,
and plundered the stuff. So in this quarter the Corinthians and their
allies were defeated, and the Corcyraeans were victorious. But where
the Corinthians themselves were, on the left, they gained a decided
success; the scanty forces of the Corcyraeans being further weakened
by the want of the twenty ships absent on the pursuit. Seeing the
Corcyraeans hard pressed, the Athenians began at length to assist
them more unequivocally. At first, it is true, they refrained from
charging any ships; but when the rout was becoming patent, and the
Corinthians were pressing on, the time at last came when every one
set to, and all distinction was laid aside, and it came to this point,
that the Corinthians and Athenians raised their hands against each

After the rout, the Corinthians, instead of employing themselves in
lashing fast and hauling after them the hulls of the vessels which
they had disabled, turned their attention to the men, whom they butchered
as they sailed through, not caring so much to make prisoners. Some
even of their own friends were slain by them, by mistake, in their
ignorance of the defeat of the right wing For the number of the ships
on both sides, and the distance to which they covered the sea, made
it difficult, after they had once joined, to distinguish between the
conquering and the conquered; this battle proving far greater than
any before it, any at least between Hellenes, for the number of vessels
engaged. After the Corinthians had chased the Corcyraeans to the land,
they turned to the wrecks and their dead, most of whom they succeeded
in getting hold of and conveying to Sybota, the rendezvous of the
land forces furnished by their barbarian allies. Sybota, it must be
known, is a desert harbour of Thesprotis. This task over, they mustered
anew, and sailed against the Corcyraeans, who on their part advanced
to meet them with all their ships that were fit for service and remaining
to them, accompanied by the Athenian vessels, fearing that they might
attempt a landing in their territory. It was by this time getting
late, and the paean had been sung for the attack, when the Corinthians
suddenly began to back water. They had observed twenty Athenian ships
sailing up, which had been sent out afterwards to reinforce the ten
vessels by the Athenians, who feared, as it turned out justly, the
defeat of the Corcyraeans and the inability of their handful of ships
to protect them. These ships were thus seen by the Corinthians first.
They suspected that they were from Athens, and that those which they
saw were not all, but that there were more behind; they accordingly
began to retire. The Corcyraeans meanwhile had not sighted them, as
they were advancing from a point which they could not so well see,
and were wondering why the Corinthians were backing water, when some
caught sight of them, and cried out that there were ships in sight
ahead. Upon this they also retired; for it was now getting dark, and
the retreat of the Corinthians had suspended hostilities. Thus they
parted from each other, and the battle ceased with night. The Corcyraeans
were in their camp at Leukimme, when these twenty ships from Athens,
under the command of Glaucon, the son of Leagrus, and Andocides, son
of Leogoras, bore on through the corpses and the wrecks, and sailed
up to the camp, not long after they were sighted. It was now night,
and the Corcyraeans feared that they might be hostile vessels; but
they soon knew them, and the ships came to anchor.

The next day the thirty Athenian vessels put out to sea, accompanied
by all the Corcyraean ships that were seaworthy, and sailed to the
harbour at Sybota, where the Corinthians lay, to see if they would
engage. The Corinthians put out from the land and formed a line in
the open sea, but beyond this made no further movement, having no
intention of assuming the offensive. For they saw reinforcements arrived
fresh from Athens, and themselves confronted by numerous difficulties,
such as the necessity of guarding the prisoners whom they had on board
and the want of all means of refitting their ships in a desert place.
What they were thinking more about was how their voyage home was to
be effected; they feared that the Athenians might consider that the
treaty was dissolved by the collision which had occurred, and forbid
their departure.

Accordingly they resolved to put some men on board a boat, and send
them without a herald’s wand to the Athenians, as an experiment. Having
done so, they spoke as follows: “You do wrong, Athenians, to begin
war and break the treaty. Engaged in chastising our enemies, we find
you placing yourselves in our path in arms against us. Now if your
intentions are to prevent us sailing to Corcyra, or anywhere else
that we may wish, and if you are for breaking the treaty, first take
us that are here and treat us as enemies.” Such was what they said,
and all the Corcyraean armament that were within hearing immediately
called out to take them and kill them. But the Athenians answered
as follows: “Neither are we beginning war, Peloponnesians, nor are
we breaking the treaty; but these Corcyraeans are our allies, and
we are come to help them. So if you want to sail anywhere else, we
place no obstacle in your way; but if you are going to sail against
Corcyra, or any of her possessions, we shall do our best to stop you.”

Receiving this answer from the Athenians, the Corinthians commenced
preparations for their voyage home, and set up a trophy in Sybota,
on the continent; while the Corcyraeans took up the wrecks and dead
that had been carried out to them by the current, and by a wind which
rose in the night and scattered them in all directions, and set up
their trophy in Sybota, on the island, as victors. The reasons each
side had for claiming the victory were these. The Corinthians had
been victorious in the sea-fight until night; and having thus been
enabled to carry off most wrecks and dead, they were in possession
of no fewer than a thousand prisoners of war, and had sunk close upon
seventy vessels. The Corcyraeans had destroyed about thirty ships,
and after the arrival of the Athenians had taken up the wrecks and
dead on their side; they had besides seen the Corinthians retire before
them, backing water on sight of the Athenian vessels, and upon the
arrival of the Athenians refuse to sail out against them from Sybota.
Thus both sides claimed the victory.

The Corinthians on the voyage home took Anactorium, which stands at
the mouth of the Ambracian gulf. The place was taken by treachery,
being common ground to the Corcyraeans and Corinthians. After establishing
Corinthian settlers there, they retired home. Eight hundred of the
Corcyraeans were slaves; these they sold; two hundred and fifty they
retained in captivity, and treated with great attention, in the hope
that they might bring over their country to Corinth on their return;
most of them being, as it happened, men of very high position in Corcyra.
In this way Corcyra maintained her political existence in the war
with Corinth, and the Athenian vessels left the island. This was the
first cause of the war that Corinth had against the Athenians, viz.,
that they had fought against them with the Corcyraeans in time of

Almost immediately after this, fresh differences arose between the
Athenians and Peloponnesians, and contributed their share to the war.
Corinth was forming schemes for retaliation, and Athens suspected
her hostility. The Potidaeans, who inhabit the isthmus of Pallene,
being a Corinthian colony, but tributary allies of Athens, were ordered
to raze the wall looking towards Pallene, to give hostages, to dismiss
the Corinthian magistrates, and in future not to receive the persons
sent from Corinth annually to succeed them. It was feared that they
might be persuaded by Perdiccas and the Corinthians to revolt, and
might draw the rest of the allies in the direction of Thrace to revolt
with them. These precautions against the Potidaeans were taken by
the Athenians immediately after the battle at Corcyra. Not only was
Corinth at length openly hostile, but Perdiccas, son of Alexander,
king of the Macedonians, had from an old friend and ally been made
an enemy. He had been made an enemy by the Athenians entering into
alliance with his brother Philip and Derdas, who were in league against
him. In his alarm he had sent to Lacedaemon to try and involve the
Athenians in a war with the Peloponnesians, and was endeavouring to
win over Corinth in order to bring about the revolt of Potidaea. He
also made overtures to the Chalcidians in the direction of Thrace,
and to the Bottiaeans, to persuade them to join in the revolt; for
he thought that if these places on the border could be made his allies,
it would be easier to carry on the war with their co-operation. Alive
to all this, and wishing to anticipate the revolt of the cities, the
Athenians acted as follows. They were just then sending off thirty
ships and a thousand heavy infantry for his country under the command
of Archestratus, son of Lycomedes, with four colleagues. They instructed
the captains to take hostages of the Potidaeans, to raze the wall,
and to be on their guard against the revolt of the neighbouring cities.

Meanwhile the Potidaeans sent envoys to Athens on the chance of persuading
them to take no new steps in their matters; they also went to Lacedaemon
with the Corinthians to secure support in case of need. Failing after
prolonged negotiation to obtain anything satisfactory from the Athenians;
being unable, for all they could say, to prevent the vessels that
were destined for Macedonia from also sailing against them; and receiving
from the Lacedaemonian government a promise to invade Attica, if the
Athenians should attack Potidaea, the Potidaeans, thus favoured by
the moment, at last entered into league with the Chalcidians and Bottiaeans,
and revolted. And Perdiccas induced the Chalcidians to abandon and
demolish their towns on the seaboard and, settling inland at Olynthus,
to make that one city a strong place: meanwhile to those who followed
his advice he gave a part of his territory in Mygdonia round Lake
Bolbe as a place of abode while the war against the Athenians should
last. They accordingly demolished their towns, removed inland and
prepared for war. The thirty ships of the Athenians, arriving before
the Thracian places, found Potidaea and the rest in revolt. Their
commanders, considering it to be quite impossible with their present
force to carry on war with Perdiccas and with the confederate towns
as well turned to Macedonia, their original destination, and, having
established themselves there, carried on war in co-operation with
Philip, and the brothers of Derdas, who had invaded the country from
the interior.

Meanwhile the Corinthians, with Potidaea in revolt and the Athenian
ships on the coast of Macedonia, alarmed for the safety of the place
and thinking its danger theirs, sent volunteers from Corinth, and
mercenaries from the rest of Peloponnese, to the number of sixteen
hundred heavy infantry in all, and four hundred light troops. Aristeus,
son of Adimantus, who was always a steady friend to the Potidaeans,
took command of the expedition, and it was principally for love of
him that most of the men from Corinth volunteered. They arrived in
Thrace forty days after the revolt of Potidaea.

The Athenians also immediately received the news of the revolt of
the cities. On being informed that Aristeus and his reinforcements
were on their way, they sent two thousand heavy infantry of their
own citizens and forty ships against the places in revolt, under the
command of Callias, son of Calliades, and four colleagues. They arrived
in Macedonia first, and found the force of a thousand men that had
been first sent out, just become masters of Therme and besieging Pydna.
Accordingly they also joined in the investment, and besieged Pydna
for a while. Subsequently they came to terms and concluded a forced
alliance with Perdiccas, hastened by the calls of Potidaea and by
the arrival of Aristeus at that place. They withdrew from Macedonia,
going to Beroea and thence to Strepsa, and, after a futile attempt
on the latter place, they pursued by land their march to Potidaea
with three thousand heavy infantry of their own citizens, besides
a number of their allies, and six hundred Macedonian horsemen, the
followers of Philip and Pausanias. With these sailed seventy ships
along the coast. Advancing by short marches, on the third day they
arrived at Gigonus, where they encamped.

Meanwhile the Potidaeans and the Peloponnesians with Aristeus were
encamped on the side looking towards Olynthus on the isthmus, in expectation
of the Athenians, and had established their market outside the city.
The allies had chosen Aristeus general of all the infantry; while
the command of the cavalry was given to Perdiccas, who had at once
left the alliance of the Athenians and gone back to that of the Potidaeans,
having deputed Iolaus as his general: The plan of Aristeus was to
keep his own force on the isthmus, and await the attack of the Athenians;
leaving the Chalcidians and the allies outside the isthmus, and the
two hundred cavalry from Perdiccas in Olynthus to act upon the Athenian
rear, on the occasion of their advancing against him; and thus to
place the enemy between two fires. While Callias the Athenian general
and his colleagues dispatched the Macedonian horse and a few of the
allies to Olynthus, to prevent any movement being made from that quarter,
the Athenians themselves broke up their camp and marched against Potidaea.
After they had arrived at the isthmus, and saw the enemy preparing
for battle, they formed against him, and soon afterwards engaged.
The wing of Aristeus, with the Corinthians and other picked troops
round him, routed the wing opposed to it, and followed for a considerable
distance in pursuit. But the rest of the army of the Potidaeans and
of the Peloponnesians was defeated by the Athenians, and took refuge
within the fortifications. Returning from the pursuit, Aristeus perceived
the defeat of the rest of the army. Being at a loss which of the two
risks to choose, whether to go to Olynthus or to Potidaea, he at last
determined to draw his men into as small a space as possible, and
force his way with a run into Potidaea. Not without difficulty, through
a storm of missiles, he passed along by the breakwater through the
sea, and brought off most of his men safe, though a few were lost.
Meanwhile the auxiliaries of the Potidaeans from Olynthus, which is
about seven miles off and in sight of Potidaea, when the battle began
and the signals were raised, advanced a little way to render assistance;
and the Macedonian horse formed against them to prevent it. But on
victory speedily declaring for the Athenians and the signals being
taken down, they retired back within the wall; and the Macedonians
returned to the Athenians. Thus there were no cavalry present on either
side. After the battle the Athenians set up a trophy, and gave back
their dead to the Potidaeans under truce. The Potidaeans and their
allies had close upon three hundred killed; the Athenians a hundred
and fifty of their own citizens, and Callias their general.

The wall on the side of the isthmus had now works at once raised against
it, and manned by the Athenians. That on the side of Pallene had no
works raised against it. They did not think themselves strong enough
at once to keep a garrison in the isthmus and to cross over to Pallene
and raise works there; they were afraid that the Potidaeans and their
allies might take advantage of their division to attack them. Meanwhile
the Athenians at home learning that there were no works at Pallene,
some time afterwards sent off sixteen hundred heavy infantry of their
own citizens under the command of Phormio, son of Asopius. Arrived
at Pallene, he fixed his headquarters at Aphytis, and led his army
against Potidaea by short marches, ravaging the country as he advanced.
No one venturing to meet him in the field, he raised works against
the wall on the side of Pallene. So at length Potidaea was strongly
invested on either side, and from the sea by the ships co-operating
in the blockade. Aristeus, seeing its investment complete, and having
no hope of its salvation, except in the event of some movement from
the Peloponnese, or of some other improbable contingency, advised
all except five hundred to watch for a wind and sail out of the place,
in order that their provisions might last the longer. He was willing
to be himself one of those who remained. Unable to persuade them,
and desirous of acting on the next alternative, and of having things
outside in the best posture possible, he eluded the guardships of
the Athenians and sailed out. Remaining among the Chalcidians, he
continued to carry on the war; in particular he laid an ambuscade
near the city of the Sermylians, and cut off many of them; he also
communicated with Peloponnese, and tried to contrive some method by
which help might be brought. Meanwhile, after the completion of the
investment of Potidaea, Phormio next employed his sixteen hundred
men in ravaging Chalcidice and Bottica: some of the towns also were
taken by him.

Chapter III

Congress of the Peloponnesian Confederacy at Lacedaemon

The Athenians and Peloponnesians had these antecedent grounds of complaint
against each other: the complaint of Corinth was that her colony of
Potidaea, and Corinthian and Peloponnesian citizens within it, were
being besieged; that of Athens against the Peloponnesians that they
had incited a town of hers, a member of her alliance and a contributor
to her revenue, to revolt, and had come and were openly fighting against
her on the side of the Potidaeans. For all this, war had not yet broken
out: there was still truce for a while; for this was a private enterprise
on the part of Corinth.

But the siege of Potidaea put an end to her inaction; she had men
inside it: besides, she feared for the place. Immediately summoning
the allies to Lacedaemon, she came and loudly accused Athens of breach
of the treaty and aggression on the rights of Peloponnese. With her,
the Aeginetans, formally unrepresented from fear of Athens, in secret
proved not the least urgent of the advocates for war, asserting that
they had not the independence guaranteed to them by the treaty. After
extending the summons to any of their allies and others who might
have complaints to make of Athenian aggression, the Lacedaemonians
held their ordinary assembly, and invited them to speak. There were
many who came forward and made their several accusations; among them
the Megarians, in a long list of grievances, called special attention
to the fact of their exclusion from the ports of the Athenian empire
and the market of Athens, in defiance of the treaty. Last of all the
Corinthians came forward, and having let those who preceded them inflame
the Lacedaemonians, now followed with a speech to this effect:

“Lacedaemonians! the confidence which you feel in your constitution
and social order, inclines you to receive any reflections of ours
on other powers with a certain scepticism. Hence springs your moderation,
but hence also the rather limited knowledge which you betray in dealing
with foreign politics. Time after time was our voice raised to warn
you of the blows about to be dealt us by Athens, and time after time,
instead of taking the trouble to ascertain the worth of our communications,
you contented yourselves with suspecting the speakers of being inspired
by private interest. And so, instead of calling these allies together
before the blow fell, you have delayed to do so till we are smarting
under it; allies among whom we have not the worst title to speak,
as having the greatest complaints to make, complaints of Athenian
outrage and Lacedaemonian neglect. Now if these assaults on the rights
of Hellas had been made in the dark, you might be unacquainted with
the facts, and it would be our duty to enlighten you. As it is, long
speeches are not needed where you see servitude accomplished for some
of us, meditated for others- in particular for our allies- and prolonged
preparations in the aggressor against the hour of war. Or what, pray,
is the meaning of their reception of Corcyra by fraud, and their holding
it against us by force? what of the siege of Potidaea?- places one
of which lies most conveniently for any action against the Thracian
towns; while the other would have contributed a very large navy to
the Peloponnesians?

“For all this you are responsible. You it was who first allowed them
to fortify their city after the Median war, and afterwards to erect
the long walls- you who, then and now, are always depriving of freedom
not only those whom they have enslaved, but also those who have as
yet been your allies. For the true author of the subjugation of a
people is not so much the immediate agent, as the power which permits
it having the means to prevent it; particularly if that power aspires
to the glory of being the liberator of Hellas. We are at last assembled.
It has not been easy to assemble, nor even now are our objects defined.
We ought not to be still inquiring into the fact of our wrongs, but
into the means of our defence. For the aggressors with matured plans
to oppose to our indecision have cast threats aside and betaken themselves
to action. And we know what are the paths by which Athenian aggression
travels, and how insidious is its progress. A degree of confidence
she may feel from the idea that your bluntness of perception prevents
your noticing her; but it is nothing to the impulse which her advance
will receive from the knowledge that you see, but do not care to interfere.
You, Lacedaemonians, of all the Hellenes are alone inactive, and defend
yourselves not by doing anything but by looking as if you would do
something; you alone wait till the power of an enemy is becoming twice
its original size, instead of crushing it in its infancy. And yet
the world used to say that you were to be depended upon; but in your
case, we fear, it said more than the truth. The Mede, we ourselves
know, had time to come from the ends of the earth to Peloponnese,
without any force of yours worthy of the name advancing to meet him.
But this was a distant enemy. Well, Athens at all events is a near
neighbour, and yet Athens you utterly disregard; against Athens you
prefer to act on the defensive instead of on the offensive, and to
make it an affair of chances by deferring the struggle till she has
grown far stronger than at first. And yet you know that on the whole
the rock on which the barbarian was wrecked was himself, and that
if our present enemy Athens has not again and again annihilated us,
we owe it more to her blunders than to your protection; Indeed, expectations
from you have before now been the ruin of some, whose faith induced
them to omit preparation.

“We hope that none of you will consider these words of remonstrance
to be rather words of hostility; men remonstrate with friends who
are in error, accusations they reserve for enemies who have wronged
them. Besides, we consider that we have as good a right as any one
to point out a neighbour’s faults, particularly when we contemplate
the great contrast between the two national characters; a contrast
of which, as far as we can see, you have little perception, having
never yet considered what sort of antagonists you will encounter in
the Athenians, how widely, how absolutely different from yourselves.
The Athenians are addicted to innovation, and their designs are characterized
by swiftness alike in conception and execution; you have a genius
for keeping what you have got, accompanied by a total want of invention,
and when forced to act you never go far enough. Again, they are adventurous
beyond their power, and daring beyond their judgment, and in danger
they are sanguine; your wont is to attempt less than is justified
by your power, to mistrust even what is sanctioned by your judgment,
and to fancy that from danger there is no release. Further, there
is promptitude on their side against procrastination on yours; they
are never at home, you are never from it: for they hope by their absence
to extend their acquisitions, you fear by your advance to endanger
what you have left behind. They are swift to follow up a success,
and slow to recoil from a reverse. Their bodies they spend ungrudgingly
in their country’s cause; their intellect they jealously husband to
be employed in her service. A scheme unexecuted is with them a positive
loss, a successful enterprise a comparative failure. The deficiency
created by the miscarriage of an undertaking is soon filled up by
fresh hopes; for they alone are enabled to call a thing hoped for
a thing got, by the speed with which they act upon their resolutions.
Thus they toil on in trouble and danger all the days of their life,
with little opportunity for enjoying, being ever engaged in getting:
their only idea of a holiday is to do what the occasion demands, and
to them laborious occupation is less of a misfortune than the peace
of a quiet life. To describe their character in a word, one might
truly say that they were born into the world to take no rest themselves
and to give none to others.

“Such is Athens, your antagonist. And yet, Lacedaemonians, you still
delay, and fail to see that peace stays longest with those, who are
not more careful to use their power justly than to show their determination
not to submit to injustice. On the contrary, your ideal of fair dealing
is based on the principle that, if you do not injure others, you need
not risk your own fortunes in preventing others from injuring you.
Now you could scarcely have succeeded in such a policy even with a
neighbour like yourselves; but in the present instance, as we have
just shown, your habits are old-fashioned as compared with theirs.
It is the law as in art, so in politics, that improvements ever prevail;
and though fixed usages may be best for undisturbed communities, constant
necessities of action must be accompanied by the constant improvement
of methods. Thus it happens that the vast experience of Athens has
carried her further than you on the path of innovation.

“Here, at least, let your procrastination end. For the present, assist
your allies and Potidaea in particular, as you promised, by a speedy
invasion of Attica, and do not sacrifice friends and kindred to their
bitterest enemies, and drive the rest of us in despair to some other
alliance. Such a step would not be condemned either by the Gods who
received our oaths, or by the men who witnessed them. The breach of
a treaty cannot be laid to the people whom desertion compels to seek
new relations, but to the power that fails to assist its confederate.
But if you will only act, we will stand by you; it would be unnatural
for us to change, and never should we meet with such a congenial ally.
For these reasons choose the right course, and endeavour not to let
Peloponnese under your supremacy degenerate from the prestige that
it enjoyed under that of your ancestors.”

Such were the words of the Corinthians. There happened to be Athenian
envoys present at Lacedaemon on other business. On hearing the speeches
they thought themselves called upon to come before the Lacedaemonians.
Their intention was not to offer a defence on any of the charges which
the cities brought against them, but to show on a comprehensive view
that it was not a matter to be hastily decided on, but one that demanded
further consideration. There was also a wish to call attention to
the great power of Athens, and to refresh the memory of the old and
enlighten the ignorance of the young, from a notion that their words
might have the effect of inducing them to prefer tranquillity to war.
So they came to the Lacedaemonians and said that they too, if there
was no objection, wished to speak to their assembly. They replied
by inviting them to come forward. The Athenians advanced, and spoke
as follows:

“The object of our mission here was not to argue with your allies,
but to attend to the matters on which our state dispatched us. However,
the vehemence of the outcry that we hear against us has prevailed
on us to come forward. It is not to combat the accusations of the
cities (indeed you are not the judges before whom either we or they
can plead), but to prevent your taking the wrong course on matters
of great importance by yielding too readily to the persuasions of
your allies. We also wish to show on a review of the whole indictment
that we have a fair title to our possessions, and that our country
has claims to consideration. We need not refer to remote antiquity:
there we could appeal to the voice of tradition, but not to the experience
of our audience. But to the Median War and contemporary history we
must refer, although we are rather tired of continually bringing this
subject forward. In our action during that war we ran great risk to
obtain certain advantages: you had your share in the solid results,
do not try to rob us of all share in the good that the glory may do
us. However, the story shall be told not so much to deprecate hostility
as to testify against it, and to show, if you are so ill advised as
to enter into a struggle with Athens, what sort of an antagonist she
is likely to prove. We assert that at Marathon we were at the front,
and faced the barbarian single-handed. That when he came the second
time, unable to cope with him by land we went on board our ships with
all our people, and joined in the action at Salamis. This prevented
his taking the Peloponnesian states in detail, and ravaging them with
his fleet; when the multitude of his vessels would have made any combination
for self-defence impossible. The best proof of this was furnished
by the invader himself. Defeated at sea, he considered his power to
be no longer what it had been, and retired as speedily as possible
with the greater part of his army.

“Such, then, was the result of the matter, and it was clearly proved
that it was on the fleet of Hellas that her cause depended. Well,
to this result we contributed three very useful elements, viz., the
largest number of ships, the ablest commander, and the most unhesitating
patriotism. Our contingent of ships was little less than two-thirds
of the whole four hundred; the commander was Themistocles, through
whom chiefly it was that the battle took place in the straits, the
acknowledged salvation of our cause. Indeed, this was the reason of
your receiving him with honours such as had never been accorded to
any foreign visitor. While for daring patriotism we had no competitors.
Receiving no reinforcements from behind, seeing everything in front
of us already subjugated, we had the spirit, after abandoning our
city, after sacrificing our property (instead of deserting the remainder
of the league or depriving them of our services by dispersing), to
throw ourselves into our ships and meet the danger, without a thought
of resenting your neglect to assist us. We assert, therefore, that
we conferred on you quite as much as we received. For you had a stake
to fight for; the cities which you had left were still filled with
your homes, and you had the prospect of enjoying them again; and your
coming was prompted quite as much by fear for yourselves as for us;
at all events, you never appeared till we had nothing left to lose.
But we left behind us a city that was a city no longer, and staked
our lives for a city that had an existence only in desperate hope,
and so bore our full share in your deliverance and in ours. But if
we had copied others, and allowed fears for our territory to make
us give in our adhesion to the Mede before you came, or if we had
suffered our ruin to break our spirit and prevent us embarking in
our ships, your naval inferiority would have made a sea-fight unnecessary,
and his objects would have been peaceably attained.

“Surely, Lacedaemonians, neither by the patriotism that we displayed
at that crisis, nor by the wisdom of our counsels, do we merit our
extreme unpopularity with the Hellenes, not at least unpopularity
for our empire. That empire we acquired by no violent means, but because
you were unwilling to prosecute to its conclusion the war against
the barbarian, and because the allies attached themselves to us and
spontaneously asked us to assume the command. And the nature of the
case first compelled us to advance our empire to its present height;
fear being our principal motive, though honour and interest afterwards
came in. And at last, when almost all hated us, when some had already
revolted and had been subdued, when you had ceased to be the friends
that you once were, and had become objects of suspicion and dislike,
it appeared no longer safe to give up our empire; especially as all
who left us would fall to you. And no one can quarrel with a people
for making, in matters of tremendous risk, the best provision that
it can for its interest.

“You, at all events, Lacedaemonians, have used your supremacy to settle
the states in Peloponnese as is agreeable to you. And if at the period
of which we were speaking you had persevered to the end of the matter,
and had incurred hatred in your command, we are sure that you would
have made yourselves just as galling to the allies, and would have
been forced to choose between a strong government and danger to yourselves.
It follows that it was not a very wonderful action, or contrary to
the common practice of mankind, if we did accept an empire that was
offered to us, and refused to give it up under the pressure of three
of the strongest motives, fear, honour, and interest. And it was not
we who set the example, for it has always been law that the weaker
should be subject to the stronger. Besides, we believed ourselves
to be worthy of our position, and so you thought us till now, when
calculations of interest have made you take up the cry of justice-
a consideration which no one ever yet brought forward to hinder his
ambition when he had a chance of gaining anything by might. And praise
is due to all who, if not so superior to human nature as to refuse
dominion, yet respect justice more than their position compels them
to do.

“We imagine that our moderation would be best demonstrated by the
conduct of others who should be placed in our position; but even our
equity has very unreasonably subjected us to condemnation instead
of approval. Our abatement of our rights in the contract trials with
our allies, and our causing them to be decided by impartial laws at
Athens, have gained us the character of being litigious. And none
care to inquire why this reproach is not brought against other imperial
powers, who treat their subjects with less moderation than we do;
the secret being that where force can be used, law is not needed.
But our subjects are so habituated to associate with us as equals
that any defeat whatever that clashes with their notions of justice,
whether it proceeds from a legal judgment or from the power which
our empire gives us, makes them forget to be grateful for being allowed
to retain most of their possessions, and more vexed at a part being
taken, than if we had from the first cast law aside and openly gratified
our covetousness. If we had done so, not even would they have disputed
that the weaker must give way to the stronger. Men’s indignation,
it seems, is more excited by legal wrong than by violent wrong; the
first looks like being cheated by an equal, the second like being
compelled by a superior. At all events they contrived to put up with
much worse treatment than this from the Mede, yet they think our rule
severe, and this is to be expected, for the present always weighs
heavy on the conquered. This at least is certain. If you were to succeed
in overthrowing us and in taking our place, you would speedily lose
the popularity with which fear of us has invested you, if your policy
of to-day is at all to tally with the sample that you gave of it during
the brief period of your command against the Mede. Not only is your
life at home regulated by rules and institutions incompatible with
those of others, but your citizens abroad act neither on these rules
nor on those which are recognized by the rest of Hellas.

“Take time then in forming your resolution, as the matter is of great
importance; and do not be persuaded by the opinions and complaints
of others to bring trouble on yourselves, but consider the vast influence
of accident in war, before you are engaged in it. As it continues,
it generally becomes an affair of chances, chances from which neither
of us is exempt, and whose event we must risk in the dark. It is a
common mistake in going to war to begin at the wrong end, to act first,
and wait for disaster to discuss the matter. But we are not yet by
any means so misguided, nor, so far as we can see, are you; accordingly,
while it is still open to us both to choose aright, we bid you not
to dissolve the treaty, or to break your oaths, but to have our differences
settled by arbitration according to our agreement. Or else we take
the gods who heard the oaths to witness, and if you begin hostilities,
whatever line of action you choose, we will try not to be behindhand
in repelling you.”

Such were the words of the Athenians. After the Lacedaemonians had
heard the complaints of the allies against the Athenians, and the
observations of the latter, they made all withdraw, and consulted
by themselves on the question before them. The opinions of the majority
all led to the same conclusion; the Athenians were open aggressors,
and war must be declared at once. But Archidamus, the Lacedaemonian
king, came forward, who had the reputation of being at once a wise
and a moderate man, and made the following speech:

“I have not lived so long, Lacedaemonians, without having had the
experience of many wars, and I see those among you of the same age
as myself, who will not fall into the common misfortune of longing
for war from inexperience or from a belief in its advantage and its
safety. This, the war on which you are now debating, would be one
of the greatest magnitude, on a sober consideration of the matter.
In a struggle with Peloponnesians and neighbours our strength is of
the same character, and it is possible to move swiftly on the different
points. But a struggle with a people who live in a distant land, who
have also an extraordinary familiarity with the sea, and who are in
the highest state of preparation in every other department; with wealth
private and public, with ships, and horses, and heavy infantry, and
a population such as no one other Hellenic place can equal, and lastly
a number of tributary allies- what can justify us in rashly beginning
such a struggle? wherein is our trust that we should rush on it unprepared?
Is it in our ships? There we are inferior; while if we are to practise
and become a match for them, time must intervene. Is it in our money?
There we have a far greater deficiency. We neither have it in our
treasury, nor are we ready to contribute it from our private funds.
Confidence might possibly be felt in our superiority in heavy infantry
and population, which will enable us to invade and devastate their
lands. But the Athenians have plenty of other land in their empire,
and can import what they want by sea. Again, if we are to attempt
an insurrection of their allies, these will have to be supported with
a fleet, most of them being islanders. What then is to be our war?
For unless we can either beat them at sea, or deprive them of the
revenues which feed their navy, we shall meet with little but disaster.
Meanwhile our honour will be pledged to keeping on, particularly if
it be the opinion that we began the quarrel. For let us never be elated
by the fatal hope of the war being quickly ended by the devastation
of their lands. I fear rather that we may leave it as a legacy to
our children; so improbable is it that the Athenian spirit will be
the slave of their land, or Athenian experience be cowed by war.

“Not that I would bid you be so unfeeling as to suffer them to injure
your allies, and to refrain from unmasking their intrigues; but I
do bid you not to take up arms at once, but to send and remonstrate
with them in a tone not too suggestive of war, nor again too suggestive
of submission, and to employ the interval in perfecting our own preparations.
The means will be, first, the acquisition of allies, Hellenic or barbarian
it matters not, so long as they are an accession to our strength naval
or pecuniary- I say Hellenic or barbarian, because the odium of such
an accession to all who like us are the objects of the designs of
the Athenians is taken away by the law of self-preservation- and secondly
the development of our home resources. If they listen to our embassy,
so much the better; but if not, after the lapse of two or three years
our position will have become materially strengthened, and we can
then attack them if we think proper. Perhaps by that time the sight
of our preparations, backed by language equally significant, will
have disposed them to submission, while their land is still untouched,
and while their counsels may be directed to the retention of advantages
as yet undestroyed. For the only light in which you can view their
land is that of a hostage in your hands, a hostage the more valuable
the better it is cultivated. This you ought to spare as long as possible,
and not make them desperate, and so increase the difficulty of dealing
with them. For if while still unprepared, hurried away by the complaints
of our allies, we are induced to lay it waste, have a care that we
do not bring deep disgrace and deep perplexity upon Peloponnese. Complaints,
whether of communities or individuals, it is possible to adjust; but
war undertaken by a coalition for sectional interests, whose progress
there is no means of foreseeing, does not easily admit of creditable

“And none need think it cowardice for a number of confederates to
pause before they attack a single city. The Athenians have allies
as numerous as our own, and allies that pay tribute, and war is a
matter not so much of arms as of money, which makes arms of use. And
this is more than ever true in a struggle between a continental and
a maritime power. First, then, let us provide money, and not allow
ourselves to be carried away by the talk of our allies before we have
done so: as we shall have the largest share of responsibility for
the consequences be they good or bad, we have also a right to a tranquil
inquiry respecting them.

“And the slowness and procrastination, the parts of our character
that are most assailed by their criticism, need not make you blush.
If we undertake the war without preparation, we should by hastening
its commencement only delay its conclusion: further, a free and a
famous city has through all time been ours. The quality which they
condemn is really nothing but a wise moderation; thanks to its possession,
we alone do not become insolent in success and give way less than
others in misfortune; we are not carried away by the pleasure of hearing
ourselves cheered on to risks which our judgment condemns; nor, if
annoyed, are we any the more convinced by attempts to exasperate us
by accusation. We are both warlike and wise, and it is our sense of
order that makes us so. We are warlike, because self-control contains
honour as a chief constituent, and honour bravery. And we are wise,
because we are educated with too little learning to despise the laws,
and with too severe a self-control to disobey them, and are brought
up not to be too knowing in useless matters- such as the knowledge
which can give a specious criticism of an enemy’s plans in theory,
but fails to assail them with equal success in practice- but are taught
to consider that the schemes of our enemies are not dissimilar to
our own, and that the freaks of chance are not determinable by calculation.
In practice we always base our preparations against an enemy on the
assumption that his plans are good; indeed, it is right to rest our
hopes not on a belief in his blunders, but on the soundness of our
provisions. Nor ought we to believe that there is much difference
between man and man, but to think that the superiority lies with him
who is reared in the severest school. These practices, then, which
our ancestors have delivered to us, and by whose maintenance we have
always profited, must not be given up. And we must not be hurried
into deciding in a day’s brief space a question which concerns many
lives and fortunes and many cities, and in which honour is deeply
involved- but we must decide calmly. This our strength peculiarly
enables us to do. As for the Athenians, send to them on the matter
of Potidaea, send on the matter of the alleged wrongs of the allies,
particularly as they are prepared with legal satisfaction; and to
proceed against one who offers arbitration as against a wrongdoer,
law forbids. Meanwhile do not omit preparation for war. This decision
will be the best for yourselves, the most terrible to your opponents.”

Such were the words of Archidamus. Last came forward Sthenelaidas,
one of the ephors for that year, and spoke to the Lacedaemonians as

“The long speech of the Athenians I do not pretend to understand.
They said a good deal in praise of themselves, but nowhere denied
that they are injuring our allies and Peloponnese. And yet if they
behaved well against the Mede then, but ill towards us now, they deserve
double punishment for having ceased to be good and for having become
bad. We meanwhile are the same then and now, and shall not, if we
are wise, disregard the wrongs of our allies, or put off till to-morrow
the duty of assisting those who must suffer to-day. Others have much
money and ships and horses, but we have good allies whom we must not
give up to the Athenians, nor by lawsuits and words decide the matter,
as it is anything but in word that we are harmed, but render instant
and powerful help. And let us not be told that it is fitting for us
to deliberate under injustice; long deliberation is rather fitting
for those who have injustice in contemplation. Vote therefore, Lacedaemonians,
for war, as the honour of Sparta demands, and neither allow the further
aggrandizement of Athens, nor betray our allies to ruin, but with
the gods let us advance against the aggressors.”

With these words he, as ephor, himself put the question to the assembly
of the Lacedaemonians. He said that he could not determine which was
the loudest acclamation (their mode of decision is by acclamation
not by voting); the fact being that he wished to make them declare
their opinion openly and thus to increase their ardour for war. Accordingly
he said: “All Lacedaemonians who are of opinion that the treaty has
been broken, and that Athens is guilty, leave your seats and go there,”
pointing out a certain place; “all who are of the opposite opinion,
there.” They accordingly stood up and divided; and those who held
that the treaty had been broken were in a decided majority. Summoning
the allies, they told them that their opinion was that Athens had
been guilty of injustice, but that they wished to convoke all the
allies and put it to the vote; in order that they might make war,
if they decided to do so, on a common resolution. Having thus gained
their point, the delegates returned home at once; the Athenian envoys
a little later, when they had dispatched the objects of their mission.
This decision of the assembly, judging that the treaty had been broken,
was made in the fourteenth year of the thirty years’ truce, which
was entered into after the affair of Euboea.

The Lacedaemonians voted that the treaty had been broken, and that
the war must be declared, not so much because they were persuaded
by the arguments of the allies, as because they feared the growth
of the power of the Athenians, seeing most of Hellas already subject
to them.

Chapter IV

From the end of the Persian to the beginning of the Peloponnesian
War – The Progress from Supremacy to Empire

The way in which Athens came to be placed in the circumstances under
which her power grew was this. After the Medes had returned from Europe,
defeated by sea and land by the Hellenes, and after those of them
who had fled with their ships to Mycale had been destroyed, Leotychides,
king of the Lacedaemonians, the commander of the Hellenes at Mycale,
departed home with the allies from Peloponnese. But the Athenians
and the allies from Ionia and Hellespont, who had now revolted from
the King, remained and laid siege to Sestos, which was still held
by the Medes. After wintering before it, they became masters of the
place on its evacuation by the barbarians; and after this they sailed
away from Hellespont to their respective cities. Meanwhile the Athenian
people, after the departure of the barbarian from their country, at
once proceeded to carry over their children and wives, and such property
as they had left, from the places where they had deposited them, and
prepared to rebuild their city and their walls. For only isolated
portions of the circumference had been left standing, and most of
the houses were in ruins; though a few remained, in which the Persian
grandees had taken up their quarters.

Perceiving what they were going to do, the Lacedaemonians sent an
embassy to Athens. They would have themselves preferred to see neither
her nor any other city in possession of a wall; though here they acted
principally at the instigation of their allies, who were alarmed at
the strength of her newly acquired navy and the valour which she had
displayed in the war with the Medes. They begged her not only to abstain
from building walls for herself, but also to join them in throwing
down the walls that still held together of the ultra-Peloponnesian
cities. The real meaning of their advice, the suspicion that it contained
against the Athenians, was not proclaimed; it was urged that so the
barbarian, in the event of a third invasion, would not have any strong
place, such as he now had in Thebes, for his base of operations; and
that Peloponnese would suffice for all as a base both for retreat
and offence. After the Lacedaemonians had thus spoken, they were,
on the advice of Themistocles, immediately dismissed by the Athenians,
with the answer that ambassadors should be sent to Sparta to discuss
the question. Themistocles told the Athenians to send him off with
all speed to Lacedaemon, but not to dispatch his colleagues as soon
as they had selected them, but to wait until they had raised their
wall to the height from which defence was possible. Meanwhile the
whole population in the city was to labour at the wall, the Athenians,
their wives, and their children, sparing no edifice, private or public,
which might be of any use to the work, but throwing all down. After
giving these instructions, and adding that he would be responsible
for all other matters there, he departed. Arrived at Lacedaemon he
did not seek an audience with the authorities, but tried to gain time
and made excuses. When any of the government asked him why he did
not appear in the assembly, he would say that he was waiting for his
colleagues, who had been detained in Athens by some engagement; however,
that he expected their speedy arrival, and wondered that they were
not yet there. At first the Lacedaemonians trusted the words of Themistocles,
through their friendship for him; but when others arrived, all distinctly
declaring that the work was going on and already attaining some elevation,
they did not know how to disbelieve it. Aware of this, he told them
that rumours are deceptive, and should not be trusted; they should
send some reputable persons from Sparta to inspect, whose report might
be trusted. They dispatched them accordingly. Concerning these Themistocles
secretly sent word to the Athenians to detain them as far as possible
without putting them under open constraint, and not to let them go
until they had themselves returned. For his colleagues had now joined
him, Abronichus, son of Lysicles, and Aristides, son of Lysimachus,
with the news that the wall was sufficiently advanced; and he feared
that when the Lacedaemonians heard the facts, they might refuse to
let them go. So the Athenians detained the envoys according to his
message, and Themistocles had an audience with the Lacedaemonians,
and at last openly told them that Athens was now fortified sufficiently
to protect its inhabitants; that any embassy which the Lacedaemonians
or their allies might wish to send to them should in future proceed
on the assumption that the people to whom they were going was able
to distinguish both its own and the general interests. That when the
Athenians thought fit to abandon their city and to embark in their
ships, they ventured on that perilous step without consulting them;
and that on the other hand, wherever they had deliberated with the
Lacedaemonians, they had proved themselves to be in judgment second
to none. That they now thought it fit that their city should have
a wall, and that this would be more for the advantage of both the
citizens of Athens and the Hellenic confederacy; for without equal
military strength it was impossible to contribute equal or fair counsel
to the common interest. It followed, he observed, either that all
the members of the confederacy should be without walls, or that the
present step should be considered a right one.

The Lacedaemonians did not betray any open signs of anger against
the Athenians at what they heard. The embassy, it seems, was prompted
not by a desire to obstruct, but to guide the counsels of their government:
besides, Spartan feeling was at that time very friendly towards Athens
on account of the patriotism which she had displayed in the struggle
with the Mede. Still the defeat of their wishes could not but cause
them secret annoyance. The envoys of each state departed home without

In this way the Athenians walled their city in a little while. To
this day the building shows signs of the haste of its execution; the
foundations are laid of stones of all kinds, and in some places not
wrought or fitted, but placed just in the order in which they were
brought by the different hands; and many columns, too, from tombs,
and sculptured stones were put in with the rest. For the bounds of
the city were extended at every point of the circumference; and so
they laid hands on everything without exception in their haste. Themistocles
also persuaded them to finish the walls of Piraeus, which had been
begun before, in his year of office as archon; being influenced alike
by the fineness of a locality that has three natural harbours, and
by the great start which the Athenians would gain in the acquisition
of power by becoming a naval people. For he first ventured to tell
them to stick to the sea and forthwith began to lay the foundations
of the empire. It was by his advice, too, that they built the walls
of that thickness which can still be discerned round Piraeus, the
stones being brought up by two wagons meeting each other. Between
the walls thus formed there was neither rubble nor mortar, but great
stones hewn square and fitted together, cramped to each other on the
outside with iron and lead. About half the height that he intended
was finished. His idea was by their size and thickness to keep off
the attacks of an enemy; he thought that they might be adequately
defended by a small garrison of invalids, and the rest be freed for
service in the fleet. For the fleet claimed most of his attention.
He saw, as I think, that the approach by sea was easier for the king’s
army than that by land: he also thought Piraeus more valuable than
the upper city; indeed, he was always advising the Athenians, if a
day should come when they were hard pressed by land, to go down into
Piraeus, and defy the world with their fleet. Thus, therefore, the
Athenians completed their wall, and commenced their other buildings
immediately after the retreat of the Mede.

Meanwhile Pausanias, son of Cleombrotus, was sent out from Lacedaemon
as commander-in-chief of the Hellenes, with twenty ships from Peloponnese.
With him sailed the Athenians with thirty ships, and a number of the
other allies. They made an expedition against Cyprus and subdued most
of the island, and afterwards against Byzantium, which was in the
hands of the Medes, and compelled it to surrender. This event took
place while the Spartans were still supreme. But the violence of Pausanias
had already begun to be disagreeable to the Hellenes, particularly
to the Ionians and the newly liberated populations. These resorted
to the Athenians and requested them as their kinsmen to become their
leaders, and to stop any attempt at violence on the part of Pausanias.
The Athenians accepted their overtures, and determined to put down
any attempt of the kind and to settle everything else as their interests
might seem to demand. In the meantime the Lacedaemonians recalled
Pausanias for an investigation of the reports which had reached them.
Manifold and grave accusations had been brought against him by Hellenes
arriving in Sparta; and, to all appearance, there had been in him
more of the mimicry of a despot than of the attitude of a general.
As it happened, his recall came just at the time when the hatred which
he had inspired had induced the allies to desert him, the soldiers
from Peloponnese excepted, and to range themselves by the side of
the Athenians. On his arrival at Lacedaemon, he was censured for his
private acts of oppression, but was acquitted on the heaviest counts
and pronounced not guilty; it must be known that the charge of Medism
formed one of the principal, and to all appearance one of the best
founded, articles against him. The Lacedaemonians did not, however,
restore him to his command, but sent out Dorkis and certain others
with a small force; who found the allies no longer inclined to concede
to them the supremacy. Perceiving this they departed, and the Lacedaemonians
did not send out any to succeed them. They feared for those who went
out a deterioration similar to that observable in Pausanias; besides,
they desired to be rid of the Median War, and were satisfied of the
competency of the Athenians for the position, and of their friendship
at the time towards themselves.

The Athenians, having thus succeeded to the supremacy by the voluntary
act of the allies through their hatred of Pausanias, fixed which cities
were to contribute money against the barbarian, which ships; their
professed object being to retaliate for their sufferings by ravaging
the King’s country. Now was the time that the office of “Treasurers
for Hellas” was first instituted by the Athenians. These officers
received the tribute, as the money contributed was called. The tribute
was first fixed at four hundred and sixty talents. The common treasury
was at Delos, and the congresses were held in the temple. Their supremacy
commenced with independent allies who acted on the resolutions of
a common congress. It was marked by the following undertakings in
war and in administration during the interval between the Median and
the present war, against the barbarian, against their own rebel allies,
and against the Peloponnesian powers which would come in contact with
them on various occasions. My excuse for relating these events, and
for venturing on this digression, is that this passage of history
has been omitted by all my predecessors, who have confined themselves
either to Hellenic history before the Median War, or the Median War
itself. Hellanicus, it is true, did touch on these events in his Athenian
history; but he is somewhat concise and not accurate in his dates.
Besides, the history of these events contains an explanation of the
growth of the Athenian empire.

First the Athenians besieged and captured Eion on the Strymon from
the Medes, and made slaves of the inhabitants, being under the command
of Cimon, son of Miltiades. Next they enslaved Scyros, the island
in the Aegean, containing a Dolopian population, and colonized it
themselves. This was followed by a war against Carystus, in which
the rest of Euboea remained neutral, and which was ended by surrender
on conditions. After this Naxos left the confederacy, and a war ensued,
and she had to return after a siege; this was the first instance of
the engagement being broken by the subjugation of an allied city,
a precedent which was followed by that of the rest in the order which
circumstances prescribed. Of all the causes of defection, that connected
with arrears of tribute and vessels, and with failure of service,
was the chief; for the Athenians were very severe and exacting, and
made themselves offensive by applying the screw of necessity to men
who were not used to and in fact not disposed for any continuous labour.
In some other respects the Athenians were not the old popular rulers
they had been at first; and if they had more than their fair share
of service, it was correspondingly easy for them to reduce any that
tried to leave the confederacy. For this the allies had themselves
to blame; the wish to get off service making most of them arrange
to pay their share of the expense in money instead of in ships, and
so to avoid having to leave their homes. Thus while Athens was increasing
her navy with the funds which they contributed, a revolt always found
them without resources or experience for war.

Next we come to the actions by land and by sea at the river Eurymedon,
between the Athenians with their allies, and the Medes, when the Athenians
won both battles on the same day under the conduct of Cimon, son of
Miltiades, and captured and destroyed the whole Phoenician fleet,
consisting of two hundred vessels. Some time afterwards occurred the
defection of the Thasians, caused by disagreements about the marts
on the opposite coast of Thrace, and about the mine in their possession.
Sailing with a fleet to Thasos, the Athenians defeated them at sea
and effected a landing on the island. About the same time they sent
ten thousand settlers of their own citizens and the allies to settle
the place then called Ennea Hodoi or Nine Ways, now Amphipolis. They
succeeded in gaining possession of Ennea Hodoi from the Edonians,
but on advancing into the interior of Thrace were cut off in Drabescus,
a town of the Edonians, by the assembled Thracians, who regarded the
settlement of the place Ennea Hodoi as an act of hostility. Meanwhile
the Thasians being defeated in the field and suffering siege, appealed
to Lacedaemon, and desired her to assist them by an invasion of Attica.
Without informing Athens, she promised and intended to do so, but
was prevented by the occurrence of the earthquake, accompanied by
the secession of the Helots and the Thuriats and Aethaeans of the
Perioeci to Ithome. Most of the Helots were the descendants of the
old Messenians that were enslaved in the famous war; and so all of
them came to be called Messenians. So the Lacedaemonians being engaged
in a war with the rebels in Ithome, the Thasians in the third year
of the siege obtained terms from the Athenians by razing their walls,
delivering up their ships, and arranging to pay the moneys demanded
at once, and tribute in future; giving up their possessions on the
continent together with the mine.

The Lacedaemonians, meanwhile, finding the war against the rebels
in Ithome likely to last, invoked the aid of their allies, and especially
of the Athenians, who came in some force under the command of Cimon.
The reason for this pressing summons lay in their reputed skill in
siege operations; a long siege had taught the Lacedaemonians their
own deficiency in this art, else they would have taken the place by
assault. The first open quarrel between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians
arose out of this expedition. The Lacedaemonians, when assault failed
to take the place, apprehensive of the enterprising and revolutionary
character of the Athenians, and further looking upon them as of alien
extraction, began to fear that, if they remained, they might be tempted
by the besieged in Ithome to attempt some political changes. They
accordingly dismissed them alone of the allies, without declaring
their suspicions, but merely saying that they had now no need of them.
But the Athenians, aware that their dismissal did not proceed from
the more honourable reason of the two, but from suspicions which had
been conceived, went away deeply offended, and conscious of having
done nothing to merit such treatment from the Lacedaemonians; and
the instant that they returned home they broke off the alliance which
had been made against the Mede, and allied themselves with Sparta’s
enemy Argos; each of the contracting parties taking the same oaths
and making the same alliance with the Thessalians.

Meanwhile the rebels in Ithome, unable to prolong further a ten years’
resistance, surrendered to Lacedaemon; the conditions being that they
should depart from Peloponnese under safe conduct, and should never
set foot in it again: any one who might hereafter be found there was
to be the slave of his captor. It must be known that the Lacedaemonians
had an old oracle from Delphi, to the effect that they should let
go the suppliant of Zeus at Ithome. So they went forth with their
children and their wives, and being received by Athens from the hatred
that she now felt for the Lacedaemonians, were located at Naupactus,
which she had lately taken from the Ozolian Locrians. The Athenians
received another addition to their confederacy in the Megarians; who
left the Lacedaemonian alliance, annoyed by a war about boundaries
forced on them by Corinth. The Athenians occupied Megara and Pegae,
and built the Megarians their long walls from the city to Nisaea,
in which they placed an Athenian garrison. This was the principal
cause of the Corinthians conceiving such a deadly hatred against Athens.

Meanwhile Inaros, son of Psammetichus, a Libyan king of the Libyans
on the Egyptian border, having his headquarters at Marea, the town
above Pharos, caused a revolt of almost the whole of Egypt from King
Artaxerxes and, placing himself at its head, invited the Athenians
to his assistance. Abandoning a Cyprian expedition upon which they
happened to be engaged with two hundred ships of their own and their
allies, they arrived in Egypt and sailed from the sea into the Nile,
and making themselves masters of the river and two-thirds of Memphis,
addressed themselves to the attack of the remaining third, which is
called White Castle. Within it were Persians and Medes who had taken
refuge there, and Egyptians who had not joined the rebellion.

Meanwhile the Athenians, making a descent from their fleet upon Haliae,
were engaged by a force of Corinthians and Epidaurians; and the Corinthians
were victorious. Afterwards the Athenians engaged the Peloponnesian
fleet off Cecruphalia; and the Athenians were victorious. Subsequently
war broke out between Aegina and Athens, and there was a great battle
at sea off Aegina between the Athenians and Aeginetans, each being
aided by their allies; in which victory remained with the Athenians,
who took seventy of the enemy’s ships, and landed in the country and
commenced a siege under the command of Leocrates, son of Stroebus.
Upon this the Peloponnesians, desirous of aiding the Aeginetans, threw
into Aegina a force of three hundred heavy infantry, who had before
been serving with the Corinthians and Epidaurians. Meanwhile the Corinthians
and their allies occupied the heights of Geraneia, and marched down
into the Megarid, in the belief that, with a large force absent in
Aegina and Egypt, Athens would be unable to help the Megarians without
raising the siege of Aegina. But the Athenians, instead of moving
the army of Aegina, raised a force of the old and young men that had
been left in the city, and marched into the Megarid under the command
of Myronides. After a drawn battle with the Corinthians, the rival
hosts parted, each with the impression that they had gained the victory.
The Athenians, however, if anything, had rather the advantage, and
on the departure of the Corinthians set up a trophy. Urged by the
taunts of the elders in their city, the Corinthians made their preparations,
and about twelve days afterwards came and set up their trophy as victors.
Sallying out from Megara, the Athenians cut off the party that was
employed in erecting the trophy, and engaged and defeated the rest.
In the retreat of the vanquished army, a considerable division, pressed
by the pursuers and mistaking the road, dashed into a field on some
private property, with a deep trench all round it, and no way out.
Being acquainted with the place, the Athenians hemmed their front
with heavy infantry and, placing the light troops round in a circle,
stoned all who had gone in. Corinth here suffered a severe blow. The
bulk of her army continued its retreat home.

About this time the Athenians began to build the long walls to the
sea, that towards Phalerum and that towards Piraeus. Meanwhile the
Phocians made an expedition against Doris, the old home of the Lacedaemonians,
containing the towns of Boeum, Kitinium, and Erineum. They had taken
one of these towns, when the Lacedaemonians under Nicomedes, son of
Cleombrotus, commanding for King Pleistoanax, son of Pausanias, who
was still a minor, came to the aid of the Dorians with fifteen hundred
heavy infantry of their own, and ten thousand of their allies. After
compelling the Phocians to restore the town on conditions, they began
their retreat. The route by sea, across the Crissaean Gulf, exposed
them to the risk of being stopped by the Athenian fleet; that across
Geraneia seemed scarcely safe, the Athenians holding Megara and Pegae.
For the pass was a difficult one, and was always guarded by the Athenians;
and, in the present instance, the Lacedaemonians had information that
they meant to dispute their passage. So they resolved to remain in
Boeotia, and to consider which would be the safest line of march.
They had also another reason for this resolve. Secret encouragement
had been given them by a party in Athens, who hoped to put an end
to the reign of democracy and the building of the Long Walls. Meanwhile
the Athenians marched against them with their whole levy and a thousand
Argives and the respective contingents of the rest of their allies.
Altogether they were fourteen thousand strong. The march was prompted
by the notion that the Lacedaemonians were at a loss how to effect
their passage, and also by suspicions of an attempt to overthrow the
democracy. Some cavalry also joined the Athenians from their Thessalian
allies; but these went over to the Lacedaemonians during the battle.

The battle was fought at Tanagra in Boeotia. After heavy loss on both
sides, victory declared for the Lacedaemonians and their allies. After
entering the Megarid and cutting down the fruit trees, the Lacedaemonians
returned home across Geraneia and the isthmus. Sixty-two days after
the battle the Athenians marched into Boeotia under the command of
Myronides, defeated the Boeotians in battle at Oenophyta, and became
masters of Boeotia and Phocis. They dismantled the walls of the Tanagraeans,
took a hundred of the richest men of the Opuntian Locrians as hostages,
and finished their own long walls. This was followed by the surrender
of the Aeginetans to Athens on conditions; they pulled down their
walls, gave up their ships, and agreed to pay tribute in future. The
Athenians sailed round Peloponnese under Tolmides, son of Tolmaeus,
burnt the arsenal of Lacedaemon, took Chalcis, a town of the Corinthians,
and in a descent upon Sicyon defeated the Sicyonians in battle.

Meanwhile the Athenians in Egypt and their allies were still there,
and encountered all the vicissitudes of war. First the Athenians were
masters of Egypt, and the King sent Megabazus a Persian to Lacedaemon
with money to bribe the Peloponnesians to invade Attica and so draw
off the Athenians from Egypt. Finding that the matter made no progress,
and that the money was only being wasted, he recalled Megabazus with
the remainder of the money, and sent Megabuzus, son of Zopyrus, a
Persian, with a large army to Egypt. Arriving by land he defeated
the Egyptians and their allies in a battle, and drove the Hellenes
out of Memphis, and at length shut them up in the island of Prosopitis,
where he besieged them for a year and six months. At last, draining
the canal of its waters, which he diverted into another channel, he
left their ships high and dry and joined most of the island to the
mainland, and then marched over on foot and captured it. Thus the
enterprise of the Hellenes came to ruin after six years of war. Of
all that large host a few travelling through Libya reached Cyrene
in safety, but most of them perished. And thus Egypt returned to its
subjection to the King, except Amyrtaeus, the king in the marshes,
whom they were unable to capture from the extent of the marsh; the
marshmen being also the most warlike of the Egyptians. Inaros, the
Libyan king, the sole author of the Egyptian revolt, was betrayed,
taken, and crucified. Meanwhile a relieving squadron of fifty vessels
had sailed from Athens and the rest of the confederacy for Egypt.
They put in to shore at the Mendesian mouth of the Nile, in total
ignorance of what had occurred. Attacked on the land side by the troops,
and from the sea by the Phoenician navy, most of the ships were destroyed;
the few remaining being saved by retreat. Such was the end of the
great expedition of the Athenians and their allies to Egypt.

Meanwhile Orestes, son of Echecratidas, the Thessalian king, being
an exile from Thessaly, persuaded the Athenians to restore him. Taking
with them the Boeotians and Phocians their allies, the Athenians marched
to Pharsalus in Thessaly. They became masters of the country, though
only in the immediate vicinity of the camp; beyond which they could
not go for fear of the Thessalian cavalry. But they failed to take
the city or to attain any of the other objects of their expedition,
and returned home with Orestes without having effected anything. Not
long after this a thousand of the Athenians embarked in the vessels
that were at Pegae (Pegae, it must be remembered, was now theirs),
and sailed along the coast to Sicyon under the command of Pericles,
son of Xanthippus. Landing in Sicyon and defeating the Sicyonians
who engaged them, they immediately took with them the Achaeans and,
sailing across, marched against and laid siege to Oeniadae in Acarnania.
Failing however to take it, they returned home.

Three years afterwards a truce was made between the Peloponnesians
and Athenians for five years. Released from Hellenic war, the Athenians
made an expedition to Cyprus with two hundred vessels of their own
and their allies, under the command of Cimon. Sixty of these were
detached to Egypt at the instance of Amyrtaeus, the king in the marshes;
the rest laid siege to Kitium, from which, however, they were compelled
to retire by the death of Cimon and by scarcity of provisions. Sailing
off Salamis in Cyprus, they fought with the Phoenicians, Cyprians,
and Cilicians by land and sea, and, being victorious on both elements
departed home, and with them the returned squadron from Egypt. After
this the Lacedaemonians marched out on a sacred war, and, becoming
masters of the temple at Delphi, it in the hands of the Delphians.
Immediately after their retreat, the Athenians marched out, became
masters of the temple, and placed it in the hands of the Phocians.

Some time after this, Orchomenus, Chaeronea, and some other places
in Boeotia being in the hands of the Boeotian exiles, the Athenians
marched against the above-mentioned hostile places with a thousand
Athenian heavy infantry and the allied contingents, under the command
of Tolmides, son of Tolmaeus. They took Chaeronea, and made slaves
of the inhabitants, and, leaving a garrison, commenced their return.
On their road they were attacked at Coronea by the Boeotian exiles
from Orchomenus, with some Locrians and Euboean exiles, and others
who were of the same way of thinking, were defeated in battle, and
some killed, others taken captive. The Athenians evacuated all Boeotia
by a treaty providing for the recovery of the men; and the exiled
Boeotians returned, and with all the rest regained their independence.

This was soon afterwards followed by the revolt of Euboea from Athens.
Pericles had already crossed over with an army of Athenians to the
island, when news was brought to him that Megara had revolted, that
the Peloponnesians were on the point of invading Attica, and that
the Athenian garrison had been cut off by the Megarians, with the
exception of a few who had taken refuge in Nisaea. The Megarians had
introduced the Corinthians, Sicyonians, and Epidaurians into the town
before they revolted. Meanwhile Pericles brought his army back in
all haste from Euboea. After this the Peloponnesians marched into
Attica as far as Eleusis and Thrius, ravaging the country under the
conduct of King Pleistoanax, the son of Pausanias, and without advancing
further returned home. The Athenians then crossed over again to Euboea
under the command of Pericles, and subdued the whole of the island:
all but Histiaea was settled by convention; the Histiaeans they expelled
from their homes, and occupied their territory themselves.

Not long after their return from Euboea, they made a truce with the
Lacedaemonians and their allies for thirty years, giving up the posts
which they occupied in Peloponnese- Nisaea, Pegae, Troezen, and Achaia.
In the sixth year of the truce, war broke out between the Samians
and Milesians about Priene. Worsted in the war, the Milesians came
to Athens with loud complaints against the Samians. In this they were
joined by certain private persons from Samos itself, who wished to
revolutionize the government. Accordingly the Athenians sailed to
Samos with forty ships and set up a democracy; took hostages from
the Samians, fifty boys and as many men, lodged them in Lemnos, and
after leaving a garrison in the island returned home. But some of
the Samians had not remained in the island, but had fled to the continent.
Making an agreement with the most powerful of those in the city, and
an alliance with Pissuthnes, son of Hystaspes, the then satrap of
Sardis, they got together a force of seven hundred mercenaries, and
under cover of night crossed over to Samos. Their first step was to
rise on the commons, most of whom they secured; their next to steal
their hostages from Lemnos; after which they revolted, gave up the
Athenian garrison left with them and its commanders to Pissuthnes,
and instantly prepared for an expedition against Miletus. The Byzantines
also revolted with them.

As soon as the Athenians heard the news, they sailed with sixty ships
against Samos. Sixteen of these went to Caria to look out for the
Phoenician fleet, and to Chios and Lesbos carrying round orders for
reinforcements, and so never engaged; but forty-four ships under the
command of Pericles with nine colleagues gave battle, off the island
of Tragia, to seventy Samian vessels, of which twenty were transports,
as they were sailing from Miletus. Victory remained with the Athenians.
Reinforced afterwards by forty ships from Athens, and twenty-five
Chian and Lesbian vessels, the Athenians landed, and having the superiority
by land invested the city with three walls; it was also invested from
the sea. Meanwhile Pericles took sixty ships from the blockading squadron,
and departed in haste for Caunus and Caria, intelligence having been
brought in of the approach of the Phoenician fleet to the aid of the
Samians; indeed Stesagoras and others had left the island with five
ships to bring them. But in the meantime the Samians made a sudden
sally, and fell on the camp, which they found unfortified. Destroying
the look-out vessels, and engaging and defeating such as were being
launched to meet them, they remained masters of their own seas for
fourteen days, and carried in and carried out what they pleased. But
on the arrival of Pericles, they were once more shut up. Fresh reinforcements
afterwards arrived- forty ships from Athens with Thucydides, Hagnon,
and Phormio; twenty with Tlepolemus and Anticles, and thirty vessels
from Chios and Lesbos. After a brief attempt at fighting, the Samians,
unable to hold out, were reduced after a nine months’ siege and surrendered
on conditions; they razed their walls, gave hostages, delivered up
their ships, and arranged to pay the expenses of the war by instalments.
The Byzantines also agreed to be subject as before.

Chapter V

Second Congress at Lacedaemon – Preparations for War and Diplomatic
Skirmishes – Cylon – Pausanias – Themistocles

After this, though not many years later, we at length come to what
has been already related, the affairs of Corcyra and Potidaea, and
the events that served as a pretext for the present war. All these
actions of the Hellenes against each other and the barbarian occurred
in the fifty years’ interval between the retreat of Xerxes and the
beginning of the present war. During this interval the Athenians succeeded
in placing their empire on a firmer basis, and advanced their own
home power to a very great height. The Lacedaemonians, though fully
aware of it, opposed it only for a little while, but remained inactive
during most of the period, being of old slow to go to war except under
the pressure of necessity, and in the present instance being hampered
by wars at home; until the growth of the Athenian power could be no
longer ignored, and their own confederacy became the object of its
encroachments. They then felt that they could endure it no longer,
but that the time had come for them to throw themselves heart and
soul upon the hostile power, and break it, if they could, by commencing
the present war. And though the Lacedaemonians had made up their own
minds on the fact of the breach of the treaty and the guilt of the
Athenians, yet they sent to Delphi and inquired of the God whether
it would be well with them if they went to war; and, as it is reported,
received from him the answer that if they put their whole strength
into the war, victory would be theirs, and the promise that he himself
would be with them, whether invoked or uninvoked. Still they wished
to summon their allies again, and to take their vote on the propriety
of making war. After the ambassadors from the confederates had arrived
and a congress had been convened, they all spoke their minds, most
of them denouncing the Athenians and demanding that the war should
begin. In particular the Corinthians. They had before on their own
account canvassed the cities in detail to induce them to vote for
the war, in the fear that it might come too late to save Potidaea;
they were present also on this occasion, and came forward the last,
and made the following speech:

“Fellow allies, we can no longer accuse the Lacedaemonians of having
failed in their duty: they have not only voted for war themselves,
but have assembled us here for that purpose. We say their duty, for
supremacy has its duties. Besides equitably administering private
interests, leaders are required to show a special care for the common
welfare in return for the special honours accorded to them by all
in other ways. For ourselves, all who have already had dealings with
the Athenians require no warning to be on their guard against them.
The states more inland and out of the highway of communication should
understand that, if they omit to support the coast powers, the result
will be to injure the transit of their produce for exportation and
the reception in exchange of their imports from the sea; and they
must not be careless judges of what is now said, as if it had nothing
to do with them, but must expect that the sacrifice of the powers
on the coast will one day be followed by the extension of the danger
to the interior, and must recognize that their own interests are deeply
involved in this discussion. For these reasons they should not hesitate
to exchange peace for war. If wise men remain quiet, while they are
not injured, brave men abandon peace for war when they are injured,
returning to an understanding on a favourable opportunity: in fact,
they are neither intoxicated by their success in war, nor disposed
to take an injury for the sake of the delightful tranquillity of peace.
Indeed, to falter for the sake of such delights is, if you remain
inactive, the quickest way of losing the sweets of repose to which
you cling; while to conceive extravagant pretensions from success
in war is to forget how hollow is the confidence by which you are
elated. For if many ill-conceived plans have succeeded through the
still greater fatuity of an opponent, many more, apparently well laid,
have on the contrary ended in disgrace. The confidence with which
we form our schemes is never completely justified in their execution;
speculation is carried on in safety, but, when it comes to action,
fear causes failure.

“To apply these rules to ourselves, if we are now kindling war it
is under the pressure of injury, with adequate grounds of complaint;
and after we have chastised the Athenians we will in season desist.
We have many reasons to expect success- first, superiority in numbers
and in military experience, and secondly our general and unvarying
obedience in the execution of orders. The naval strength which they
possess shall be raised by us from our respective antecedent resources,
and from the moneys at Olympia and Delphi. A loan from these enables
us to seduce their foreign sailors by the offer of higher pay. For
the power of Athens is more mercenary than national; while ours will
not be exposed to the same risk, as its strength lies more in men
than in money. A single defeat at sea is in all likelihood their ruin:
should they hold out, in that case there will be the more time for
us to exercise ourselves in naval matters; and as soon as we have
arrived at an equality in science, we need scarcely ask whether we
shall be their superiors in courage. For the advantages that we have
by nature they cannot acquire by education; while their superiority
in science must be removed by our practice. The money required for
these objects shall be provided by our contributions: nothing indeed
could be more monstrous than the suggestion that, while their allies
never tire of contributing for their own servitude, we should refuse
to spend for vengeance and self-preservation the treasure which by
such refusal we shall forfeit to Athenian rapacity and see employed
for our own ruin.

“We have also other ways of carrying on the war, such as revolt of
their allies, the surest method of depriving them of their revenues,
which are the source of their strength, and establishment of fortified
positions in their country, and various operations which cannot be
foreseen at present. For war of all things proceeds least upon definite
rules, but draws principally upon itself for contrivances to meet
an emergency; and in such cases the party who faces the struggle and
keeps his temper best meets with most security, and he who loses his
temper about it with correspondent disaster. Let us also reflect that
if it was merely a number of disputes of territory between rival neighbours,
it might be borne; but here we have an enemy in Athens that is a match
for our whole coalition, and more than a match for any of its members;
so that unless as a body and as individual nationalities and individual
cities we make an unanimous stand against her, she will easily conquer
us divided and in detail. That conquest, terrible as it may sound,
would, it must be known, have no other end than slavery pure and simple;
a word which Peloponnese cannot even hear whispered without disgrace,
or without disgrace see so many states abused by one. Meanwhile the
opinion would be either that we were justly so used, or that we put
up with it from cowardice, and were proving degenerate sons in not
even securing for ourselves the freedom which our fathers gave to
Hellas; and in allowing the establishment in Hellas of a tyrant state,
though in individual states we think it our duty to put down sole
rulers. And we do not know how this conduct can be held free from
three of the gravest failings, want of sense, of courage, or of vigilance.
For we do not suppose that you have taken refuge in that contempt
of an enemy which has proved so fatal in so many instances- a feeling
which from the numbers that it has ruined has come to be called not
contemptuous but contemptible.

“There is, however, no advantage in reflections on the past further
than may be of service to the present. For the future we must provide
by maintaining what the present gives us and redoubling our efforts;
it is hereditary to us to win virtue as the fruit of labour, and you
must not change the habit, even though you should have a slight advantage
in wealth and resources; for it is not right that what was won in
want should be lost in plenty; no, we must boldly advance to the war
for many reasons; the god has commanded it and promised to be with
us, and the rest of Hellas will all join in the struggle, part from
fear, part from interest. You will be the first to break a treaty
which the god, in advising us to go to war, judges to be violated
already, but rather to support a treaty that has been outraged: indeed,
treaties are broken not by resistance but by aggression.

“Your position, therefore, from whatever quarter you may view it,
will amply justify you in going to war; and this step we recommend
in the interests of all, bearing in mind that identity of interest
you have taken refuge in that contempt of an enemy which has proved
so fatal in so many instances- a feeling which from the numbers that
it has ruined has come to be called not contemptuous but contemptible.

“There is, however, no advantage in reflections on the past further
than may be of service to the present. For the future we must provide
by maintaining what the present gives us and redoubling our efforts;
it is hereditary to us to win virtue as the fruit of labour, and you
must not change the habit, even though you should have a slight advantage
in wealth and resources; for it is not right that what was won in
want should be lost in plenty; no, we must boldly advance to the war
for many reasons; the god has commanded it and promised to be with
us, and the rest of Hellas will all join in the struggle, part from
fear, part from interest. You will be the first to break a treaty
which the god, in advising us to go to war, judges to be violated
already, but rather to support a treaty that has been outraged: indeed,
treaties are broken not by resistance but by aggression.

“Your position, therefore, from whatever quarter you may view it,
will amply justify you in going to war; and this step we recommend
in the interests of all, bearing in mind that identity of interest
you have taken refuge in that contempt of an enemy which has proved
so fatal in so many instances- a feeling which from the numbers that
it has ruined has come to be called not contemptuous but contemptible.

“There is, however, no advantage in reflections on the past further
than may be of service to the present. For the future we must provide
by maintaining what the present gives us and redoubling our efforts;
it is hereditary to us to win virtue as the fruit of labour, and you
must not change the habit, even though you should have a slight advantage
in wealth and resources; for it is not right that what was won in
want should be lost in plenty; no, we must boldly advance to the war
for many reasons; the god has commanded it and promised to be with
us, and the rest of Hellas will all join in the struggle, part from
fear, part from interest. You will be the first to break a treaty
which the god, in advising us to go to war, judges to be violated
already, but rather to support a treaty that has been outraged: indeed,
treaties are broken not by resistance but by aggression.

“Your position, therefore, from whatever quarter you may view it,
will amply justify you in going to war; and this step we recommend
in the interests of all, bearing in mind that identity of interest
is the surest of bonds, whether between states or individuals. Delay
not, therefore, to assist Potidaea, a Dorian city besieged by Ionians,
which is quite a reversal of the order of things; nor to assert the
freedom of the rest. It is impossible for us to wait any longer when
waiting can only mean immediate disaster for some of us, and, if it
comes to be known that we have conferred but do not venture to protect
ourselves, like disaster in the near future for the rest. Delay not,
fellow allies, but, convinced of the necessity of the crisis and the
wisdom of this counsel, vote for the war, undeterred by its immediate
terrors, but looking beyond to the lasting peace by which it will
be succeeded. Out of war peace gains fresh stability, but to refuse
to abandon repose for war is not so sure a method of avoiding danger.
We must believe that the tyrant city that has been established in
Hellas has been established against all alike, with a programme of
universal empire, part fulfilled, part in contemplation; let us then
attack and reduce it, and win future security for ourselves and freedom
for the Hellenes who are now enslaved.”

Such were the words of the Corinthians. The Lacedaemonians, having
now heard all, give their opinion, took the vote of all the allied
states present in order, great and small alike; and the majority voted
for war. This decided, it was still impossible for them to commence
at once, from their want of preparation; but it was resolved that
the means requisite were to be procured by the different states, and
that there was to be no delay. And indeed, in spite of the time occupied
with the necessary arrangements, less than a year elapsed before Attica
was invaded, and the war openly begun.

This interval was spent in sending embassies to Athens charged with
complaints, in order to obtain as good a pretext for war as possible,
in the event of her paying no attention to them. The first Lacedaemonian
embassy was to order the Athenians to drive out the curse of the goddess;
the history of which is as follows. In former generations there was
an Athenian of the name of Cylon, a victor at the Olympic games, of
good birth and powerful position, who had married a daughter of Theagenes,
a Megarian, at that time tyrant of Megara. Now this Cylon was inquiring
at Delphi; when he was told by the god to seize the Acropolis of Athens
on the grand festival of Zeus. Accordingly, procuring a force from
Theagenes and persuading his friends to join him, when the Olympic
festival in Peloponnese came, he seized the Acropolis, with the intention
of making himself tyrant, thinking that this was the grand festival
of Zeus, and also an occasion appropriate for a victor at the Olympic
games. Whether the grand festival that was meant was in Attica or
elsewhere was a question which he never thought of, and which the
oracle did not offer to solve. For the Athenians also have a festival
which is called the grand festival of Zeus Meilichios or Gracious,
viz., the Diasia. It is celebrated outside the city, and the whole
people sacrifice not real victims but a number of bloodless offerings
peculiar to the country. However, fancying he had chosen the right
time, he made the attempt. As soon as the Athenians perceived it,
they flocked in, one and all, from the country, and sat down, and
laid siege to the citadel. But as time went on, weary of the labour
of blockade, most of them departed; the responsibility of keeping
guard being left to the nine archons, with plenary powers to arrange
everything according to their good judgment. It must be known that
at that time most political functions were discharged by the nine
archons. Meanwhile Cylon and his besieged companions were distressed
for want of food and water. Accordingly Cylon and his brother made
their escape; but the rest being hard pressed, and some even dying
of famine, seated themselves as suppliants at the altar in the Acropolis.
The Athenians who were charged with the duty of keeping guard, when
they saw them at the point of death in the temple, raised them up
on the understanding that no harm should be done to them, led them
out, and slew them. Some who as they passed by took refuge at the
altars of the awful goddesses were dispatched on the spot. From this
deed the men who killed them were called accursed and guilty against
the goddess, they and their descendants. Accordingly these cursed
ones were driven out by the Athenians, driven out again by Cleomenes
of Lacedaemon and an Athenian faction; the living were driven out,
and the bones of the dead were taken up; thus they were cast out.
For all that, they came back afterwards, and their descendants are
still in the city.

This, then was the curse that the Lacedaemonians ordered them to drive
out. They were actuated primarily, as they pretended, by a care for
the honour of the gods; but they also know that Pericles, son of Xanthippus,
was connected with the curse on his mother’s side, and they thought
that his banishment would materially advance their designs on Athens.
Not that they really hoped to succeed in procuring this; they rather
thought to create a prejudice against him in the eyes of his countrymen
from the feeling that the war would be partly caused by his misfortune.
For being the most powerful man of his time, and the leading Athenian
statesman, he opposed the Lacedaemonians in everything, and would
have no concessions, but ever urged the Athenians on to war.

The Athenians retorted by ordering the Lacedaemonians to drive out
the curse of Taenarus. The Lacedaemonians had once raised up some
Helot suppliants from the temple of Poseidon at Taenarus, led them
away and slain them; for which they believe the great earthquake at
Sparta to have been a retribution. The Athenians also ordered them
to drive out the curse of the goddess of the Brazen House; the history
of which is as follows. After Pausanias the Lacedaemonian had been
recalled by the Spartans from his command in the Hellespont (this
is his first recall), and had been tried by them and acquitted, not
being again sent out in a public capacity, he took a galley of Hermione
on his own responsibility, without the authority of the Lacedaemonians,
and arrived as a private person in the Hellespont. He came ostensibly
for the Hellenic war, really to carry on his intrigues with the King,
which he had begun before his recall, being ambitious of reigning
over Hellas. The circumstance which first enabled him to lay the King
under an obligation, and to make a beginning of the whole design,
was this. Some connections and kinsmen of the King had been taken
in Byzantium, on its capture from the Medes, when he was first there,
after the return from Cyprus. These captives he sent off to the King
without the knowledge of the rest of the allies, the account being
that they had escaped from him. He managed this with the help of Gongylus,
an Eretrian, whom he had placed in charge of Byzantium and the prisoners.
He also gave Gongylus a letter for the King, the contents of which
were as follows, as was afterwards discovered: “Pausanias, the general
of Sparta, anxious to do you a favour, sends you these his prisoners
of war. I propose also, with your approval, to marry your daughter,
and to make Sparta and the rest of Hellas subject to you. I may say
that I think I am able to do this, with your co-operation. Accordingly
if any of this please you, send a safe man to the sea through whom
we may in future conduct our correspondence.”

This was all that was revealed in the writing, and Xerxes was pleased
with the letter. He sent off Artabazus, son of Pharnaces, to the sea
with orders to supersede Megabates, the previous governor in the satrapy
of Daskylion, and to send over as quickly as possible to Pausanias
at Byzantium a letter which he entrusted to him; to show him the royal
signet, and to execute any commission which he might receive from
Pausanias on the King’s matters with all care and fidelity. Artabazus
on his arrival carried the King’s orders into effect, and sent over
the letter, which contained the following answer: “Thus saith King
Xerxes to Pausanias. For the men whom you have saved for me across
sea from Byzantium, an obligation is laid up for you in our house,
recorded for ever; and with your proposals I am well pleased. Let
neither night nor day stop you from diligently performing any of your
promises to me; neither for cost of gold nor of silver let them be
hindered, nor yet for number of troops, wherever it may be that their
presence is needed; but with Artabazus, an honourable man whom I send
you, boldly advance my objects and yours, as may be most for the honour
and interest of us both.”

Before held in high honour by the Hellenes as the hero of Plataea,
Pausanias, after the receipt of this letter, became prouder than ever,
and could no longer live in the usual style, but went out of Byzantium
in a Median dress, was attended on his march through Thrace by a bodyguard
of Medes and Egyptians, kept a Persian table, and was quite unable
to contain his intentions, but betrayed by his conduct in trifles
what his ambition looked one day to enact on a grander scale. He also
made himself difficult of access, and displayed so violent a temper
to every one without exception that no one could come near him. Indeed,
this was the principal reason why the confederacy went over to the

The above-mentioned conduct, coming to the ears of the Lacedaemonians,
occasioned his first recall. And after his second voyage out in the
ship of Hermione, without their orders, he gave proofs of similar
behaviour. Besieged and expelled from Byzantium by the Athenians,
he did not return to Sparta; but news came that he had settled at
Colonae in the Troad, and was intriguing with the barbarians, and
that his stay there was for no good purpose; and the ephors, now no
longer hesitating, sent him a herald and a scytale with orders to
accompany the herald or be declared a public enemy. Anxious above
everything to avoid suspicion, and confident that he could quash the
charge by means of money, he returned a second time to Sparta. At
first thrown into prison by the ephors (whose powers enable them to
do this to the King), soon compromised the matter and came out again,
and offered himself for trial to any who wished to institute an inquiry
concerning him.

Now the Spartans had no tangible proof against him- neither his enemies
nor the nation- of that indubitable kind required for the punishment
of a member of the royal family, and at that moment in high office;
he being regent for his first cousin King Pleistarchus, Leonidas’s
son, who was still a minor. But by his contempt of the laws and imitation
of the barbarians, he gave grounds for much suspicion of his being
discontented with things established; all the occasions on which he
had in any way departed from the regular customs were passed in review,
and it was remembered that he had taken upon himself to have inscribed
on the tripod at Delphi, which was dedicated by the Hellenes as the
first-fruits of the spoil of the Medes, the following couplet:

The Mede defeated, great Pausanias raised
This monument, that Phoebus might be praised.

At the time the Lacedaemonians had at once erased the couplet, and
inscribed the names of the cities that had aided in the overthrow
of the barbarian and dedicated the offering. Yet it was considered
that Pausanias had here been guilty of a grave offence, which, interpreted
by the light of the attitude which he had since assumed, gained a
new significance, and seemed to be quite in keeping with his present
schemes. Besides, they were informed that he was even intriguing with
the Helots; and such indeed was the fact, for he promised them freedom
and citizenship if they would join him in insurrection and would help
him to carry out his plans to the end. Even now, mistrusting the evidence
even of the Helots themselves, the ephors would not consent to take
any decided step against him; in accordance with their regular custom
towards themselves, namely, to be slow in taking any irrevocable resolve
in the matter of a Spartan citizen without indisputable proof. At
last, it is said, the person who was going to carry to Artabazus the
last letter for the King, a man of Argilus, once the favourite and
most trusty servant of Pausanias, turned informer. Alarmed by the
reflection that none of the previous messengers had ever returned,
having counterfeited the seal, in order that, if he found himself
mistaken in his surmises, or if Pausanias should ask to make some
correction, he might not be discovered, he undid the letter, and found
the postscript that he had suspected, viz., an order to put him to

On being shown the letter, the ephors now felt more certain. Still,
they wished to hear Pausanias commit himself with their own ears.
Accordingly the man went by appointment to Taenarus as a suppliant,
and there built himself a hut divided into two by a partition; within
which he concealed some of the ephors and let them hear the whole
matter plainly. For Pausanias came to him and asked him the reason
of his suppliant position; and the man reproached him with the order
that he had written concerning him, and one by one declared all the
rest of the circumstances, how he who had never yet brought him into
any danger, while employed as agent between him and the King, was
yet just like the mass of his servants to be rewarded with death.
Admitting all this, and telling him not to be angry about the matter,
Pausanias gave him the pledge of raising him up from the temple, and
begged him to set off as quickly as possible, and not to hinder the
business in hand.

The ephors listened carefully, and then departed, taking no action
for the moment, but, having at last attained to certainty, were preparing
to arrest him in the city. It is reported that, as he was about to
be arrested in the street, he saw from the face of one of the ephors
what he was coming for; another, too, made him a secret signal, and
betrayed it to him from kindness. Setting off with a run for the temple
of the goddess of the Brazen House, the enclosure of which was near
at hand, he succeeded in taking sanctuary before they took him, and
entering into a small chamber, which formed part of the temple, to
avoid being exposed to the weather, lay still there. The ephors, for
the moment distanced in the pursuit, afterwards took off the roof
of the chamber, and having made sure that he was inside, shut him
in, barricaded the doors, and staying before the place, reduced him
by starvation. When they found that he was on the point of expiring,
just as he was, in the chamber, they brought him out of the temple,
while the breath was still in him, and as soon as he was brought out
he died. They were going to throw him into the Kaiadas, where they
cast criminals, but finally decided to inter him somewhere near. But
the god at Delphi afterwards ordered the Lacedaemonians to remove
the tomb to the place of his death- where he now lies in the consecrated
ground, as an inscription on a monument declares- and, as what had
been done was a curse to them, to give back two bodies instead of
one to the goddess of the Brazen House. So they had two brazen statues
made, and dedicated them as a substitute for Pausanias. the Athenians
retorted by telling the Lacedaemonians to drive out what the god himself
had pronounced to be a curse.

To return to the Medism of Pausanias. Matter was found in the course
of the inquiry to implicate Themistocles; and the Lacedaemonians accordingly
sent envoys to the Athenians and required them to punish him as they
had punished Pausanias. The Athenians consented to do so. But he had,
as it happened, been ostracized, and, with a residence at Argos, was
in the habit of visiting other parts of Peloponnese. So they sent
with the Lacedaemonians, who were ready to join in the pursuit, persons
with instructions to take him wherever they found him. But Themistocles
got scent of their intentions, and fled from Peloponnese to Corcyra,
which was under obligations towards him. But the Corcyraeans alleged
that they could not venture to shelter him at the cost of offending
Athens and Lacedaemon, and they conveyed him over to the continent
opposite. Pursued by the officers who hung on the report of his movements,
at a loss where to turn, he was compelled to stop at the house of
Admetus, the Molossian king, though they were not on friendly terms.
Admetus happened not to be indoors, but his wife, to whom he made
himself a suppliant, instructed him to take their child in his arms
and sit down by the hearth. Soon afterwards Admetus came in, and Themistocles
told him who he was, and begged him not to revenge on Themistocles
in exile any opposition which his requests might have experienced
from Themistocles at Athens. Indeed, he was now far too low for his
revenge; retaliation was only honourable between equals. Besides,
his opposition to the king had only affected the success of a request,
not the safety of his person; if the king were to give him up to the
pursuers that he mentioned, and the fate which they intended for him,
he would just be consigning him to certain death.

The King listened to him and raised him up with his son, as he was
sitting with him in his arms after the most effectual method of supplication,
and on the arrival of the Lacedaemonians not long afterwards, refused
to give him up for anything they could say, but sent him off by land
to the other sea to Pydna in Alexander’s dominions, as he wished to
go to the Persian king. There he met with a merchantman on the point
of starting for Ionia. Going on board, he was carried by a storm to
the Athenian squadron which was blockading Naxos. In his alarm- he
was luckily unknown to the people in the vessel- he told the master
who he was and what he was flying for, and said that, if he refused
to save him, he would declare that he was taking him for a bribe.
Meanwhile their safety consisted in letting no one leave the ship
until a favourable time for sailing should arise. If he complied with
his wishes, he promised him a proper recompense. The master acted
as he desired, and, after lying to for a day and a night out of reach
of the squadron, at length arrived at Ephesus.

After having rewarded him with a present of money, as soon as he received
some from his friends at Athens and from his secret hoards at Argos,
Themistocles started inland with one of the coast Persians, and sent
a letter to King Artaxerxes, Xerxes’s son, who had just come to the
throne. Its contents were as follows: “I, Themistocles, am come to
you, who did your house more harm than any of the Hellenes, when I
was compelled to defend myself against your father’s invasion- harm,
however, far surpassed by the good that I did him during his retreat,
which brought no danger for me but much for him. For the past, you
are a good turn in my debt”- here he mentioned the warning sent to
Xerxes from Salamis to retreat, as well as his finding the bridges
unbroken, which, as he falsely pretended, was due to him- “for the
present, able to do you great service, I am here, pursued by the Hellenes
for my friendship for you. However, I desire a year’s grace, when
I shall be able to declare in person the objects of my coming.”

It is said that the King approved his intention, and told him to do
as he said. He employed the interval in making what progress he could
in the study of the Persian tongue, and of the customs of the country.
Arrived at court at the end of the year, he attained to very high
consideration there, such as no Hellene has ever possessed before
or since; partly from his splendid antecedents, partly from the hopes
which he held out of effecting for him the subjugation of Hellas,
but principally by the proof which experience daily gave of his capacity.
For Themistocles was a man who exhibited the most indubitable signs
of genius; indeed, in this particular he has a claim on our admiration
quite extraordinary and unparalleled. By his own native capacity,
alike unformed and unsupplemented by study, he was at once the best
judge in those sudden crises which admit of little or of no deliberation,
and the best prophet of the future, even to its most distant possibilities.
An able theoretical expositor of all that came within the sphere of
his practice, he was not without the power of passing an adequate
judgment in matters in which he had no experience. He could also excellently
divine the good and evil which lay hid in the unseen future. In fine,
whether we consider the extent of his natural powers, or the slightness
of his application, this extraordinary man must be allowed to have
surpassed all others in the faculty of intuitively meeting an emergency.
Disease was the real cause of his death; though there is a story of
his having ended his life by poison, on finding himself unable to
fulfil his promises to the king. However this may be, there is a monument
to him in the marketplace of Asiatic Magnesia. He was governor of
the district, the King having given him Magnesia, which brought in
fifty talents a year, for bread, Lampsacus, which was considered to
be the richest wine country, for wine, and Myos for other provisions.
His bones, it is said, were conveyed home by his relatives in accordance
with his wishes, and interred in Attic ground. This was done without
the knowledge of the Athenians; as it is against the law to bury in
Attica an outlaw for treason. So ends the history of Pausanias and
Themistocles, the Lacedaemonian and the Athenian, the most famous
men of their time in Hellas.

To return to the Lacedaemonians. The history of their first embassy,
the injunctions which it conveyed, and the rejoinder which it provoked,
concerning the expulsion of the accursed persons, have been related
already. It was followed by a second, which ordered Athens to raise
the siege of Potidaea, and to respect the independence of Aegina.
Above all, it gave her most distinctly to understand that war might
be prevented by the revocation of the Megara decree, excluding the
Megarians from the use of Athenian harbours and of the market of Athens.
But Athens was not inclined either to revoke the decree, or to entertain
their other proposals; she accused the Megarians of pushing their
cultivation into the consecrated ground and the unenclosed land on
the border, and of harbouring her runaway slaves. At last an embassy
arrived with the Lacedaemonian ultimatum. The ambassadors were Ramphias,
Melesippus, and Agesander. Not a word was said on any of the old subjects;
there was simply this: “Lacedaemon wishes the peace to continue, and
there is no reason why it should not, if you would leave the Hellenes
independent.” Upon this the Athenians held an assembly, and laid the
matter before their consideration. It was resolved to deliberate once
for all on all their demands, and to give them an answer. There were
many speakers who came forward and gave their support to one side
or the other, urging the necessity of war, or the revocation of the
decree and the folly of allowing it to stand in the way of peace.
Among them came forward Pericles, son of Xanthippus, the first man
of his time at Athens, ablest alike in counsel and in action, and
gave the following advice:

“There is one principle, Athenians, which I hold to through everything,
and that is the principle of no concession to the Peloponnesians.
I know that the spirit which inspires men while they are being persuaded
to make war is not always retained in action; that as circumstances
change, resolutions change. Yet I see that now as before the same,
almost literally the same, counsel is demanded of me; and I put it
to those of you who are allowing yourselves to be persuaded, to support
the national resolves even in the case of reverses, or to forfeit
all credit for their wisdom in the event of success. For sometimes
the course of things is as arbitrary as the plans of man; indeed this
is why we usually blame chance for whatever does not happen as we
expected. Now it was clear before that Lacedaemon entertained designs
against us; it is still more clear now. The treaty provides that we
shall mutually submit our differences to legal settlement, and that
we shall meanwhile each keep what we have. Yet the Lacedaemonians
never yet made us any such offer, never yet would accept from us any
such offer; on the contrary, they wish complaints to be settled by
war instead of by negotiation; and in the end we find them here dropping
the tone of expostulation and adopting that of command. They order
us to raise the siege of Potidaea, to let Aegina be independent, to
revoke the Megara decree; and they conclude with an ultimatum warning
us to leave the Hellenes independent. I hope that you will none of
you think that we shall be going to war for a trifle if we refuse
to revoke the Megara decree, which appears in front of their complaints,
and the revocation of which is to save us from war, or let any feeling
of self-reproach linger in your minds, as if you went to war for slight
cause. Why, this trifle contains the whole seal and trial of your
resolution. If you give way, you will instantly have to meet some
greater demand, as having been frightened into obedience in the first
instance; while a firm refusal will make them clearly understand that
they must treat you more as equals. Make your decision therefore at
once, either to submit before you are harmed, or if we are to go to
war, as I for one think we ought, to do so without caring whether
the ostensible cause be great or small, resolved against making concessions
or consenting to a precarious tenure of our possessions. For all claims
from an equal, urged upon a neighbour as commands before any attempt
at legal settlement, be they great or be they small, have only one
meaning, and that is slavery.

“As to the war and the resources of either party, a detailed comparison
will not show you the inferiority of Athens. Personally engaged in
the cultivation of their land, without funds either private or public,
the Peloponnesians are also without experience in long wars across
sea, from the strict limit which poverty imposes on their attacks
upon each other. Powers of this description are quite incapable of
often manning a fleet or often sending out an army: they cannot afford
the absence from their homes, the expenditure from their own funds;
and besides, they have not command of the sea. Capital, it must be
remembered, maintains a war more than forced contributions. Farmers
are a class of men that are always more ready to serve in person than
in purse. Confident that the former will survive the dangers, they
are by no means so sure that the latter will not be prematurely exhausted,
especially if the war last longer than they expect, which it very
likely will. In a single battle the Peloponnesians and their allies
may be able to defy all Hellas, but they are incapacitated from carrying
on a war against a power different in character from their own, by
the want of the single council-chamber requisite to prompt and vigorous
action, and the substitution of a diet composed of various races,
in which every state possesses an equal vote, and each presses its
own ends, a condition of things which generally results in no action
at all. The great wish of some is to avenge themselves on some particular
enemy, the great wish of others to save their own pocket. Slow in
assembling, they devote a very small fraction of the time to the consideration
of any public object, most of it to the prosecution of their own objects.
Meanwhile each fancies that no harm will come of his neglect, that
it is the business of somebody else to look after this or that for
him; and so, by the same notion being entertained by all separately,
the common cause imperceptibly decays.

“But the principal point is the hindrance that they will experience
from want of money. The slowness with which it comes in will cause
delay; but the opportunities of war wait for no man. Again, we need
not be alarmed either at the possibility of their raising fortifications
in Attica, or at their navy. It would be difficult for any system
of fortifications to establish a rival city, even in time of peace,
much more, surely, in an enemy’s country, with Athens just as much
fortified against it as it against Athens; while a mere post might
be able to do some harm to the country by incursions and by the facilities
which it would afford for desertion, but can never prevent our sailing
into their country and raising fortifications there, and making reprisals
with our powerful fleet. For our naval skill is of more use to us
for service on land, than their military skill for service at sea.
Familiarity with the sea they will not find an easy acquisition. If
you who have been practising at it ever since the Median invasion
have not yet brought it to perfection, is there any chance of anything
considerable being effected by an agricultural, unseafaring population,
who will besides be prevented from practising by the constant presence
of strong squadrons of observation from Athens? With a small squadron
they might hazard an engagement, encouraging their ignorance by numbers;
but the restraint of a strong force will prevent their moving, and
through want of practice they will grow more clumsy, and consequently
more timid. It must be kept in mind that seamanship, just like anything
else, is a matter of art, and will not admit of being taken up occasionally
as an occupation for times of leisure; on the contrary, it is so exacting
as to leave leisure for nothing else.

“Even if they were to touch the moneys at Olympia or Delphi, and try
to seduce our foreign sailors by the temptation of higher pay, that
would only be a serious danger if we could not still be a match for
them by embarking our own citizens and the aliens resident among us.
But in fact by this means we are always a match for them; and, best
of all, we have a larger and higher class of native coxswains and
sailors among our own citizens than all the rest of Hellas. And to
say nothing of the danger of such a step, none of our foreign sailors
would consent to become an outlaw from his country, and to take service
with them and their hopes, for the sake of a few days’ high pay.

“This, I think, is a tolerably fair account of the position of the
Peloponnesians; that of Athens is free from the defects that I have
criticized in them, and has other advantages of its own, which they
can show nothing to equal. If they march against our country we will
sail against theirs, and it will then be found that the desolation
of the whole of Attica is not the same as that of even a fraction
of Peloponnese; for they will not be able to supply the deficiency
except by a battle, while we have plenty of land both on the islands
and the continent. The rule of the sea is indeed a great matter. Consider
for a moment. Suppose that we were islanders; can you conceive a more
impregnable position? Well, this in future should, as far as possible,
be our conception of our position. Dismissing all thought of our land
and houses, we must vigilantly guard the sea and the city. No irritation
that we may feel for the former must provoke us to a battle with the
numerical superiority of the Peloponnesians. A victory would only
be succeeded by another battle against the same superiority: a reverse
involves the loss of our allies, the source of our strength, who will
not remain quiet a day after we become unable to march against them.
We must cry not over the loss of houses and land but of men’s lives;
since houses and land do not gain men, but men them. And if I had
thought that I could persuade you, I would have bid you go out and
lay them waste with your own hands, and show the Peloponnesians that
this at any rate will not make you submit.

“I have many other reasons to hope for a favourable issue, if you
can consent not to combine schemes of fresh conquest with the conduct
of the war, and will abstain from wilfully involving yourselves in
other dangers; indeed, I am more afraid of our own blunders than of
the enemy’s devices. But these matters shall be explained in another
speech, as events require; for the present dismiss these men with
the answer that we will allow Megara the use of our market and harbours,
when the Lacedaemonians suspend their alien acts in favour of us and
our allies, there being nothing in the treaty to prevent either one
or the other: that we will leave the cities independent, if independent
we found them when we made the treaty, and when the Lacedaemonians
grant to their cities an independence not involving subservience to
Lacedaemonian interests, but such as each severally may desire: that
we are willing to give the legal satisfaction which our agreements
specify, and that we shall not commence hostilities, but shall resist
those who do commence them. This is an answer agreeable at once to
the rights and the dignity of Athens. It must be thoroughly understood
that war is a necessity; but that the more readily we accept it, the
less will be the ardour of our opponents, and that out of the greatest
dangers communities and individuals acquire the greatest glory. Did
not our fathers resist the Medes not only with resources far different
from ours, but even when those resources had been abandoned; and more
by wisdom than by fortune, more by daring than by strength, did not
they beat off the barbarian and advance their affairs to their present
height? We must not fall behind them, but must resist our enemies
in any way and in every way, and attempt to hand down our power to
our posterity unimpaired.”

Such were the words of Pericles. The Athenians, persuaded of the wisdom
of his advice, voted as he desired, and answered the Lacedaemonians
as he recommended, both on the separate points and in the general;
they would do nothing on dictation, but were ready to have the complaints
settled in a fair and impartial manner by the legal method, which
the terms of the truce prescribed. So the envoys departed home and
did not return again.

These were the charges and differences existing between the rival
powers before the war, arising immediately from the affair at Epidamnus
and Corcyra. Still intercourse continued in spite of them, and mutual
communication. It was carried on without heralds, but not without
suspicion, as events were occurring which were equivalent to a breach
of the treaty and matter for war.


Chapter VI

Beginning of the Peloponnesian War – First Invasion of Attica – Funeral
Oration of Pericles

The war between the Athenians and Peloponnesians and the allies on
either side now really begins. For now all intercourse except through
the medium of heralds ceased, and hostilities were commenced and prosecuted
without intermission. The history follows the chronological order
of events by summers and winters.

The thirty years’ truce which was entered into after the conquest
of Euboea lasted fourteen years. In the fifteenth, in the forty-eighth
year of the priestess-ship of Chrysis at Argos, in the ephorate of
Aenesias at Sparta, in the last month but two of the archonship of
Pythodorus at Athens, and six months after the battle of Potidaea,
just at the beginning of spring, a Theban force a little over three
hundred strong, under the command of their Boeotarchs, Pythangelus,
son of Phyleides, and Diemporus, son of Onetorides, about the first
watch of the night, made an armed entry into Plataea, a town of Boeotia
in alliance with Athens. The gates were opened to them by a Plataean
called Naucleides, who, with his party, had invited them in, meaning
to put to death the citizens of the opposite party, bring over the
city to Thebes, and thus obtain power for themselves. This was arranged
through Eurymachus, son of Leontiades, a person of great influence
at Thebes. For Plataea had always been at variance with Thebes; and
the latter, foreseeing that war was at hand, wished to surprise her
old enemy in time of peace, before hostilities had actually broken
out. Indeed this was how they got in so easily without being observed,
as no guard had been posted. After the soldiers had grounded arms
in the market-place, those who had invited them in wished them to
set to work at once and go to their enemies’ houses. This, however,
the Thebans refused to do, but determined to make a conciliatory proclamation,
and if possible to come to a friendly understanding with the citizens.
Their herald accordingly invited any who wished to resume their old
place in the confederacy of their countrymen to ground arms with them,
for they thought that in this way the city would readily join them.

On becoming aware of the presence of the Thebans within their gates,
and of the sudden occupation of the town, the Plataeans concluded
in their alarm that more had entered than was really the case, the
night preventing their seeing them. They accordingly came to terms
and, accepting the proposal, made no movement; especially as the Thebans
offered none of them any violence. But somehow or other, during the
negotiations, they discovered the scanty numbers of the Thebans, and
decided that they could easily attack and overpower them; the mass
of the Plataeans being averse to revolting from Athens. At all events
they resolved to attempt it. Digging through the party walls of the
houses, they thus managed to join each other without being seen going
through the streets, in which they placed wagons without the beasts
in them, to serve as a barricade, and arranged everything else as
seemed convenient for the occasion. When everything had been done
that circumstances permitted, they watched their opportunity and went
out of their houses against the enemy. It was still night, though
daybreak was at hand: in daylight it was thought that their attack
would be met by men full of courage and on equal terms with their
assailants, while in darkness it would fall upon panic-stricken troops,
who would also be at a disadvantage from their enemy’s knowledge of
the locality. So they made their assault at once, and came to close
quarters as quickly as they could.

The Thebans, finding themselves outwitted, immediately closed up to
repel all attacks made upon them. Twice or thrice they beat back their
assailants. But the men shouted and charged them, the women and slaves
screamed and yelled from the houses and pelted them with stones and
tiles; besides, it had been raining hard all night; and so at last
their courage gave way, and they turned and fled through the town.
Most of the fugitives were quite ignorant of the right ways out, and
this, with the mud, and the darkness caused by the moon being in her
last quarter, and the fact that their pursuers knew their way about
and could easily stop their escape, proved fatal to many. The only
gate open was the one by which they had entered, and this was shut
by one of the Plataeans driving the spike of a javelin into the bar
instead of the bolt; so that even here there was no longer any means
of exit. They were now chased all over the town. Some got on the wall
and threw themselves over, in most cases with a fatal result. One
party managed to find a deserted gate, and obtaining an axe from a
woman, cut through the bar; but as they were soon observed only a
few succeeded in getting out. Others were cut off in detail in different
parts of the city. The most numerous and compact body rushed into
a large building next to the city wall: the doors on the side of the
street happened to be open, and the Thebans fancied that they were
the gates of the town, and that there was a passage right through
to the outside. The Plataeans, seeing their enemies in a trap, now
consulted whether they should set fire to the building and burn them
just as they were, or whether there was anything else that they could
do with them; until at length these and the rest of the Theban survivors
found wandering about the town agreed to an unconditional surrender
of themselves and their arms to the Plataeans.

While such was the fate of the party in Plataea, the rest of the Thebans
who were to have joined them with all their forces before daybreak,
in case of anything miscarrying with the body that had entered, received
the news of the affair on the road, and pressed forward to their succour.
Now Plataea is nearly eight miles from Thebes, and their march delayed
by the rain that had fallen in the night, for the river Asopus had
risen and was not easy of passage; and so, having to march in the
rain, and being hindered in crossing the river, they arrived too late,
and found the whole party either slain or captive. When they learned
what had happened, they at once formed a design against the Plataeans
outside the city. As the attack had been made in time of peace, and
was perfectly unexpected, there were of course men and stock in the
fields; and the Thebans wished if possible to have some prisoners
to exchange against their countrymen in the town, should any chance
to have been taken alive. Such was their plan. But the Plataeans suspected
their intention almost before it was formed, and becoming alarmed
for their fellow citizens outside the town, sent a herald to the Thebans,
reproaching them for their unscrupulous attempt to seize their city
in time of peace, and warning them against any outrage on those outside.
Should the warning be disregarded, they threatened to put to death
the men they had in their hands, but added that, on the Thebans retiring
from their territory, they would surrender the prisoners to their
friends. This is the Theban account of the matter, and they say that
they had an oath given them. The Plataeans, on the other hand, do
not admit any promise of an immediate surrender, but make it contingent
upon subsequent negotiation: the oath they deny altogether. Be this
as it may, upon the Thebans retiring from their territory without
committing any injury, the Plataeans hastily got in whatever they
had in the country and immediately put the men to death. The prisoners
were a hundred and eighty in number; Eurymachus, the person with whom
the traitors had negotiated, being one.

This done, the Plataeans sent a messenger to Athens, gave back the
dead to the Thebans under a truce, and arranged things in the city
as seemed best to meet the present emergency. The Athenians meanwhile,
having had word of the affair sent them immediately after its occurrence,
had instantly seized all the Boeotians in Attica, and sent a herald
to the Plataeans to forbid their proceeding to extremities with their
Theban prisoners without instructions from Athens. The news of the
men’s death had of course not arrived; the first messenger having
left Plataea just when the Thebans entered it, the second just after
their defeat and capture; so there was no later news. Thus the Athenians
sent orders in ignorance of the facts; and the herald on his arrival
found the men slain. After this the Athenians marched to Plataea and
brought in provisions, and left a garrison in the place, also taking
away the women and children and such of the men as were least efficient.

After the affair at Plataea, the treaty had been broken by an overt
act, and Athens at once prepared for war, as did also Lacedaemon and
her allies. They resolved to send embassies to the King and to such
other of the barbarian powers as either party could look to for assistance,
and tried to ally themselves with the independent states at home.
Lacedaemon, in addition to the existing marine, gave orders to the
states that had declared for her in Italy and Sicily to build vessels
up to a grand total of five hundred, the quota of each city being
determined by its size, and also to provide a specified sum of money.
Till these were ready they were to remain neutral and to admit single
Athenian ships into their harbours. Athens on her part reviewed her
existing confederacy, and sent embassies to the places more immediately
round Peloponnese- Corcyra, Cephallenia, Acarnania, and Zacynthus-
perceiving that if these could be relied on she could carry the war
all round Peloponnese.

And if both sides nourished the boldest hopes and put forth their
utmost strength for the war, this was only natural. Zeal is always
at its height at the commencement of an undertaking; and on this particular
occasion Peloponnese and Athens were both full of young men whose
inexperience made them eager to take up arms, while the rest of Hellas
stood straining with excitement at the conflict of its leading cities.
Everywhere predictions were being recited and oracles being chanted
by such persons as collect them, and this not only in the contending
cities. Further, some while before this, there was an earthquake at
Delos, for the first time in the memory of the Hellenes. This was
said and thought to be ominous of the events impending; indeed, nothing
of the kind that happened was allowed to pass without remark. The
good wishes of men made greatly for the Lacedaemonians, especially
as they proclaimed themselves the liberators of Hellas. No private
or public effort that could help them in speech or action was omitted;
each thinking that the cause suffered wherever he could not himself
see to it. So general was the indignation felt against Athens, whether
by those who wished to escape from her empire, or were apprehensive
of being absorbed by it. Such were the preparations and such the feelings
with which the contest opened.

The allies of the two belligerents were the following. These were
the allies of Lacedaemon: all the Peloponnesians within the Isthmus
except the Argives and Achaeans, who were neutral; Pellene being the
only Achaean city that first joined in the war, though her example
was afterwards followed by the rest. Outside Peloponnese the Megarians,
Locrians, Boeotians, Phocians, Ambraciots, Leucadians, and Anactorians.
Of these, ships were furnished by the Corinthians, Megarians, Sicyonians,
Pellenians, Eleans, Ambraciots, and Leucadians; and cavalry by the
Boeotians, Phocians, and Locrians. The other states sent infantry.
This was the Lacedaemonian confederacy. That of Athens comprised the
Chians, Lesbians, Plataeans, the Messenians in Naupactus, most of
the Acarnanians, the Corcyraeans, Zacynthians, and some tributary
cities in the following countries, viz., Caria upon the sea with her
Dorian neighbours, Ionia, the Hellespont, the Thracian towns, the
islands lying between Peloponnese and Crete towards the east, and
all the Cyclades except Melos and Thera. Of these, ships were furnished
by Chios, Lesbos, and Corcyra, infantry and money by the rest. Such
were the allies of either party and their resources for the war.

Immediately after the affair at Plataea, Lacedaemon sent round orders
to the cities in Peloponnese and the rest of her confederacy to prepare
troops and the provisions requisite for a foreign campaign, in order
to invade Attica. The several states were ready at the time appointed
and assembled at the Isthmus: the contingent of each city being two-thirds
of its whole force. After the whole army had mustered, the Lacedaemonian
king, Archidamus, the leader of the expedition, called together the
generals of all the states and the principal persons and officers,
and exhorted them as follows:

“Peloponnesians and allies, our fathers made many campaigns both within
and without Peloponnese, and the elder men among us here are not without
experience in war. Yet we have never set out with a larger force than
the present; and if our numbers and efficiency are remarkable, so
also is the power of the state against which we march. We ought not
then to show ourselves inferior to our ancestors, or unequal to our
own reputation. For the hopes and attention of all Hellas are bent
upon the present effort, and its sympathy is with the enemy of the
hated Athens. Therefore, numerous as the invading army may appear
to be, and certain as some may think it that our adversary will not
meet us in the field, this is no sort of justification for the least
negligence upon the march; but the officers and men of each particular
city should always be prepared for the advent of danger in their own
quarters. The course of war cannot be foreseen, and its attacks are
generally dictated by the impulse of the moment; and where overweening
self-confidence has despised preparation, a wise apprehension often
been able to make head against superior numbers. Not that confidence
is out of place in an army of invasion, but in an enemy’s country
it should also be accompanied by the precautions of apprehension:
troops will by this combination be best inspired for dealing a blow,
and best secured against receiving one. In the present instance, the
city against which we are going, far from being so impotent for defence,
is on the contrary most excellently equipped at all points; so that
we have every reason to expect that they will take the field against
us, and that if they have not set out already before we are there,
they will certainly do so when they see us in their territory wasting
and destroying their property. For men are always exasperated at suffering
injuries to which they are not accustomed, and on seeing them inflicted
before their very eyes; and where least inclined for reflection, rush
with the greatest heat to action. The Athenians are the very people
of all others to do this, as they aspire to rule the rest of the world,
and are more in the habit of invading and ravaging their neighbours’
territory, than of seeing their own treated in the like fashion. Considering,
therefore, the power of the state against which we are marching, and
the greatness of the reputation which, according to the event, we
shall win or lose for our ancestors and ourselves, remember as you
follow where you may be led to regard discipline and vigilance as
of the first importance, and to obey with alacrity the orders transmitted
to you; as nothing contributes so much to the credit and safety of
an army as the union of large bodies by a single discipline.”

With this brief speech dismissing the assembly, Archidamus first sent
off Melesippus, son of Diacritus, a Spartan, to Athens, in case she
should be more inclined to submit on seeing the Peloponnesians actually
on the march. But the Athenians did not admit into the city or to
their assembly, Pericles having already carried a motion against admitting
either herald or embassy from the Lacedaemonians after they had once
marched out.

The herald was accordingly sent away without an audience, and ordered
to be beyond the frontier that same day; in future, if those who sent
him had a proposition to make, they must retire to their own territory
before they dispatched embassies to Athens. An escort was sent with
Melesippus to prevent his holding communication with any one. When
he reached the frontier and was just going to be dismissed, he departed
with these words: “This day will be the beginning of great misfortunes
to the Hellenes.” As soon as he arrived at the camp, and Archidamus
learnt that the Athenians had still no thoughts of submitting, he
at length began his march, and advanced with his army into their territory.
Meanwhile the Boeotians, sending their contingent and cavalry to join
the Peloponnesian expedition, went to Plataea with the remainder and
laid waste the country.

While the Peloponnesians were still mustering at the Isthmus, or on
the march before they invaded Attica, Pericles, son of Xanthippus,
one of the ten generals of the Athenians, finding that the invasion
was to take place, conceived the idea that Archidamus, who happened
to be his friend, might possibly pass by his estate without ravaging
it. This he might do, either from a personal wish to oblige him, or
acting under instructions from Lacedaemon for the purpose of creating
a prejudice against him, as had been before attempted in the demand
for the expulsion of the accursed family. He accordingly took the
precaution of announcing to the Athenians in the assembly that, although
Archidamus was his friend, yet this friendship should not extend to
the detriment of the state, and that in case the enemy should make
his houses and lands an exception to the rest and not pillage them,
he at once gave them up to be public property, so that they should
not bring him into suspicion. He also gave the citizens some advice
on their present affairs in the same strain as before. They were to
prepare for the war, and to carry in their property from the country.
They were not to go out to battle, but to come into the city and guard
it, and get ready their fleet, in which their real strength lay. They
were also to keep a tight rein on their allies- the strength of Athens
being derived from the money brought in by their payments, and success
in war depending principally upon conduct and capital. had no reason
to despond. Apart from other sources of income, an average revenue
of six hundred talents of silver was drawn from the tribute of the
allies; and there were still six thousand talents of coined silver
in the Acropolis, out of nine thousand seven hundred that had once
been there, from which the money had been taken for the porch of the
Acropolis, the other public buildings, and for Potidaea. This did
not include the uncoined gold and silver in public and private offerings,
the sacred vessels for the processions and games, the Median spoils,
and similar resources to the amount of five hundred talents. To this
he added the treasures of the other temples. These were by no means
inconsiderable, and might fairly be used. Nay, if they were ever absolutely
driven to it, they might take even the gold ornaments of Athene herself;
for the statue contained forty talents of pure gold and it was all
removable. This might be used for self-preservation, and must every
penny of it be restored. Such was their financial position- surely
a satisfactory one. Then they had an army of thirteen thousand heavy
infantry, besides sixteen thousand more in the garrisons and on home
duty at Athens. This was at first the number of men on guard in the
event of an invasion: it was composed of the oldest and youngest levies
and the resident aliens who had heavy armour. The Phaleric wall ran
for four miles, before it joined that round the city; and of this
last nearly five had a guard, although part of it was left without
one, viz., that between the Long Wall and the Phaleric. Then there
were the Long Walls to Piraeus, a distance of some four miles and
a half, the outer of which was manned. Lastly, the circumference of
Piraeus with Munychia was nearly seven miles and a half; only half
of this, however, was guarded. Pericles also showed them that they
had twelve hundred horse including mounted archers, with sixteen hundred
archers unmounted, and three hundred galleys fit for service. Such
were the resources of Athens in the different departments when the
Peloponnesian invasion was impending and hostilities were being commenced.
Pericles also urged his usual arguments for expecting a favourable
issue to the war.

The Athenians listened to his advice, and began to carry in their
wives and children from the country, and all their household furniture,
even to the woodwork of their houses which they took down. Their sheep
and cattle they sent over to Euboea and the adjacent islands. But
they found it hard to move, as most of them had been always used to
live in the country.

From very early times this had been more the case with the Athenians
than with others. Under Cecrops and the first kings, down to the reign
of Theseus, Attica had always consisted of a number of independent
townships, each with its own town hall and magistrates. Except in
times of danger the king at Athens was not consulted; in ordinary
seasons they carried on their government and settled their affairs
without his interference; sometimes even they waged war against him,
as in the case of the Eleusinians with Eumolpus against Erechtheus.
In Theseus, however, they had a king of equal intelligence and power;
and one of the chief features in his organization of the country was
to abolish the council-chambers and magistrates of the petty cities,
and to merge them in the single council-chamber and town hall of the
present capital. Individuals might still enjoy their private property
just as before, but they were henceforth compelled to have only one
political centre, viz., Athens; which thus counted all the inhabitants
of Attica among her citizens, so that when Theseus died he left a
great state behind him. Indeed, from him dates the Synoecia, or Feast
of Union; which is paid for by the state, and which the Athenians
still keep in honour of the goddess. Before this the city consisted
of the present citadel and the district beneath it looking rather
towards the south. This is shown by the fact that the temples of the
other deities, besides that of Athene, are in the citadel; and even
those that are outside it are mostly situated in this quarter of the
city, as that of the Olympian Zeus, of the Pythian Apollo, of Earth,
and of Dionysus in the Marshes, the same in whose honour the older
Dionysia are to this day celebrated in the month of Anthesterion not
only by the Athenians but also by their Ionian descendants. There
are also other ancient temples in this quarter. The fountain too,
which, since the alteration made by the tyrants, has been called Enneacrounos,
or Nine Pipes, but which, when the spring was open, went by the name
of Callirhoe, or Fairwater, was in those days, from being so near,
used for the most important offices. Indeed, the old fashion of using
the water before marriage and for other sacred purposes is still kept
up. Again, from their old residence in that quarter, the citadel is
still known among Athenians as the city.

The Athenians thus long lived scattered over Attica in independent
townships. Even after the centralization of Theseus, old habit still
prevailed; and from the early times down to the present war most Athenians
still lived in the country with their families and households, and
were consequently not at all inclined to move now, especially as they
had only just restored their establishments after the Median invasion.
Deep was their trouble and discontent at abandoning their houses and
the hereditary temples of the ancient constitution, and at having
to change their habits of life and to bid farewell to what each regarded
as his native city.

When they arrived at Athens, though a few had houses of their own
to go to, or could find an asylum with friends or relatives, by far
the greater number had to take up their dwelling in the parts of the
city that were not built over and in the temples and chapels of the
heroes, except the Acropolis and the temple of the Eleusinian Demeter
and such other Places as were always kept closed. The occupation of
the plot of ground lying below the citadel called the Pelasgian had
been forbidden by a curse; and there was also an ominous fragment
of a Pythian oracle which said:

Leave the Pelasgian parcel desolate,
Woe worth the day that men inhabit it! Yet this too was now built
over in the necessity of the moment. And in my opinion, if the oracle
proved true, it was in the opposite sense to what was expected. For
the misfortunes of the state did not arise from the unlawful occupation,
but the necessity of the occupation from the war; and though the god
did not mention this, he foresaw that it would be an evil day for
Athens in which the plot came to be inhabited. Many also took up their
quarters in the towers of the walls or wherever else they could. For
when they were all come in, the city proved too small to hold them;
though afterwards they divided the Long Walls and a great part of
Piraeus into lots and settled there. All this while great attention
was being given to the war; the allies were being mustered, and an
armament of a hundred ships equipped for Peloponnese. Such was the
state of preparation at Athens.

Meanwhile the army of the Peloponnesians was advancing. The first
town they came to in Attica was Oenoe, where they to enter the country.
Sitting down before it, they prepared to assault the wall with engines
and otherwise. Oenoe, standing upon the Athenian and Boeotian border,
was of course a walled town, and was used as a fortress by the Athenians
in time of war. So the Peloponnesians prepared for their assault,
and wasted some valuable time before the place. This delay brought
the gravest censure upon Archidamus. Even during the levying of the
war he had credit for weakness and Athenian sympathies by the half
measures he had advocated; and after the army had assembled he had
further injured himself in public estimation by his loitering at the
Isthmus and the slowness with which the rest of the march had been
conducted. But all this was as nothing to the delay at Oenoe. During
this interval the Athenians were carrying in their property; and it
was the belief of the Peloponnesians that a quick advance would have
found everything still out, had it not been for his procrastination.
Such was the feeling of the army towards Archidamus during the siege.
But he, it is said, expected that the Athenians would shrink from
letting their land be wasted, and would make their submission while
it was still uninjured; and this was why he waited.

But after he had assaulted Oenoe, and every possible attempt to take
it had failed, as no herald came from Athens, he at last broke up
his camp and invaded Attica. This was about eighty days after the
Theban attempt upon Plataea, just in the middle of summer, when the
corn was ripe, and Archidamus, son of Zeuxis, king of Lacedaemon,
was in command. Encamping in Eleusis and the Thriasian plain, they
began their ravages, and putting to flight some Athenian horse at
a place called Rheiti, or the Brooks, they then advanced, keeping
Mount Aegaleus on their right, through Cropia, until they reached
Acharnae, the largest of the Athenian demes or townships. Sitting
down before it, they formed a camp there, and continued their ravages
for a long while.

The reason why Archidamus remained in order of battle at Acharnae
during this incursion, instead of descending into the plain, is said
to have been this. He hoped that the Athenians might possibly be tempted
by the multitude of their youth and the unprecedented efficiency of
their service to come out to battle and attempt to stop the devastation
of their lands. Accordingly, as they had met him at Eleusis or the
Thriasian plain, he tried if they could be provoked to a sally by
the spectacle of a camp at Acharnae. He thought the place itself a
good position for encamping; and it seemed likely that such an important
part of the state as the three thousand heavy infantry of the Acharnians
would refuse to submit to the ruin of their property, and would force
a battle on the rest of the citizens. On the other hand, should the
Athenians not take the field during this incursion, he could then
fearlessly ravage the plain in future invasions, and extend his advance
up to the very walls of Athens. After the Acharnians had lost their
own property they would be less willing to risk themselves for that
of their neighbours; and so there would be division in the Athenian
counsels. These were the motives of Archidamus for remaining at Acharnae.

In the meanwhile, as long as the army was at Eleusis and the Thriasian
plain, hopes were still entertained of its not advancing any nearer.
It was remembered that Pleistoanax, son of Pausanias, king of Lacedaemon,
had invaded Attica with a Peloponnesian army fourteen years before,
but had retreated without advancing farther than Eleusis and Thria,
which indeed proved the cause of his exile from Sparta, as it was
thought he had been bribed to retreat. But when they saw the army
at Acharnae, barely seven miles from Athens, they lost all patience.
The territory of Athens was being ravaged before the very eyes of
the Athenians, a sight which the young men had never seen before and
the old only in the Median wars; and it was naturally thought a grievous
insult, and the determination was universal, especially among the
young men, to sally forth and stop it. Knots were formed in the streets
and engaged in hot discussion; for if the proposed sally was warmly
recommended, it was also in some cases opposed. Oracles of the most
various import were recited by the collectors, and found eager listeners
in one or other of the disputants. Foremost in pressing for the sally
were the Acharnians, as constituting no small part of the army of
the state, and as it was their land that was being ravaged. In short,
the whole city was in a most excited state; Pericles was the object
of general indignation; his previous counsels were totally forgotten;
he was abused for not leading out the army which he commanded, and
was made responsible for the whole of the public suffering.

He, meanwhile, seeing anger and infatuation just now in the ascendant,
and of his wisdom in refusing a sally, would not call either assembly
or meeting of the people, fearing the fatal results of a debate inspired
by passion and not by prudence. Accordingly he addressed himself to
the defence of the city, and kept it as quiet as possible, though
he constantly sent out cavalry to prevent raids on the lands near
the city from flying parties of the enemy. There was a trifling affair
at Phrygia between a squadron of the Athenian horse with the Thessalians
and the Boeotian cavalry; in which the former had rather the best
of it, until the heavy infantry advanced to the support of the Boeotians,
when the Thessalians and Athenians were routed and lost a few men,
whose bodies, however, were recovered the same day without a truce.
The next day the Peloponnesians set up a trophy. Ancient alliance
brought the Thessalians to the aid of Athens; those who came being
the Larisaeans, Pharsalians, Cranonians, Pyrasians, Gyrtonians, and
Pheraeans. The Larisaean commanders were Polymedes and Aristonus,
two party leaders in Larisa; the Pharsalian general was Menon; each
of the other cities had also its own commander.

In the meantime the Peloponnesians, as the Athenians did not come
out to engage them, broke up from Acharnae and ravaged some of the
demes between Mount Parnes and Brilessus. While they were in Attica
the Athenians sent off the hundred ships which they had been preparing
round Peloponnese, with a thousand heavy infantry and four hundred
archers on board, under the command of Carcinus, son of Xenotimus,
Proteas, son of Epicles, and Socrates, son of Antigenes. This armament
weighed anchor and started on its cruise, and the Peloponnesians,
after remaining in Attica as long as their provisions lasted, retired
through Boeotia by a different road to that by which they had entered.
As they passed Oropus they ravaged the territory of Graea, which is
held by the Oropians from Athens, and reaching Peloponnese broke up
to their respective cities.

After they had retired the Athenians set guards by land and sea at
the points at which they intended to have regular stations during
the war. They also resolved to set apart a special fund of a thousand
talents from the moneys in the Acropolis. This was not to be spent,
but the current expenses of the war were to be otherwise provided
for. If any one should move or put to the vote a proposition for using
the money for any purpose whatever except that of defending the city
in the event of the enemy bringing a fleet to make an attack by sea,
it should be a capital offence. With this sum of money they also set
aside a special fleet of one hundred galleys, the best ships of each
year, with their captains. None of these were to be used except with
the money and against the same peril, should such peril arise.

Meanwhile the Athenians in the hundred ships round Peloponnese, reinforced
by a Corcyraean squadron of fifty vessels and some others of the allies
in those parts, cruised about the coasts and ravaged the country.
Among other places they landed in Laconia and made an assault upon
Methone; there being no garrison in the place, and the wall being
weak. But it so happened that Brasidas, son of Tellis, a Spartan,
was in command of a guard for the defence of the district. Hearing
of the attack, he hurried with a hundred heavy infantry to the assistance
of the besieged, and dashing through the army of the Athenians, which
was scattered over the country and had its attention turned to the
wall, threw himself into Methone. He lost a few men in making good
his entrance, but saved the place and won the thanks of Sparta by
his exploit, being thus the first officer who obtained this notice
during the war. The Athenians at once weighed anchor and continued
their cruise. Touching at Pheia in Elis, they ravaged the country
for two days and defeated a picked force of three hundred men that
had come from the vale of Elis and the immediate neighbourhood to
the rescue. But a stiff squall came down upon them, and, not liking
to face it in a place where there was no harbour, most of them got
on board their ships, and doubling Point Ichthys sailed into the port
of Pheia. In the meantime the Messenians, and some others who could
not get on board, marched over by land and took Pheia. The fleet afterwards
sailed round and picked them up and then put to sea; Pheia being evacuated,
as the main army of the Eleans had now come up. The Athenians continued
their cruise, and ravaged other places on the coast.

About the same time the Athenians sent thirty ships to cruise round
Locris and also to guard Euboea; Cleopompus, son of Clinias, being
in command. Making descents from the fleet he ravaged certain places
on the sea-coast, and captured Thronium and took hostages from it.
He also defeated at Alope the Locrians that had assembled to resist

During the summer the Athenians also expelled the Aeginetans with
their wives and children from Aegina, on the ground of their having
been the chief agents in bringing the war upon them. Besides, Aegina
lies so near Peloponnese that it seemed safer to send colonists of
their own to hold it, and shortly afterwards the settlers were sent
out. The banished Aeginetans found an asylum in Thyrea, which was
given to them by Lacedaemon, not only on account of her quarrel with
Athens, but also because the Aeginetans had laid her under obligations
at the time of the earthquake and the revolt of the Helots. The territory
of Thyrea is on the frontier of Argolis and Laconia, reaching down
to the sea. Those of the Aeginetans who did not settle here were scattered
over the rest of Hellas.

The same summer, at the beginning of a new lunar month, the only time
by the way at which it appears possible, the sun was eclipsed after
noon. After it had assumed the form of a crescent and some of the
stars had come out, it returned to its natural shape.

During the same summer Nymphodorus, son of Pythes, an Abderite, whose
sister Sitalces had married, was made their proxenus by the Athenians
and sent for to Athens. They had hitherto considered him their enemy;
but he had great influence with Sitalces, and they wished this prince
to become their ally. Sitalces was the son of Teres and King of the
Thracians. Teres, the father of Sitalces, was the first to establish
the great kingdom of the Odrysians on a scale quite unknown to the
rest of Thrace, a large portion of the Thracians being independent.
This Teres is in no way related to Tereus who married Pandion’s daughter
Procne from Athens; nor indeed did they belong to the same part of
Thrace. Tereus lived in Daulis, part of what is now called Phocis,
but which at that time was inhabited by Thracians. It was in this
land that the women perpetrated the outrage upon Itys; and many of
the poets when they mention the nightingale call it the Daulian bird.
Besides, Pandion in contracting an alliance for his daughter would
consider the advantages of mutual assistance, and would naturally
prefer a match at the above moderate distance to the journey of many
days which separates Athens from the Odrysians. Again the names are
different; and this Teres was king of the Odrysians, the first by
the way who attained to any power. Sitalces, his son, was now sought
as an ally by the Athenians, who desired his aid in the reduction
of the Thracian towns and of Perdiccas. Coming to Athens, Nymphodorus
concluded the alliance with Sitalces and made his son Sadocus an Athenian
citizen, and promised to finish the war in Thrace by persuading Sitalces
to send the Athenians a force of Thracian horse and targeteers. He
also reconciled them with Perdiccas, and induced them to restore Therme
to him; upon which Perdiccas at once joined the Athenians and Phormio
in an expedition against the Chalcidians. Thus Sitalces, son of Teres,
King of the Thracians, and Perdiccas, son of Alexander, King of the
Macedonians, became allies of Athens.

Meanwhile the Athenians in the hundred vessels were still cruising
round Peloponnese. After taking Sollium, a town belonging to Corinth,
and presenting the city and territory to the Acarnanians of Palaira,
they stormed Astacus, expelled its tyrant Evarchus, and gained the
place for their confederacy. Next they sailed to the island of Cephallenia
and brought it over without using force. Cephallenia lies off Acarnania
and Leucas, and consists of four states, the Paleans, Cranians, Samaeans,
and Pronaeans. Not long afterwards the fleet returned to Athens. Towards
the autumn of this year the Athenians invaded the Megarid with their
whole levy, resident aliens included, under the command of Pericles,
son of Xanthippus. The Athenians in the hundred ships round Peloponnese
on their journey home had just reached Aegina, and hearing that the
citizens at home were in full force at Megara, now sailed over and
joined them. This was without doubt the largest army of Athenians
ever assembled, the state being still in the flower of her strength
and yet unvisited by the plague. Full ten thousand heavy infantry
were in the field, all Athenian citizens, besides the three thousand
before Potidaea. Then the resident aliens who joined in the incursion
were at least three thousand strong; besides which there was a multitude
of light troops. They ravaged the greater part of the territory, and
then retired. Other incursions into the Megarid were afterwards made
by the Athenians annually during the war, sometimes only with cavalry,
sometimes with all their forces. This went on until the capture of
Nisaea. Atalanta also, the desert island off the Opuntian coast, was
towards the end of this summer converted into a fortified post by
the Athenians, in order to prevent privateers issuing from Opus and
the rest of Locris and plundering Euboea. Such were the events of
this summer after the return of the Peloponnesians from Attica.

In the ensuing winter the Acarnanian Evarchus, wishing to return to
Astacus, persuaded the Corinthians to sail over with forty ships and
fifteen hundred heavy infantry and restore him; himself also hiring
some mercenaries. In command of the force were Euphamidas, son of
Aristonymus, Timoxenus, son of Timocrates, and Eumachus, son of Chrysis,
who sailed over and restored him and, after failing in an attempt
on some places on the Acarnanian coast which they were desirous of
gaining, began their voyage home. Coasting along shore they touched
at Cephallenia and made a descent on the Cranian territory, and losing
some men by the treachery of the Cranians, who fell suddenly upon
them after having agreed to treat, put to sea somewhat hurriedly and
returned home.

In the same winter the Athenians gave a funeral at the public cost
to those who had first fallen in this war. It was a custom of their
ancestors, and the manner of it is as follows. Three days before the
ceremony, the bones of the dead are laid out in a tent which has been
erected; and their friends bring to their relatives such offerings
as they please. In the funeral procession cypress coffins are borne
in cars, one for each tribe; the bones of the deceased being placed
in the coffin of their tribe. Among these is carried one empty bier
decked for the missing, that is, for those whose bodies could not
be recovered. Any citizen or stranger who pleases, joins in the procession:
and the female relatives are there to wail at the burial. The dead
are laid in the public sepulchre in the Beautiful suburb of the city,
in which those who fall in war are always buried; with the exception
of those slain at Marathon, who for their singular and extraordinary
valour were interred on the spot where they fell. After the bodies
have been laid in the earth, a man chosen by the state, of approved
wisdom and eminent reputation, pronounces over them an appropriate
panegyric; after which all retire. Such is the manner of the burying;
and throughout the whole of the war, whenever the occasion arose,
the established custom was observed. Meanwhile these were the first
that had fallen, and Pericles, son of Xanthippus, was chosen to pronounce
their eulogium. When the proper time arrived, he advanced from the
sepulchre to an elevated platform in order to be heard by as many
of the crowd as possible, and spoke as follows:

“Most of my predecessors in this place have commended him who made
this speech part of the law, telling us that it is well that it should
be delivered at the burial of those who fall in battle. For myself,
I should have thought that the worth which had displayed itself in
deeds would be sufficiently rewarded by honours also shown by deeds;
such as you now see in this funeral prepared at the people’s cost.
And I could have wished that the reputations of many brave men were
not to be imperilled in the mouth of a single individual, to stand
or fall according as he spoke well or ill. For it is hard to speak
properly upon a subject where it is even difficult to convince your
hearers that you are speaking the truth. On the one hand, the friend
who is familiar with every fact of the story may think that some point
has not been set forth with that fullness which he wishes and knows
it to deserve; on the other, he who is a stranger to the matter may
be led by envy to suspect exaggeration if he hears anything above
his own nature. For men can endure to hear others praised only so
long as they can severally persuade themselves of their own ability
to equal the actions recounted: when this point is passed, envy comes
in and with it incredulity. However, since our ancestors have stamped
this custom with their approval, it becomes my duty to obey the law
and to try to satisfy your several wishes and opinions as best I may.

“I shall begin with our ancestors: it is both just and proper that
they should have the honour of the first mention on an occasion like
the present. They dwelt in the country without break in the succession
from generation to generation, and handed it down free to the present
time by their valour. And if our more remote ancestors deserve praise,
much more do our own fathers, who added to their inheritance the empire
which we now possess, and spared no pains to be able to leave their
acquisitions to us of the present generation. Lastly, there are few
parts of our dominions that have not been augmented by those of us
here, who are still more or less in the vigour of life; while the
mother country has been furnished by us with everything that can enable
her to depend on her own resources whether for war or for peace. That
part of our history which tells of the military achievements which
gave us our several possessions, or of the ready valour with which
either we or our fathers stemmed the tide of Hellenic or foreign aggression,
is a theme too familiar to my hearers for me to dilate on, and I shall
therefore pass it by. But what was the road by which we reached our
position, what the form of government under which our greatness grew,
what the national habits out of which it sprang; these are questions
which I may try to solve before I proceed to my panegyric upon these
men; since I think this to be a subject upon which on the present
occasion a speaker may properly dwell, and to which the whole assemblage,
whether citizens or foreigners, may listen with advantage.

“Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we
are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration
favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy.
If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their
private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public
life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being
allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way,
if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity
of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends
also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance
over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour
for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks
which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive
penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make
us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard,
teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such
as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually
on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten,
yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.

“Further, we provide plenty of means for the mind to refresh itself
from business. We celebrate games and sacrifices all the year round,
and the elegance of our private establishments forms a daily source
of pleasure and helps to banish the spleen; while the magnitude of
our city draws the produce of the world into our harbour, so that
to the Athenian the fruits of other countries are as familiar a luxury
as those of his own.

“If we turn to our military policy, there also we differ from our
antagonists. We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien
acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing,
although the eyes of an enemy may occasionally profit by our liberality;
trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our
citizens; while in education, where our rivals from their very cradles
by a painful discipline seek after manliness, at Athens we live exactly
as we please, and yet are just as ready to encounter every legitimate
danger. In proof of this it may be noticed that the Lacedaemonians
do not invade our country alone, but bring with them all their confederates;
while we Athenians advance unsupported into the territory of a neighbour,
and fighting upon a foreign soil usually vanquish with ease men who
are defending their homes. Our united force was never yet encountered
by any enemy, because we have at once to attend to our marine and
to dispatch our citizens by land upon a hundred different services;
so that, wherever they engage with some such fraction of our strength,
a success against a detachment is magnified into a victory over the
nation, and a defeat into a reverse suffered at the hands of our entire
people. And yet if with habits not of labour but of ease, and courage
not of art but of nature, we are still willing to encounter danger,
we have the double advantage of escaping the experience of hardships
in anticipation and of facing them in the hour of need as fearlessly
as those who are never free from them.

“Nor are these the only points in which our city is worthy of admiration.
We cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without
effeminacy; wealth we employ more for use than for show, and place
the real disgrace of poverty not in owning to the fact but in declining
the struggle against it. Our public men have, besides politics, their
private affairs to attend to, and our ordinary citizens, though occupied
with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters;
for, unlike any other nation, regarding him who takes no part in these
duties not as unambitious but as useless, we Athenians are able to
judge at all events if we cannot originate, and, instead of looking
on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think
it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all. Again,
in our enterprises we present the singular spectacle of daring and
deliberation, each carried to its highest point, and both united in
the same persons; although usually decision is the fruit of ignorance,
hesitation of reflection. But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged
most justly to those, who best know the difference between hardship
and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger. In generosity
we are equally singular, acquiring our friends by conferring, not
by receiving, favours. Yet, of course, the doer of the favour is the
firmer friend of the two, in order by continued kindness to keep the
recipient in his debt; while the debtor feels less keenly from the
very consciousness that the return he makes will be a payment, not
a free gift. And it is only the Athenians, who, fearless of consequences,
confer their benefits not from calculations of expediency, but in
the confidence of liberality.

“In short, I say that as a city we are the school of Hellas, while
I doubt if the world can produce a man who, where he has only himself
to depend upon, is equal to so many emergencies, and graced by so
happy a versatility, as the Athenian. And that this is no mere boast
thrown out for the occasion, but plain matter of fact, the power of
the state acquired by these habits proves. For Athens alone of her
contemporaries is found when tested to be greater than her reputation,
and alone gives no occasion to her assailants to blush at the antagonist
by whom they have been worsted, or to her subjects to question her
title by merit to rule. Rather, the admiration of the present and
succeeding ages will be ours, since we have not left our power without
witness, but have shown it by mighty proofs; and far from needing
a Homer for our panegyrist, or other of his craft whose verses might
charm for the moment only for the impression which they gave to melt
at the touch of fact, we have forced every sea and land to be the
highway of our daring, and everywhere, whether for evil or for good,
have left imperishable monuments behind us. Such is the Athens for
which these men, in the assertion of their resolve not to lose her,
nobly fought and died; and well may every one of their survivors be
ready to suffer in her cause.

“Indeed if I have dwelt at some length upon the character of our country,
it has been to show that our stake in the struggle is not the same
as theirs who have no such blessings to lose, and also that the panegyric
of the men over whom I am now speaking might be by definite proofs
established. That panegyric is now in a great measure complete; for
the Athens that I have celebrated is only what the heroism of these
and their like have made her, men whose fame, unlike that of most
Hellenes, will be found to be only commensurate with their deserts.
And if a test of worth be wanted, it is to be found in their closing
scene, and this not only in cases in which it set the final seal upon
their merit, but also in those in which it gave the first intimation
of their having any. For there is justice in the claim that steadfastness
in his country’s battles should be as a cloak to cover a man’s other
imperfections; since the good action has blotted out the bad, and
his merit as a citizen more than outweighed his demerits as an individual.
But none of these allowed either wealth with its prospect of future
enjoyment to unnerve his spirit, or poverty with its hope of a day
of freedom and riches to tempt him to shrink from danger. No, holding
that vengeance upon their enemies was more to be desired than any
personal blessings, and reckoning this to be the most glorious of
hazards, they joyfully determined to accept the risk, to make sure
of their vengeance, and to let their wishes wait; and while committing
to hope the uncertainty of final success, in the business before them
they thought fit to act boldly and trust in themselves. Thus choosing
to die resisting, rather than to live submitting, they fled only from
dishonour, but met danger face to face, and after one brief moment,
while at the summit of their fortune, escaped, not from their fear,
but from their glory.

“So died these men as became Athenians. You, their survivors, must
determine to have as unfaltering a resolution in the field, though
you may pray that it may have a happier issue. And not contented with
ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up
with the defence of your country, though these would furnish a valuable
text to a speaker even before an audience so alive to them as the
present, you must yourselves realize the power of Athens, and feed
your eyes upon her from day to day, till love of her fills your hearts;
and then, when all her greatness shall break upon you, you must reflect
that it was by courage, sense of duty, and a keen feeling of honour
in action that men were enabled to win all this, and that no personal
failure in an enterprise could make them consent to deprive their
country of their valour, but they laid it at her feet as the most
glorious contribution that they could offer. For this offering of
their lives made in common by them all they each of them individually
received that renown which never grows old, and for a sepulchre, not
so much that in which their bones have been deposited, but that noblest
of shrines wherein their glory is laid up to be eternally remembered
upon every occasion on which deed or story shall call for its commemoration.
For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from
their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is
enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve
it, except that of the heart. These take as your model and, judging
happiness to be the fruit of freedom and freedom of valour, never
decline the dangers of war. For it is not the miserable that would
most justly be unsparing of their lives; these have nothing to hope
for: it is rather they to whom continued life may bring reverses as
yet unknown, and to whom a fall, if it came, would be most tremendous
in its consequences. And surely, to a man of spirit, the degradation
of cowardice must be immeasurably more grievous than the unfelt death
which strikes him in the midst of his strength and patriotism!

“Comfort, therefore, not condolence, is what I have to offer to the
parents of the dead who may be here. Numberless are the chances to
which, as they know, the life of man is subject; but fortunate indeed
are they who draw for their lot a death so glorious as that which
has caused your mourning, and to whom life has been so exactly measured
as to terminate in the happiness in which it has been passed. Still
I know that this is a hard saying, especially when those are in question
of whom you will constantly be reminded by seeing in the homes of
others blessings of which once you also boasted: for grief is felt
not so much for the want of what we have never known, as for the loss
of that to which we have been long accustomed. Yet you who are still
of an age to beget children must bear up in the hope of having others
in their stead; not only will they help you to forget those whom you
have lost, but will be to the state at once a reinforcement and a
security; for never can a fair or just policy be expected of the citizen
who does not, like his fellows, bring to the decision the interests
and apprehensions of a father. While those of you who have passed
your prime must congratulate yourselves with the thought that the
best part of your life was fortunate, and that the brief span that
remains will be cheered by the fame of the departed. For it is only
the love of honour that never grows old; and honour it is, not gain,
as some would have it, that rejoices the heart of age and helplessness.

“Turning to the sons or brothers of the dead, I see an arduous struggle
before you. When a man is gone, all are wont to praise him, and should
your merit be ever so transcendent, you will still find it difficult
not merely to overtake, but even to approach their renown. The living
have envy to contend with, while those who are no longer in our path
are honoured with a goodwill into which rivalry does not enter. On
the other hand, if I must say anything on the subject of female excellence
to those of you who will now be in widowhood, it will be all comprised
in this brief exhortation. Great will be your glory in not falling
short of your natural character; and greatest will be hers who is
least talked of among the men, whether for good or for bad.

“My task is now finished. I have performed it to the best of my ability,
and in word, at least, the requirements of the law are now satisfied.
If deeds be in question, those who are here interred have received
part of their honours already, and for the rest, their children will
be brought up till manhood at the public expense: the state thus offers
a valuable prize, as the garland of victory in this race of valour,
for the reward both of those who have fallen and their survivors.
And where the rewards for merit are greatest, there are found the
best citizens.

“And now that you have brought to a close your lamentations for your
relatives, you may depart.”

Chapter VII

Second Year of the War – The Plague of Athens – Position and Policy
of Pericles – Fall of Potidaea

Such was the funeral that took place during this winter, with which
the first year of the war came to an end. In the first days of summer
the Lacedaemonians and their allies, with two-thirds of their forces
as before, invaded Attica, under the command of Archidamus, son of
Zeuxidamus, King of Lacedaemon, and sat down and laid waste the country.
Not many days after their arrival in Attica the plague first began
to show itself among the Athenians. It was said that it had broken
out in many places previously in the neighbourhood of Lemnos and elsewhere;
but a pestilence of such extent and mortality was nowhere remembered.
Neither were the physicians at first of any service, ignorant as they
were of the proper way to treat it, but they died themselves the most
thickly, as they visited the sick most often; nor did any human art
succeed any better. Supplications in the temples, divinations, and
so forth were found equally futile, till the overwhelming nature of
the disaster at last put a stop to them altogether.

It first began, it is said, in the parts of Ethiopia above Egypt,
and thence descended into Egypt and Libya and into most of the King’s
country. Suddenly falling upon Athens, it first attacked the population
in Piraeus- which was the occasion of their saying that the Peloponnesians
had poisoned the reservoirs, there being as yet no wells there- and
afterwards appeared in the upper city, when the deaths became much
more frequent. All speculation as to its origin and its causes, if
causes can be found adequate to produce so great a disturbance, I
leave to other writers, whether lay or professional; for myself, I
shall simply set down its nature, and explain the symptoms by which
perhaps it may be recognized by the student, if it should ever break
out again. This I can the better do, as I had the disease myself,
and watched its operation in the case of others.

That year then is admitted to have been otherwise unprecedentedly
free from sickness; and such few cases as occurred all determined
in this. As a rule, however, there was no ostensible cause; but people
in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the
head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts,
such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural
and fetid breath. These symptoms were followed by sneezing and hoarseness,
after which the pain soon reached the chest, and produced a hard cough.
When it fixed in the stomach, it upset it; and discharges of bile
of every kind named by physicians ensued, accompanied by very great
distress. In most cases also an ineffectual retching followed, producing
violent spasms, which in some cases ceased soon after, in others much
later. Externally the body was not very hot to the touch, nor pale
in its appearance, but reddish, livid, and breaking out into small
pustules and ulcers. But internally it burned so that the patient
could not bear to have on him clothing or linen even of the very lightest
description; or indeed to be otherwise than stark naked. What they
would have liked best would have been to throw themselves into cold
water; as indeed was done by some of the neglected sick, who plunged
into the rain-tanks in their agonies of unquenchable thirst; though
it made no difference whether they drank little or much. Besides this,
the miserable feeling of not being able to rest or sleep never ceased
to torment them. The body meanwhile did not waste away so long as
the distemper was at its height, but held out to a marvel against
its ravages; so that when they succumbed, as in most cases, on the
seventh or eighth day to the internal inflammation, they had still
some strength in them. But if they passed this stage, and the disease
descended further into the bowels, inducing a violent ulceration there
accompanied by severe diarrhoea, this brought on a weakness which
was generally fatal. For the disorder first settled in the head, ran
its course from thence through the whole of the body, and, even where
it did not prove mortal, it still left its mark on the extremities;
for it settled in the privy parts, the fingers and the toes, and many
escaped with the loss of these, some too with that of their eyes.
Others again were seized with an entire loss of memory on their first
recovery, and did not know either themselves or their friends.

But while the nature of the distemper was such as to baffle all description,
and its attacks almost too grievous for human nature to endure, it
was still in the following circumstance that its difference from all
ordinary disorders was most clearly shown. All the birds and beasts
that prey upon human bodies, either abstained from touching them (though
there were many lying unburied), or died after tasting them. In proof
of this, it was noticed that birds of this kind actually disappeared;
they were not about the bodies, or indeed to be seen at all. But of
course the effects which I have mentioned could best be studied in
a domestic animal like the dog.

Such then, if we pass over the varieties of particular cases which
were many and peculiar, were the general features of the distemper.
Meanwhile the town enjoyed an immunity from all the ordinary disorders;
or if any case occurred, it ended in this. Some died in neglect, others
in the midst of every attention. No remedy was found that could be
used as a specific; for what did good in one case, did harm in another.
Strong and weak constitutions proved equally incapable of resistance,
all alike being swept away, although dieted with the utmost precaution.
By far the most terrible feature in the malady was the dejection which
ensued when any one felt himself sickening, for the despair into which
they instantly fell took away their power of resistance, and left
them a much easier prey to the disorder; besides which, there was
the awful spectacle of men dying like sheep, through having caught
the infection in nursing each other. This caused the greatest mortality.
On the one hand, if they were afraid to visit each other, they perished
from neglect; indeed many houses were emptied of their inmates for
want of a nurse: on the other, if they ventured to do so, death was
the consequence. This was especially the case with such as made any
pretensions to goodness: honour made them unsparing of themselves
in their attendance in their friends’ houses, where even the members
of the family were at last worn out by the moans of the dying, and
succumbed to the force of the disaster. Yet it was with those who
had recovered from the disease that the sick and the dying found most
compassion. These knew what it was from experience, and had now no
fear for themselves; for the same man was never attacked twice- never
at least fatally. And such persons not only received the congratulations
of others, but themselves also, in the elation of the moment, half
entertained the vain hope that they were for the future safe from
any disease whatsoever.

An aggravation of the existing calamity was the influx from the country
into the city, and this was especially felt by the new arrivals. As
there were no houses to receive them, they had to be lodged at the
hot season of the year in stifling cabins, where the mortality raged
without restraint. The bodies of dying men lay one upon another, and
half-dead creatures reeled about the streets and gathered round all
the fountains in their longing for water. The sacred places also in
which they had quartered themselves were full of corpses of persons
that had died there, just as they were; for as the disaster passed
all bounds, men, not knowing what was to become of them, became utterly
careless of everything, whether sacred or profane. All the burial
rites before in use were entirely upset, and they buried the bodies
as best they could. Many from want of the proper appliances, through
so many of their friends having died already, had recourse to the
most shameless sepultures: sometimes getting the start of those who
had raised a pile, they threw their own dead body upon the stranger’s
pyre and ignited it; sometimes they tossed the corpse which they were
carrying on the top of another that was burning, and so went off.

Nor was this the only form of lawless extravagance which owed its
origin to the plague. Men now coolly ventured on what they had formerly
done in a corner, and not just as they pleased, seeing the rapid transitions
produced by persons in prosperity suddenly dying and those who before
had nothing succeeding to their property. So they resolved to spend
quickly and enjoy themselves, regarding their lives and riches as
alike things of a day. Perseverance in what men called honour was
popular with none, it was so uncertain whether they would be spared
to attain the object; but it was settled that present enjoyment, and
all that contributed to it, was both honourable and useful. Fear of
gods or law of man there was none to restrain them. As for the first,
they judged it to be just the same whether they worshipped them or
not, as they saw all alike perishing; and for the last, no one expected
to live to be brought to trial for his offences, but each felt that
a far severer sentence had been already passed upon them all and hung
ever over their heads, and before this fell it was only reasonable
to enjoy life a little.

Such was the nature of the calamity, and heavily did it weigh on the
Athenians; death raging within the city and devastation without. Among
other things which they remembered in their distress was, very naturally,
the following verse which the old men said had long ago been uttered:

A Dorian war shall come and with it death. So a dispute arose as to
whether dearth and not death had not been the word in the verse; but
at the present juncture, it was of course decided in favour of the
latter; for the people made their recollection fit in with their sufferings.
I fancy, however, that if another Dorian war should ever afterwards
come upon us, and a dearth should happen to accompany it, the verse
will probably be read accordingly. The oracle also which had been
given to the Lacedaemonians was now remembered by those who knew of
it. When the god was asked whether they should go to war, he answered
that if they put their might into it, victory would be theirs, and
that he would himself be with them. With this oracle events were supposed
to tally. For the plague broke out as soon as the Peloponnesians invaded
Attica, and never entering Peloponnese (not at least to an extent
worth noticing), committed its worst ravages at Athens, and next to
Athens, at the most populous of the other towns. Such was the history
of the plague.

After ravaging the plain, the Peloponnesians advanced into the Paralian
region as far as Laurium, where the Athenian silver mines are, and
first laid waste the side looking towards Peloponnese, next that which
faces Euboea and Andros. But Pericles, who was still general, held
the same opinion as in the former invasion, and would not let the
Athenians march out against them.

However, while they were still in the plain, and had not yet entered
the Paralian land, he had prepared an armament of a hundred ships
for Peloponnese, and when all was ready put out to sea. On board the
ships he took four thousand Athenian heavy infantry, and three hundred
cavalry in horse transports, and then for the first time made out
of old galleys; fifty Chian and Lesbian vessels also joining in the
expedition. When this Athenian armament put out to sea, they left
the Peloponnesians in Attica in the Paralian region. Arriving at Epidaurus
in Peloponnese they ravaged most of the territory, and even had hopes
of taking the town by an assault: in this however they were not successful.
Putting out from Epidaurus, they laid waste the territory of Troezen,
Halieis, and Hermione, all towns on the coast of Peloponnese, and
thence sailing to Prasiai, a maritime town in Laconia, ravaged part
of its territory, and took and sacked the place itself; after which
they returned home, but found the Peloponnesians gone and no longer
in Attica.

During the whole time that the Peloponnesians were in Attica and the
Athenians on the expedition in their ships, men kept dying of the
plague both in the armament and in Athens. Indeed it was actually
asserted that the departure of the Peloponnesians was hastened by
fear of the disorder; as they heard from deserters that it was in
the city, and also could see the burials going on. Yet in this invasion
they remained longer than in any other, and ravaged the whole country,
for they were about forty days in Attica.

The same summer Hagnon, son of Nicias, and Cleopompus, son of Clinias,
the colleagues of Pericles, took the armament of which he had lately
made use, and went off upon an expedition against the Chalcidians
in the direction of Thrace and Potidaea, which was still under siege.
As soon as they arrived, they brought up their engines against Potidaea
and tried every means of taking it, but did not succeed either in
capturing the city or in doing anything else worthy of their preparations.
For the plague attacked them here also, and committed such havoc as
to cripple them completely, even the previously healthy soldiers of
the former expedition catching the infection from Hagnon’s troops;
while Phormio and the sixteen hundred men whom he commanded only escaped
by being no longer in the neighbourhood of the Chalcidians. The end
of it was that Hagnon returned with his ships to Athens, having lost
one thousand and fifty out of four thousand heavy infantry in about
forty days; though the soldiers stationed there before remained in
the country and carried on the siege of Potidaea.

After the second invasion of the Peloponnesians a change came over
the spirit of the Athenians. Their land had now been twice laid waste;
and war and pestilence at once pressed heavy upon them. They began
to find fault with Pericles, as the author of the war and the cause
of all their misfortunes, and became eager to come to terms with Lacedaemon,
and actually sent ambassadors thither, who did not however succeed
in their mission. Their despair was now complete and all vented itself
upon Pericles. When he saw them exasperated at the present turn of
affairs and acting exactly as he had anticipated, he called an assembly,
being (it must be remembered) still general, with the double object
of restoring confidence and of leading them from these angry feelings
to a calmer and more hopeful state of mind. He accordingly came forward
and spoke as follows:

“I was not unprepared for the indignation of which I have been the
object, as I know its causes; and I have called an assembly for the
purpose of reminding you upon certain points, and of protesting against
your being unreasonably irritated with me, or cowed by your sufferings.
I am of opinion that national greatness is more for the advantage
of private citizens, than any individual well-being coupled with public
humiliation. A man may be personally ever so well off, and yet if
his country be ruined he must be ruined with it; whereas a flourishing
commonwealth always affords chances of salvation to unfortunate individuals.
Since then a state can support the misfortunes of private citizens,
while they cannot support hers, it is surely the duty of every one
to be forward in her defence, and not like you to be so confounded
with your domestic afflictions as to give up all thoughts of the common
safety, and to blame me for having counselled war and yourselves for
having voted it. And yet if you are angry with me, it is with one
who, as I believe, is second to no man either in knowledge of the
proper policy, or in the ability to expound it, and who is moreover
not only a patriot but an honest one. A man possessing that knowledge
without that faculty of exposition might as well have no idea at all
on the matter: if he had both these gifts, but no love for his country,
he would be but a cold advocate for her interests; while were his
patriotism not proof against bribery, everything would go for a price.
So that if you thought that I was even moderately distinguished for
these qualities when you took my advice and went to war, there is
certainly no reason now why I should be charged with having done wrong.

“For those of course who have a free choice in the matter and whose
fortunes are not at stake, war is the greatest of follies. But if
the only choice was between submission with loss of independence,
and danger with the hope of preserving that independence, in such
a case it is he who will not accept the risk that deserves blame,
not he who will. I am the same man and do not alter, it is you who
change, since in fact you took my advice while unhurt, and waited
for misfortune to repent of it; and the apparent error of my policy
lies in the infirmity of your resolution, since the suffering that
it entails is being felt by every one among you, while its advantage
is still remote and obscure to all, and a great and sudden reverse
having befallen you, your mind is too much depressed to persevere
in your resolves. For before what is sudden, unexpected, and least
within calculation, the spirit quails; and putting all else aside,
the plague has certainly been an emergency of this kind. Born, however,
as you are, citizens of a great state, and brought up, as you have
been, with habits equal to your birth, you should be ready to face
the greatest disasters and still to keep unimpaired the lustre of
your name. For the judgment of mankind is as relentless to the weakness
that falls short of a recognized renown, as it is jealous of the arrogance
that aspires higher than its due. Cease then to grieve for your private
afflictions, and address yourselves instead to the safety of the commonwealth.

“If you shrink before the exertions which the war makes necessary,
and fear that after all they may not have a happy result, you know
the reasons by which I have often demonstrated to you the groundlessness
of your apprehensions. If those are not enough, I will now reveal
an advantage arising from the greatness of your dominion, which I
think has never yet suggested itself to you, which I never mentioned
in my previous speeches, and which has so bold a sound that I should
scarce adventure it now, were it not for the unnatural depression
which I see around me. You perhaps think that your empire extends
only over your allies; I will declare to you the truth. The visible
field of action has two parts, land and sea. In the whole of one of
these you are completely supreme, not merely as far as you use it
at present, but also to what further extent you may think fit: in
fine, your naval resources are such that your vessels may go where
they please, without the King or any other nation on earth being able
to stop them. So that although you may think it a great privation
to lose the use of your land and houses, still you must see that this
power is something widely different; and instead of fretting on their
account, you should really regard them in the light of the gardens
and other accessories that embellish a great fortune, and as, in comparison,
of little moment. You should know too that liberty preserved by your
efforts will easily recover for us what we have lost, while, the knee
once bowed, even what you have will pass from you. Your fathers receiving
these possessions not from others, but from themselves, did not let
slip what their labour had acquired, but delivered them safe to you;
and in this respect at least you must prove yourselves their equals,
remembering that to lose what one has got is more disgraceful than
to be balked in getting, and you must confront your enemies not merely
with spirit but with disdain. Confidence indeed a blissful ignorance
can impart, ay, even to a coward’s breast, but disdain is the privilege
of those who, like us, have been assured by reflection of their superiority
to their adversary. And where the chances are the same, knowledge
fortifies courage by the contempt which is its consequence, its trust
being placed, not in hope, which is the prop of the desperate, but
in a judgment grounded upon existing resources, whose anticipations
are more to be depended upon.

“Again, your country has a right to your services in sustaining the
glories of her position. These are a common source of pride to you
all, and you cannot decline the burdens of empire and still expect
to share its honours. You should remember also that what you are fighting
against is not merely slavery as an exchange for independence, but
also loss of empire and danger from the animosities incurred in its
exercise. Besides, to recede is no longer possible, if indeed any
of you in the alarm of the moment has become enamoured of the honesty
of such an unambitious part. For what you hold is, to speak somewhat
plainly, a tyranny; to take it perhaps was wrong, but to let it go
is unsafe. And men of these retiring views, making converts of others,
would quickly ruin a state; indeed the result would be the same if
they could live independent by themselves; for the retiring and unambitious
are never secure without vigorous protectors at their side; in fine,
such qualities are useless to an imperial city, though they may help
a dependency to an unmolested servitude.

“But you must not be seduced by citizens like these or angry with
me- who, if I voted for war, only did as you did yourselves- in spite
of the enemy having invaded your country and done what you could be
certain that he would do, if you refused to comply with his demands;
and although besides what we counted for, the plague has come upon
us- the only point indeed at which our calculation has been at fault.
It is this, I know, that has had a large share in making me more unpopular
than I should otherwise have been- quite undeservedly, unless you
are also prepared to give me the credit of any success with which
chance may present you. Besides, the hand of heaven must be borne
with resignation, that of the enemy with fortitude; this was the old
way at Athens, and do not you prevent it being so still. Remember,
too, that if your country has the greatest name in all the world,
it is because she never bent before disaster; because she has expended
more life and effort in war than any other city, and has won for herself
a power greater than any hitherto known, the memory of which will
descend to the latest posterity; even if now, in obedience to the
general law of decay, we should ever be forced to yield, still it
will be remembered that we held rule over more Hellenes than any other
Hellenic state, that we sustained the greatest wars against their
united or separate powers, and inhabited a city unrivalled by any
other in resources or magnitude. These glories may incur the censure
of the slow and unambitious; but in the breast of energy they will
awake emulation, and in those who must remain without them an envious
regret. Hatred and unpopularity at the moment have fallen to the lot
of all who have aspired to rule others; but where odium must be incurred,
true wisdom incurs it for the highest objects. Hatred also is short-lived;
but that which makes the splendour of the present and the glory of
the future remains for ever unforgotten. Make your decision, therefore,
for glory then and honour now, and attain both objects by instant
and zealous effort: do not send heralds to Lacedaemon, and do not
betray any sign of being oppressed by your present sufferings, since
they whose minds are least sensitive to calamity, and whose hands
are most quick to meet it, are the greatest men and the greatest communities.”

Such were the arguments by which Pericles tried to cure the Athenians
of their anger against him and to divert their thoughts from their
immediate afflictions. As a community he succeeded in convincing them;
they not only gave up all idea of sending to Lacedaemon, but applied
themselves with increased energy to the war; still as private individuals
they could not help smarting under their sufferings, the common people
having been deprived of the little that they were possessed, while
the higher orders had lost fine properties with costly establishments
and buildings in the country, and, worst of all, had war instead of
peace. In fact, the public feeling against him did not subside until
he had been fined. Not long afterwards, however, according to the
way of the multitude, they again elected him general and committed
all their affairs to his hands, having now become less sensitive to
their private and domestic afflictions, and understanding that he
was the best man of all for the public necessities. For as long as
he was at the head of the state during the peace, he pursued a moderate
and conservative policy; and in his time its greatness was at its
height. When the war broke out, here also he seems to have rightly
gauged the power of his country. He outlived its commencement two
years and six months, and the correctness of his previsions respecting
it became better known by his death. He told them to wait quietly,
to pay attention to their marine, to attempt no new conquests, and
to expose the city to no hazards during the war, and doing this, promised
them a favourable result. What they did was the very contrary, allowing
private ambitions and private interests, in matters apparently quite
foreign to the war, to lead them into projects unjust both to themselves
and to their allies- projects whose success would only conduce to
the honour and advantage of private persons, and whose failure entailed
certain disaster on the country in the war. The causes of this are
not far to seek. Pericles indeed, by his rank, ability, and known
integrity, was enabled to exercise an independent control over the
multitude- in short, to lead them instead of being led by them; for
as he never sought power by improper means, he was never compelled
to flatter them, but, on the contrary, enjoyed so high an estimation
that he could afford to anger them by contradiction. Whenever he saw
them unseasonably and insolently elated, he would with a word reduce
them to alarm; on the other hand, if they fell victims to a panic,
he could at once restore them to confidence. In short, what was nominally
a democracy became in his hands government by the first citizen. With
his successors it was different. More on a level with one another,
and each grasping at supremacy, they ended by committing even the
conduct of state affairs to the whims of the multitude. This, as might
have been expected in a great and sovereign state, produced a host
of blunders, and amongst them the Sicilian expedition; though this
failed not so much through a miscalculation of the power of those
against whom it was sent, as through a fault in the senders in not
taking the best measures afterwards to assist those who had gone out,
but choosing rather to occupy themselves with private cabals for the
leadership of the commons, by which they not only paralysed operations
in the field, but also first introduced civil discord at home. Yet
after losing most of their fleet besides other forces in Sicily, and
with faction already dominant in the city, they could still for three
years make head against their original adversaries, joined not only
by the Sicilians, but also by their own allies nearly all in revolt,
and at last by the King’s son, Cyrus, who furnished the funds for
the Peloponnesian navy. Nor did they finally succumb till they fell
the victims of their own intestine disorders. So superfluously abundant
were the resources from which the genius of Pericles foresaw an easy
triumph in the war over the unaided forces of the Peloponnesians.

During the same summer the Lacedaemonians and their allies made an
expedition with a hundred ships against Zacynthus, an island lying
off the coast of Elis, peopled by a colony of Achaeans from Peloponnese,
and in alliance with Athens. There were a thousand Lacedaemonian heavy
infantry on board, and Cnemus, a Spartan, as admiral. They made a
descent from their ships, and ravaged most of the country; but as
the inhabitants would not submit, they sailed back home.

At the end of the same summer the Corinthian Aristeus, Aneristus,
Nicolaus, and Stratodemus, envoys from Lacedaemon, Timagoras, a Tegean,
and a private individual named Pollis from Argos, on their way to
Asia to persuade the King to supply funds and join in the war, came
to Sitalces, son of Teres in Thrace, with the idea of inducing him,
if possible, to forsake the alliance of Athens and to march on Potidaea
then besieged by an Athenian force, and also of getting conveyed by
his means to their destination across the Hellespont to Pharnabazus,
who was to send them up the country to the King. But there chanced
to be with Sitalces some Athenian ambassadors- Learchus, son of Callimachus,
and Ameiniades, son of Philemon- who persuaded Sitalces’ son, Sadocus,
the new Athenian citizen, to put the men into their hands and thus
prevent their crossing over to the King and doing their part to injure
the country of his choice. He accordingly had them seized, as they
were travelling through Thrace to the vessel in which they were to
cross the Hellespont, by a party whom he had sent on with Learchus
and Ameiniades, and gave orders for their delivery to the Athenian
ambassadors, by whom they were brought to Athens. On their arrival,
the Athenians, afraid that Aristeus, who had been notably the prime
mover in the previous affairs of Potidaea and their Thracian possessions,
might live to do them still more mischief if he escaped, slew them
all the same day, without giving them a trial or hearing the defence
which they wished to offer, and cast their bodies into a pit; thinking
themselves justified in using in retaliation the same mode of warfare
which the Lacedaemonians had begun, when they slew and cast into pits
all the Athenian and allied traders whom they caught on board the
merchantmen round Peloponnese. Indeed, at the outset of the war, the
Lacedaemonians butchered as enemies all whom they took on the sea,
whether allies of Athens or neutrals.

About the same time towards the close of the summer, the Ambraciot
forces, with a number of barbarians that they had raised, marched
against the Amphilochian Argos and the rest of that country. The origin
of their enmity against the Argives was this. This Argos and the rest
of Amphilochia were colonized by Amphilochus, son of Amphiaraus. Dissatisfied
with the state of affairs at home on his return thither after the
Trojan War, he built this city in the Ambracian Gulf, and named it
Argos after his own country. This was the largest town in Amphilochia,
and its inhabitants the most powerful. Under the pressure of misfortune
many generations afterwards, they called in the Ambraciots, their
neighbours on the Amphilochian border, to join their colony; and it
was by this union with the Ambraciots that they learnt their present
Hellenic speech, the rest of the Amphilochians being barbarians. After
a time the Ambraciots expelled the Argives and held the city themselves.
Upon this the Amphilochians gave themselves over to the Acarnanians;
and the two together called the Athenians, who sent them Phormio as
general and thirty ships; upon whose arrival they took Argos by storm,
and made slaves of the Ambraciots; and the Amphilochians and Acarnanians
inhabited the town in common. After this began the alliance between
the Athenians and Acarnanians. The enmity of the Ambraciots against
the Argives thus commenced with the enslavement of their citizens;
and afterwards during the war they collected this armament among themselves
and the Chaonians, and other of the neighbouring barbarians. Arrived
before Argos, they became masters of the country; but not being successful
in their attacks upon the town, returned home and dispersed among
their different peoples.

Such were the events of the summer. The ensuing winter the Athenians
sent twenty ships round Peloponnese, under the command of Phormio,
who stationed himself at Naupactus and kept watch against any one
sailing in or out of Corinth and the Crissaean Gulf. Six others went
to Caria and Lycia under Melesander, to collect tribute in those parts,
and also to prevent the Peloponnesian privateers from taking up their
station in those waters and molesting the passage of the merchantmen
from Phaselis and Phoenicia and the adjoining continent. However,
Melesander, going up the country into Lycia with a force of Athenians
from the ships and the allies, was defeated and killed in battle,
with the loss of a number of his troops.

The same winter the Potidaeans at length found themselves no longer
able to hold out against their besiegers. The inroads of the Peloponnesians
into Attica had not had the desired effect of making the Athenians
raise the siege. Provisions there were none left; and so far had distress
for food gone in Potidaea that, besides a number of other horrors,
instances had even occurred of the people having eaten one another.
in this extremity they at last made proposals for capitulating to
the Athenian generals in command against them- Xenophon, son of Euripides,
Hestiodorus, son of Aristocleides, and Phanomachus, son of Callimachus.
The generals accepted their proposals, seeing the sufferings of the
army in so exposed a position; besides which the state had already
spent two thousand talents upon the siege. The terms of the capitulation
were as follows: a free passage out for themselves, their children,
wives and auxiliaries, with one garment apiece, the women with two,
and a fixed sum of money for their journey. Under this treaty they
went out to Chalcidice and other places, according as was their power.
The Athenians, however, blamed the generals for granting terms without
instructions from home, being of opinion that the place would have
had to surrender at discretion. They afterwards sent settlers of their
own to Potidaea, and colonized it. Such were the events of the winter,
and so ended the second year of this war of which Thucydides was the

Chapter VIII

Third Year of the War – Investment of Plataea – Naval Victories of
Phormio – Thracian Irruption into Macedonia under Sitalces

The next summer the Peloponnesians and their allies, instead of invading
Attica, marched against Plataea, under the command of Archidamus,
son of Zeuxidamus, king of the Lacedaemonians. He had encamped his
army and was about to lay waste the country, when the Plataeans hastened
to send envoys to him, and spoke as follows: “Archidamus and Lacedaemonians,
in invading the Plataean territory, you do what is wrong in itself,
and worthy neither of yourselves nor of the fathers who begot you.
Pausanias, son of Cleombrotus, your countryman, after freeing Hellas
from the Medes with the help of those Hellenes who were willing to
undertake the risk of the battle fought near our city, offered sacrifice
to Zeus the Liberator in the marketplace of Plataea, and calling all
the allies together restored to the Plataeans their city and territory,
and declared it independent and inviolate against aggression or conquest.
Should any such be attempted, the allies present were to help according
to their power. Your fathers rewarded us thus for the courage and
patriotism that we displayed at that perilous epoch; but you do just
the contrary, coming with our bitterest enemies, the Thebans, to enslave
us. We appeal, therefore, to the gods to whom the oaths were then
made, to the gods of your ancestors, and lastly to those of our country,
and call upon you to refrain from violating our territory or transgressing
the oaths, and to let us live independent, as Pausanias decreed.”

The Plataeans had got thus far when they were cut short by Archidamus
saying: “There is justice, Plataeans, in what you say, if you act
up to your words. According, to the grant of Pausanias, continue to
be independent yourselves, and join in freeing those of your fellow
countrymen who, after sharing in the perils of that period, joined
in the oaths to you, and are now subject to the Athenians; for it
is to free them and the rest that all this provision and war has been
made. I could wish that you would share our labours and abide by the
oaths yourselves; if this is impossible, do what we have already required
of you- remain neutral, enjoying your own; join neither side, but
receive both as friends, neither as allies for the war. With this
we shall be satisfied.” Such were the words of Archidamus. The Plataeans,
after hearing what he had to say, went into the city and acquainted
the people with what had passed, and presently returned for answer
that it was impossible for them to do what he proposed without consulting
the Athenians, with whom their children and wives now were; besides
which they had their fears for the town. After his departure, what
was to prevent the Athenians from coming and taking it out of their
hands, or the Thebans, who would be included in the oaths, from taking
advantage of the proposed neutrality to make a second attempt to seize
the city? Upon these points he tried to reassure them by saying: “You
have only to deliver over the city and houses to us Lacedaemonians,
to point out the boundaries of your land, the number of your fruit-trees,
and whatever else can be numerically stated, and yourselves to withdraw
wherever you like as long as the war shall last. When it is over we
will restore to you whatever we received, and in the interim hold
it in trust and keep it in cultivation, paying you a sufficient allowance.”

When they had heard what he had to say, they re-entered the city,
and after consulting with the people said that they wished first to
acquaint the Athenians with this proposal, and in the event of their
approving to accede to it; in the meantime they asked him to grant
them a truce and not to lay waste their territory. He accordingly
granted a truce for the number of days requisite for the journey,
and meanwhile abstained from ravaging their territory. The Plataean
envoys went to Athens, and consulted with the Athenians, and returned
with the following message to those in the city: “The Athenians say,
Plataeans, that they never hitherto, since we became their allies,
on any occasion abandoned us to an enemy, nor will they now neglect
us, but will help us according to their ability; and they adjure you
by the oaths which your fathers swore, to keep the alliance unaltered.”

On the delivery of this message by the envoys, the Plataeans resolved
not to be unfaithful to the Athenians but to endure, if it must be,
seeing their lands laid waste and any other trials that might come
to them, and not to send out again, but to answer from the wall that
it was impossible for them to do as the Lacedaemonians proposed. As
soon as he had received this answer, King Archidamus proceeded first
to make a solemn appeal to the gods and heroes of the country in words
following: “Ye gods and heroes of the Plataean territory, be my witnesses
that not as aggressors originally, nor until these had first departed
from the common oath, did we invade this land, in which our fathers
offered you their prayers before defeating the Medes, and which you
made auspicious to the Hellenic arms; nor shall we be aggressors in
the measures to which we may now resort, since we have made many fair
proposals but have not been successful. Graciously accord that those
who were the first to offend may be punished for it, and that vengeance
may be attained by those who would righteously inflict it.”

After this appeal to the gods Archidamus put his army in motion. First
he enclosed the town with a palisade formed of the fruit-trees which
they cut down, to prevent further egress from Plataea; next they threw
up a mound against the city, hoping that the largeness of the force
employed would ensure the speedy reduction of the place. They accordingly
cut down timber from Cithaeron, and built it up on either side, laying
it like lattice-work to serve as a wall to keep the mound from spreading
abroad, and carried to it wood and stones and earth and whatever other
material might help to complete it. They continued to work at the
mound for seventy days and nights without intermission, being divided
into relief parties to allow of some being employed in carrying while
others took sleep and refreshment; the Lacedaemonian officer attached
to each contingent keeping the men to the work. But the Plataeans,
observing the progress of the mound, constructed a wall of wood and
fixed it upon that part of the city wall against which the mound was
being erected, and built up bricks inside it which they took from
the neighbouring houses. The timbers served to bind the building together,
and to prevent its becoming weak as it advanced in height; it had
also a covering of skins and hides, which protected the woodwork against
the attacks of burning missiles and allowed the men to work in safety.
Thus the wall was raised to a great height, and the mound opposite
made no less rapid progress. The Plataeans also thought of another
expedient; they pulled out part of the wall upon which the mound abutted,
and carried the earth into the city.

Discovering this the Peloponnesians twisted up clay in wattles of
reed and threw it into the breach formed in the mound, in order to
give it consistency and prevent its being carried away like the soil.
Stopped in this way the Plataeans changed their mode of operation,
and digging a mine from the town calculated their way under the mound,
and began to carry off its material as before. This went on for a
long while without the enemy outside finding it out, so that for all
they threw on the top their mound made no progress in proportion,
being carried away from beneath and constantly settling down in the
vacuum. But the Plataeans, fearing that even thus they might not be
able to hold out against the superior numbers of the enemy, had yet
another invention. They stopped working at the large building in front
of the mound, and starting at either end of it inside from the old
low wall, built a new one in the form of a crescent running in towards
the town; in order that in the event of the great wall being taken
this might remain, and the enemy have to throw up a fresh mound against
it, and as they advanced within might not only have their trouble
over again, but also be exposed to missiles on their flanks. While
raising the mound the Peloponnesians also brought up engines against
the city, one of which was brought up upon the mound against the great
building and shook down a good piece of it, to the no small alarm
of the Plataeans. Others were advanced against different parts of
the wall but were lassoed and broken by the Plataeans; who also hung
up great beams by long iron chains from either extremity of two poles
laid on the wall and projecting over it, and drew them up at an angle
whenever any point was threatened by the engine, and loosing their
hold let the beam go with its chains slack, so that it fell with a
run and snapped off the nose of the battering ram.

After this the Peloponnesians, finding that their engines effected
nothing, and that their mound was met by the counterwork, concluded
that their present means of offence were unequal to the taking of
the city, and prepared for its circumvallation. First, however, they
determined to try the effects of fire and see whether they could not,
with the help of a wind, burn the town, as it was not a large one;
indeed they thought of every possible expedient by which the place
might be reduced without the expense of a blockade. They accordingly
brought faggots of brushwood and threw them from the mound, first
into the space between it and the wall; and this soon becoming full
from the number of hands at work, they next heaped the faggots up
as far into the town as they could reach from the top, and then lighted
the wood by setting fire to it with sulphur and pitch. The consequence
was a fire greater than any one had ever yet seen produced by human
agency, though it could not of course be compared to the spontaneous
conflagrations sometimes known to occur through the wind rubbing the
branches of a mountain forest together. And this fire was not only
remarkable for its magnitude, but was also, at the end of so many
perils, within an ace of proving fatal to the Plataeans; a great part
of the town became entirely inaccessible, and had a wind blown upon
it, in accordance with the hopes of the enemy, nothing could have
saved them. As it was, there is also a story of heavy rain and thunder
having come on by which the fire was put out and the danger averted.

Failing in this last attempt the Peloponnesians left a portion of
their forces on the spot, dismissing the rest, and built a wall of
circumvallation round the town, dividing the ground among the various
cities present; a ditch being made within and without the lines, from
which they got their bricks. All being finished by about the rising
of Arcturus, they left men enough to man half the wall, the rest being
manned by the Boeotians, and drawing off their army dispersed to their
several cities. The Plataeans had before sent off their wives and
children and oldest men and the mass of the non-combatants to Athens;
so that the number of the besieged left in the place comprised four
hundred of their own citizens, eighty Athenians, and a hundred and
ten women to bake their bread. This was the sum total at the commencement
of the siege, and there was no one else within the walls, bond or
free. Such were the arrangements made for the blockade of Plataea.

The same summer and simultaneously with the expedition against Plataea,
the Athenians marched with two thousand heavy infantry and two hundred
horse against the Chalcidians in the direction of Thrace and the Bottiaeans,
just as the corn was getting ripe, under the command of Xenophon,
son of Euripides, with two colleagues. Arriving before Spartolus in
Bottiaea, they destroyed the corn and had some hopes of the city coming
over through the intrigues of a faction within. But those of a different
way of thinking had sent to Olynthus; and a garrison of heavy infantry
and other troops arrived accordingly. These issuing from Spartolus
were engaged by the Athenians in front of the town: the Chalcidian
heavy infantry, and some auxiliaries with them, were beaten and retreated
into Spartolus; but the Chalcidian horse and light troops defeated
the horse and light troops of the Athenians. The Chalcidians had already
a few targeteers from Crusis, and presently after the battle were
joined by some others from Olynthus; upon seeing whom the light troops
from Spartolus, emboldened by this accession and by their previous
success, with the help of the Chalcidian horse and the reinforcement
just arrived again attacked the Athenians, who retired upon the two
divisions which they had left with their baggage. Whenever the Athenians
advanced, their adversary gave way, pressing them with missiles the
instant they began to retire. The Chalcidian horse also, riding up
and charging them just as they pleased, at last caused a panic amongst
them and routed and pursued them to a great distance. The Athenians
took refuge in Potidaea, and afterwards recovered their dead under
truce, and returned to Athens with the remnant of their army; four
hundred and thirty men and all the generals having fallen. The Chalcidians
and Bottiaeans set up a trophy, took up their dead, and dispersed
to their several cities.

The same summer, not long after this, the Ambraciots and Chaonians,
being desirous of reducing the whole of Acarnania and detaching it
from Athens, persuaded the Lacedaemonians to equip a fleet from their
confederacy and send a thousand heavy infantry to Acarnania, representing
that, if a combined movement were made by land and sea, the coast
Acarnanians would be unable to march, and the conquest of Zacynthus
and Cephallenia easily following on the possession of Acarnania, the
cruise round Peloponnese would be no longer so convenient for the
Athenians. Besides which there was a hope of taking Naupactus. The
Lacedaemonians accordingly at once sent off a few vessels with Cnemus,
who was still high admiral, and the heavy infantry on board; and sent
round orders for the fleet to equip as quickly as possible and sail
to Leucas. The Corinthians were the most forward in the business;
the Ambraciots being a colony of theirs. While the ships from Corinth,
Sicyon, and the neighbourhood were getting ready, and those from Leucas,
Anactorium, and Ambracia, which had arrived before, were walting for
them at Leucas, Cnemus and his thousand heavy infantry had run into
the gulf, giving the slip to Phormio, the commander of the Athenian
squadron stationed off Naupactus, and began at once to prepare for
the land expedition. The Hellenic troops with him consisted of the
Ambraciots, Leucadians, and Anactorians, and the thousand Peloponnesians
with whom he came; the barbarian of a thousand Chaonians, who, belonging
to a nation that has no king, were led by Photys and Nicanor, the
two members of the royal family to whom the chieftainship for that
year had been confided. With the Chaonians came also some Thesprotians,
like them without a king, some Molossians and Atintanians led by Sabylinthus,
the guardian of King Tharyps who was still a minor, and some Paravaeans,
under their king Oroedus, accompanied by a thousand Orestians, subjects
of King Antichus and placed by him under the command of Oroedus. There
were also a thousand Macedonians sent by Perdiccas without the knowledge
of the Athenians, but they arrived too late. With this force Cnemus
set out, without waiting for the fleet from Corinth. Passing through
the territory of Amphilochian Argos, and sacking the open village
of Limnaea, they advanced to Stratus the Acarnanian capital; this
once taken, the rest of the country, they felt convinced, would speedily

The Acarnanians, finding themselves invaded by a large army by land,
and from the sea threatened by a hostile fleet, made no combined attempt
at resistance, but remained to defend their homes, and sent for help
to Phormio, who replied that, when a fleet was on the point of sailing
from Corinth, it was impossible for him to leave Naupactus unprotected.
The Peloponnesians meanwhile and their allies advanced upon Stratus
in three divisions, with the intention of encamping near it and attempting
the wall by force if they failed to succeed by negotiation. The order
of march was as follows: the centre was occupied by the Chaonians
and the rest of the barbarians, with the Leucadians and Anactorians
and their followers on the right, and Cnemus with the Peloponnesians
and Ambraciots on the left; each division being a long way off from,
and sometimes even out of sight of, the others. The Hellenes advanced
in good order, keeping a look-out till they encamped in a good position;
but the Chaonians, filled with self-confidence, and having the highest
character for courage among the tribes of that part of the continent,
without waiting to occupy their camp, rushed on with the rest of the
barbarians, in the idea that they should take the town by assault
and obtain the sole glory of the enterprise. While they were coming
on, the Stratians, becoming aware how things stood, and thinking that
the defeat of this division would considerably dishearten the Hellenes
behind it, occupied the environs of the town with ambuscades, and
as soon as they approached engaged them at close quarters from the
city and the ambuscades. A panic seizing the Chaonians, great numbers
of them were slain; and as soon as they were seen to give way the
rest of the barbarians turned and fled. Owing to the distance by which
their allies had preceded them, neither of the Hellenic divisions
knew anything of the battle, but fancied they were hastening on to
encamp. However, when the flying barbarians broke in upon them, they
opened their ranks to receive them, brought their divisions together,
and stopped quiet where they were for the day; the Stratians not offering
to engage them, as the rest of the Acarnanians had not yet arrived,
but contenting themselves with slinging at them from a distance, which
distressed them greatly, as there was no stirring without their armour.
The Acarnanians would seem to excel in this mode of warfare.

As soon as night fell, Cnemus hastily drew off his army to the river
Anapus, about nine miles from Stratus, recovering his dead next day
under truce, and being there joined by the friendly Oeniadae, fell
back upon their city before the enemy’s reinforcements came up. From
hence each returned home; and the Stratians set up a trophy for the
battle with the barbarians.

Meanwhile the fleet from Corinth and the rest of the confederates
in the Crissaean Gulf, which was to have co-operated with Cnemus and
prevented the coast Acarnanians from joining their countrymen in the
interior, was disabled from doing so by being compelled about the
same time as the battle at Stratus to fight with Phormio and the twenty
Athenian vessels stationed at Naupactus. For they were watched, as
they coasted along out of the gulf, by Phormio, who wished to attack
in the open sea. But the Corinthians and allies had started for Acarnania
without any idea of fighting at sea, and with vessels more like transports
for carrying soldiers; besides which, they never dreamed of the twenty
Athenian ships venturing to engage their forty-seven. However, while
they were coasting along their own shore, there were the Athenians
sailing along in line with them; and when they tried to cross over
from Patrae in Achaea to the mainland on the other side, on their
way to Acarnania, they saw them again coming out from Chalcis and
the river Evenus to meet them. They slipped from their moorings in
the night, but were observed, and were at length compelled to fight
in mid passage. Each state that contributed to the armament had its
own general; the Corinthian commanders were Machaon, Isocrates, and
Agatharchidas. The Peloponnesians ranged their vessels in as large
a circle as possible without leaving an opening, with the prows outside
and the sterns in; and placed within all the small craft in company,
and their five best sailers to issue out at a moment’s notice and
strengthen any point threatened by the enemy.

The Athenians, formed in line, sailed round and round them, and forced
them to contract their circle, by continually brushing past and making
as though they would attack at once, having been previously cautioned
by Phormio not to do so till he gave the signal. His hope was that
the Peloponnesians would not retain their order like a force on shore,
but that the ships would fall foul of one another and the small craft
cause confusion; and if the wind should blow from the gulf (in expectation
of which he kept sailing round them, and which usually rose towards
morning), they would not, he felt sure, remain steady an instant.
He also thought that it rested with him to attack when he pleased,
as his ships were better sailers, and that an attack timed by the
coming of the wind would tell best. When the wind came down, the enemy’s
ships were now in a narrow space, and what with the wind and the small
craft dashing against them, at once fell into confusion: ship fell
foul of ship, while the crews were pushing them off with poles, and
by their shouting, swearing, and struggling with one another, made
captains’ orders and boatswains’ cries alike inaudible, and through
being unable for want of practice to clear their oars in the rough
water, prevented the vessels from obeying their helmsmen properly.
At this moment Phormio gave the signal, and the Athenians attacked.
Sinking first one of the admirals, they then disabled all they came
across, so that no one thought of resistance for the confusion, but
fled for Patrae and Dyme in Achaea. The Athenians gave chase and captured
twelve ships, and taking most of the men out of them sailed to Molycrium,
and after setting up a trophy on the promontory of Rhium and dedicating
a ship to Poseidon, returned to Naupactus. As for the Peloponnesians,
they at once sailed with their remaining ships along the coast from
Dyme and Patrae to Cyllene, the Eleian arsenal; where Cnemus, and
the ships from Leucas that were to have joined them, also arrived
after the battle at Stratus.

The Lacedaemonians now sent to the fleet to Cnemus three commissioners-
Timocrates, Bradidas, and Lycophron- with orders to prepare to engage
again with better fortune, and not to be driven from the sea by a
few vessels; for they could not at all account for their discomfiture,
the less so as it was their first attempt at sea; and they fancied
that it was not that their marine was so inferior, but that there
had been misconduct somewhere, not considering the long experience
of the Athenians as compared with the little practice which they had
had themselves. The commissioners were accordingly sent in anger.
As soon as they arrived they set to work with Cnemus to order ships
from the different states, and to put those which they already had
in fighting order. Meanwhile Phormio sent word to Athens of their
preparations and his own victory, and desired as many ships as possible
to be speedily sent to him, as he stood in daily expectation of a
battle. Twenty were accordingly sent, but instructions were given
to their commander to go first to Crete. For Nicias, a Cretan of Gortys,
who was proxenus of the Athenians, had persuaded them to sail against
Cydonia, promising to procure the reduction of that hostile town;
his real wish being to oblige the Polichnitans, neighbours of the
Cydonians. He accordingly went with the ships to Crete, and, accompanied
by the Polichnitans, laid waste the lands of the Cydonians; and, what
with adverse winds and stress of weather wasted no little time there.

While the Athenians were thus detained in Crete, the Peloponnesians
in Cyllene got ready for battle, and coasted along to Panormus in
Achaea, where their land army had come to support them. Phormio also
coasted along to Molycrian Rhium, and anchored outside it with twenty
ships, the same as he had fought with before. This Rhium was friendly
to the Athenians. The other, in Peloponnese, lies opposite to it;
the sea between them is about three-quarters of a mile broad, and
forms the mouth of the Crissaean gulf. At this, the Achaean Rhium,
not far off Panormus, where their army lay, the Peloponnesians now
cast anchor with seventy-seven ships, when they saw the Athenians
do so. For six or seven days they remained opposite each other, practising
and preparing for the battle; the one resolved not to sail out of
the Rhia into the open sea, for fear of the disaster which had already
happened to them, the other not to sail into the straits, thinking
it advantageous to the enemy, to fight in the narrows. At last Cnemus
and Brasidas and the rest of the Peloponnesian commanders, being desirous
of bringing on a battle as soon as possible, before reinforcements
should arrive from Athens, and noticing that the men were most of
them cowed by the previous defeat and out of heart for the business,
first called them together and encouraged them as follows:

“Peloponnesians, the late engagement, which may have made some of
you afraid of the one now in prospect, really gives no just ground
for apprehension. Preparation for it, as you know, there was little
enough; and the object of our voyage was not so much to fight at sea
as an expedition by land. Besides this, the chances of war were largely
against us; and perhaps also inexperience had something to do with
our failure in our first naval action. It was not, therefore, cowardice
that produced our defeat, nor ought the determination which force
has not quelled, but which still has a word to say with its adversary,
to lose its edge from the result of an accident; but admitting the
possibility of a chance miscarriage, we should know that brave hearts
must be always brave, and while they remain so can never put forward
inexperience as an excuse for misconduct. Nor are you so behind the
enemy in experience as you are ahead of him in courage; and although
the science of your opponents would, if valour accompanied it, have
also the presence of mind to carry out at in emergency the lesson
it has learnt, yet a faint heart will make all art powerless in the
face of danger. For fear takes away presence of mind, and without
valour art is useless. Against their superior experience set your
superior daring, and against the fear induced by defeat the fact of
your having been then unprepared; remember, too, that you have always
the advantage of superior numbers, and of engaging off your own coast,
supported by your heavy infantry; and as a rule, numbers and equipment
give victory. At no point, therefore, is defeat likely; and as for
our previous mistakes, the very fact of their occurrence will teach
us better for the future. Steersmen and sailors may, therefore, confidently
attend to their several duties, none quitting the station assigned
to them: as for ourselves, we promise to prepare for the engagement
at least as well as your previous commanders, and to give no excuse
for any one misconducting himself. Should any insist on doing so,
he shall meet with the punishment he deserves, while the brave shall
be honoured with the appropriate rewards of valour.”

The Peloponnesian commanders encouraged their men after this fashion.
Phormio, meanwhile, being himself not without fears for the courage
of his men, and noticing that they were forming in groups among themselves
and were alarmed at the odds against them, desired to call them together
and give them confidence and counsel in the present emergency. He
had before continually told them, and had accustomed their minds to
the idea, that there was no numerical superiority that they could
not face; and the men themselves had long been persuaded that Athenians
need never retire before any quantity of Peloponnesian vessels. At
the moment, however, he saw that they were dispirited by the sight
before them, and wishing to refresh their confidence, called them
together and spoke as follows:

“I see, my men, that you are frightened by the number of the enemy,
and I have accordingly called you together, not liking you to be afraid
of what is not really terrible. In the first place, the Peloponnesians,
already defeated, and not even themselves thinking that they are a
match for us, have not ventured to meet us on equal terms, but have
equipped this multitude of ships against us. Next, as to that upon
which they most rely, the courage which they suppose constitutional
to them, their confidence here only arises from the success which
their experience in land service usually gives them, and which they
fancy will do the same for them at sea. But this advantage will in
all justice belong to us on this element, if to them on that; as they
are not superior to us in courage, but we are each of us more confident,
according to our experience in our particular department. Besides,
as the Lacedaemonians use their supremacy over their allies to promote
their own glory, they are most of them being brought into danger against
their will, or they would never, after such a decided defeat, have
ventured upon a fresh engagement. You need not, therefore, be afraid
of their dash. You, on the contrary, inspire a much greater and better
founded alarm, both because of your late victory and also of their
belief that we should not face them unless about to do something worthy
of a success so signal. An adversary numerically superior, like the
one before us, comes into action trusting more to strength than to
resolution; while he who voluntarily confronts tremendous odds must
have very great internal resources to draw upon. For these reasons
the Peloponnesians fear our irrational audacity more than they would
ever have done a more commensurate preparation. Besides, many armaments
have before now succumbed to an inferior through want of skill or
sometimes of courage; neither of which defects certainly are ours.
As to the battle, it shall not be, if I can help it, in the strait,
nor will I sail in there at all; seeing that in a contest between
a number of clumsily managed vessels and a small, fast, well-handled
squadron, want of sea room is an undoubted disadvantage. One cannot
run down an enemy properly without having a sight of him a good way
off, nor can one retire at need when pressed; one can neither break
the line nor return upon his rear, the proper tactics for a fast sailer;
but the naval action necessarily becomes a land one, in which numbers
must decide the matter. For all this I will provide as far as can
be. Do you stay at your posts by your ships, and be sharp at catching
the word of command, the more so as we are observing one another from
so short a distance; and in action think order and silence all-important-
qualities useful in war generally, and in naval engagements in particular;
and behave before the enemy in a manner worthy of your past exploits.
The issues you will fight for are great- to destroy the naval hopes
of the Peloponnesians or to bring nearer to the Athenians their fears
for the sea. And I may once more remind you that you have defeated
most of them already; and beaten men do not face a danger twice with
the same determination.”

Such was the exhortation of Phormio. The Peloponnesians finding that
the Athenians did not sail into the gulf and the narrows, in order
to lead them in whether they wished it or not, put out at dawn, and
forming four abreast, sailed inside the gulf in the direction of their
own country, the right wing leading as they had lain at anchor. In
this wing were placed twenty of their best sailers; so that in the
event of Phormio thinking that their object was Naupactus, and coasting
along thither to save the place, the Athenians might not be able to
escape their onset by getting outside their wing, but might be cut
off by the vessels in question. As they expected, Phormio, in alarm
for the place at that moment emptied of its garrison, as soon as he
saw them put out, reluctantly and hurriedly embarked and sailed along
shore; the Messenian land forces moving along also to support him.
The Peloponnesians seeing him coasting along with his ships in single
file, and by this inside the gulf and close inshore as they so much
wished, at one signal tacked suddenly and bore down in line at their
best speed on the Athenians, hoping to cut off the whole squadron.
The eleven leading vessels, however, escaped the Peloponnesian wing
and its sudden movement, and reached the more open water; but the
rest were overtaken as they tried to run through, driven ashore and
disabled; such of the crews being slain as had not swum out of them.
Some of the ships the Peloponnesians lashed to their own, and towed
off empty; one they took with the men in it; others were just being
towed off, when they were saved by the Messenians dashing into the
sea with their armour and fighting from the decks that they had boarded.

Thus far victory was with the Peloponnesians, and the Athenian fleet
destroyed; the twenty ships in the right wing being meanwhile in chase
of the eleven Athenian vessels that had escaped their sudden movement
and reached the more open water. These, with the exception of one
ship, all outsailed them and got safe into Naupactus, and forming
close inshore opposite the temple of Apollo, with their prows facing
the enemy, prepared to defend themselves in case the Peloponnesians
should sail inshore against them. After a while the Peloponnesians
came up, chanting the paean for their victory as they sailed on; the
single Athenian ship remaining being chased by a Leucadian far ahead
of the rest. But there happened to be a merchantman lying at anchor
in the roadstead, which the Athenian ship found time to sail round,
and struck the Leucadian in chase amidships and sank her. An exploit
so sudden and unexpected produced a panic among the Peloponnesians;
and having fallen out of order in the excitement of victory, some
of them dropped their oars and stopped their way in order to let the
main body come up- an unsafe thing to do considering how near they
were to the enemy’s prows; while others ran aground in the shallows,
in their ignorance of the localities.

Elated at this incident, the Athenians at one word gave a cheer, and
dashed at the enemy, who, embarrassed by his mistakes and the disorder
in which he found himself, only stood for an instant, and then fled
for Panormus, whence he had put out. The Athenians following on his
heels took the six vessels nearest them, and recovered those of their
own which had been disabled close inshore and taken in tow at the
beginning of the action; they killed some of the crews and took some
prisoners. On board the Leucadian which went down off the merchantman,
was the Lacedaemonian Timocrates, who killed himself when the ship
was sunk, and was cast up in the harbour of Naupactus. The Athenians
on their return set up a trophy on the spot from which they had put
out and turned the day, and picking up the wrecks and dead that were
on their shore, gave back to the enemy their dead under truce. The
Peloponnesians also set up a trophy as victors for the defeat inflicted
upon the ships they had disabled in shore, and dedicated the vessel
which they had taken at Achaean Rhium, side by side with the trophy.
After this, apprehensive of the reinforcement expected from Athens,
all except the Leucadians sailed into the Crissaean Gulf for Corinth.
Not long after their retreat, the twenty Athenian ships, which were
to have joined Phormio before the battle, arrived at Naupactus.

Thus the summer ended. Winter was now at hand; but dispersing the
fleet, which had retired to Corinth and the Crissaean Gulf, Cnemus,
Brasidas, and the other Peloponnesian captains allowed themselves
to be persuaded by the Megarians to make an attempt upon Piraeus,
the port of Athens, which from her decided superiority at sea had
been naturally left unguarded and open. Their plan was as follows:
The men were each to take their oar, cushion, and rowlock thong, and,
going overland from Corinth to the sea on the Athenian side, to get
to Megara as quickly as they could, and launching forty vessels, which
happened to be in the docks at Nisaea, to sail at once to Piraeus.
There was no fleet on the look-out in the harbour, and no one had
the least idea of the enemy attempting a surprise; while an open attack
would, it was thought, never be deliberately ventured on, or, if in
contemplation, would be speedily known at Athens. Their plan formed,
the next step was to put it in execution. Arriving by night and launching
the vessels from Nisaea, they sailed, not to Piraeus as they had originally
intended, being afraid of the risk, besides which there was some talk
of a wind having stopped them, but to the point of Salamis that looks
towards Megara; where there was a fort and a squadron of three ships
to prevent anything sailing in or out of Megara. This fort they assaulted,
and towed off the galleys empty, and surprising the inhabitants began
to lay waste the rest of the island.

Meanwhile fire signals were raised to alarm Athens, and a panic ensued
there as serious as any that occurred during the war. The idea in
the city was that the enemy had already sailed into Piraeus: in Piraeus
it was thought that they had taken Salamis and might at any moment
arrive in the port; as indeed might easily have been done if their
hearts had been a little firmer: certainly no wind would have prevented
them. As soon as day broke, the Athenians assembled in full force,
launched their ships, and embarking in haste and uproar went with
the fleet to Salamis, while their soldiery mounted guard in Piraeus.
The Peloponnesians, on becoming aware of the coming relief, after
they had overrun most of Salamis, hastily sailed off with their plunder
and captives and the three ships from Fort Budorum to Nisaea; the
state of their ships also causing them some anxiety, as it was a long
while since they had been launched, and they were not water-tight.
Arrived at Megara, they returned back on foot to Corinth. The Athenians
finding them no longer at Salamis, sailed back themselves; and after
this made arrangements for guarding Piraeus more diligently in future,
by closing the harbours, and by other suitable precautions.

About the same time, at the beginning of this winter, Sitalces, son
of Teres, the Odrysian king of Thrace, made an expedition against
Perdiccas, son of Alexander, king of Macedonia, and the Chalcidians
in the neighbourhood of Thrace; his object being to enforce one promise
and fulfil another. On the one hand Perdiccas had made him a promise,
when hard pressed at the commencement of the war, upon condition that
Sitalces should reconcile the Athenians to him and not attempt to
restore his brother and enemy, the pretender Philip, but had not offered
to fulfil his engagement; on the other he, Sitalces, on entering into
alliance with the Athenians, had agreed to put an end to the Chalcidian
war in Thrace. These were the two objects of his invasion. With him
he brought Amyntas, the son of Philip, whom he destined for the throne
of Macedonia, and some Athenian envoys then at his court on this business,
and Hagnon as general; for the Athenians were to join him against
the Chalcidians with a fleet and as many soldiers as they could get

Beginning with the Odrysians, he first called out the Thracian tribes
subject to him between Mounts Haemus and Rhodope and the Euxine and
Hellespont; next the Getae beyond Haemus, and the other hordes settled
south of the Danube in the neighbourhood of the Euxine, who, like
the Getae, border on the Scythians and are armed in the same manner,
being all mounted archers. Besides these he summoned many of the hill
Thracian independent swordsmen, called Dii and mostly inhabiting Mount
Rhodope, some of whom came as mercenaries, others as volunteers; also
the Agrianes and Laeaeans, and the rest of the Paeonian tribes in
his empire, at the confines of which these lay, extending up to the
Laeaean Paeonians and the river Strymon, which flows from Mount Scombrus
through the country of the Agrianes and Laeaeans; there the empire
of Sitalces ends and the territory of the independent Paeonians begins.
Bordering on the Triballi, also independent, were the Treres and Tilataeans,
who dwell to the north of Mount Scombrus and extend towards the setting
sun as far as the river Oskius. This river rises in the same mountains
as the Nestus and Hebrus, a wild and extensive range connected with

The empire of the Odrysians extended along the seaboard from Abdera
to the mouth of the Danube in the Euxine. The navigation of this coast
by the shortest route takes a merchantman four days and four nights
with a wind astern the whole way: by land an active man, travelling
by the shortest road, can get from Abdera to the Danube in eleven
days. Such was the length of its coast line. Inland from Byzantium
to the Laeaeans and the Strymon, the farthest limit of its extension
into the interior, it is a journey of thirteen days for an active
man. The tribute from all the barbarian districts and the Hellenic
cities, taking what they brought in under Seuthes, the successor of
Sitalces, who raised it to its greatest height, amounted to about
four hundred talents in gold and silver. There were also presents
in gold and silver to a no less amount, besides stuff, plain and embroidered,
and other articles, made not only for the king, but also for the Odrysian
lords and nobles. For there was here established a custom opposite
to that prevailing in the Persian kingdom, namely, of taking rather
than giving; more disgrace being attached to not giving when asked
than to asking and being refused; and although this prevailed elsewhere
in Thrace, it was practised most extensively among the powerful Odrysians,
it being impossible to get anything done without a present. It was
thus a very powerful kingdom; in revenue and general prosperity surpassing
all in Europe between the Ionian Gulf and the Euxine, and in numbers
and military resources coming decidedly next to the Scythians, with
whom indeed no people in Europe can bear comparison, there not being
even in Asia any nation singly a match for them if unanimous, though
of course they are not on a level with other races in general intelligence
and the arts of civilized life.

It was the master of this empire that now prepared to take the field.
When everything was ready, he set out on his march for Macedonia,
first through his own dominions, next over the desolate range of Cercine
that divides the Sintians and Paeonians, crossing by a road which
he had made by felling the timber on a former campaign against the
latter people. Passing over these mountains, with the Paeonians on
his right and the Sintians and Maedians on the left, he finally arrived
at Doberus, in Paeonia, losing none of his army on the march, except
perhaps by sickness, but receiving some augmentations, many of the
independent Thracians volunteering to join him in the hope of plunder;
so that the whole is said to have formed a grand total of a hundred
and fifty thousand. Most of this was infantry, though there was about
a third cavalry, furnished principally by the Odrysians themselves
and next to them by the Getae. The most warlike of the infantry were
the independent swordsmen who came down from Rhodope; the rest of
the mixed multitude that followed him being chiefly formidable by
their numbers.

Assembling in Doberus, they prepared for descending from the heights
upon Lower Macedonia, where the dominions of Perdiccas lay; for the
Lyncestae, Elimiots, and other tribes more inland, though Macedonians
by blood, and allies and dependants of their kindred, still have their
own separate governments. The country on the sea coast, now called
Macedonia, was first acquired by Alexander, the father of Perdiccas,
and his ancestors, originally Temenids from Argos. This was effected
by the expulsion from Pieria of the Pierians, who afterwards inhabited
Phagres and other places under Mount Pangaeus, beyond the Strymon
(indeed the country between Pangaeus and the sea is still called the
Pierian Gulf); of the Bottiaeans, at present neighbours of the Chalcidians,
from Bottia, and by the acquisition in Paeonia of a narrow strip along
the river Axius extending to Pella and the sea; the district of Mygdonia,
between the Axius and the Strymon, being also added by the expulsion
of the Edonians. From Eordia also were driven the Eordians, most of
whom perished, though a few of them still live round Physca, and the
Almopians from Almopia. These Macedonians also conquered places belonging
to the other tribes, which are still theirs- Anthemus, Crestonia,
Bisaltia, and much of Macedonia proper. The whole is now called Macedonia,
and at the time of the invasion of Sitalces, Perdiccas, Alexander’s
son, was the reigning king.

These Macedonians, unable to take the field against so numerous an
invader, shut themselves up in such strong places and fortresses as
the country possessed. Of these there was no great number, most of
those now found in the country having been erected subsequently by
Archelaus, the son of Perdiccas, on his accession, who also cut straight
roads, and otherwise put the kingdom on a better footing as regards
horses, heavy infantry, and other war material than had been done
by all the eight kings that preceded him. Advancing from Doberus,
the Thracian host first invaded what had been once Philip’s government,
and took Idomene by assault, Gortynia, Atalanta, and some other places
by negotiation, these last coming over for love of Philip’s son, Amyntas,
then with Sitalces. Laying siege to Europus, and failing to take it,
he next advanced into the rest of Macedonia to the left of Pella and
Cyrrhus, not proceeding beyond this into Bottiaea and Pieria, but
staying to lay waste Mygdonia, Crestonia, and Anthemus.

The Macedonians never even thought of meeting him with infantry; but
the Thracian host was, as opportunity offered, attacked by handfuls
of their horse, which had been reinforced from their allies in the
interior. Armed with cuirasses, and excellent horsemen, wherever these
charged they overthrew all before them, but ran considerable risk
in entangling themselves in the masses of the enemy, and so finally
desisted from these efforts, deciding that they were not strong enough
to venture against numbers so superior.

Meanwhile Sitalces opened negotiations with Perdiccas on the objects
of his expedition; and finding that the Athenians, not believing that
he would come, did not appear with their fleet, though they sent presents
and envoys, dispatched a large part of his army against the Chalcidians
and Bottiaeans, and shutting them up inside their walls laid waste
their country. While he remained in these parts, the people farther
south, such as the Thessalians, Magnetes, and the other tribes subject
to the Thessalians, and the Hellenes as far as Thermopylae, all feared
that the army might advance against them, and prepared accordingly.
These fears were shared by the Thracians beyond the Strymon to the
north, who inhabited the plains, such as the Panaeans, the Odomanti,
the Droi, and the Dersaeans, all of whom are independent. It was even
matter of conversation among the Hellenes who were enemies of Athens
whether he might not be invited by his ally to advance also against
them. Meanwhile he held Chalcidice and Bottice and Macedonia, and
was ravaging them all; but finding that he was not succeeding in any
of the objects of his invasion, and that his army was without provisions
and was suffering from the severity of the season, he listened to
the advice of Seuthes, son of Spardacus, his nephew and highest officer,
and decided to retreat without delay. This Seuthes had been secretly
gained by Perdiccas by the promise of his sister in marriage with
a rich dowry. In accordance with this advice, and after a stay of
thirty days in all, eight of which were spent in Chalcidice, he retired
home as quickly as he could; and Perdiccas afterwards gave his sister
Stratonice to Seuthes as he had promised. Such was the history of
the expedition of Sitalces.

In the course of this winter, after the dispersion of the Peloponnesian
fleet, the Athenians in Naupactus, under Phormio, coasted along to
Astacus and disembarked, and marched into the interior of Acarnania
with four hundred Athenian heavy infantry and four hundred Messenians.
After expelling some suspected persons from Stratus, Coronta, and
other places, and restoring Cynes, son of Theolytus, to Coronta, they
returned to their ships, deciding that it was impossible in the winter
season to march against Oeniadae, a place which, unlike the rest of
Acarnania, had been always hostile to them; for the river Achelous
flowing from Mount Pindus through Dolopia and the country of the Agraeans
and Amphilochians and the plain of Acarnania, past the town of Stratus
in the upper part of its course, forms lakes where it falls into the
sea round Oeniadae, and thus makes it impracticable for an army in
winter by reason of the water. Opposite to Oeniadae lie most of the
islands called Echinades, so close to the mouths of the Achelous that
that powerful stream is constantly forming deposits against them,
and has already joined some of the islands to the continent, and seems
likely in no long while to do the same with the rest. For the current
is strong, deep, and turbid, and the islands are so thick together
that they serve to imprison the alluvial deposit and prevent its dispersing,
lying, as they do, not in one line, but irregularly, so as to leave
no direct passage for the water into the open sea. The islands in
question are uninhabited and of no great size. There is also a story
that Alcmaeon, son of Amphiraus, during his wanderings after the murder
of his mother was bidden by Apollo to inhabit this spot, through an
oracle which intimated that he would have no release from his terrors
until he should find a country to dwell in which had not been seen
by the sun, or existed as land at the time he slew his mother; all
else being to him polluted ground. Perplexed at this, the story goes
on to say, he at last observed this deposit of the Achelous, and considered
that a place sufficient to support life upon, might have been thrown
up during the long interval that had elapsed since the death of his
mother and the beginning of his wanderings. Settling, therefore, in
the district round Oeniadae, he founded a dominion, and left the country
its name from his son Acarnan. Such is the story we have received
concerning Alcmaeon.

The Athenians and Phormio putting back from Acarnania and arriving
at Naupactus, sailed home to Athens in the spring, taking with them
the ships that they had captured, and such of the prisoners made in
the late actions as were freemen; who were exchanged, man for man.
And so ended this winter, and the third year of this war, of which
Thucydides was the historian.


Chapter IX

Fourth and Fifth Years of the War – Revolt of Mitylene

The next summer, just as the corn was getting ripe, the Peloponnesians
and their allies invaded Attica under the command of Archidamus, son
of Zeuxidamus, king of the Lacedaemonians, and sat down and ravaged
the land; the Athenian horse as usual attacking them, wherever it
was practicable, and preventing the mass of the light troops from
advancing from their camp and wasting the parts near the city. After
staying the time for which they had taken provisions, the invaders
retired and dispersed to their several cities.

Immediately after the invasion of the Peloponnesians all Lesbos, except
Methymna, revolted from the Athenians. The Lesbians had wished to
revolt even before the war, but the Lacedaemonians would not receive
them; and yet now when they did revolt, they were compelled to do
so sooner than they had intended. While they were waiting until the
moles for their harbours and the ships and walls that they had in
building should be finished, and for the arrival of archers and corn
and other things that they were engaged in fetching from the Pontus,
the Tenedians, with whom they were at enmity, and the Methymnians,
and some factious persons in Mitylene itself, who were proxeni of
Athens, informed the Athenians that the Mitylenians were forcibly
uniting the island under their sovereignty, and that the preparations
about which they were so active, were all concerted with the Boeotians
their kindred and the Lacedaemonians with a view to a revolt, and
that, unless they were immediately prevented, Athens would lose Lesbos.

However, the Athenians, distressed by the plague, and by the war that
had recently broken out and was now raging, thought it a serious matter
to add Lesbos with its fleet and untouched resources to the list of
their enemies; and at first would not believe the charge, giving too
much weight to their wish that it might not be true. But when an embassy
which they sent had failed to persuade the Mitylenians to give up
the union and preparations complained of, they became alarmed, and
resolved to strike the first blow. They accordingly suddenly sent
off forty ships that had been got ready to sail round Peloponnese,
under the command of Cleippides, son of Deinias, and two others; word
having been brought them of a festival in honour of the Malean Apollo
outside the town, which is kept by the whole people of Mitylene, and
at which, if haste were made, they might hope to take them by surprise.
If this plan succeeded, well and good; if not, they were to order
the Mitylenians to deliver up their ships and to pull down their walls,
and if they did not obey, to declare war. The ships accordingly set
out; the ten galleys, forming the contingent of the Mitylenians present
with the fleet according to the terms of the alliance, being detained
by the Athenians, and their crews placed in custody. However, the
Mitylenians were informed of the expedition by a man who crossed from
Athens to Euboea, and going overland to Geraestus, sailed from thence
by a merchantman which he found on the point of putting to sea, and
so arrived at Mitylene the third day after leaving Athens. The Mitylenians
accordingly refrained from going out to the temple at Malea, and moreover
barricaded and kept guard round the half-finished parts of their walls
and harbours.

When the Athenians sailed in not long after and saw how things stood,
the generals delivered their orders, and upon the Mitylenians refusing
to obey, commenced hostilities. The Mitylenians, thus compelled to
go to war without notice and unprepared, at first sailed out with
their fleet and made some show of fighting, a little in front of the
harbour; but being driven back by the Athenian ships, immediately
offered to treat with the commanders, wishing, if possible, to get
the ships away for the present upon any tolerable terms. The Athenian
commanders accepted their offers, being themselves fearful that they
might not be able to cope with the whole of Lesbos; and an armistice
having been concluded, the Mitylenians sent to Athens one of the informers,
already repentant of his conduct, and others with him, to try to persuade
the Athenians of the innocence of their intentions and to get the
fleet recalled. In the meantime, having no great hope of a favourable
answer from Athens, they also sent off a galley with envoys to Lacedaemon,
unobserved by the Athenian fleet which was anchored at Malea to the
north of the town.

While these envoys, reaching Lacedaemon after a difficult journey
across the open sea, were negotiating for succours being sent them,
the ambassadors from Athens returned without having effected anything;
and hostilities were at once begun by the Mitylenians and the rest
of Lesbos, with the exception of the Methymnians, who came to the
aid of the Athenians with the Imbrians and Lemnians and some few of
the other allies. The Mitylenians made a sortie with all their forces
against the Athenian camp; and a battle ensued, in which they gained
some slight advantage, but retired notwithstanding, not feeling sufficient
confidence in themselves to spend the night upon the field. After
this they kept quiet, wishing to wait for the chance of reinforcements
arriving from Peloponnese before making a second venture, being encouraged
by the arrival of Meleas, a Laconian, and Hermaeondas, a Theban, who
had been sent off before the insurrection but had been unable to reach
Lesbos before the Athenian expedition, and who now stole in in a galley
after the battle, and advised them to send another galley and envoys
back with them, which the Mitylenians accordingly did.

Meanwhile the Athenians, greatly encouraged by the inaction of the
Mitylenians, summoned allies to their aid, who came in all the quicker
from seeing so little vigour displayed by the Lesbians, and bringing
round their ships to a new station to the south of the town, fortified
two camps, one on each side of the city, and instituted a blockade
of both the harbours. The sea was thus closed against the Mitylenians,
who, however, commanded the whole country, with the rest of the Lesbians
who had now joined them; the Athenians only holding a limited area
round their camps, and using Malea more as the station for their ships
and their market.

While the war went on in this way at Mitylene, the Athenians, about
the same time in this summer, also sent thirty ships to Peloponnese
under Asopius, son of Phormio; the Acarnanians insisting that the
commander sent should be some son or relative of Phormio. As the ships
coasted along shore they ravaged the seaboard of Laconia; after which
Asopius sent most of the fleet home, and himself went on with twelve
vessels to Naupactus, and afterwards raising the whole Acarnanian
population made an expedition against Oeniadae, the fleet sailing
along the Achelous, while the army laid waste the country. The inhabitants,
however, showing no signs of submitting, he dismissed the land forces
and himself sailed to Leucas, and making a descent upon Nericus was
cut off during his retreat, and most of his troops with him, by the
people in those parts aided by some coastguards; after which the Athenians
sailed away, recovering their dead from the Leucadians under truce.

Meanwhile the envoys of the Mitylenians sent out in the first ship
were told by the Lacedaemonians to come to Olympia, in order that
the rest of the allies might hear them and decide upon their matter,
and so they journeyed thither. It was the Olympiad in which the Rhodian
Dorieus gained his second victory, and the envoys having been introduced
to make their speech after the festival, spoke as follows:

“Lacedaemonians and allies, the rule established among the Hellenes
is not unknown to us. Those who revolt in war and forsake their former
confederacy are favourably regarded by those who receive them, in
so far as they are of use to them, but otherwise are thought less
well of, through being considered traitors to their former friends.
Nor is this an unfair way of judging, where the rebels and the power
from whom they secede are at one in policy and sympathy, and a match
for each other in resources and power, and where no reasonable ground
exists for the rebellion. But with us and the Athenians this was not
the case; and no one need think the worse of us for revolting from
them in danger, after having been honoured by them in time of peace.

“Justice and honesty will be the first topics of our speech, especially
as we are asking for alliance; because we know that there can never
be any solid friendship between individuals, or union between communities
that is worth the name, unless the parties be persuaded of each other’s
honesty, and be generally congenial the one to the other; since from
difference in feeling springs also difference in conduct. Between
ourselves and the Athenians alliance began, when you withdrew from
the Median War and they remained to finish the business. But we did
not become allies of the Athenians for the subjugation of the Hellenes,
but allies of the Hellenes for their liberation from the Mede; and
as long as the Athenians led us fairly we followed them loyally; but
when we saw them relax their hostility to the Mede, to try to compass
the subjection of the allies, then our apprehensions began. Unable,
however, to unite and defend themselves, on account of the number
of confederates that had votes, all the allies were enslaved, except
ourselves and the Chians, who continued to send our contingents as
independent and nominally free. Trust in Athens as a leader, however,
we could no longer feel, judging by the examples already given; it
being unlikely that she would reduce our fellow confederates, and
not do the same by us who were left, if ever she had the power.

“Had we all been still independent, we could have had more faith in
their not attempting any change; but the greater number being their
subjects, while they were treating us as equals, they would naturally
chafe under this solitary instance of independence as contrasted with
the submission of the majority; particularly as they daily grew more
powerful, and we more destitute. Now the only sure basis of an alliance
is for each party to be equally afraid of the other; he who would
like to encroach is then deterred by the reflection that he will not
have odds in his favour. Again, if we were left independent, it was
only because they thought they saw their way to empire more clearly
by specious language and by the paths of policy than by those of force.
Not only were we useful as evidence that powers who had votes, like
themselves, would not, surely, join them in their expeditions, against
their will, without the party attacked being in the wrong; but the
same system also enabled them to lead the stronger states against
the weaker first, and so to leave the former to the last, stripped
of their natural allies, and less capable of resistance. But if they
had begun with us, while all the states still had their resources
under their own control, and there was a centre to rally round, the
work of subjugation would have been found less easy. Besides this,
our navy gave them some apprehension: it was always possible that
it might unite with you or with some other power, and become dangerous
to Athens. The court which we paid to their commons and its leaders
for the time being also helped us to maintain our independence. However,
we did not expect to be able to do so much longer, if this war had
not broken out, from the examples that we had had of their conduct
to the rest.

“How then could we put our trust in such friendship or freedom as
we had here? We accepted each other against our inclination; fear
made them court us in war, and us them in peace; sympathy, the ordinary
basis of confidence, had its place supplied by terror, fear having
more share than friendship in detaining us in the alliance; and the
first party that should be encouraged by the hope of impunity was
certain to break faith with the other. So that to condemn us for being
the first to break off, because they delay the blow that we dread,
instead of ourselves delaying to know for certain whether it will
be dealt or not, is to take a false view of the case. For if we were
equally able with them to meet their plots and imitate their delay,
we should be their equals and should be under no necessity of being
their subjects; but the liberty of offence being always theirs, that
of defence ought clearly to be ours.

“Such, Lacedaemonians and allies, are the grounds and the reasons
of our revolt; clear enough to convince our hearers of the fairness
of our conduct, and sufficient to alarm ourselves, and to make us
turn to some means of safety. This we wished to do long ago, when
we sent to you on the subject while the peace yet lasted, but were
balked by your refusing to receive us; and now, upon the Boeotians
inviting us, we at once responded to the call, and decided upon a
twofold revolt, from the Hellenes and from the Athenians, not to aid
the latter in harming the former, but to join in their liberation,
and not to allow the Athenians in the end to destroy us, but to act
in time against them. Our revolt, however, has taken place prematurely
and without preparation- a fact which makes it all the more incumbent
on you to receive us into alliance and to send us speedy relief, in
order to show that you support your friends, and at the same time
do harm to your enemies. You have an opportunity such as you never
had before. Disease and expenditure have wasted the Athenians: their
ships are either cruising round your coasts, or engaged in blockading
us; and it is not probable that they will have any to spare, if you
invade them a second time this summer by sea and land; but they will
either offer no resistance to your vessels, or withdraw from both
our shores. Nor must it be thought that this is a case of putting
yourselves into danger for a country which is not yours. Lesbos may
appear far off, but when help is wanted she will be found near enough.
It is not in Attica that the war will be decided, as some imagine,
but in the countries by which Attica is supported; and the Athenian
revenue is drawn from the allies, and will become still larger if
they reduce us; as not only will no other state revolt, but our resources
will be added to theirs, and we shall be treated worse than those
that were enslaved before. But if you will frankly support us, you
will add to your side a state that has a large navy, which is your
great want; you will smooth the way to the overthrow of the Athenians
by depriving them of their allies, who will be greatly encouraged
to come over; and you will free yourselves from the imputation made
against you, of not supporting insurrection. In short, only show yourselves
as liberators, and you may count upon having the advantage in the

“Respect, therefore, the hopes placed in you by the Hellenes, and
that Olympian Zeus, in whose temple we stand as very suppliants; become
the allies and defenders of the Mitylenians, and do not sacrifice
us, who put our lives upon the hazard, in a cause in which general
good will result to all from our success, and still more general harm
if we fail through your refusing to help us; but be the men that the
Hellenes think you, and our fears desire.”

Such were the words of the Mitylenians. After hearing them out, the
Lacedaemonians and confederates granted what they urged, and took
the Lesbians into alliance, and deciding in favour of the invasion
of Attica, told the allies present to march as quickly as possible
to the Isthmus with two-thirds of their forces; and arriving there
first themselves, got ready hauling machines to carry their ships
across from Corinth to the sea on the side of Athens, in order to
make their attack by sea and land at once. However, the zeal which
they displayed was not imitated by the rest of the confederates, who
came in but slowly, being engaged in harvesting their corn and sick
of making expeditions.

Meanwhile the Athenians, aware that the preparations of the enemy
were due to his conviction of their weakness, and wishing to show
him that he was mistaken, and that they were able, without moving
the Lesbian fleet, to repel with ease that with which they were menaced
from Peloponnese, manned a hundred ships by embarking the citizens
of Athens, except the knights and Pentacosiomedimni, and the resident
aliens; and putting out to the Isthmus, displayed their power, and
made descents upon Peloponnese wherever they pleased. A disappointment
so signal made the Lacedaemonians think that the Lesbians had not
spoken the truth; and embarrassed by the non-appearance of the confederates,
coupled with the news that the thirty ships round Peloponnese were
ravaging the lands near Sparta, they went back home. Afterwards, however,
they got ready a fleet to send to Lesbos, and ordering a total of
forty ships from the different cities in the league, appointed Alcidas
to command the expedition in his capacity of high admiral. Meanwhile
the Athenians in the hundred ships, upon seeing the Lacedaemonians
go home, went home likewise.

If, at the time that this fleet was at sea, Athens had almost the
largest number of first-rate ships in commission that she ever possessed
at any one moment, she had as many or even more when the war began.
At that time one hundred guarded Attica, Euboea, and Salamis; a hundred
more were cruising round Peloponnese, besides those employed at Potidaea
and in other places; making a grand total of two hundred and fifty
vessels employed on active service in a single summer. It was this,
with Potidaea, that most exhausted her revenues- Potidaea being blockaded
by a force of heavy infantry (each drawing two drachmae a day, one
for himself and another for his servant), which amounted to three
thousand at first, and was kept at this number down to the end of
the siege; besides sixteen hundred with Phormio who went away before
it was over; and the ships being all paid at the same rate. In this
way her money was wasted at first; and this was the largest number
of ships ever manned by her.

About the same time that the Lacedaemonians were at the Isthmus, the
Mitylenians marched by land with their mercenaries against Methymna,
which they thought to gain by treachery. After assaulting the town,
and not meeting with the success that they anticipated, they withdrew
to Antissa, Pyrrha, and Eresus; and taking measures for the better
security of these towns and strengthening their walls, hastily returned
home. After their departure the Methymnians marched against Antissa,
but were defeated in a sortie by the Antissians and their mercenaries,
and retreated in haste after losing many of their number. Word of
this reaching Athens, and the Athenians learning that the Mitylenians
were masters of the country and their own soldiers unable to hold
them in check, they sent out about the beginning of autumn Paches,
son of Epicurus, to take the command, and a thousand Athenian heavy
infantry; who worked their own passage and, arriving at Mitylene,
built a single wall all round it, forts being erected at some of the
strongest points. Mitylene was thus blockaded strictly on both sides,
by land and by sea; and winter now drew near.

The Athenians needing money for the siege, although they had for the
first time raised a contribution of two hundred talents from their
own citizens, now sent out twelve ships to levy subsidies from their
allies, with Lysicles and four others in command. After cruising to
different places and laying them under contribution, Lysicles went
up the country from Myus, in Caria, across the plain of the Meander,
as far as the hill of Sandius; and being attacked by the Carians and
the people of Anaia, was slain with many of his soldiers.

The same winter the Plataeans, who were still being besieged by the
Peloponnesians and Boeotians, distressed by the failure of their provisions,
and seeing no hope of relief from Athens, nor any other means of safety,
formed a scheme with the Athenians besieged with them for escaping,
if possible, by forcing their way over the enemy’s walls; the attempt
having been suggested by Theaenetus, son of Tolmides, a soothsayer,
and Eupompides, son of Daimachus, one of their generals. At first
all were to join: afterwards, half hung back, thinking the risk great;
about two hundred and twenty, however, voluntarily persevered in the
attempt, which was carried out in the following way. Ladders were
made to match the height of the enemy’s wall, which they measured
by the layers of bricks, the side turned towards them not being thoroughly
whitewashed. These were counted by many persons at once; and though
some might miss the right calculation, most would hit upon it, particularly
as they counted over and over again, and were no great way from the
wall, but could see it easily enough for their purpose. The length
required for the ladders was thus obtained, being calculated from
the breadth of the brick.

Now the wall of the Peloponnesians was constructed as follows. It
consisted of two lines drawn round the place, one against the Plataeans,
the other against any attack on the outside from Athens, about sixteen
feet apart. The intermediate space of sixteen feet was occupied by
huts portioned out among the soldiers on guard, and built in one block,
so as to give the appearance of a single thick wall with battlements
on either side. At intervals of every ten battlements were towers
of considerable size, and the same breadth as the wall, reaching right
across from its inner to its outer face, with no means of passing
except through the middle. Accordingly on stormy and wet nights the
battlements were deserted, and guard kept from the towers, which were
not far apart and roofed in above.

Such being the structure of the wall by which the Plataeans were blockaded,
when their preparations were completed, they waited for a stormy night
of wind and rain and without any moon, and then set out, guided by
the authors of the enterprise. Crossing first the ditch that ran round
the town, they next gained the wall of the enemy unperceived by the
sentinels, who did not see them in the darkness, or hear them, as
the wind drowned with its roar the noise of their approach; besides
which they kept a good way off from each other, that they might not
be betrayed by the clash of their weapons. They were also lightly
equipped, and had only the left foot shod to preserve them from slipping
in the mire. They came up to the battlements at one of the intermediate
spaces where they knew them to be unguarded: those who carried the
ladders went first and planted them; next twelve light-armed soldiers
with only a dagger and a breastplate mounted, led by Ammias, son of
Coroebus, who was the first on the wall; his followers getting up
after him and going six to each of the towers. After these came another
party of light troops armed with spears, whose shields, that they
might advance the easier, were carried by men behind, who were to
hand them to them when they found themselves in presence of the enemy.
After a good many had mounted they were discovered by the sentinels
in the towers, by the noise made by a tile which was knocked down
by one of the Plataeans as he was laying hold of the battlements.
The alarm was instantly given, and the troops rushed to the wall,
not knowing the nature of the danger, owing to the dark night and
stormy weather; the Plataeans in the town having also chosen that
moment to make a sortie against the wall of the Peloponnesians upon
the side opposite to that on which their men were getting over, in
order to divert the attention of the besiegers. Accordingly they remained
distracted at their several posts, without any venturing to stir to
give help from his own station, and at a loss to guess what was going
on. Meanwhile the three hundred set aside for service on emergencies
went outside the wall in the direction of the alarm. Fire-signals
of an attack were also raised towards Thebes; but the Plataeans in
the town at once displayed a number of others, prepared beforehand
for this very purpose, in order to render the enemy’s signals unintelligible,
and to prevent his friends getting a true idea of what was passing
and coming to his aid before their comrades who had gone out should
have made good their escape and be in safety.

Meanwhile the first of the scaling party that had got up, after carrying
both the towers and putting the sentinels to the sword, posted themselves
inside to prevent any one coming through against them; and rearing
ladders from the wall, sent several men up on the towers, and from
their summit and base kept in check all of the enemy that came up,
with their missiles, while their main body planted a number of ladders
against the wall, and knocking down the battlements, passed over between
the towers; each as soon as he had got over taking up his station
at the edge of the ditch, and plying from thence with arrows and darts
any who came along the wall to stop the passage of his comrades. When
all were over, the party on the towers came down, the last of them
not without difficulty, and proceeded to the ditch, just as the three
hundred came up carrying torches. The Plataeans, standing on the edge
of the ditch in the dark, had a good view of their opponents, and
discharged their arrows and darts upon the unarmed parts of their
bodies, while they themselves could not be so well seen in the obscurity
for the torches; and thus even the last of them got over the ditch,
though not without effort and difficulty; as ice had formed in it,
not strong enough to walk upon, but of that watery kind which generally
comes with a wind more east than north, and the snow which this wind
had caused to fall during the night had made the water in the ditch
rise, so. that they could scarcely breast it as they crossed. However,
it was mainly the violence of the storm that enabled them to effect
their escape at all.

Starting from the ditch, the Plataeans went all together along the
road leading to Thebes, keeping the chapel of the hero Androcrates
upon their right; considering that the last road which the Peloponnesians
would suspect them of having taken would be that towards their enemies’
country. Indeed they could see them pursuing with torches upon the
Athens road towards Cithaeron and Druoskephalai or Oakheads. After
going for rather more than half a mile upon the road to Thebes, the
Plataeans turned off and took that leading to the mountain, to Erythrae
and Hysiae, and reaching the hills, made good their escape to Athens,
two hundred and twelve men in all; some of their number having turned
back into the town before getting over the wall, and one archer having
been taken prisoner at the outer ditch. Meanwhile the Peloponnesians
gave up the pursuit and returned to their posts; and the Plataeans
in the town, knowing nothing of what had passed, and informed by those
who had turned back that not a man had escaped, sent out a herald
as soon as it was day to make a truce for the recovery of the dead
bodies, and then, learning the truth, desisted. In this way the Plataean
party got over and were saved.

Towards the close of the same winter, Salaethus, a Lacedaemonian,
was sent out in a galley from Lacedaemon to Mitylene. Going by sea
to Pyrrha, and from thence overland, he passed along the bed of a
torrent, where the line of circumvallation was passable, and thus
entering unperceived into Mitylene told the magistrates that Attica
would certainly be invaded, and the forty ships destined to relieve
them arrive, and that he had been sent on to announce this and to
superintend matters generally. The Mitylenians upon this took courage,
and laid aside the idea of treating with the Athenians; and now this
winter ended, and with it ended the fourth year of the war of which
Thucydides was the historian.

The next summer the Peloponnesians sent off the forty-two ships for
Mitylene, under Alcidas, their high admiral, and themselves and their
allies invaded Attica, their object being to distract the Athenians
by a double movement, and thus to make it less easy for them to act
against the fleet sailing to Mitylene. The commander in this invasion
was Cleomenes, in the place of King Pausanias, son of Pleistoanax,
his nephew, who was still a minor. Not content with laying waste whatever
had shot up in the parts which they had before devastated, the invaders
now extended their ravages to lands passed over in their previous
incursions; so that this invasion was more severely felt by the Athenians
than any except the second; the enemy staying on and on until they
had overrun most of the country, in the expectation of hearing from
Lesbos of something having been achieved by their fleet, which they
thought must now have got over. However, as they did not obtain any
of the results expected, and their provisions began to run short,
they retreated and dispersed to their different cities.

In the meantime the Mitylenians, finding their provisions failing,
while the fleet from Peloponnese was loitering on the way instead
of appearing at Mitylene, were compelled to come to terms with the
Athenians in the following manner. Salaethus having himself ceased
to expect the fleet to arrive, now armed the commons with heavy armour,
which they had not before possessed, with the intention of making
a sortie against the Athenians. The commons, however, no sooner found
themselves possessed of arms than they refused any longer to obey
their officers; and forming in knots together, told the authorities
to bring out in public the provisions and divide them amongst them
all, or they would themselves come to terms with the Athenians and
deliver up the city.

The government, aware of their inability to prevent this, and of the
danger they would be in, if left out of the capitulation, publicly
agreed with Paches and the army to surrender Mitylene at discretion
and to admit the troops into the town; upon the understanding that
the Mitylenians should be allowed to send an embassy to Athens to
plead their cause, and that Paches should not imprison, make slaves
of, or put to death any of the citizens until its return. Such were
the terms of the capitulation; in spite of which the chief authors
of the negotiation with Lacedaemon were so completely overcome by
terror when the army entered that they went and seated themselves
by the altars, from which they were raised up by Paches under promise
that he would do them no wrong, and lodged by him in Tenedos, until
he should learn the pleasure of the Athenians concerning them. Paches
also sent some galleys and seized Antissa, and took such other military
measures as he thought advisable.

Meanwhile the Peloponnesians in the forty ships, who ought to have
made all haste to relieve Mitylene, lost time in coming round Peloponnese
itself, and proceeding leisurely on the remainder of the voyage, made
Delos without having been seen by the Athenians at Athens, and from
thence arriving at Icarus and Myconus, there first heard of the fall
of Mitylene. Wishing to know the truth, they put into Embatum, in
the Erythraeid, about seven days after the capture of the town. Here
they learned the truth, and began to consider what they were to do;
and Teutiaplus, an Elean, addressed them as follows:

“Alcidas and Peloponnesians who share with me the command of this
armament, my advice is to sail just as we are to Mitylene, before
we have been heard of. We may expect to find the Athenians as much
off their guard as men generally are who have just taken a city: this
will certainly be so by sea, where they have no idea of any enemy
attacking them, and where our strength, as it happens, mainly lies;
while even their land forces are probably scattered about the houses
in the carelessness of victory. If therefore we were to fall upon
them suddenly and in the night, I have hopes, with the help of the
well-wishers that we may have left inside the town, that we shall
become masters of the place. Let us not shrink from the risk, but
let us remember that this is just the occasion for one of the baseless
panics common in war: and that to be able to guard against these in
one’s own case, and to detect the moment when an attack will find
an enemy at this disadvantage, is what makes a successful general.”

These words of Teutiaplus failing to move Alcidas, some of the Ionian
exiles and the Lesbians with the expedition began to urge him, since
this seemed too dangerous, to seize one of the Ionian cities or the
Aeolic town of Cyme, to use as a base for effecting the revolt of
Ionia. This was by no means a hopeless enterprise, as their coming
was welcome everywhere; their object would be by this move to deprive
Athens of her chief source of revenue, and at the same time to saddle
her with expense, if she chose to blockade them; and they would probably
induce Pissuthnes to join them in the war. However, Alcidas gave this
proposal as bad a reception as the other, being eager, since he had
come too late for Mitylene, to find himself back in Peloponnese as
soon as possible.

Accordingly he put out from Embatum and proceeded along shore; and
touching at the Teian town, Myonnesus, there butchered most of the
prisoners that he had taken on his passage. Upon his coming to anchor
at Ephesus, envoys came to him from the Samians at Anaia, and told
him that he was not going the right way to free Hellas in massacring
men who had never raised a hand against him, and who were not enemies
of his, but allies of Athens against their will, and that if he did
not stop he would turn many more friends into enemies than enemies
into friends. Alcidas agreed to this, and let go all the Chians still
in his hands and some of the others that he had taken; the inhabitants,
instead of flying at the sight of his vessels, rather coming up to
them, taking them for Athenian, having no sort of expectation that
while the Athenians commanded the sea Peloponnesian ships would venture
over to Ionia.

From Ephesus Alcidas set sail in haste and fled. He had been seen
by the Salaminian and Paralian galleys, which happened to be sailing
from Athens, while still at anchor off Clarus; and fearing pursuit
he now made across the open sea, fully determined to touch nowhere,
if he could help it, until he got to Peloponnese. Meanwhile news of
him had come in to Paches from the Erythraeid, and indeed from all
quarters. As Ionia was unfortified, great fears were felt that the
Peloponnesians coasting along shore, even if they did not intend to
stay, might make descents in passing and plunder the towns; and now
the Paralian and Salaminian, having seen him at Clarus, themselves
brought intelligence of the fact. Paches accordingly gave hot chase,
and continued the pursuit as far as the isle of Patmos, and then finding
that Alcidas had got on too far to be overtaken, came back again.
Meanwhile he thought it fortunate that, as he had not fallen in with
them out at sea, he had not overtaken them anywhere where they would
have been forced to encamp, and so give him the trouble of blockading

On his return along shore he touched, among other places, at Notium,
the port of Colophon, where the Colophonians had settled after the
capture of the upper town by Itamenes and the barbarians, who had
been called in by certain individuals in a party quarrel. The capture
of the town took place about the time of the second Peloponnesian
invasion of Attica. However, the refugees, after settling at Notium,
again split up into factions, one of which called in Arcadian and
barbarian mercenaries from Pissuthnes and, entrenching these in a
quarter apart, formed a new community with the Median party of the
Colophonians who joined them from the upper town. Their opponents
had retired into exile, and now called in Paches, who invited Hippias,
the commander of the Arcadians in the fortified quarter, to a parley,
upon condition that, if they could not agree, he was to be put back
safe and sound in the fortification. However, upon his coming out
to him, he put him into custody, though not in chains, and attacked
suddenly and took by surprise the fortification, and putting the Arcadians
and the barbarians found in it to the sword, afterwards took Hippias
into it as he had promised, and, as soon as he was inside, seized
him and shot him down. Paches then gave up Notium to the Colophonians
not of the Median party; and settlers were afterwards sent out from
Athens, and the place colonized according to Athenian laws, after
collecting all the Colophonians found in any of the cities.

Arrived at Mitylene, Paches reduced Pyrrha and Eresus; and finding
the Lacedaemonian, Salaethus, in hiding in the town, sent him off
to Athens, together with the Mitylenians that he had placed in Tenedos,
and any other persons that he thought concerned in the revolt. He
also sent back the greater part of his forces, remaining with the
rest to settle Mitylene and the rest of Lesbos as he thought best.

Upon the arrival of the prisoners with Salaethus, the Athenians at
once put the latter to death, although he offered, among other things,
to procure the withdrawal of the Peloponnesians from Plataea, which
was still under siege; and after deliberating as to what they should
do with the former, in the fury of the moment determined to put to
death not only the prisoners at Athens, but the whole adult male population
of Mitylene, and to make slaves of the women and children. It was
remarked that Mitylene had revolted without being, like the rest,
subjected to the empire; and what above all swelled the wrath of the
Athenians was the fact of the Peloponnesian fleet having ventured
over to Ionia to her support, a fact which was held to argue a long
meditated rebellion. They accordingly sent a galley to communicate
the decree to Paches, commanding him to lose no time in dispatching
the Mitylenians. The morrow brought repentance with it and reflection
on the horrid cruelty of a decree, which condemned a whole city to
the fate merited only by the guilty. This was no sooner perceived
by the Mitylenian ambassadors at Athens and their Athenian supporters,
than they moved the authorities to put the question again to the vote;
which they the more easily consented to do, as they themselves plainly
saw that most of the citizens wished some one to give them an opportunity
for reconsidering the matter. An assembly was therefore at once called,
and after much expression of opinion upon both sides, Cleon, son of
Cleaenetus, the same who had carried the former motion of putting
the Mitylenians to death, the most violent man at Athens, and at that
time by far the most powerful with the commons, came forward again
and spoke as follows:

“I have often before now been convinced that a democracy is incapable
of empire, and never more so than by your present change of mind in
the matter of Mitylene. Fears or plots being unknown to you in your
daily relations with each other, you feel just the same with regard
to your allies, and never reflect that the mistakes into which you
may be led by listening to their appeals, or by giving way to your
own compassion, are full of danger to yourselves, and bring you no
thanks for your weakness from your allies; entirely forgetting that
your empire is a despotism and your subjects disaffected conspirators,
whose obedience is ensured not by your suicidal concessions, but by
the superiority given you by your own strength and not their loyalty.
The most alarming feature in the case is the constant change of measures
with which we appear to be threatened, and our seeming ignorance of
the fact that bad laws which are never changed are better for a city
than good ones that have no authority; that unlearned loyalty is more
serviceable than quick-witted insubordination; and that ordinary men
usually manage public affairs better than their more gifted fellows.
The latter are always wanting to appear wiser than the laws, and to
overrule every proposition brought forward, thinking that they cannot
show their wit in more important matters, and by such behaviour too
often ruin their country; while those who mistrust their own cleverness
are content to be less learned than the laws, and less able to pick
holes in the speech of a good speaker; and being fair judges rather
than rival athletes, generally conduct affairs successfully. These
we ought to imitate, instead of being led on by cleverness and intellectual
rivalry to advise your people against our real opinions.

“For myself, I adhere to my former opinion, and wonder at those who
have proposed to reopen the case of the Mitylenians, and who are thus
causing a delay which is all in favour of the guilty, by making the
sufferer proceed against the offender with the edge of his anger blunted;
although where vengeance follows most closely upon the wrong, it best
equals it and most amply requites it. I wonder also who will be the
man who will maintain the contrary, and will pretend to show that
the crimes of the Mitylenians are of service to us, and our misfortunes
injurious to the allies. Such a man must plainly either have such
confidence in his rhetoric as to adventure to prove that what has
been once for all decided is still undetermined, or be bribed to try
to delude us by elaborate sophisms. In such contests the state gives
the rewards to others, and takes the dangers for herself. The persons
to blame are you who are so foolish as to institute these contests;
who go to see an oration as you would to see a sight, take your facts
on hearsay, judge of the practicability of a project by the wit of
its advocates, and trust for the truth as to past events not to the
fact which you saw more than to the clever strictures which you heard;
the easy victims of new-fangled arguments, unwilling to follow received
conclusions; slaves to every new paradox, despisers of the commonplace;
the first wish of every man being that he could speak himself, the
next to rival those who can speak by seeming to be quite up with their
ideas by applauding every hit almost before it is made, and by being
as quick in catching an argument as you are slow in foreseeing its
consequences; asking, if I may so say, for something different from
the conditions under which we live, and yet comprehending inadequately
those very conditions; very slaves to the pleasure of the ear, and
more like the audience of a rhetorician than the council of a city.

“In order to keep you from this, I proceed to show that no one state
has ever injured you as much as Mitylene. I can make allowance for
those who revolt because they cannot bear our empire, or who have
been forced to do so by the enemy. But for those who possessed an
island with fortifications; who could fear our enemies only by sea,
and there had their own force of galleys to protect them; who were
independent and held in the highest honour by you- to act as these
have done, this is not revolt- revolt implies oppression; it is deliberate
and wanton aggression; an attempt to ruin us by siding with our bitterest
enemies; a worse offence than a war undertaken on their own account
in the acquisition of power. The fate of those of their neighbours
who had already rebelled and had been subdued was no lesson to them;
their own prosperity could not dissuade them from affronting danger;
but blindly confident in the future, and full of hopes beyond their
power though not beyond their ambition, they declared war and made
their decision to prefer might to right, their attack being determined
not by provocation but by the moment which seemed propitious. The
truth is that great good fortune coming suddenly and unexpectedly
tends to make a people insolent; in most cases it is safer for mankind
to have success in reason than out of reason; and it is easier for
them, one may say, to stave off adversity than to preserve prosperity.
Our mistake has been to distinguish the Mitylenians as we have done:
had they been long ago treated like the rest, they never would have
so far forgotten themselves, human nature being as surely made arrogant
by consideration as it is awed by firmness. Let them now therefore
be punished as their crime requires, and do not, while you condemn
the aristocracy, absolve the people. This is certain, that all attacked
you without distinction, although they might have come over to us
and been now again in possession of their city. But no, they thought
it safer to throw in their lot with the aristocracy and so joined
their rebellion! Consider therefore: if you subject to the same punishment
the ally who is forced to rebel by the enemy, and him who does so
by his own free choice, which of them, think you, is there that will
not rebel upon the slightest pretext; when the reward of success is
freedom, and the penalty of failure nothing so very terrible? We meanwhile
shall have to risk our money and our lives against one state after
another; and if successful, shall receive a ruined town from which
we can no longer draw the revenue upon which our strength depends;
while if unsuccessful, we shall have an enemy the more upon our hands,
and shall spend the time that might be employed in combating our existing
foes in warring with our own allies.

“No hope, therefore, that rhetoric may instil or money purchase, of
the mercy due to human infirmity must be held out to the Mitylenians.
Their offence was not involuntary, but of malice and deliberate; and
mercy is only for unwilling offenders. I therefore, now as before,
persist against your reversing your first decision, or giving way
to the three failings most fatal to empire- pity, sentiment, and indulgence.
Compassion is due to those who can reciprocate the feeling, not to
those who will never pity us in return, but are our natural and necessary
foes: the orators who charm us with sentiment may find other less
important arenas for their talents, in the place of one where the
city pays a heavy penalty for a momentary pleasure, themselves receiving
fine acknowledgments for their fine phrases; while indulgence should
be shown towards those who will be our friends in future, instead
of towards men who will remain just what they were, and as much our
enemies as before. To sum up shortly, I say that if you follow my
advice you will do what is just towards the Mitylenians, and at the
same time expedient; while by a different decision you will not oblige
them so much as pass sentence upon yourselves. For if they were right
in rebelling, you must be wrong in ruling. However, if, right or wrong,
you determine to rule, you must carry out your principle and punish
the Mitylenians as your interest requires; or else you must give up
your empire and cultivate honesty without danger. Make up your minds,
therefore, to give them like for like; and do not let the victims
who escaped the plot be more insensible than the conspirators who
hatched it; but reflect what they would have done if victorious over
you, especially they were the aggressors. It is they who wrong their
neighbour without a cause, that pursue their victim to the death,
on account of the danger which they foresee in letting their enemy
survive; since the object of a wanton wrong is more dangerous, if
he escape, than an enemy who has not this to complain of. Do not,
therefore, be traitors to yourselves, but recall as nearly as possible
the moment of suffering and the supreme importance which you then
attached to their reduction; and now pay them back in their turn,
without yielding to present weakness or forgetting the peril that
once hung over you. Punish them as they deserve, and teach your other
allies by a striking example that the penalty of rebellion is death.
Let them once understand this and you will not have so often to neglect
your enemies while you are fighting with your own confederates.”

Such were the words of Cleon. After him Diodotus, son of Eucrates,
who had also in the previous assembly spoken most strongly against
putting the Mitylenians to death, came forward and spoke as follows:

“I do not blame the persons who have reopened the case of the Mitylenians,
nor do I approve the protests which we have heard against important
questions being frequently debated. I think the two things most opposed
to good counsel are haste and passion; haste usually goes hand in
hand with folly, passion with coarseness and narrowness of mind. As
for the argument that speech ought not to be the exponent of action,
the man who uses it must be either senseless or interested: senseless
if he believes it possible to treat of the uncertain future through
any other medium; interested if, wishing to carry a disgraceful measure
and doubting his ability to speak well in a bad cause, he thinks to
frighten opponents and hearers by well-aimed calumny. What is still
more intolerable is to accuse a speaker of making a display in order
to be paid for it. If ignorance only were imputed, an unsuccessful
speaker might retire with a reputation for honesty, if not for wisdom;
while the charge of dishonesty makes him suspected, if successful,
and thought, if defeated, not only a fool but a rogue. The city is
no gainer by such a system, since fear deprives it of its advisers;
although in truth, if our speakers are to make such assertions, it
would be better for the country if they could not speak at all, as
we should then make fewer blunders. The good citizen ought to triumph
not by frightening his opponents but by beating them fairly in argument;
and a wise city, without over-distinguishing its best advisers, will
nevertheless not deprive them of their due, and, far from punishing
an unlucky counsellor, will not even regard him as disgraced. In this
way successful orators would be least tempted to sacrifice their convictions
to popularity, in the hope of still higher honours, and unsuccessful
speakers to resort to the same popular arts in order to win over the

“This is not our way; and, besides, the moment that a man is suspected
of giving advice, however good, from corrupt motives, we feel such
a grudge against him for the gain which after all we are not certain
he will receive, that we deprive the city of its certain benefit.
Plain good advice has thus come to be no less suspected than bad;
and the advocate of the most monstrous measures is not more obliged
to use deceit to gain the people, than the best counsellor is to lie
in order to be believed. The city and the city only, owing to these
refinements, can never be served openly and without disguise; he who
does serve it openly being always suspected of serving himself in
some secret way in return. Still, considering the magnitude of the
interests involved, and the position of affairs, we orators must make
it our business to look a little farther than you who judge offhand;
especially as we, your advisers, are responsible, while you, our audience,
are not so. For if those who gave the advice, and those who took it,
suffered equally, you would judge more calmly; as it is, you visit
the disasters into which the whim of the moment may have led you upon
the single person of your adviser, not upon yourselves, his numerous
companions in error.

“However, I have not come forward either to oppose or to accuse in
the matter of Mitylene; indeed, the question before us as sensible
men is not their guilt, but our interests. Though I prove them ever
so guilty, I shall not, therefore, advise their death, unless it be
expedient; nor though they should have claims to indulgence, shall
I recommend it, unless it be dearly for the good of the country. I
consider that we are deliberating for the future more than for the
present; and where Cleon is so positive as to the useful deterrent
effects that will follow from making rebellion capital, I, who consider
the interests of the future quite as much as he, as positively maintain
the contrary. And I require you not to reject my useful considerations
for his specious ones: his speech may have the attraction of seeming
the more just in your present temper against Mitylene; but we are
not in a court of justice, but in a political assembly; and the question
is not justice, but how to make the Mitylenians useful to Athens.

“Now of course communities have enacted the penalty of death for many
offences far lighter than this: still hope leads men to venture, and
no one ever yet put himself in peril without the inward conviction
that he would succeed in his design. Again, was there ever city rebelling
that did not believe that it possessed either in itself or in its
alliances resources adequate to the enterprise? All, states and individuals,
are alike prone to err, and there is no law that will prevent them;
or why should men have exhausted the list of punishments in search
of enactments to protect them from evildoers? It is probable that
in early times the penalties for the greatest offences were less severe,
and that, as these were disregarded, the penalty of death has been
by degrees in most cases arrived at, which is itself disregarded in
like manner. Either then some means of terror more terrible than this
must be discovered, or it must be owned that this restraint is useless;
and that as long as poverty gives men the courage of necessity, or
plenty fills them with the ambition which belongs to insolence and
pride, and the other conditions of life remain each under the thraldom
of some fatal and master passion, so long will the impulse never be
wanting to drive men into danger. Hope also and cupidity, the one
leading and the other following, the one conceiving the attempt, the
other suggesting the facility of succeeding, cause the widest ruin,
and, although invisible agents, are far stronger than the dangers
that are seen. Fortune, too, powerfully helps the delusion and, by
the unexpected aid that she sometimes lends, tempts men to venture
with inferior means; and this is especially the case with communities,
because the stakes played for are the highest, freedom or empire,
and, when all are acting together, each man irrationally magnifies
his own capacity. In fine, it is impossible to prevent, and only great
simplicity can hope to prevent, human nature doing what it has once
set its mind upon, by force of law or by any other deterrent force

“We must not, therefore, commit ourselves to a false policy through
a belief in the efficacy of the punishment of death, or exclude rebels
from the hope of repentance and an early atonement of their error.
Consider a moment. At present, if a city that has already revolted
perceive that it cannot succeed, it will come to terms while it is
still able to refund expenses, and pay tribute afterwards. In the
other case, what city, think you, would not prepare better than is
now done, and hold out to the last against its besiegers, if it is
all one whether it surrender late or soon? And how can it be otherwise
than hurtful to us to be put to the expense of a siege, because surrender
is out of the question; and if we take the city, to receive a ruined
town from which we can no longer draw the revenue which forms our
real strength against the enemy? We must not, therefore, sit as strict
judges of the offenders to our own prejudice, but rather see how by
moderate chastisements we may be enabled to benefit in future by the
revenue-producing powers of our dependencies; and we must make up
our minds to look for our protection not to legal terrors but to careful
administration. At present we do exactly the opposite. When a free
community, held in subjection by force, rises, as is only natural,
and asserts its independence, it is no sooner reduced than we fancy
ourselves obliged to punish it severely; although the right course
with freemen is not to chastise them rigorously when they do rise,
but rigorously to watch them before they rise, and to prevent their
ever entertaining the idea, and, the insurrection suppressed, to make
as few responsible for it as possible.

“Only consider what a blunder you would commit in doing as Cleon recommends.
As things are at present, in all the cities the people is your friend,
and either does not revolt with the oligarchy, or, if forced to do
so, becomes at once the enemy of the insurgents; so that in the war
with the hostile city you have the masses on your side. But if you
butcher the people of Mitylene, who had nothing to do with the revolt,
and who, as soon as they got arms, of their own motion surrendered
the town, first you will commit the crime of killing your benefactors;
and next you will play directly into the hands of the higher classes,
who when they induce their cities to rise, will immediately have the
people on their side, through your having announced in advance the
same punishment for those who are guilty and for those who are not.
On the contrary, even if they were guilty, you ought to seem not to
notice it, in order to avoid alienating the only class still friendly
to us. In short, I consider it far more useful for the preservation
of our empire voluntarily to put up with injustice, than to put to
death, however justly, those whom it is our interest to keep alive.
As for Cleon’s idea that in punishment the claims of justice and expediency
can both be satisfied, facts do not confirm the possibility of such
a combination.

“Confess, therefore, that this is the wisest course, and without conceding
too much either to pity or to indulgence, by neither of which motives
do I any more than Cleon wish you to be influenced, upon the plain
merits of the case before you, be persuaded by me to try calmly those
of the Mitylenians whom Paches sent off as guilty, and to leave the
rest undisturbed. This is at once best for the future, and most terrible
to your enemies at the present moment; inasmuch as good policy against
an adversary is superior to the blind attacks of brute force.”

Such were the words of Diodotus. The two opinions thus expressed were
the ones that most directly contradicted each other; and the Athenians,
notwithstanding their change of feeling, now proceeded to a division,
in which the show of hands was almost equal, although the motion of
Diodotus carried the day. Another galley was at once sent off in haste,
for fear that the first might reach Lesbos in the interval, and the
city be found destroyed; the first ship having about a day and a night’s
start. Wine and barley-cakes were provided for the vessel by the Mitylenian
ambassadors, and great promises made if they arrived in time; which
caused the men to use such diligence upon the voyage that they took
their meals of barley-cakes kneaded with oil and wine as they rowed,
and only slept by turns while the others were at the oar. Luckily
they met with no contrary wind, and the first ship making no haste
upon so horrid an errand, while the second pressed on in the manner
described, the first arrived so little before them, that Paches had
only just had time to read the decree, and to prepare to execute the
sentence, when the second put into port and prevented the massacre.
The danger of Mitylene had indeed been great.

The other party whom Paches had sent off as the prime movers in the
rebellion, were upon Cleon’s motion put to death by the Athenians,
the number being rather more than a thousand. The Athenians also demolished
the walls of the Mitylenians, and took possession of their ships.
Afterwards tribute was not imposed upon the Lesbians; but all their
land, except that of the Methymnians, was divided into three thousand
allotments, three hundred of which were reserved as sacred for the
gods, and the rest assigned by lot to Athenian shareholders, who were
sent out to the island. With these the Lesbians agreed to pay a rent
of two minae a year for each allotment, and cultivated the land themselves.
The Athenians also took possession of the towns on the continent belonging
to the Mitylenians, which thus became for the future subject to Athens.
Such were the events that took place at Lesbos.

Chapter X

Fifth Year of the War – Trial and Execution of the Plataeans – Corcyraean

During the same summer, after the reduction of Lesbos, the Athenians
under Nicias, son of Niceratus, made an expedition against the island
of Minoa, which lies off Megara and was used as a fortified post by
the Megarians, who had built a tower upon it. Nicias wished to enable
the Athenians to maintain their blockade from this nearer station
instead of from Budorum and Salamis; to stop the Peloponnesian galleys
and privateers sailing out unobserved from the island, as they had
been in the habit of doing; and at the same time prevent anything
from coming into Megara. Accordingly, after taking two towers projecting
on the side of Nisaea, by engines from the sea, and clearing the entrance
into the channel between the island and the shore, he next proceeded
to cut off all communication by building a wall on the mainland at
the point where a bridge across a morass enabled succours to be thrown
into the island, which was not far off from the continent. A few days
sufficing to accomplish this, he afterwards raised some works in the
island also, and leaving a garrison there, departed with his forces.

About the same time in this summer, the Plataeans, being now without
provisions and unable to support the siege, surrendered to the Peloponnesians
in the following manner. An assault had been made upon the wall, which
the Plataeans were unable to repel. The Lacedaemonian commander, perceiving
their weakness, wished to avoid taking the place by storm; his instructions
from Lacedaemon having been so conceived, in order that if at any
future time peace should be made with Athens, and they should agree
each to restore the places that they had taken in the war, Plataea
might be held to have come over voluntarily, and not be included in
the list. He accordingly sent a herald to them to ask if they were
willing voluntarily to surrender the town to the Lacedaemonians, and
accept them as their judges, upon the understanding that the guilty
should be punished, but no one without form of law. The Plataeans
were now in the last state of weakness, and the herald had no sooner
delivered his message than they surrendered the town. The Peloponnesians
fed them for some days until the judges from Lacedaemon, who were
five in number, arrived. Upon their arrival no charge was preferred;
they simply called up the Plataeans, and asked them whether they had
done the Lacedaemonians and allies any service in the war then raging.
The Plataeans asked leave to speak at greater length, and deputed
two of their number to represent them: Astymachus, son of Asopolaus,
and Lacon, son of Aeimnestus, proxenus of the Lacedaemonians, who
came forward and spoke as follows:

“Lacedaemonians, when we surrendered our city we trusted in you, and
looked forward to a trial more agreeable to the forms of law than
the present, to which we had no idea of being subjected; the judges
also in whose hands we consented to place ourselves were you, and
you only (from whom we thought we were most likely to obtain justice),
and not other persons, as is now the case. As matters stand, we are
afraid that we have been doubly deceived. We have good reason to suspect,
not only that the issue to be tried is the most terrible of all, but
that you will not prove impartial; if we may argue from the fact that
no accusation was first brought forward for us to answer, but we had
ourselves to ask leave to speak, and from the question being put so
shortly, that a true answer to it tells against us, while a false
one can be contradicted. In this dilemma, our safest, and indeed our
only course, seems to be to say something at all risks: placed as
we are, we could scarcely be silent without being tormented by the
damning thought that speaking might have saved us. Another difficulty
that we have to encounter is the difficulty of convincing you. Were
we unknown to each other we might profit by bringing forward new matter
with which you were unacquainted: as it is, we can tell you nothing
that you do not know already, and we fear, not that you have condemned
us in your own minds of having failed in our duty towards you, and
make this our crime, but that to please a third party we have to submit
to a trial the result of which is already decided. Nevertheless, we
will place before you what we can justly urge, not only on the question
of the quarrel which the Thebans have against us, but also as addressing
you and the rest of the Hellenes; and we will remind you of our good
services, and endeavour to prevail with you.

“To your short question, whether we have done the Lacedaemonians and
allies any service in this war, we say, if you ask us as enemies,
that to refrain from serving you was not to do you injury; if as friends,
that you are more in fault for having marched against us. During the
peace, and against the Mede, we acted well: we have not now been the
first to break the peace, and we were the only Boeotians who then
joined in defending against the Mede the liberty of Hellas. Although
an inland people, we were present at the action at Artemisium; in
the battle that took place in our territory we fought by the side
of yourselves and Pausanias; and in all the other Hellenic exploits
of the time we took a part quite out of proportion to our strength.
Besides, you, as Lacedaemonians, ought not to forget that at the time
of the great panic at Sparta, after the earthquake, caused by the
secession of the Helots to Ithome, we sent the third part of our citizens
to assist you.

“On these great and historical occasions such was the part that we
chose, although afterwards we became your enemies. For this you were
to blame. When we asked for your alliance against our Theban oppressors,
you rejected our petition, and told us to go to the Athenians who
were our neighbours, as you lived too far off. In the war we never
have done to you, and never should have done to you, anything unreasonable.
If we refused to desert the Athenians when you asked us, we did no
wrong; they had helped us against the Thebans when you drew back,
and we could no longer give them up with honour; especially as we
had obtained their alliance and had been admitted to their citizenship
at our own request, and after receiving benefits at their hands; but
it was plainly our duty loyally to obey their orders. Besides, the
faults that either of you may commit in your supremacy must be laid,
not upon the followers, but on the chiefs that lead them astray.

“With regard to the Thebans, they have wronged us repeatedly, and
their last aggression, which has been the means of bringing us into
our present position, is within your own knowledge. In seizing our
city in time of peace, and what is more at a holy time in the month,
they justly encountered our vengeance, in accordance with the universal
law which sanctions resistance to an invader; and it cannot now be
right that we should suffer on their account. By taking your own immediate
interest and their animosity as the test of justice, you will prove
yourselves to be rather waiters on expediency than judges of right;
although if they seem useful to you now, we and the rest of the Hellenes
gave you much more valuable help at a time of greater need. Now you
are the assailants, and others fear you; but at the crisis to which
we allude, when the barbarian threatened all with slavery, the Thebans
were on his side. It is just, therefore, to put our patriotism then
against our error now, if error there has been; and you will find
the merit outweighing the fault, and displayed at a juncture when
there were few Hellenes who would set their valour against the strength
of Xerxes, and when greater praise was theirs who preferred the dangerous
path of honour to the safe course of consulting their own interest
with respect to the invasion. To these few we belonged, and highly
were we honoured for it; and yet we now fear to perish by having again
acted on the same principles, and chosen to act well with Athens sooner
than wisely with Sparta. Yet in justice the same cases should be decided
in the same way, and policy should not mean anything else than lasting
gratitude for the service of good ally combined with a proper attention
to one’s own immediate interest.

“Consider also that at present the Hellenes generally regard you as
a pattern of worth and honour; and if you pass an unjust sentence
upon us in this which is no obscure cause, but one in which you, the
judges, are as illustrious as we, the prisoners, are blameless, take
care that displeasure be not felt at an unworthy decision in the matter
of honourable men made by men yet more honourable than they, and at
the consecration in the national temples of spoils taken from the
Plataeans, the benefactors of Hellas. Shocking indeed will it seem
for Lacedaemonians to destroy Plataea, and for the city whose name
your fathers inscribed upon the tripod at Delphi for its good service,
to be by you blotted out from the map of Hellas, to please the Thebans.
To such a depth of misfortune have we fallen that, while the Medes’
success had been our ruin, Thebans now supplant us in your once fond
regards; and we have been subjected to two dangers, the greatest of
any- that of dying of starvation then, if we had not surrendered our
town, and now of being tried for our lives. So that we Plataeans,
after exertions beyond our power in the cause of the Hellenes, are
rejected by all, forsaken and unassisted; helped by none of our allies,
and reduced to doubt the stability of our only hope, yourselves.

“Still, in the name of the gods who once presided over our confederacy,
and of our own good service in the Hellenic cause, we adjure you to
relent; to recall the decision which we fear that the Thebans may
have obtained from you; to ask back the gift that you have given them,
that they disgrace not you by slaying us; to gain a pure instead of
a guilty gratitude, and not to gratify others to be yourselves rewarded
with shame. Our lives may be quickly taken, but it will be a heavy
task to wipe away the infamy of the deed; as we are no enemies whom
you might justly punish, but friends forced into taking arms against
you. To grant us our lives would be, therefore, a righteous judgment;
if you consider also that we are prisoners who surrendered of their
own accord, stretching out our hands for quarter, whose slaughter
Hellenic law forbids, and who besides were always your benefactors.
Look at the sepulchres of your fathers, slain by the Medes and buried
in our country, whom year by year we honoured with garments and all
other dues, and the first-fruits of all that our land produced in
their season, as friends from a friendly country and allies to our
old companions in arms. Should you not decide aright, your conduct
would be the very opposite to ours. Consider only: Pausanias buried
them thinking that he was laying them in friendly ground and among
men as friendly; but you, if you kill us and make the Plataean territory
Theban, will leave your fathers and kinsmen in a hostile soil and
among their murderers, deprived of the honours which they now enjoy.
What is more, you will enslave the land in which the freedom of the
Hellenes was won, make desolate the temples of the gods to whom they
prayed before they overcame the Medes, and take away your ancestral
sacrifices from those who founded and instituted them.

“It were not to your glory, Lacedaemonians, either to offend in this
way against the common law of the Hellenes and against your own ancestors,
or to kill us your benefactors to gratify another’s hatred without
having been wronged yourselves: it were more so to spare us and to
yield to the impressions of a reasonable compassion; reflecting not
merely on the awful fate in store for us, but also on the character
of the sufferers, and on the impossibility of predicting how soon
misfortune may fall even upon those who deserve it not. We, as we
have a right to do and as our need impels us, entreat you, calling
aloud upon the gods at whose common altar all the Hellenes worship,
to hear our request, to be not unmindful of the oaths which your fathers
swore, and which we now plead- we supplicate you by the tombs of your
fathers, and appeal to those that are gone to save us from falling
into the hands of the Thebans and their dearest friends from being
given up to their most detested foes. We also remind you of that day
on which we did the most glorious deeds, by your fathers’ sides, we
who now on this are like to suffer the most dreadful fate. Finally,
to do what is necessary and yet most difficult for men in our situation-
that is, to make an end of speaking, since with that ending the peril
of our lives draws near- in conclusion we say that we did not surrender
our city to the Thebans (to that we would have preferred inglorious
starvation), but trusted in and capitulated to you; and it would be
just, if we fail to persuade you, to put us back in the same position
and let us take the chance that falls to us. And at the same time
we adjure you not to give us up- your suppliants, Lacedaemonians,
out of your hands and faith, Plataeans foremost of the Hellenic patriots,
to Thebans, our most hated enemies- but to be our saviours, and not,
while you free the rest of the Hellenes, to bring us to destruction.”

Such were the words of the Plataeans. The Thebans, afraid that the
Lacedaemonians might be moved by what they had heard, came forward
and said that they too desired to address them, since the Plataeans
had, against their wish, been allowed to speak at length instead of
being confined to a simple answer to the question. Leave being granted,
the Thebans spoke as follows:

“We should never have asked to make this speech if the Plataeans on
their side had contented themselves with shortly answering the question,
and had not turned round and made charges against us, coupled with
a long defence of themselves upon matters outside the present inquiry
and not even the subject of accusation, and with praise of what no
one finds fault with. However, since they have done so, we must answer
their charges and refute their self-praise, in order that neither
our bad name nor their good may help them, but that you may hear the
real truth on both points, and so decide.

“The origin of our quarrel was this. We settled Plataea some time
after the rest of Boeotia, together with other places out of which
we had driven the mixed population. The Plataeans not choosing to
recognize our supremacy, as had been first arranged, but separating
themselves from the rest of the Boeotians, and proving traitors to
their nationality, we used compulsion; upon which they went over to
the Athenians, and with them did as much harm, for which we retaliated.

“Next, when the barbarian invaded Hellas, they say that they were
the only Boeotians who did not Medize; and this is where they most
glorify themselves and abuse us. We say that if they did not Medize,
it was because the Athenians did not do so either; just as afterwards
when the Athenians attacked the Hellenes they, the Plataeans, were
again the only Boeotians who Atticized. And yet consider the forms
of our respective governments when we so acted. Our city at that juncture
had neither an oligarchical constitution in which all the nobles enjoyed
equal rights, nor a democracy, but that which is most opposed to law
and good government and nearest a tyranny- the rule of a close cabal.
These, hoping to strengthen their individual power by the success
of the Mede, kept down by force the people, and brought him into the
town. The city as a whole was not its own mistress when it so acted,
and ought not to be reproached for the errors that it committed while
deprived of its constitution. Examine only how we acted after the
departure of the Mede and the recovery of the constitution; when the
Athenians attacked the rest of Hellas and endeavoured to subjugate
our country, of the greater part of which faction had already made
them masters. Did not we fight and conquer at Coronea and liberate
Boeotia, and do we not now actively contribute to the liberation of
the rest, providing horses to the cause and a force unequalled by
that of any other state in the confederacy?

“Let this suffice to excuse us for our Medism. We will now endeavour
to show that you have injured the Hellenes more than we, and are more
deserving of condign punishment. It was in defence against us, say
you, that you became allies and citizens of Athens. If so, you ought
only to have called in the Athenians against us, instead of joining
them in attacking others: it was open to you to do this if you ever
felt that they were leading you where you did not wish to follow,
as Lacedaemon was already your ally against the Mede, as you so much
insist; and this was surely sufficient to keep us off, and above all
to allow you to deliberate in security. Nevertheless, of your own
choice and without compulsion you chose to throw your lot in with
Athens. And you say that it had been base for you to betray your benefactors;
but it was surely far baser and more iniquitous to sacrifice the whole
body of the Hellenes, your fellow confederates, who were liberating
Hellas, than the Athenians only, who were enslaving it. The return
that you made them was therefore neither equal nor honourable, since
you called them in, as you say, because you were being oppressed yourselves,
and then became their accomplices in oppressing others; although baseness
rather consists in not returning like for like than in not returning
what is justly due but must be unjustly paid.

“Meanwhile, after thus plainly showing that it was not for the sake
of the Hellenes that you alone then did not Medize, but because the
Athenians did not do so either, and you wished to side with them and
to be against the rest; you now claim the benefit of good deeds done
to please your neighbours. This cannot be admitted: you chose the
Athenians, and with them you must stand or fall. Nor can you plead
the league then made and claim that it should now protect you. You
abandoned that league, and offended against it by helping instead
of hindering the subjugation of the Aeginetans and others of its members,
and that not under compulsion, but while in enjoyment of the same
institutions that you enjoy to the present hour, and no one forcing
you as in our case. Lastly, an invitation was addressed to you before
you were blockaded to be neutral and join neither party: this you
did not accept. Who then merit the detestation of the Hellenes more
justly than you, you who sought their ruin under the mask of honour?
The former virtues that you allege you now show not to be proper to
your character; the real bent of your nature has been at length damningly
proved: when the Athenians took the path of injustice you followed

“Of our unwilling Medism and your wilful Atticizing this then is our
explanation. The last wrong wrong of which you complain consists in
our having, as you say, lawlessly invaded your town in time of peace
and festival. Here again we cannot think that we were more in fault
than yourselves. If of our own proper motion we made an armed attack
upon your city and ravaged your territory, we are guilty; but if the
first men among you in estate and family, wishing to put an end to
the foreign connection and to restore you to the common Boeotian country,
of their own free will invited us, wherein is our crime? Where wrong
is done, those who lead, as you say, are more to blame than those
who follow. Not that, in our judgment, wrong was done either by them
or by us. Citizens like yourselves, and with more at stake than you,
they opened their own walls and introduced us into their own city,
not as foes but as friends, to prevent the bad among you from becoming
worse; to give honest men their due; to reform principles without
attacking persons, since you were not to be banished from your city,
but brought home to your kindred, nor to be made enemies to any, but
friends alike to all.

“That our intention was not hostile is proved by our behaviour. We
did no harm to any one, but publicly invited those who wished to live
under a national, Boeotian government to come over to us; which as
first you gladly did, and made an agreement with us and remained tranquil,
until you became aware of the smallness of our numbers. Now it is
possible that there may have been something not quite fair in our
entering without the consent of your commons. At any rate you did
not repay us in kind. Instead of refraining, as we had done, from
violence, and inducing us to retire by negotiation, you fell upon
us in violation of your agreement, and slew some of us in fight, of
which we do not so much complain, for in that there was a certain
justice; but others who held out their hands and received quarter,
and whose lives you subsequently promised us, you lawlessly butchered.
If this was not abominable, what is? And after these three crimes
committed one after the other- the violation of your agreement, the
murder of the men afterwards, and the lying breach of your promise
not to kill them, if we refrained from injuring your property in the
country- you still affirm that we are the criminals and yourselves
pretend to escape justice. Not so, if these your judges decide aright,
but you will be punished for all together.

“Such, Lacedaemonians, are the facts. We have gone into them at some
length both on your account and on our own, that you may fed that
you will justly condemn the prisoners, and we, that we have given
an additional sanction to our vengeance. We would also prevent you
from being melted by hearing of their past virtues, if any such they
had: these may be fairly appealed to by the victims of injustice,
but only aggravate the guilt of criminals, since they offend against
their better nature. Nor let them gain anything by crying and wailing,
by calling upon your fathers’ tombs and their own desolate condition.
Against this we point to the far more dreadful fate of our youth,
butchered at their hands; the fathers of whom either fell at Coronea,
bringing Boeotia over to you, or seated, forlorn old men by desolate
hearths, with far more reason implore your justice upon the prisoners.
The pity which they appeal to is rather due to men who suffer unworthily;
those who suffer justly as they do are on the contrary subjects for
triumph. For their present desolate condition they have themselves
to blame, since they wilfully rejected the better alliance. Their
lawless act was not provoked by any action of ours: hate, not justice,
inspired their decision; and even now the satisfaction which they
afford us is not adequate; they will suffer by a legal sentence, not
as they pretend as suppliants asking for quarter in battle, but as
prisoners who have surrendered upon agreement to take their trial.
Vindicate, therefore, Lacedaemonians, the Hellenic law which they
have broken; and to us, the victims of its violation, grant the reward
merited by our zeal. Nor let us be supplanted in your favour by their
harangues, but offer an example to the Hellenes, that the contests
to which you invite them are of deeds, not words: good deeds can be
shortly stated, but where wrong is done a wealth of language is needed
to veil its deformity. However, if leading powers were to do what
you are now doing, and putting one short question to all alike were
to decide accordingly, men would be less tempted to seek fine phrases
to cover bad actions.”

Such were the words of the Thebans. The Lacedaemonian judges decided
that the question whether they had received any service from the Plataeans
in the war, was a fair one for them to put; as they had always invited
them to be neutral, agreeably to the original covenant of Pausanias
after the defeat of the Mede, and had again definitely offered them
the same conditions before the blockade. This offer having been refused,
they were now, they conceived, by the loyalty of their intention released
from their covenant; and having, as they considered, suffered evil
at the hands of the Plataeans, they brought them in again one by one
and asked each of them the same question, that is to say, whether
they had done the Lacedaemonians and allies any service in the war;
and upon their saying that they had not, took them out and slew them,
all without exception. The number of Plataeans thus massacred was
not less than two hundred, with twenty-five Athenians who had shared
in the siege. The women were taken as slaves. The city the Thebans
gave for about a year to some political emigrants from Megara and
to the surviving Plataeans of their own party to inhabit, and afterwards
razed it to the ground from the very foundations, and built on to
the precinct of Hera an inn two hundred feet square, with rooms all
round above and below, making use for this purpose of the roofs and
doors of the Plataeans: of the rest of the materials in the wall,
the brass and the iron, they made couches which they dedicated to
Hera, for whom they also built a stone chapel of a hundred feet square.
The land they confiscated and let out on a ten years’ lease to Theban
occupiers. The adverse attitude of the Lacedaemonians in the whole
Plataean affair was mainly adopted to please the Thebans, who were
thought to be useful in the war at that moment raging. Such was the
end of Plataea, in the ninety-third year after she became the ally
of Athens.

Meanwhile, the forty ships of the Peloponnesians that had gone to
the relief of the Lesbians, and which we left flying across the open
sea, pursued by the Athenians, were caught in a storm off Crete, and
scattering from thence made their way to Peloponnese, where they found
at Cyllene thirteen Leucadian and Ambraciot galleys, with Brasidas,
son of Tellis, lately arrived as counsellor to Alcidas; the Lacedaemonians,
upon the failure of the Lesbian expedition, having resolved to strengthen
their fleet and sail to Corcyra, where a revolution had broken out,
so as to arrive there before the twelve Athenian ships at Naupactus
could be reinforced from Athens. Brasidas and Alcidas began to prepare

The Corcyraean revolution began with the return of the prisoners taken
in the sea-fights off Epidamnus. These the Corinthians had released,
nominally upon the security of eight hundred talents given by their
proxeni, but in reality upon their engagement to bring over Corcyra
to Corinth. These men proceeded to canvass each of the citizens, and
to intrigue with the view of detaching the city from Athens. Upon
the arrival of an Athenian and a Corinthian vessel, with envoys on
board, a conference was held in which the Corcyraeans voted to remain
allies of the Athenians according to their agreement, but to be friends
of the Peloponnesians as they had been formerly. Meanwhile, the returned
prisoners brought Peithias, a volunteer proxenus of the Athenians
and leader of the commons, to trial, upon the charge of enslaving
Corcyra to Athens. He, being acquitted, retorted by accusing five
of the richest of their number of cutting stakes in the ground sacred
to Zeus and Alcinous; the legal penalty being a stater for each stake.
Upon their conviction, the amount of the penalty being very large,
they seated themselves as suppliants in the temples to be allowed
to pay it by instalments; but Peithias, who was one of the senate,
prevailed upon that body to enforce the law; upon which the accused,
rendered desperate by the law, and also learning that Peithias had
the intention, while still a member of the senate, to persuade the
people to conclude a defensive and offensive alliance with Athens,
banded together armed with daggers, and suddenly bursting into the
senate killed Peithias and sixty others, senators and private persons;
some few only of the party of Peithias taking refuge in the Athenian
galley, which had not yet departed.

After this outrage, the conspirators summoned the Corcyraeans to an
assembly, and said that this would turn out for the best, and would
save them from being enslaved by Athens: for the future, they moved
to receive neither party unless they came peacefully in a single ship,
treating any larger number as enemies. This motion made, they compelled
it to be adopted, and instantly sent off envoys to Athens to justify
what had been done and to dissuade the refugees there from any hostile
proceedings which might lead to a reaction.

Upon the arrival of the embassy, the Athenians arrested the envoys
and all who listened to them, as revolutionists, and lodged them in
Aegina. Meanwhile a Corinthian galley arriving in the island with
Lacedaemonian envoys, the dominant Corcyraean party attacked the commons
and defeated them in battle. Night coming on, the commons took refuge
in the Acropolis and the higher parts of the city, and concentrated
themselves there, having also possession of the Hyllaic harbour; their
adversaries occupying the market-place, where most of them lived,
and the harbour adjoining, looking towards the mainland.

The next day passed in skirmishes of little importance, each party
sending into the country to offer freedom to the slaves and to invite
them to join them. The mass of the slaves answered the appeal of the
commons; their antagonists being reinforced by eight hundred mercenaries
from the continent.

After a day’s interval hostilities recommenced, victory remaining
with the commons, who had the advantage in numbers and position, the
women also valiantly assisting them, pelting with tiles from the houses,
and supporting the melee with a fortitude beyond their sex. Towards
dusk, the oligarchs in full rout, fearing that the victorious commons
might assault and carry the arsenal and put them to the sword, fired
the houses round the marketplace and the lodging-houses, in order
to bar their advance; sparing neither their own, nor those of their
neighbours; by which much stuff of the merchants was consumed and
the city risked total destruction, if a wind had come to help the
flame by blowing on it. Hostilities now ceasing, both sides kept quiet,
passing the night on guard, while the Corinthian ship stole out to
sea upon the victory of the commons, and most of the mercenaries passed
over secretly to the continent.

The next day the Athenian general, Nicostratus, son of Diitrephes,
came up from Naupactus with twelve ships and five hundred Messenian
heavy infantry. He at once endeavoured to bring about a settlement,
and persuaded the two parties to agree together to bring to trial
ten of the ringleaders, who presently fled, while the rest were to
live in peace, making terms with each other, and entering into a defensive
and offensive alliance with the Athenians. This arranged, he was about
to sail away, when the leaders of the commons induced him to leave
them five of his ships to make their adversaries less disposed to
move, while they manned and sent with him an equal number of their
own. He had no sooner consented, than they began to enroll their enemies
for the ships; and these, fearing that they might be sent off to Athens,
seated themselves as suppliants in the temple of the Dioscuri. An
attempt on the part of Nicostratus to reassure them and to persuade
them to rise proving unsuccessful, the commons armed upon this pretext,
alleging the refusal of their adversaries to sail with them as a proof
of the hollowness of their intentions, and took their arms out of
their houses, and would have dispatched some whom they fell in with,
if Nicostratus had not prevented it. The rest of the party, seeing
what was going on, seated themselves as suppliants in the temple of
Hera, being not less than four hundred in number; until the commons,
fearing that they might adopt some desperate resolution, induced them
to rise, and conveyed them over to the island in front of the temple,
where provisions were sent across to them.

At this stage in the revolution, on the fourth or fifth day after
the removal of the men to the island, the Peloponnesian ships arrived
from Cyllene where they had been stationed since their return from
Ionia, fifty-three in number, still under the command of Alcidas,
but with Brasidas also on board as his adviser; and dropping anchor
at Sybota, a harbour on the mainland, at daybreak made sail for Corcyra.

The Corcyraeans in great confusion and alarm at the state of things
in the city and at the approach of the invader, at once proceeded
to equip sixty vessels, which they sent out, as fast as they were
manned, against the enemy, in spite of the Athenians recommending
them to let them sail out first, and to follow themselves afterwards
with all their ships to. gether. Upon their vessels coming up to the
enemy in this straggling fashion, two immediately deserted: in others
the crews were fighting among themselves, and there was no order in
anything that was done; so that the Peloponnesians, seeing their confusion,
placed twenty ships to oppose the Corcyraeans, and ranged the rest
against the twelve Athenian ships, amongst which were the two vessels
Salaminia and Paralus.

While the Corcyraeans, attacking without judgment and in small detachments,
were already crippled by their own misconduct, the Athenians, afraid
of the numbers of the enemy and of being surrounded, did not venture
to attack the main body or even the centre of the division opposed
to them, but fell upon its wing and sank one vessel; after which the
Peloponnesians formed in a circle, and the Athenians rowed round them
and tried to throw them into disorder. Perceiving this, the division
opposed to the Corcyraeans, fearing a repetition of the disaster of
Naupactus, came to support their friends, and the whole fleet now
bore down, united, upon the Athenians, who retired before it, backing
water, retiring as leisurely as possible in order to give the Corcyraeans
time to escape, while the enemy was thus kept occupied. Such was the
character of this sea-fight, which lasted until sunset.

The Corcyraeans now feared that the enemy would follow up their victory
and sail against the town and rescue the men in the island, or strike
some other blow equally decisive, and accordingly carried the men
over again to the temple of Hera, and kept guard over the city. The
Peloponnesians, however, although victorious in the sea-fight, did
not venture to attack the town, but took the thirteen Corcyraean vessels
which they had captured, and with them sailed back to the continent
from whence they had put out. The next day equally they refrained
from attacking the city, although the disorder and panic were at their
height, and though Brasidas, it is said, urged Alcidas, his superior
officer, to do so, but they landed upon the promontory of Leukimme
and laid waste the country.

Meanwhile the commons in Corcyra, being still in great fear of the
fleet attacking them, came to a parley with the suppliants and their
friends, in order to save the town; and prevailed upon some of them
to go on board the ships, of which they still manned thirty, against
the expected attack. But the Peloponnesians after ravaging the country
until midday sailed away, and towards nightfall were informed by beacon
signals of the approach of sixty Athenian vessels from Leucas, under
the command of Eurymedon, son of Thucles; which had been sent off
by the Athenians upon the news of the revolution and of the fleet
with Alcidas being about to sail for Corcyra.

The Peloponnesians accordingly at once set off in haste by night for
home, coasting along shore; and hauling their ships across the Isthmus
of Leucas, in order not to be seen doubling it, so departed. The Corcyraeans,
made aware of the approach of the Athenian fleet and of the departure
of the enemy, brought the Messenians from outside the walls into the
town, and ordered the fleet which they had manned to sail round into
the Hyllaic harbour; and while it was so doing, slew such of their
enemies as they laid hands on, dispatching afterwards, as they landed
them, those whom they had persuaded to go on board the ships. Next
they went to the sanctuary of Hera and persuaded about fifty men to
take their trial, and condemned them all to death. The mass of the
suppliants who had refused to do so, on seeing what was taking place,
slew each other there in the consecrated ground; while some hanged
themselves upon the trees, and others destroyed themselves as they
were severally able. During seven days that Eurymedon stayed with
his sixty ships, the Corcyraeans were engaged in butchering those
of their fellow citizens whom they regarded as their enemies: and
although the crime imputed was that of attempting to put down the
democracy, some were slain also for private hatred, others by their
debtors because of the moneys owed to them. Death thus raged in every
shape; and, as usually happens at such times, there was no length
to which violence did not go; sons were killed by their fathers, and
suppliants dragged from the altar or slain upon it; while some were
even walled up in the temple of Dionysus and died there.

So bloody was the march of the revolution, and the impression which
it made was the greater as it was one of the first to occur. Later
on, one may say, the whole Hellenic world was convulsed; struggles
being every, where made by the popular chiefs to bring in the Athenians,
and by the oligarchs to introduce the Lacedaemonians. In peace there
would have been neither the pretext nor the wish to make such an invitation;
but in war, with an alliance always at the command of either faction
for the hurt of their adversaries and their own corresponding advantage,
opportunities for bringing in the foreigner were never wanting to
the revolutionary parties. The sufferings which revolution entailed
upon the cities were many and terrible, such as have occurred and
always will occur, as long as the nature of mankind remains the same;
though in a severer or milder form, and varying in their symptoms,
according to the variety of the particular cases. In peace and prosperity,
states and individuals have better sentiments, because they do not
find themselves suddenly confronted with imperious necessities; but
war takes away the easy supply of daily wants, and so proves a rough
master, that brings most men’s characters to a level with their fortunes.
Revolution thus ran its course from city to city, and the places which
it arrived at last, from having heard what had been done before, carried
to a still greater excess the refinement of their inventions, as manifested
in the cunning of their enterprises and the atrocity of their reprisals.
Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which
was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage
of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation
was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of
a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute
of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defence.
The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent
a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head,
to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having
to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries.
In fine, to forestall an intending criminal, or to suggest the idea
of a crime where it was wanting, was equally commended until even
blood became a weaker tie than party, from the superior readiness
of those united by the latter to dare everything without reserve;
for such associations had not in view the blessings derivable from
established institutions but were formed by ambition for their overthrow;
and the confidence of their members in each other rested less on any
religious sanction than upon complicity in crime. The fair proposals
of an adversary were met with jealous precautions by the stronger
of the two, and not with a generous confidence. Revenge also was held
of more account than self-preservation. Oaths of reconciliation, being
only proffered on either side to meet an immediate difficulty, only
held good so long as no other weapon was at hand; but when opportunity
offered, he who first ventured to seize it and to take his enemy off
his guard, thought this perfidious vengeance sweeter than an open
one, since, considerations of safety apart, success by treachery won
him the palm of superior intelligence. Indeed it is generally the
case that men are readier to call rogues clever than simpletons honest,
and are as ashamed of being the second as they are proud of being
the first. The cause of all these evils was the lust for power arising
from greed and ambition; and from these passions proceeded the violence
of parties once engaged in contention. The leaders in the cities,
each provided with the fairest professions, on the one side with the
cry of political equality of the people, on the other of a moderate
aristocracy, sought prizes for themselves in those public interests
which they pretended to cherish, and, recoiling from no means in their
struggles for ascendancy engaged in the direst excesses; in their
acts of vengeance they went to even greater lengths, not stopping
at what justice or the good of the state demanded, but making the
party caprice of the moment their only standard, and invoking with
equal readiness the condemnation of an unjust verdict or the authority
of the strong arm to glut the animosities of the hour. Thus religion
was in honour with neither party; but the use of fair phrases to arrive
at guilty ends was in high reputation. Meanwhile the moderate part
of the citizens perished between the two, either for not joining in
the quarrel, or because envy would not suffer them to escape.

Thus every form of iniquity took root in the Hellenic countries by
reason of the troubles. The ancient simplicity into which honour so
largely entered was laughed down and disappeared; and society became
divided into camps in which no man trusted his fellow. To put an end
to this, there was neither promise to be depended upon, nor oath that
could command respect; but all parties dwelling rather in their calculation
upon the hopelessness of a permanent state of things, were more intent
upon self-defence than capable of confidence. In this contest the
blunter wits were most successful. Apprehensive of their own deficiencies
and of the cleverness of their antagonists, they feared to be worsted
in debate and to be surprised by the combinations of their more versatile
opponents, and so at once boldly had recourse to action: while their
adversaries, arrogantly thinking that they should know in time, and
that it was unnecessary to secure by action what policy afforded,
often fell victims to their want of precaution.

Meanwhile Corcyra gave the first example of most of the crimes alluded
to; of the reprisals exacted by the governed who had never experienced
equitable treatment or indeed aught but insolence from their rulers-
when their hour came; of the iniquitous resolves of those who desired
to get rid of their accustomed poverty, and ardently coveted their
neighbours’ goods; and lastly, of the savage and pitiless excesses
into which men who had begun the struggle, not in a class but in a
party spirit, were hurried by their ungovernable passions. In the
confusion into which life was now thrown in the cities, human nature,
always rebelling against the law and now its master, gladly showed
itself ungoverned in passion, above respect for justice, and the enemy
of all superiority; since revenge would not have been set above religion,
and gain above justice, had it not been for the fatal power of envy.
Indeed men too often take upon themselves in the prosecution of their
revenge to set the example of doing away with those general laws to
which all alike can look for salvation in adversity, instead of allowing
them to subsist against the day of danger when their aid may be required.

While the revolutionary passions thus for the first time displayed
themselves in the factions of Corcyra, Eurymedon and the Athenian
fleet sailed away; after which some five hundred Corcyraean exiles
who had succeeded in escaping, took some forts on the mainland, and
becoming masters of the Corcyraean territory over the water, made
this their base to Plunder their countrymen in the island, and did
so much damage as to cause a severe famine in the town. They also
sent envoys to Lacedaemon and Corinth to negotiate their restoration;
but meeting with no success, afterwards got together boats and mercenaries
and crossed over to the island, being about six hundred in all; and
burning their boats so as to have no hope except in becoming masters
of the country, went up to Mount Istone, and fortifying themselves
there, began to annoy those in the city and obtained command of the

At the close of the same summer the Athenians sent twenty ships under
the command of Laches, son of Melanopus, and Charoeades, son of Euphiletus,
to Sicily, where the Syracusans and Leontines were at war. The Syracusans
had for allies all the Dorian cities except Camarina- these had been
included in the Lacedaemonian confederacy from the commencement of
the war, though they had not taken any active part in it- the Leontines
had Camarina and the Chalcidian cities. In Italy the Locrians were
for the Syracusans, the Rhegians for their Leontine kinsmen. The allies
of the Leontines now sent to Athens and appealed to their ancient
alliance and to their Ionian origin, to persuade the Athenians to
send them a fleet, as the Syracusans were blockading them by land
and sea. The Athenians sent it upon the plea of their common descent,
but in reality to prevent the exportation of Sicilian corn to Peloponnese
and to test the possibility of bringing Sicily into subjection. Accordingly
they established themselves at Rhegium in Italy, and from thence carried
on the war in concert with their allies.

Chapter XI

Year of the War – Campaigns of Demosthenes in Western Greece – Ruin
of Ambracia

Summer was now over. The winter following, the plague a second time
attacked the Athenians; for although it had never entirely left them,
still there had been a notable abatement in its ravages. The second
visit lasted no less than a year, the first having lasted two; and
nothing distressed the Athenians and reduced their power more than
this. No less than four thousand four hundred heavy infantry in the
ranks died of it and three hundred cavalry, besides a number of the
multitude that was never ascertained. At the same time took place
the numerous earthquakes in Athens, Euboea, and Boeotia, particularly
at Orchomenus in the last-named country.

The same winter the Athenians in Sicily and the Rhegians, with thirty
ships, made an expedition against the islands of Aeolus; it being
impossible to invade them in summer, owing to the want of water. These
islands are occupied by the Liparaeans, a Cnidian colony, who live
in one of them of no great size called Lipara; and from this as their
headquarters cultivate the rest, Didyme, Strongyle, and Hiera. In
Hiera the people in those parts believe that Hephaestus has his forge,
from the quantity of flame which they see it send out by night, and
of smoke by day. These islands lie off the coast of the Sicels and
Messinese, and were allies of the Syracusans. The Athenians laid waste
their land, and as the inhabitants did not submit, sailed back to
Rhegium. Thus the winter ended, and with it ended the fifth year of
this war, of which Thucydides was the historian.

The next summer the Peloponnesians and their allies set out to invade
Attica under the command of Agis, son of Archidamus, and went as far
as the Isthmus, but numerous earthquakes occurring, turned back again
without the invasion taking place. About the same time that these
earthquakes were so common, the sea at Orobiae, in Euboea, retiring
from the then line of coast, returned in a huge wave and invaded a
great part of the town, and retreated leaving some of it still under
water; so that what was once land is now sea; such of the inhabitants
perishing as could not run up to the higher ground in time. A similar
inundation also occurred at Atalanta, the island off the Opuntian
Locrian coast, carrying away part of the Athenian fort and wrecking
one of two ships which were drawn up on the beach. At Peparethus also
the sea retreated a little, without however any inundation following;
and an earthquake threw down part of the wall, the town hall, and
a few other buildings. The cause, in my opinion, of this phenomenon
must be sought in the earthquake. At the point where its shock has
been the most violent, the sea is driven back and, suddenly recoiling
with redoubled force, causes the inundation. Without an earthquake
I do not see how such an accident could happen.

During the same summer different operations were carried on by the
different beligerents in Sicily; by the Siceliots themselves against
each other, and by the Athenians and their allies: I shall however
confine myself to the actions in which the Athenians took part, choosing
the most important. The death of the Athenian general Charoeades,
killed by the Syracusans in battle, left Laches in the sole command
of the fleet, which he now directed in concert with the allies against
Mylae, a place belonging to the Messinese. Two Messinese battalions
in garrison at Mylae laid an ambush for the party landing from the
ships, but were routed with great slaughter by the Athenians and their
allies, who thereupon assaulted the fortification and compelled them
to surrender the Acropolis and to march with them upon Messina. This
town afterwards also submitted upon the approach of the Athenians
and their allies, and gave hostages and all other securities required.

The same summer the Athenians sent thirty ships round Peloponnese
under Demosthenes, son of Alcisthenes, and Procles, son of Theodorus,
and sixty others, with two thousand heavy infantry, against Melos,
under Nicias, son of Niceratus; wishing to reduce the Melians, who,
although islanders, refused to be subjects of Athens or even to join
her confederacy. The devastation of their land not procuring their
submission, the fleet, weighing from Melos, sailed to Oropus in the
territory of Graea, and landing at nightfall, the heavy infantry started
at once from the ships by land for Tanagra in Boeotia, where they
were met by the whole levy from Athens, agreeably to a concerted signal,
under the command of Hipponicus, son of Callias, and Eurymedon, son
of Thucles. They encamped, and passing that day in ravaging the Tanagraean
territory, remained there for the night; and next day, after defeating
those of the Tanagraeans who sailed out against them and some Thebans
who had come up to help the Tanagraeans, took some arms, set up a
trophy, and retired, the troops to the city and the others to the
ships. Nicias with his sixty ships coasted alongshore and ravaged
the Locrian seaboard, and so returned home.

About this time the Lacedaemonians founded their colony of Heraclea
in Trachis, their object being the following: the Malians form in
all three tribes, the Paralians, the Hiereans, and the Trachinians.
The last of these having suffered severely in a war with their neighbours
the Oetaeans, at first intended to give themselves up to Athens; but
afterwards fearing not to find in her the security that they sought,
sent to Lacedaemon, having chosen Tisamenus for their ambassador.
In this embassy joined also the Dorians from the mother country of
the Lacedaemonians, with the same request, as they themselves also
suffered from the same enemy. After hearing them, the Lacedaemonians
determined to send out the colony, wishing to assist the Trachinians
and Dorians, and also because they thought that the proposed town
would lie conveniently for the purposes of the war against the Athenians.
A fleet might be got ready there against Euboea, with the advantage
of a short passage to the island; and the town would also be useful
as a station on the road to Thrace. In short, everything made the
Lacedaemonians eager to found the place. After first consulting the
god at Delphi and receiving a favourable answer, they sent off the
colonists, Spartans, and Perioeci, inviting also any of the rest of
the Hellenes who might wish to accompany them, except Ionians, Achaeans,
and certain other nationalities; three Lacedaemonians leading as founders
of the colony, Leon, Alcidas, and Damagon. The settlement effected,
they fortified anew the city, now called Heraclea, distant about four
miles and a half from Thermopylae and two miles and a quarter from
the sea, and commenced building docks, closing the side towards Thermopylae
just by the pass itself, in order that they might be easily defended.

The foundation of this town, evidently meant to annoy Euboea (the
passage across to Cenaeum in that island being a short one), at first
caused some alarm at Athens, which the event however did nothing to
justify, the town never giving them any trouble. The reason of this
was as follows. The Thessalians, who were sovereign in those parts,
and whose territory was menaced by its foundation, were afraid that
it might prove a very powerful neighbour, and accordingly continually
harassed and made war upon the new settlers, until they at last wore
them out in spite of their originally considerable numbers, people
flocking from all quarters to a place founded by the Lacedaemonians,
and thus thought secure of prosperity. On the other hand the Lacedaemonians
themselves, in the persons of their governors, did their full share
towards ruining its prosperity and reducing its population, as they
frightened away the greater part of the inhabitants by governing harshly
and in some cases not fairly, and thus made it easier for their neighbours
to prevail against them.

The same summer, about the same time that the Athenians were detained
at Melos, their fellow citizens in the thirty ships cruising round
Peloponnese, after cutting off some guards in an ambush at Ellomenus
in Leucadia, subsequently went against Leucas itself with a large
armament, having been reinforced by the whole levy of the Acarnanians
except Oeniadae, and by the Zacynthians and Cephallenians and fifteen
ships from Corcyra. While the Leucadians witnessed the devastation
of their land, without and within the isthmus upon which the town
of Leucas and the temple of Apollo stand, without making any movement
on account of the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, the Acarnanians
urged Demosthenes, the Athenian general, to build a wall so as to
cut off the town from the continent, a measure which they were convinced
would secure its capture and rid them once and for all of a most troublesome

Demosthenes however had in the meanwhile been persuaded by the Messenians
that it was a fine opportunity for him, having so large an army assembled,
to attack the Aetolians, who were not only the enemies of Naupactus,
but whose reduction would further make it easy to gain the rest of
that part of the continent for the Athenians. The Aetolian nation,
although numerous and warlike, yet dwelt in unwalled villages scattered
far apart, and had nothing but light armour, and might, according
to the Messenians, be subdued without much difficulty before succours
could arrive. The plan which they recommended was to attack first
the Apodotians, next the Ophionians, and after these the Eurytanians,
who are the largest tribe in Aetolia, and speak, as is said, a language
exceedingly difficult to understand, and eat their flesh raw. These
once subdued, the rest would easily come in.

To this plan Demosthenes consented, not only to please the Messenians,
but also in the belief that by adding the Aetolians to his other continental
allies he would be able, without aid from home, to march against the
Boeotians by way of Ozolian Locris to Kytinium in Doris, keeping Parnassus
on his right until he descended to the Phocians, whom he could force
to join him if their ancient friendship for Athens did not, as he
anticipated, at once decide them to do so. Arrived in Phocis he was
already upon the frontier of Boeotia. He accordingly weighed from
Leucas, against the wish of the Acarnanians, and with his whole armament
sailed along the coast to Sollium, where he communicated to them his
intention; and upon their refusing to agree to it on account of the
non-investment of Leucas, himself with the rest of the forces, the
Cephallenians, the Messenians, and Zacynthians, and three hundred
Athenian marines from his own ships (the fifteen Corcyraean vessels
having departed), started on his expedition against the Aetolians.
His base he established at Oeneon in Locris, as the Ozolian Locrians
were allies of Athens and were to meet him with all their forces in
the interior. Being neighbours of the Aetolians and armed in the same
way, it was thought that they would be of great service upon the expedition,
from their acquaintance with the localities and the warfare of the

After bivouacking with the army in the precinct of Nemean Zeus, in
which the poet Hesiod is said to have been killed by the people of
the country, according to an oracle which had foretold that he should
die in Nemea, Demosthenes set out at daybreak to invade Aetolia. The
first day he took Potidania, the next Krokyle, and the third Tichium,
where he halted and sent back the booty to Eupalium in Locris, having
determined to pursue his conquests as far as the Ophionians, and,
in the event of their refusing to submit, to return to Naupactus and
make them the objects of a second expedition. Meanwhile the Aetolians
had been aware of his design from the moment of its formation, and
as soon as the army invaded their country came up in great force with
all their tribes; even the most remote Ophionians, the Bomiensians,
and Calliensians, who extend towards the Malian Gulf, being among
the number.

The Messenians, however, adhered to their original advice. Assuring
Demosthenes that the Aetolians were an easy conquest, they urged him
to push on as rapidly as possible, and to try to take the villages
as fast as he came up to them, without waiting until the whole nation
should be in arms against him. Led on by his advisers and trusting
in his fortune, as he had met with no opposition, without waiting
for his Locrian reinforcements, who were to have supplied him with
the light-armed darters in which he was most deficient, he advanced
and stormed Aegitium, the inhabitants flying before him and posting
themselves upon the hills above the town, which stood on high ground
about nine miles from the sea. Meanwhile the Aetolians had gathered
to the rescue, and now attacked the Athenians and their allies, running
down from the hills on every side and darting their javelins, falling
back when the Athenian army advanced, and coming on as it retired;
and for a long while the battle was of this character, alternate advance
and retreat, in both which operations the Athenians had the worst.

Still as long as their archers had arrows left and were able to use
them, they held out, the light-armed Aetolians retiring before the
arrows; but after the captain of the archers had been killed and his
men scattered, the soldiers, wearied out with the constant repetition
of the same exertions and hard pressed by the Aetolians with their
javelins, at last turned and fled, and falling into pathless gullies
and places that they were unacquainted with, thus perished, the Messenian
Chromon, their guide, having also unfortunately been killed. A great
many were overtaken in the pursuit by the swift-footed and light-armed
Aetolians, and fell beneath their javelins; the greater number however
missed their road and rushed into the wood, which had no ways out,
and which was soon fired and burnt round them by the enemy. Indeed
the Athenian army fell victims to death in every form, and suffered
all the vicissitudes of flight; the survivors escaped with difficulty
to the sea and Oeneon in Locris, whence they had set out. Many of
the allies were killed, and about one hundred and twenty Athenian
heavy infantry, not a man less, and all in the prime of life. These
were by far the best men in the city of Athens that fell during this
war. Among the slain was also Procles, the colleague of Demosthenes.
Meanwhile the Athenians took up their dead under truce from the Aetolians,
and retired to Naupactus, and from thence went in their ships to Athens;
Demosthenes staying behind in Naupactus and in the neighbourhood,
being afraid to face the Athenians after the disaster.

About the same time the Athenians on the coast of Sicily sailed to
Locris, and in a descent which they made from the ships defeated the
Locrians who came against them, and took a fort upon the river Halex.

The same summer the Aetolians, who before the Athenian expedition
had sent an embassy to Corinth and Lacedaemon, composed of Tolophus,
an Ophionian, Boriades, an Eurytanian, and Tisander, an Apodotian,
obtained that an army should be sent them against Naupactus, which
had invited the Athenian invasion. The Lacedaemonians accordingly
sent off towards autumn three thousand heavy infantry of the allies,
five hundred of whom were from Heraclea, the newly founded city in
Trachis, under the command of Eurylochus, a Spartan, accompanied by
Macarius and Menedaius, also Spartans.

The army having assembled at Delphi, Eurylochus sent a herald to the
Ozolian Locrians; the road to Naupactus lying through their territory,
and he having besides conceived the idea of detaching them from Athens.
His chief abettors in Locris were the Amphissians, who were alarmed
at the hostility of the Phocians. These first gave hostages themselves,
and induced the rest to do the same for fear of the invading army;
first, their neighbours the Myonians, who held the most difficult
of the passes, and after them the Ipnians, Messapians, Tritaeans,
Chalaeans, Tolophonians, Hessians, and Oeanthians, all of whom joined
in the expedition; the Olpaeans contenting themselves with giving
hostages, without accompanying the invasion; and the Hyaeans refusing
to do either, until the capture of Polis, one of their villages.

His preparations completed, Eurylochus lodged the hostages in Kytinium,
in Doris, and advanced upon Naupactus through the country of the Locrians,
taking upon his way Oeneon and Eupalium, two of their towns that refused
to join him. Arrived in the Naupactian territory, and having been
now joined by the Aetolians, the army laid waste the land and took
the suburb of the town, which was unfortified; and after this Molycrium
also, a Corinthian colony subject to Athens. Meanwhile the Athenian
Demosthenes, who since the affair in Aetolia had remained near Naupactus,
having had notice of the army and fearing for the town, went and persuaded
the Acarnanians, although not without difficulty because of his departure
from Leucas, to go to the relief of Naupactus. They accordingly sent
with him on board his ships a thousand heavy infantry, who threw themselves
into the place and saved it; the extent of its wall and the small
number of its defenders otherwise placing it in the greatest danger.
Meanwhile Eurylochus and his companions, finding that this force had
entered and that it was impossible to storm the town, withdrew, not
to Peloponnese, but to the country once called Aeolis, and now Calydon
and Pleuron, and to the places in that neighbourhood, and Proschium
in Aetolia; the Ambraciots having come and urged them to combine with
them in attacking Amphilochian Argos and the rest of Amphilochia and
Acarnania; affirming that the conquest of these countries would bring
all the continent into alliance with Lacedaemon. To this Eurylochus
consented, and dismissing the Aetolians, now remained quiet with his
army in those parts, until the time should come for the Ambraciots
to take the field, and for him to join them before Argos.

Summer was now over. The winter ensuing, the Athenians in Sicily with
their Hellenic allies, and such of the Sicel subjects or allies of
Syracuse as had revolted from her and joined their army, marched against
the Sicel town Inessa, the acropolis of which was held by the Syracusans,
and after attacking it without being able to take it, retired. In
the retreat, the allies retreating after the Athenians were attacked
by the Syracusans from the fort, and a large part of their army routed
with great slaughter. After this, Laches and the Athenians from the
ships made some descents in Locris, and defeating the Locrians, who
came against them with Proxenus, son of Capaton, upon the river Caicinus,
took some arms and departed.

The same winter the Athenians purified Delos, in compliance, it appears,
with a certain oracle. It had been purified before by Pisistratus
the tyrant; not indeed the whole island, but as much of it as could
be seen from the temple. All of it was, however, now purified in the
following way. All the sepulchres of those that had died in Delos
were taken up, and for the future it was commanded that no one should
be allowed either to die or to give birth to a child in the island;
but that they should be carried over to Rhenea, which is so near to
Delos that Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, having added Rhenea to his
other island conquests during his period of naval ascendancy, dedicated
it to the Delian Apollo by binding it to Delos with a chain.

The Athenians, after the purification, celebrated, for the first time,
the quinquennial festival of the Delian games. Once upon a time, indeed,
there was a great assemblage of the Ionians and the neighbouring islanders
at Delos, who used to come to the festival, as the Ionians now do
to that of Ephesus, and athletic and poetical contests took place
there, and the cities brought choirs of dancers. Nothing can be clearer
on this point than the following verses of Homer, taken from a hymn
to Apollo:

Phoebus, wherever thou strayest, far or near,
Delos was still of all thy haunts most dear.
Thither the robed Ionians take their way
With wife and child to keep thy holiday,
Invoke thy favour on each manly game,
And dance and sing in honour of thy name.

That there was also a poetical contest in which the Ionians went to
contend, again is shown by the following, taken from the same hymn.
After celebrating the Delian dance of the women, he ends his song
of praise with these verses, in which he also alludes to himself:

Well, may Apollo keep you all! and so,
Sweethearts, good-bye- yet tell me not I go
Out from your hearts; and if in after hours
Some other wanderer in this world of ours
Touch at your shores, and ask your maidens here
Who sings the songs the sweetest to your ear,
Think of me then, and answer with a smile,
‘A blind old man of Scio’s rocky isle.’

Homer thus attests that there was anciently a great assembly and festival
at Delos. In later times, although the islanders and the Athenians
continued to send the choirs of dancers with sacrifices, the contests
and most of the ceremonies were abolished, probably through adversity,
until the Athenians celebrated the games upon this occasion with the
novelty of horse-races.

The same winter the Ambraciots, as they had promised Eurylochus when
they retained his army, marched out against Amphilochian Argos with
three thousand heavy infantry, and invading the Argive territory occupied
Olpae, a stronghold on a hill near the sea, which had been formerly
fortified by the Acarnanians and used as the place of assizes for
their nation, and which is about two miles and three-quarters from
the city of Argos upon the sea-coast. Meanwhile the Acarnanians went
with a part of their forces to the relief of Argos, and with the rest
encamped in Amphilochia at the place called Crenae, or the Wells,
to watch for Eurylochus and his Peloponnesians, and to prevent their
passing through and effecting their junction with the Ambraciots;
while they also sent for Demosthenes, the commander of the Aetolian
expedition, to be their leader, and for the twenty Athenian ships
that were cruising off Peloponnese under the command of Aristotle,
son of Timocrates, and Hierophon, son of Antimnestus. On their part,
the Ambraciots at Olpae sent a messenger to their own city, to beg
them to come with their whole levy to their assistance, fearing that
the army of Eurylochus might not be able to pass through the Acarnanians,
and that they might themselves be obliged to fight single-handed,
or be unable to retreat, if they wished it, without danger.

Meanwhile Eurylochus and his Peloponnesians, learning that the Ambraciots
at Olpae had arrived, set out from Proschium with all haste to join
them, and crossing the Achelous advanced through Acarnania, which
they found deserted by its population, who had gone to the relief
of Argos; keeping on their right the city of the Stratians and its
garrison, and on their left the rest of Acarnania. Traversing the
territory of the Stratians, they advanced through Phytia, next, skirting
Medeon, through Limnaea; after which they left Acarnania behind them
and entered a friendly country, that of the Agraeans. From thence
they reached and crossed Mount Thymaus, which belongs to the Agraeans,
and descended into the Argive territory after nightfall, and passing
between the city of Argos and the Acarnanian posts at Crenae, joined
the Ambraciots at Olpae.

Uniting here at daybreak, they sat down at the place called Metropolis,
and encamped. Not long afterwards the Athenians in the twenty ships
came into the Ambracian Gulf to support the Argives, with Demosthenes
and two hundred Messenian heavy infantry, and sixty Athenian archers.
While the fleet off Olpae blockaded the hill from the sea, the Acarnanians
and a few of the Amphilochians, most of whom were kept back by force
by the Ambraciots, had already arrived at Argos, and were preparing
to give battle to the enemy, having chosen Demosthenes to command
the whole of the allied army in concert with their own generals. Demosthenes
led them near to Olpae and encamped, a great ravine separating the
two armies. During five days they remained inactive; on the sixth
both sides formed in order of battle. The army of the Peloponnesians
was the largest and outflanked their opponents; and Demosthenes fearing
that his right might be surrounded, placed in ambush in a hollow way
overgrown with bushes some four hundred heavy infantry and light troops,
who were to rise up at the moment of the onset behind the projecting
left wing of the enemy, and to take them in the rear. When both sides
were ready they joined battle; Demosthenes being on the right wing
with the Messenians and a few Athenians, while the rest of the line
was made up of the different divisions of the Acarnanians, and of
the Amphilochian carters. The Peloponnesians and Ambraciots were drawn
up pell-mell together, with the exception of the Mantineans, who were
massed on the left, without however reaching to the extremity of the
wing, where Eurylochus and his men confronted the Messenians and Demosthenes.

The Peloponnesians were now well engaged and with their outflanking
wing were upon the point of turning their enemy’s right; when the
Acarnanians from the ambuscade set upon them from behind, and broke
them at the first attack, without their staying to resist; while the
panic into which they fell caused the flight of most of their army,
terrified beyond measure at seeing the division of Eurylochus and
their best troops cut to pieces. Most of the work was done by Demosthenes
and his Messenians, who were posted in this part of the field. Meanwhile
the Ambraciots (who are the best soldiers in those countries) and
the troops upon the right wing, defeated the division opposed to them
and pursued it to Argos. Returning from the pursuit, they found their
main body defeated; and hard pressed by the Acarnanians, with difficulty
made good their passage to Olpae, suffering heavy loss on the way,
as they dashed on without discipline or order, the Mantineans excepted,
who kept their ranks best of any in the army during the retreat.

The battle did not end until the evening. The next day Menedaius,
who on the death of Eurylochus and Macarius had succeeded to the sole
command, being at a loss after so signal a defeat how to stay and
sustain a siege, cut off as he was by land and by the Athenian fleet
by sea, and equally so how to retreat in safety, opened a parley with
Demosthenes and the Acarnanian generals for a truce and permission
to retreat, and at the same time for the recovery of the dead. The
dead they gave back to him, and setting up a trophy took up their
own also to the number of about three hundred. The retreat demanded
they refused publicly to the army; but permission to depart without
delay was secretly granted to the Mantineans and to Menedaius and
the other commanders and principal men of the Peloponnesians by Demosthenes
and his Acarnanian colleagues; who desired to strip the Ambraciots
and the mercenary host of foreigners of their supporters; and, above
all, to discredit the Lacedaemonians and Peloponnesians with the Hellenes
in those parts, as traitors and self-seekers.

While the enemy was taking up his dead and hastily burying them as
he could, and those who obtained permission were secretly planning
their retreat, word was brought to Demosthenes and the Acarnanians
that the Ambraciots from the city, in compliance with the first message
from Olpae, were on the march with their whole levy through Amphilochia
to join their countrymen at Olpae, knowing nothing of what had occurred.
Demosthenes prepared to march with his army against them, and meanwhile
sent on at once a strong division to beset the roads and occupy the
strong positions. In the meantime the Mantineans and others included
in the agreement went out under the pretence of gathering herbs and
firewood, and stole off by twos and threes, picking on the way the
things which they professed to have come out for, until they had gone
some distance from Olpae, when they quickened their pace. The Ambraciots
and such of the rest as had accompanied them in larger parties, seeing
them going on, pushed on in their turn, and began running in order
to catch them up. The Acarnanians at first thought that all alike
were departing without permission, and began to pursue the Peloponnesians;
and believing that they were being betrayed, even threw a dart or
two at some of their generals who tried to stop them and told them
that leave had been given. Eventually, however, they let pass the
Mantineans and Peloponnesians, and slew only the Ambraciots, there
being much dispute and difficulty in distinguishing whether a man
was an Ambraciot or a Peloponnesian. The number thus slain was about
two hundred; the rest escaped into the bordering territory of Agraea,
and found refuge with Salynthius, the friendly king of the Agraeans.

Meanwhile the Ambraciots from the city arrived at Idomene. Idomene
consists of two lofty hills, the higher of which the troops sent on
by Demosthenes succeeded in occupying after nightfall, unobserved
by the Ambraciots, who had meanwhile ascended the smaller and bivouacked
under it. After supper Demosthenes set out with the rest of the army,
as soon as it was evening; himself with half his force making for
the pass, and the remainder going by the Amphilochian hills. At dawn
he fell upon the Ambraciots while they were still abed, ignorant of
what had passed, and fully thinking that it was their own countrymen-
Demosthenes having purposely put the Messenians in front with orders
to address them in the Doric dialect, and thus to inspire confidence
in the sentinels, who would not be able to see them as it was still
night. In this way he routed their army as soon as he attacked it,
slaying most of them where they were, the rest breaking away in flight
over the hills. The roads, however, were already occupied, and while
the Amphilochians knew their own country, the Ambraciots were ignorant
of it and could not tell which way to turn, and had also heavy armour
as against a light-armed enemy, and so fell into ravines and into
the ambushes which had been set for them, and perished there. In their
manifold efforts to escape some even turned to the sea, which was
not far off, and seeing the Athenian ships coasting alongshore just
while the action was going on, swam off to them, thinking it better
in the panic they were in, to perish, if perish they must, by the
hands of the Athenians, than by those of the barbarous and detested
Amphilochians. Of the large Ambraciot force destroyed in this manner,
a few only reached the city in safety; while the Acarnanians, after
stripping the dead and setting up a trophy, returned to Argos.

The next day arrived a herald from the Ambraciots who had fled from
Olpae to the Agraeans, to ask leave to take up the dead that had fallen
after the first engagement, when they left the camp with the Mantineans
and their companions, without, like them, having had permission to
do so. At the sight of the arms of the Ambraciots from the city, the
herald was astonished at their number, knowing nothing of the disaster
and fancying that they were those of their own party. Some one asked
him what he was so astonished at, and how many of them had been killed,
fancying in his turn that this was the herald from the troops at Idomene.
He replied: “About two hundred”; upon which his interrogator took
him up, saying: “Why, the arms you see here are of more than a thousand.”
The herald replied: “Then they are not the arms of those who fought
with us?” The other answered: “Yes, they are, if at least you fought
at Idomene yesterday.” “But we fought with no one yesterday; but the
day before in the retreat.” “However that may be, we fought yesterday
with those who came to reinforce you from the city of the Ambraciots.”
When the herald heard this and knew that the reinforcement from the
city had been destroyed, he broke into wailing and, stunned at the
magnitude of the present evils, went away at once without having performed
his errand, or again asking for the dead bodies. Indeed, this was
by far the greatest disaster that befell any one Hellenic city in
an equal number of days during this war; and I have not set down the
number of the dead, because the amount stated seems so out of proportion
to the size of the city as to be incredible. In any case I know that
if the Acarnanians and Amphilochians had wished to take Ambracia as
the Athenians and Demosthenes advised, they would have done so without
a blow; as it was, they feared that if the Athenians had it they would
be worse neighbours to them than the present.

After this the Acarnanians allotted a third of the spoils to the Athenians,
and divided the rest among their own different towns. The share of
the Athenians was captured on the voyage home; the arms now deposited
in the Attic temples are three hundred panoplies, which the Acarnanians
set apart for Demosthenes, and which he brought to Athens in person,
his return to his country after the Aetolian disaster being rendered
less hazardous by this exploit. The Athenians in the twenty ships
also went off to Naupactus. The Acarnanians and Amphilochians, after
the departure of Demosthenes and the Athenians, granted the Ambraciots
and Peloponnesians who had taken refuge with Salynthius and the Agraeans
a free retreat from Oeniadae, to which place they had removed from
the country of Salynthius, and for the future concluded with the Ambraciots
a treaty and alliance for one hundred years, upon the terms following.
It was to be a defensive, not an offensive alliance; the Ambraciots
could not be required to march with the Acarnanians against the Peloponnesians,
nor the Acarnanians with the Ambraciots against the Athenians; for
the rest the Ambraciots were to give up the places and hostages that
they held of the Amphilochians, and not to give help to Anactorium,
which was at enmity with the Acarnanians. With this arrangement they
put an end to the war. After this the Corinthians sent a garrison
of their own citizens to Ambracia, composed of three hundred heavy
infantry, under the command of Xenocleides, son of Euthycles, who
reached their destination after a difficult journey across the continent.
Such was the history of the affair of Ambracia.

The same winter the Athenians in Sicily made a descent from their
ships upon the territory of Himera, in concert with the Sicels, who
had invaded its borders from the interior, and also sailed to the
islands of Aeolus. Upon their return to Rhegium they found the Athenian
general, Pythodorus, son of Isolochus, come to supersede Laches in
the command of the fleet. The allies in Sicily had sailed to Athens
and induced the Athenians to send out more vessels to their assistance,
pointing out that the Syracusans who already commanded their land
were making efforts to get together a navy, to avoid being any longer
excluded from the sea by a few vessels. The Athenians proceeded to
man forty ships to send to them, thinking that the war in Sicily would
thus be the sooner ended, and also wishing to exercise their navy.
One of the generals, Pythodorus, was accordingly sent out with a few
ships; Sophocles, son of Sostratides, and Eurymedon, son of Thucles,
being destined to follow with the main body. Meanwhile Pythodorus
had taken the command of Laches’ ships, and towards the end of winter
sailed against the Locrian fort, which Laches had formerly taken,
and returned after being defeated in battle by the Locrians.

In the first days of this spring, the stream of fire issued from Etna,
as on former occasions, and destroyed some land of the Catanians,
who live upon Mount Etna, which is the largest mountain in Sicily.
Fifty years, it is said, had elapsed since the last eruption, there
having been three in all since the Hellenes have inhabited Sicily.
Such were the events of this winter; and with it ended the sixth year
of this war, of which Thucydides was the historian.


Chapter XII

Seventh Year of the War – Occupation of Pylos – Surrender of the Spartan
Army in Sphacteria

Next summer, about the time of the corn’s coming into ear, ten Syracusan
and as many Locrian vessels sailed to Messina, in Sicily, and occupied
the town upon the invitation of the inhabitants; and Messina revolted
from the Athenians. The Syracusans contrived this chiefly because
they saw that the place afforded an approach to Sicily, and feared
that the Athenians might hereafter use it as a base for attacking
them with a larger force; the Locrians because they wished to carry
on hostilities from both sides of the strait and to reduce their enemies,
the people of Rhegium. Meanwhile, the Locrians had invaded the Rhegian
territory with all their forces, to prevent their succouring Messina,
and also at the instance of some exiles from Rhegium who were with
them; the long factions by which that town had been torn rendering
it for the moment incapable of resistance, and thus furnishing an
additional temptation to the invaders. After devastating the country
the Locrian land forces retired, their ships remaining to guard Messina,
while others were being manned for the same destination to carry on
the war from thence.

About the same time in the spring, before the corn was ripe, the Peloponnesians
and their allies invaded Attica under Agis, the son of Archidamus,
king of the Lacedaemonians, and sat down and laid waste the country.
Meanwhile the Athenians sent off the forty ships which they had been
preparing to Sicily, with the remaining generals Eurymedon and Sophocles;
their colleague Pythodorus having already preceded them thither. These
had also instructions as they sailed by to look to the Corcyraeans
in the town, who were being plundered by the exiles in the mountain.
To support these exiles sixty Peloponnesian vessels had lately sailed,
it being thought that the famine raging in the city would make it
easy for them to reduce it. Demosthenes also, who had remained without
employment since his return from Acarnania, applied and obtained permission
to use the fleet, if he wished it, upon the coast of Peloponnese.

Off Laconia they heard that the Peloponnesian ships were already at
Corcyra, upon which Eurymedon and Sophocles wished to hasten to the
island, but Demosthenes required them first to touch at Pylos and
do what was wanted there, before continuing their voyage. While they
were making objections, a squall chanced to come on and carried the
fleet into Pylos. Demosthenes at once urged them to fortify the place,
it being for this that he had come on the voyage, and made them observe
there was plenty of stone and timber on the spot, and that the place
was strong by nature, and together with much of the country round
unoccupied; Pylos, or Coryphasium, as the Lacedaemonians call it,
being about forty-five miles distant from Sparta, and situated in
the old country of the Messenians. The commanders told him that there
was no lack of desert headlands in Peloponnese if he wished to put
the city to expense by occupying them. He, however, thought that this
place was distinguished from others of the kind by having a harbour
close by; while the Messenians, the old natives of the country, speaking
the same dialect as the Lacedaemonians, could do them the greatest
mischief by their incursions from it, and would at the same time be
a trusty garrison.

After speaking to the captains of companies on the subject, and failing
to persuade either the generals or the soldiers, he remained inactive
with the rest from stress of weather; until the soldiers themselves
wanting occupation were seized with a sudden impulse to go round and
fortify the place. Accordingly they set to work in earnest, and having
no iron tools, picked up stones, and put them together as they happened
to fit, and where mortar was needed, carried it on their backs for
want of hods, stooping down to make it stay on, and clasping their
hands together behind to prevent it falling off; sparing no effort
to be able to complete the most vulnerable points before the arrival
of the Lacedaemonians, most of the place being sufficiently strong
by nature without further fortifications.

Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians were celebrating a festival, and also
at first made light of the news, in the idea that whenever they chose
to take the field the place would be immediately evacuated by the
enemy or easily taken by force; the absence of their army before Athens
having also something to do with their delay. The Athenians fortified
the place on the land side, and where it most required it, in six
days, and leaving Demosthenes with five ships to garrison it, with
the main body of the fleet hastened on their voyage to Corcyra and

As soon as the Peloponnesians in Attica heard of the occupation of
Pylos, they hurried back home; the Lacedaemonians and their king Agis
thinking that the matter touched them nearly. Besides having made
their invasion early in the season, and while the corn was still green,
most of their troops were short of provisions: the weather also was
unusually bad for the time of year, and greatly distressed their army.
Many reasons thus combined to hasten their departure and to make this
invasion a very short one; indeed they only stayed fifteen days in

About the same time the Athenian general Simonides getting together
a few Athenians from the garrisons, and a number of the allies in
those parts, took Eion in Thrace, a Mendaean colony and hostile to
Athens, by treachery, but had no sooner done so than the Chalcidians
and Bottiaeans came up and beat him out of it, with the loss of many
of his soldiers.

On the return of the Peloponnesians from Attica, the Spartans themselves
and the nearest of the Perioeci at once set out for Pylos, the other
Lacedaemonians following more slowly, as they had just come in from
another campaign. Word was also sent round Peloponnese to come up
as quickly as possible to Pylos; while the sixty Peloponnesian ships
were sent for from Corcyra, and being dragged by their crews across
the isthmus of Leucas, passed unperceived by the Athenian squadron
at Zacynthus, and reached Pylos, where the land forces had arrived
before them. Before the Peloponnesian fleet sailed in, Demosthenes
found time to send out unobserved two ships to inform Eurymedon and
the Athenians on board the fleet at Zacynthus of the danger of Pylos
and to summon them to his assistance. While the ships hastened on
their voyage in obedience to the orders of Demosthenes, the Lacedaemonians
prepared to assault the fort by land and sea, hoping to capture with
ease a work constructed in haste, and held by a feeble garrison. Meanwhile,
as they expected the Athenian ships to arrive from Zacynthus, they
intended, if they failed to take the place before, to block up the
entrances of the harbour to prevent their being able to anchor inside
it. For the island of Sphacteria, stretching along in a line close
in front of the harbour, at once makes it safe and narrows its entrances,
leaving a passage for two ships on the side nearest Pylos and the
Athenian fortifications, and for eight or nine on that next the rest
of the mainland: for the rest, the island was entirely covered with
wood, and without paths through not being inhabited, and about one
mile and five furlongs in length. The inlets the Lacedaemonians meant
to close with a line of ships placed close together, with their prows
turned towards the sea, and, meanwhile, fearing that the enemy might
make use of the island to operate against them, carried over some
heavy infantry thither, stationing others along the coast. By this
means the island and the continent would be alike hostile to the Athenians,
as they would be unable to land on either; and the shore of Pylos
itself outside the inlet towards the open sea having no harbour, and,
therefore, presenting no point which they could use as a base to relieve
their countrymen, they, the Lacedaemonians, without sea-fight or risk
would in all probability become masters of the place, occupied as
it had been on the spur of the moment, and unfurnished with provisions.
This being determined, they carried over to the island the heavy infantry,
drafted by lot from all the companies. Some others had crossed over
before in relief parties, but these last who were left there were
four hundred and twenty in number, with their Helot attendants, commanded
by Epitadas, son of Molobrus.

Meanwhile Demosthenes, seeing the Lacedaemonians about to attack him
by sea and land at once, himself was not idle. He drew up under the
fortification and enclosed in a stockade the galleys remaining to
him of those which had been left him, arming the sailors taken out
of them with poor shields made most of them of osier, it being impossible
to procure arms in such a desert place, and even these having been
obtained from a thirty-oared Messenian privateer and a boat belonging
to some Messenians who happened to have come to them. Among these
Messenians were forty heavy infantry, whom he made use of with the
rest. Posting most of his men, unarmed and armed, upon the best fortified
and strong points of the place towards the interior, with orders to
repel any attack of the land forces, he picked sixty heavy infantry
and a few archers from his whole force, and with these went outside
the wall down to the sea, where he thought that the enemy would most
likely attempt to land. Although the ground was difficult and rocky,
looking towards the open sea, the fact that this was the weakest part
of the wall would, he thought, encourage their ardour, as the Athenians,
confident in their naval superiority, had here paid little attention
to their defences, and the enemy if he could force a landing might
feel secure of taking the place. At this point, accordingly, going
down to the water’s edge, he posted his heavy infantry to prevent,
if possible, a landing, and encouraged them in the following terms:

“Soldiers and comrades in this adventure, I hope that none of you
in our present strait will think to show his wit by exactly calculating
all the perils that encompass us, but that you will rather hasten
to close with the enemy, without staying to count the odds, seeing
in this your best chance of safety. In emergencies like ours calculation
is out of place; the sooner the danger is faced the better. To my
mind also most of the chances are for us, if we will only stand fast
and not throw away our advantages, overawed by the numbers of the
enemy. One of the points in our favour is the awkwardness of the landing.
This, however, only helps us if we stand our ground. If we give way
it will be practicable enough, in spite of its natural difficulty,
without a defender; and the enemy will instantly become more formidable
from the difficulty he will have in retreating, supposing that we
succeed in repulsing him, which we shall find it easier to do, while
he is on board his ships, than after he has landed and meets us on
equal terms. As to his numbers, these need not too much alarm you.
Large as they may be he can only engage in small detachments, from
the impossibility of bringing to. Besides, the numerical superiority
that we have to meet is not that of an army on land with everything
else equal, but of troops on board ship, upon an element where many
favourable accidents are required to act with effect. I therefore
consider that his difficulties may be fairly set against our numerical
deficiencies, and at the same time I charge you, as Athenians who
know by experience what landing from ships on a hostile territory
means, and how impossible it is to drive back an enemy determined
enough to stand his ground and not to be frightened away by the surf
and the terrors of the ships sailing in, to stand fast in the present
emergency, beat back the enemy at the water’s edge, and save yourselves
and the place.”

Thus encouraged by Demosthenes, the Athenians felt more confident,
and went down to meet the enemy, posting themselves along the edge
of the sea. The Lacedaemonians now put themselves in movement and
simultaneously assaulted the fortification with their land forces
and with their ships, forty-three in number, under their admiral,
Thrasymelidas, son of Cratesicles, a Spartan, who made his attack
just where Demosthenes expected. The Athenians had thus to defend
themselves on both sides, from the land and from the sea; the enemy
rowing up in small detachments, the one relieving the other- it being
impossible for many to bring to at once- and showing great ardour
and cheering each other on, in the endeavour to force a passage and
to take the fortification. He who most distinguished himself was Brasidas.
Captain of a galley, and seeing that the captains and steersmen, impressed
by the difficulty of the position, hung back even where a landing
might have seemed possible, for fear of wrecking their vessels, he
shouted out to them, that they must never allow the enemy to fortify
himself in their country for the sake of saving timber, but must shiver
their vessels and force a landing; and bade the allies, instead of
hesitating in such a moment to sacrifice their ships for Lacedaemon
in return for her many benefits, to run them boldly aground, land
in one way or another, and make themselves masters of the place and
its garrison.

Not content with this exhortation, he forced his own steersman to
run his ship ashore, and stepping on to the gangway, was endeavouring
to land, when he was cut down by the Athenians, and after receiving
many wounds fainted away. Falling into the bows, his shield slipped
off his arm into the sea, and being thrown ashore was picked up by
the Athenians, and afterwards used for the trophy which they set up
for this attack. The rest also did their best, but were not able to
land, owing to the difficulty of the ground and the unflinching tenacity
of the Athenians. It was a strange reversal of the order of things
for Athenians to be fighting from the land, and from Laconian land
too, against Lacedaemonians coming from the sea; while Lacedaemonians
were trying to land from shipboard in their own country, now become
hostile, to attack Athenians, although the former were chiefly famous
at the time as an inland people and superior by land, the latter as
a maritime people with a navy that had no equal.

After continuing their attacks during that day and most of the next,
the Peloponnesians desisted, and the day after sent some of their
ships to Asine for timber to make engines, hoping to take by their
aid, in spite of its height, the wall opposite the harbour, where
the landing was easiest. At this moment the Athenian fleet from Zacynthus
arrived, now numbering fifty sail, having been reinforced by some
of the ships on guard at Naupactus and by four Chian vessels. Seeing
the coast and the island both crowded with heavy infantry, and the
hostile ships in harbour showing no signs of sailing out, at a loss
where to anchor, they sailed for the moment to the desert island of
Prote, not far off, where they passed the night. The next day they
got under way in readiness to engage in the open sea if the enemy
chose to put out to meet them, being determined in the event of his
not doing so to sail in and attack him. The Lacedaemonians did not
put out to sea, and having omitted to close the inlets as they had
intended, remained quiet on shore, engaged in manning their ships
and getting ready, in the case of any one sailing in, to fight in
the harbour, which is a fairly large one.

Perceiving this, the Athenians advanced against them by each inlet,
and falling on the enemy’s fleet, most of which was by this time afloat
and in line, at once put it to flight, and giving chase as far as
the short distance allowed, disabled a good many vessels and took
five, one with its crew on board; dashing in at the rest that had
taken refuge on shore, and battering some that were still being manned,
before they could put out, and lashing on to their own ships and towing
off empty others whosc crews had fled. At this sight the Lacedaemonians,
maddened by a disaster which cut off their men on the island, rushed
to the rescue, and going into the sea with their heavy armour, laid
hold of the ships and tried to drag them back, each man thinking that
success depended on his individual exertions. Great was the melee,
and quite in contradiction to the naval tactics usual to the two combatants;
the Lacedaemonians in their excitement and dismay being actually engaged
in a sea-fight on land, while the victorious Athenians, in their eagerness
to push their success as far as possible, were carrying on a land-fight
from their ships. After great exertions and numerous wounds on both
sides they separated, the Lacedaemonians saving their empty ships,
except those first taken; and both parties returning to their camp,
the Athenians set up a trophy, gave back the dead, secured the wrecks,
and at once began to cruise round and jealously watch the island,
with its intercepted garrison, while the Peloponnesians on the mainland,
whose contingents had now all come up, stayed where they were before

When the news of what had happened at Pylos reached Sparta, the disaster
was thought so serious that the Lacedaemonians resolved that the authorities
should go down to the camp, and decide on the spot what was best to
be done. There, seeing that it was impossible to help their men, and
not wishing to risk their being reduced by hunger or overpowered by
numbers, they determined, with the consent of the Athenian generals,
to conclude an armistice at Pylos and send envoys to Athens to obtain
a convention, and to endeavour to get back their men as quickly as

The generals accepting their offers, an armistice was concluded upon
the terms following:

That the Lacedaemonians should bring to Pylos and deliver up to the
Athenians the ships that had fought in the late engagement, and all
in Laconia that were vessels of war, and should make no attack on
the fortification either by land or by sea.

That the Athenians should allow the Lacedaemonians on the mainland
to send to the men in the island a certain fixed quantity of corn
ready kneaded, that is to say, two quarts of barley meal, one pint
of wine, and a piece of meat for each man, and half the same quantity
for a servant.

That this allowance should be sent in under the eyes of the Athenians,
and that no boat should sail to the island except openly.

That the Athenians should continue to the island same as before, without
however landing upon it, and should refrain from attacking the Peloponnesian
troops either by land or by sea.

That if either party should infringe any of these terms in the slightest
particular, the armistice should be at once void.

That the armistice should hold good until the return of the Lacedaemonian
envoys from Athens- the Athenians sending them thither in a galley
and bringing them back again- and upon the arrival of the envoys should
be at an end, and the ships be restored by the Athenians in the same
state as they received them.

Such were the terms of the armistice, and the ships were delivered
over to the number of sixty, and the envoys sent off accordingly.
Arrived at Athens they spoke as follows:

“Athenians, the Lacedaemonians sent us to try to find some way of
settling the affair of our men on the island, that shall be at once
satisfactory to our interests, and as consistent with our dignity
in our misfortune as circumstances permit. We can venture to speak
at some length without any departure from the habit of our country.
Men of few words where many are not wanted, we can be less brief when
there is a matter of importance to be illustrated and an end to be
served by its illustration. Meanwhile we beg you to take what we may
say, not in a hostile spirit, nor as if we thought you ignorant and
wished to lecture you, but rather as a suggestion on the best course
to be taken, addressed to intelligent judges. You can now, if you
choose, employ your present success to advantage, so as to keep what
you have got and gain honour and reputation besides, and you can avoid
the mistake of those who meet with an extraordinary piece of good
fortune, and are led on by hope to grasp continually at something
further, through having already succeeded without expecting it. While
those who have known most vicissitudes of good and bad, have also
justly least faith in their prosperity; and to teach your city and
ours this lesson experience has not been wanting.

“To be convinced of this you have only to look at our present misfortune.
What power in Hellas stood higher than we did? and yet we are come
to you, although we formerly thought ourselves more able to grant
what we are now here to ask. Nevertheless, we have not been brought
to this by any decay in our power, or through having our heads turned
by aggrandizement; no, our resources are what they have always been,
and our error has been an error of judgment, to which all are equally
liable. Accordingly, the prosperity which your city now enjoys, and
the accession that it has lately received, must not make you fancy
that fortune will be always with you. Indeed sensible men are prudent
enough to treat their gains as precarious, just as they would also
keep a clear head in adversity, and think that war, so far from staying
within the limit to which a combatant may wish to confine it, will
run the course that its chances prescribe; and thus, not being puffed
up by confidence in military success, they are less likely to come
to grief, and most ready to make peace, if they can, while their fortune
lasts. This, Athenians, you have a good opportunity to do now with
us, and thus to escape the possible disasters which may follow upon
your refusal, and the consequent imputation of having owed to accident
even your present advantages, when you might have left behind you
a reputation for power and wisdom which nothing could endanger.

“The Lacedaemonians accordingly invite you to make a treaty and to
end the war, and offer peace and alliance and the most friendly and
intimate relations in every way and on every occasion between us;
and in return ask for the men on the island, thinking it better for
both parties not to stand out to the end, on the chance of some favourable
accident enabling the men to force their way out, or of their being
compelled to succumb under the pressure of blockade. Indeed if great
enmities are ever to be really settled, we think it will be, not by
the system of revenge and military success, and by forcing an opponent
to swear to a treaty to his disadvantage, but when the more fortunate
combatant waives these his privileges, to be guided by gentler feelings
conquers his rival in generosity, and accords peace on more moderate
conditions than he expected. From that moment, instead of the debt
of revenge which violence must entail, his adversary owes a debt of
generosity to be paid in kind, and is inclined by honour to stand
to his agreement. And men oftener act in this manner towards their
greatest enemies than where the quarrel is of less importance; they
are also by nature as glad to give way to those who first yield to
them, as they are apt to be provoked by arrogance to risks condemned
by their own judgment.

“To apply this to ourselves: if peace was ever desirable for both
parties, it is surely so at the present moment, before anything irremediable
befall us and force us to hate you eternally, personally as well as
politically, and you to miss the advantages that we now offer you.
While the issue is still in doubt, and you have reputation and our
friendship in prospect, and we the compromise of our misfortune before
anything fatal occur, let us be reconciled, and for ourselves choose
peace instead of war, and grant to the rest of the Hellenes a remission
from their sufferings, for which be sure they will think they have
chiefly you to thank. The war that they labour under they know not
which began, but the peace that concludes it, as it depends on your
decision, will by their gratitude be laid to your door. By such a
decision you can become firm friends with the Lacedaemonians at their
own invitation, which you do not force from them, but oblige them
by accepting. And from this friendship consider the advantages that
are likely to follow: when Attica and Sparta are at one, the rest
of Hellas, be sure, will remain in respectful inferiority before its

Such were the words of the Lacedaemonians, their idea being that the
Athenians, already desirous of a truce and only kept back by their
opposition, would joyfully accept a peace freely offered, and give
back the men. The Athenians, however, having the men on the island,
thought that the treaty would be ready for them whenever they chose
to make it, and grasped at something further. Foremost to encourage
them in this policy was Cleon, son of Cleaenetus, a popular leader
of the time and very powerful with the multitude, who persuaded them
to answer as follows: First, the men in the island must surrender
themselves and their arms and be brought to Athens. Next, the Lacedaemonians
must restore Nisaea, Pegae, Troezen, and Achaia, all places acquired
not by arms, but by the previous convention, under which they had
been ceded by Athens herself at a moment of disaster, when a truce
was more necessary to her than at present. This done they might take
back their men, and make a truce for as long as both parties might

To this answer the envoys made no reply, but asked that commissioners
might be chosen with whom they might confer on each point, and quietly
talk the matter over and try to come to some agreement. Hereupon Cleon
violently assailed them, saying that he knew from the first that they
had no right intentions, and that it was clear enough now by their
refusing to speak before the people, and wanting to confer in secret
with a committee of two or three. No, if they meant anything honest
let them say it out before all. The Lacedaemonians, however, seeing
that whatever concessions they might be prepared to make in their
misfortune, it was impossible for them to speak before the multitude
and lose credit with their allies for a negotiation which might after
all miscarry, and on the other hand, that the Athenians would never
grant what they asked upon moderate terms, returned from Athens without
having effected anything.

Their arrival at once put an end to the armistice at Pylos, and the
Lacedaemonians asked back their ships according to the convention.
The Athenians, however, alleged an attack on the fort in contravention
of the truce, and other grievances seemingly not worth mentioning,
and refused to give them back, insisting upon the clause by which
the slightest infringement made the armistice void. The Lacedaemonians,
after denying the contravention and protesting against their bad faith
in the matter of the ships, went away and earnestly addressed themselves
to the war. Hostilities were now carried on at Pylos upon both sides
with vigour. The Athenians cruised round the island all day with two
ships going different ways; and by night, except on the seaward side
in windy weather, anchored round it with their whole fleet, which,
having been reinforced by twenty ships from Athens come to aid in
the blockade, now numbered seventy sail; while the Peloponnesians
remained encamped on the continent, making attacks on the fort, and
on the look-out for any opportunity which might offer itself for the
deliverance of their men.

Meanwhile the Syracusans and their allies in Sicily had brought up
to the squadron guarding Messina the reinforcement which we left them
preparing, and carried on the war from thence, incited chiefly by
the Locrians from hatred of the Rhegians, whose territory they had
invaded with all their forces. The Syracusans also wished to try their
fortune at sea, seeing that the Athenians had only a few ships actually
at Rhegium, and hearing that the main fleet destined to join them
was engaged in blockading the island. A naval victory, they thought,
would enable them to blockade Rhegium by sea and land, and easily
to reduce it; a success which would at once place their affairs upon
a solid basis, the promontory of Rhegium in Italy and Messina in Sicily
being so near each other that it would be impossible for the Athenians
to cruise against them and command the strait. The strait in question
consists of the sea between Rhegium and Messina, at the point where
Sicily approaches nearest to the continent, and is the Charybdis through
which the story makes Ulysses sail; and the narrowness of the passage
and the strength of the current that pours in from the vast Tyrrhenian
and Sicilian mains, have rightly given it a bad reputation.

In this strait the Syracusans and their allies were compelled to fight,
late in the day, about the passage of a boat, putting out with rather
more than thirty ships against sixteen Athenian and eight Rhegian
vessels. Defeated by the Athenians they hastily set off, each for
himself, to their own stations at Messina and Rhegium, with the loss
of one ship; night coming on before the battle was finished. After
this the Locrians retired from the Rhegian territory, and the ships
of the Syracusans and their allies united and came to anchor at Cape
Pelorus, in the territory of Messina, where their land forces joined
them. Here the Athenians and Rhegians sailed up, and seeing the ships
unmanned, made an attack, in which they in their turn lost one vessel,
which was caught by a grappling iron, the crew saving themselves by
swimming. After this the Syracusans got on board their ships, and
while they were being towed alongshore to Messina, were again attacked
by the Athenians, but suddenly got out to sea and became the assailants,
and caused them to lose another vessel. After thus holding their own
in the voyage alongshore and in the engagement as above described,
the Syracusans sailed on into the harbour of Messina.

Meanwhile the Athenians, having received warning that Camarina was
about to be betrayed to the Syracusans by Archias and his party, sailed
thither; and the Messinese took this opportunity to attack by sea
and land with all their forces their Chalcidian neighbour, Naxos.
The first day they forced the Naxians to keep their walls, and laid
waste their country; the next they sailed round with their ships,
and laid waste their land on the river Akesines, while their land
forces menaced the city. Meanwhile the Sicels came down from the high
country in great numbers, to aid against the Messinese; and the Naxians,
elated at the sight, and animated by a belief that the Leontines and
their other Hellenic allies were coming to their support, suddenly
sallied out from the town, and attacked and routed the Messinese,
killing more than a thousand of them; while the remainder suffered
severely in their retreat home, being attacked by the barbarians on
the road, and most of them cut off. The ships put in to Messina, and
afterwards dispersed for their different homes. The Leontines and
their allies, with the Athenians, upon this at once turned their arms
against the now weakened Messina, and attacked, the Athenians with
their ships on the side of the harbour, and the land forces on that
of the town. The Messinese, however, sallying out with Demoteles and
some Locrians who had been left to garrison the city after the disaster,
suddenly attacked and routed most of the Leontine army, killing a
great number; upon seeing which the Athenians landed from their ships,
and falling on the Messinese in disorder chased them back into the
town, and setting up a trophy retired to Rhegium. After this the Hellenes
in Sicily continued to make war on each other by land, without the

Meanwhile the Athenians at Pylos were still besieging the Lacedaemonians
in the island, the Peloponnesian forces on the continent remaining
where they were. The blockade was very laborious for the Athenians
from want of food and water; there was no spring except one in the
citadel of Pylos itself, and that not a large one, and most of them
were obliged to grub up the shingle on the sea beach and drink such
water as they could find. They also suffered from want of room, being
encamped in a narrow space; and as there was no anchorage for the
ships, some took their meals on shore in their turn, while the others
were anchored out at sea. But their greatest discouragement arose
from the unexpectedly long time which it took to reduce a body of
men shut up in a desert island, with only brackish water to drink,
a matter which they had imagined would take them only a few days.
The fact was that the Lacedaemonians had made advertisement for volunteers
to carry into the island ground corn, wine, cheese, and any other
food useful in a siege; high prices being offered, and freedom promised
to any of the Helots who should succeed in doing so. The Helots accordingly
were most forward to engage in this risky traffic, putting off from
this or that part of Peloponnese, and running in by night on the seaward
side of the island. They were best pleased, however, when they could
catch a wind to carry them in. It was more easy to elude the look-out
of the galleys, when it blew from the seaward, as it became impossible
for them to anchor round the island; while the Helots had their boats
rated at their value in money, and ran them ashore, without caring
how they landed, being sure to find the soldiers waiting for them
at the landing-places. But all who risked it in fair weather were
taken. Divers also swam in under water from the harbour, dragging
by a cord in skins poppyseed mixed with honey, and bruised linseed;
these at first escaped notice, but afterwards a look-out was kept
for them. In short, both sides tried every possible contrivance, the
one to throw in provisions, and the other to prevent their introduction.

At Athens, meanwhile, the news that the army was in great distress,
and that corn found its way in to the men in the island, caused no
small perplexity; and the Athenians began to fear that winter might
come on and find them still engaged in the blockade. They saw that
the convoying of provisions round Peloponnese would be then impossible.
The country offered no resources in itself, and even in summer they
could not send round enough. The blockade of a place without harbours
could no longer be kept up; and the men would either escape by the
siege being abandoned, or would watch for bad weather and sail out
in the boats that brought in their corn. What caused still more alarm
was the attitude of the Lacedaemonians, who must, it was thought by
the Athenians, feel themselves on strong ground not to send them any
more envoys; and they began to repent having rejected the treaty.
Cleon, perceiving the disfavour with which he was regarded for having
stood in the way of the convention, now said that their informants
did not speak the truth; and upon the messengers recommending them,
if they did not believe them, to send some commissioners to see, Cleon
himself and Theagenes were chosen by the Athenians as commissioners.
Aware that he would now be obliged either to say what had been already
said by the men whom he was slandering, or be proved a liar if he
said the contrary, he told the Athenians, whom he saw to be not altogether
disinclined for a fresh expedition, that instead of sending and wasting
their time and opportunities, if they believed what was told them,
they ought to sail against the men. And pointing at Nicias, son of
Niceratus, then general, whom he hated, he tauntingly said that it
would be easy, if they had men for generals, to sail with a force
and take those in the island, and that if he had himself been in command,
he would have done it.

Nicias, seeing the Athenians murmuring against Cleon for not sailing
now if it seemed to him so easy, and further seeing himself the object
of attack, told him that for all that the generals cared, he might
take what force he chose and make the attempt. At first Cleon fancied
that this resignation was merely a figure of speech, and was ready
to go, but finding that it was seriously meant, he drew back, and
said that Nicias, not he, was general, being now frightened, and having
never supposed that Nicias would go so far as to retire in his favour.
Nicias, however, repeated his offer, and resigned the command against
Pylos, and called the Athenians to witness that he did so. And as
the multitude is wont to do, the more Cleon shrank from the expedition
and tried to back out of what he had said, the more they encouraged
Nicias to hand over his command, and clamoured at Cleon to go. At
last, not knowing how to get out of his words, he undertook the expedition,
and came forward and said that he was not afraid of the Lacedaemonians,
but would sail without taking any one from the city with him, except
the Lemnians and Imbrians that were at Athens, with some targeteers
that had come up from Aenus, and four hundred archers from other quarters.
With these and the soldiers at Pylos, he would within twenty days
either bring the Lacedaemonians alive, or kill them on the spot. The
Athenians could not help laughing at his fatuity, while sensible men
comforted themselves with the reflection that they must gain in either
circumstance; either they would be rid of Cleon, which they rather
hoped, or if disappointed in this expectation, would reduce the Lacedaemonians.

After he had settled everything in the assembly, and the Athenians
had voted him the command of the expedition, he chose as his colleague
Demosthenes, one of the generals at Pylos, and pushed forward the
preparations for his voyage. His choice fell upon Demosthenes because
he heard that he was contemplating a descent on the island; the soldiers
distressed by the difficulties of the position, and rather besieged
than besiegers, being eager to fight it out, while the firing of the
island had increased the confidence of the general. He had been at
first afraid, because the island having never been inhabited was almost
entirely covered with wood and without paths, thinking this to be
in the enemy’s favour, as he might land with a large force, and yet
might suffer loss by an attack from an unseen position. The mistakes
and forces of the enemy the wood would in a great measure conceal
from him, while every blunder of his own troops would be at once detected,
and they would be thus able to fall upon him unexpectedly just where
they pleased, the attack being always in their power. If, on the other
hand, he should force them to engage in the thicket, the smaller number
who knew the country would, he thought, have the advantage over the
larger who were ignorant of it, while his own army might be cut off
imperceptibly, in spite of its numbers, as the men would not be able
to see where to succour each other.

The Aetolian disaster, which had been mainly caused by the wood, had
not a little to do with these reflections. Meanwhile, one of the soldiers
who were compelled by want of room to land on the extremities of the
island and take their dinners, with outposts fixed to prevent a surprise,
set fire to a little of the wood without meaning to do so; and as
it came on to blow soon afterwards, almost the whole was consumed
before they were aware of it. Demosthenes was now able for the first
time to see how numerous the Lacedaemonians really were, having up
to this moment been under the impression that they took in provisions
for a smaller number; he also saw that the Athenians thought success
important and were anxious about it, and that it was now easier to
land on the island, and accordingly got ready for the attempt, sent
for troops from the allies in the neighbourhood, and pushed forward
his other preparations. At this moment Cleon arrived at Pylos with
the troops which he had asked for, having sent on word to say that
he was coming. The first step taken by the two generals after their
meeting was to send a herald to the camp on the mainland, to ask if
they were disposed to avoid all risk and to order the men on the island
to surrender themselves and their arms, to be kept in gentle custody
until some general convention should be concluded.

On the rejection of this proposition the generals let one day pass,
and the next, embarking all their heavy infantry on board a few ships,
put out by night, and a little before dawn landed on both sides of
the island from the open sea and from the harbour, being about eight
hundred strong, and advanced with a run against the first post in
the island.

The enemy had distributed his force as follows: In this first post
there were about thirty heavy infantry; the centre and most level
part, where the water was, was held by the main body, and by Epitadas
their commander; while a small party guarded the very end of the island,
towards Pylos, which was precipitous on the sea-side and very difficult
to attack from the land, and where there was also a sort of old fort
of stones rudely put together, which they thought might be useful
to them, in case they should be forced to retreat. Such was their

The advanced post thus attacked by the Athenians was at once put to
the sword, the men being scarcely out of bed and still arming, the
landing having taken them by surprise, as they fancied the ships were
only sailing as usual to their stations for the night. As soon as
day broke, the rest of the army landed, that is to say, all the crews
of rather more than seventy ships, except the lowest rank of oars,
with the arms they carried, eight hundred archers, and as many targeteers,
the Messenian reinforcements, and all the other troops on duty round
Pylos, except the garrison on the fort. The tactics of Demosthenes
had divided them into companies of two hundred, more or less, and
made them occupy the highest points in order to paralyse the enemy
by surrounding him on every side and thus leaving him without any
tangible adversary, exposed to the cross-fire of their host; plied
by those in his rear if he attacked in front, and by those on one
flank if he moved against those on the other. In short, wherever he
went he would have the assailants behind him, and these light-armed
assailants, the most awkward of all; arrows, darts, stones, and slings
making them formidable at a distance, and there being no means of
getting at them at close quarters, as they could conquer flying, and
the moment their pursuer turned they were upon him. Such was the idea
that inspired Demosthenes in his conception of the descent, and presided
over its execution.

Meanwhile the main body of the troops in the island (that under Epitadas),
seeing their outpost cut off and an army advancing against them, serried
their ranks and pressed forward to close with the Athenian heavy infantry
in front of them, the light troops being upon their flanks and rear.
However, they were not able to engage or to profit by their superior
skill, the light troops keeping them in check on either side with
their missiles, and the heavy infantry remaining stationary instead
of advancing to meet them; and although they routed the light troops
wherever they ran up and approached too closely, yet they retreated
fighting, being lightly equipped, and easily getting the start in
their flight, from the difficult and rugged nature of the ground,
in an island hitherto desert, over which the Lacedaemonians could
not pursue them with their heavy armour.

After this skirmishing had lasted some little while, the Lacedaemonians
became unable to dash out with the same rapidity as before upon the
points attacked, and the light troops finding that they now fought
with less vigour, became more confident. They could see with their
own eyes that they were many times more numerous than the enemy; they
were now more familiar with his aspect and found him less terrible,
the result not having justified the apprehensions which they had suffered,
when they first landed in slavish dismay at the idea of attacking
Lacedaemonians; and accordingly their fear changing to disdain, they
now rushed all together with loud shouts upon them, and pelted them
with stones, darts, and arrows, whichever came first to hand. The
shouting accompanying their onset confounded the Lacedaemonians, unaccustomed
to this mode of fighting; dust rose from the newly burnt wood, and
it was impossible to see in front of one with the arrows and stones
flying through clouds of dust from the hands of numerous assailants.
The Lacedaemonians had now to sustain a rude conflict; their caps
would not keep out the arrows, darts had broken off in the armour
of the wounded, while they themselves were helpless for offence, being
prevented from using their eyes to see what was before them, and unable
to hear the words of command for the hubbub raised by the enemy; danger
encompassed them on every side, and there was no hope of any means
of defence or safety.

At last, after many had been already wounded in the confined space
in which they were fighting, they formed in close order and retired
on the fort at the end of the island, which was not far off, and to
their friends who held it. The moment they gave way, the light troops
became bolder and pressed upon them, shouting louder than ever, and
killed as many as they came up with in their retreat, but most of
the Lacedaemonians made good their escape to the fort, and with the
garrison in it ranged themselves all along its whole extent to repulse
the enemy wherever it was assailable. The Athenians pursuing, unable
to surround and hem them in, owing to the strength of the ground,
attacked them in front and tried to storm the position. For a long
time, indeed for most of the day, both sides held out against all
the torments of the battle, thirst, and sun, the one endeavouring
to drive the enemy from the high ground, the other to maintain himself
upon it, it being now more easy for the Lacedaemonians to defend themselves
than before, as they could not be surrounded on the flanks.

The struggle began to seem endless, when the commander of the Messenians
came to Cleon and Demosthenes, and told them that they were losing
their labour: but if they would give him some archers and light troops
to go round on the enemy’s rear by a way he would undertake to find,
he thought he could force the approach. Upon receiving what he asked
for, he started from a point out of sight in order not to be seen
by the enemy, and creeping on wherever the precipices of the island
permitted, and where the Lacedaemonians, trusting to the strength
of the ground, kept no guard, succeeded after the greatest difficulty
in getting round without their seeing him, and suddenly appeared on
the high ground in their rear, to the dismay of the surprised enemy
and the still greater joy of his expectant friends. The Lacedaemonians
thus placed between two fires, and in the same dilemma, to compare
small things with great, as at Thermopylae, where the defenders were
cut off through the Persians getting round by the path, being now
attacked in front and behind, began to give way, and overcome by the
odds against them and exhausted from want of food, retreated.

The Athenians were already masters of the approaches when Cleon and
Demosthenes perceiving that, if the enemy gave way a single step further,
they would be destroyed by their soldiery, put a stop to the battle
and held their men back; wishing to take the Lacedaemonians alive
to Athens, and hoping that their stubbornness might relax on hearing
the offer of terms, and that they might surrender and yield to the
present overwhelming danger. Proclamation was accordingly made, to
know if they would surrender themselves and their arms to the Athenians
to be dealt at their discretion.

The Lacedaemonians hearing this offer, most of them lowered their
shields and waved their hands to show that they accepted it. Hostilities
now ceased, and a parley was held between Cleon and Demosthenes and
Styphon, son of Pharax, on the other side; since Epitadas, the first
of the previous commanders, had been killed, and Hippagretas, the
next in command, left for dead among the slain, though still alive,
and thus the command had devolved upon Styphon according to the law,
in case of anything happening to his superiors. Styphon and his companions
said they wished to send a herald to the Lacedaemonians on the mainland,
to know what they were to do. The Athenians would not let any of them
go, but themselves called for heralds from the mainland, and after
questions had been carried backwards and forwards two or three times,
the last man that passed over from the Lacedaemonians on the continent
brought this message: “The Lacedaemonians bid you to decide for yourselves
so long as you do nothing dishonourable”; upon which after consulting
together they surrendered themselves and their arms. The Athenians,
after guarding them that day and night, the next morning set up a
trophy in the island, and got ready to sail, giving their prisoners
in batches to be guarded by the captains of the galleys; and the Lacedaemonians
sent a herald and took up their dead. The number of the killed and
prisoners taken in the island was as follows: four hundred and twenty
heavy infantry had passed over; three hundred all but eight were taken
alive to Athens; the rest were killed. About a hundred and twenty
of the prisoners were Spartans. The Athenian loss was small, the battle
not having been fought at close quarters.

The blockade in all, counting from the fight at sea to the battle
in the island, had lasted seventy-two days. For twenty of these, during
the absence of the envoys sent to treat for peace, the men had provisions
given them, for the rest they were fed by the smugglers. Corn and
other victual was found in the island; the commander Epitadas having
kept the men upon half rations. The Athenians and Peloponnesians now
each withdrew their forces from Pylos, and went home, and crazy as
Cleon’s promise was, he fulfilled it, by bringing the men to Athens
within the twenty days as he had pledged himself to do.

Nothing that happened in the war surprised the Hellenes so much as
this. It was the opinion that no force or famine could make the Lacedaemonians
give up their arms, but that they would fight on as they could, and
die with them in their hands: indeed people could scarcely believe
that those who had surrendered were of the same stuff as the fallen;
and an Athenian ally, who some time after insultingly asked one of
the prisoners from the island if those that had fallen were men of
honour, received for answer that the atraktos- that is, the arrow-
would be worth a great deal if it could tell men of honour from the
rest; in allusion to the fact that the killed were those whom the
stones and the arrows happened to hit.

Upon the arrival of the men the Athenians determined to keep them
in prison until the peace, and if the Peloponnesians invaded their
country in the interval, to bring them out and put them to death.
Meanwhile the defence of Pylos was not forgotten; the Messenians from
Naupactus sent to their old country, to which Pylos formerly belonged,
some of the likeliest of their number, and began a series of incursions
into Laconia, which their common dialect rendered most destructive.
The Lacedaemonians, hitherto without experience of incursions or a
warfare of the kind, finding the Helots deserting, and fearing the
march of revolution in their country, began to be seriously uneasy,
and in spite of their unwillingness to betray this to the Athenians
began to send envoys to Athens, and tried to recover Pylos and the
prisoners. The Athenians, however, kept grasping at more, and dismissed
envoy after envoy without their having effected anything. Such was
the history of the affair of Pylos.

Chapter XIII

Seventh and Eighth Years of the War – End of Corcyraean Revolution
– Peace of Gela – Capture of Nisaea

The same summer, directly after these events, the Athenians made an
expedition against the territory of Corinth with eighty ships and
two thousand Athenian heavy infantry, and two hundred cavalry on board
horse transports, accompanied by the Milesians, Andrians, and Carystians
from the allies, under the command of Nicias, son of Niceratus, with
two colleagues. Putting out to sea they made land at daybreak between
Chersonese and Rheitus, at the beach of the country underneath the
Solygian hill, upon which the Dorians in old times established themselves
and carried on war against the Aeolian inhabitants of Corinth, and
where a village now stands called Solygia. The beach where the fleet
came to is about a mile and a half from the village, seven miles from
Corinth, and two and a quarter from the Isthmus. The Corinthians had
heard from Argos of the coming of the Athenian armament, and had all
come up to the Isthmus long before, with the exception of those who
lived beyond it, and also of five hundred who were away in garrison
in Ambracia and Leucadia; and they were there in full force watching
for the Athenians to land. These last, however, gave them the slip
by coming in the dark; and being informed by signals of the fact the
Corinthians left half their number at Cenchreae, in case the Athenians
should go against Crommyon, and marched in all haste to the rescue.

Battus, one of the two generals present at the action, went with a
company to defend the village of Solygia, which was unfortified; Lycophron
remaining to give battle with the rest. The Corinthians first attacked
the right wing of the Athenians, which had just landed in front of
Chersonese, and afterwards the rest of the army. The battle was an
obstinate one, and fought throughout hand to hand. The right wing
of the Athenians and Carystians, who had been placed at the end of
the line, received and with some difficulty repulsed the Corinthians,
who thereupon retreated to a wall upon the rising ground behind, and
throwing down the stones upon them, came on again singing the paean,
and being received by the Athenians, were again engaged at close quarters.
At this moment a Corinthian company having come to the relief of the
left wing, routed and pursued the Athenian right to the sea, whence
they were in their turn driven back by the Athenians and Carystians
from the ships. Meanwhile the rest of the army on either side fought
on tenaciously, especially the right wing of the Corinthians, where
Lycophron sustained the attack of the Athenian left, which it was
feared might attempt the village of Solygia.

After holding on for a long while without either giving way, the Athenians
aided by their horse, of which the enemy had none, at length routed
the Corinthians, who retired to the hill and, halting, remained quiet
there, without coming down again. It was in this rout of the right
wing that they had the most killed, Lycophron their general being
among the number. The rest of the army, broken and put to flight in
this way without being seriously pursued or hurried, retired to the
high ground and there took up its position. The Athenians, finding
that the enemy no longer offered to engage them, stripped his dead
and took up their own and immediately set up a trophy. Meanwhile,
the half of the Corinthians left at Cenchreae to guard against the
Athenians sailing on Crommyon, although unable to see the battle for
Mount Oneion, found out what was going on by the dust, and hurried
up to the rescue; as did also the older Corinthians from the town,
upon discovering what had occurred. The Athenians seeing them all
coming against them, and thinking that they were reinforcements arriving
from the neighbouring Peloponnesians, withdrew in haste to their ships
with their spoils and their own dead, except two that they left behind,
not being able to find them, and going on board crossed over to the
islands opposite, and from thence sent a herald, and took up under
truce the bodies which they had left behind. Two hundred and twelve
Corinthians fell in the battle, and rather less than fifty Athenians.

Weighing from the islands, the Athenians sailed the same day to Crommyon
in the Corinthian territory, about thirteen miles from the city, and
coming to anchor laid waste the country, and passed the night there.
The next day, after first coasting along to the territory of Epidaurus
and making a descent there, they came to Methana between Epidaurus
and Troezen, and drew a wall across and fortified the isthmus of the
peninsula, and left a post there from which incursions were henceforth
made upon the country of Troezen, Haliae, and Epidaurus. After walling
off this spot, the fleet sailed off home.

While these events were going on, Eurymedon and Sophocles had put
to sea with the Athenian fleet from Pylos on their way to Sicily and,
arriving at Corcyra, joined the townsmen in an expedition against
the party established on Mount Istone, who had crossed over, as I
have mentioned, after the revolution and become masters of the country,
to the great hurt of the inhabitants. Their stronghold having been
taken by an attack, the garrison took refuge in a body upon some high
ground and there capitulated, agreeing to give up their mercenary
auxiliaries, lay down their arms, and commit themselves to the discretion
of the Athenian people. The generals carried them across under truce
to the island of Ptychia, to be kept in custody until they could be
sent to Athens, upon the understanding that, if any were caught running
away, all would lose the benefit of the treaty. Meanwhile the leaders
of the Corcyraean commons, afraid that the Athenians might spare the
lives of the prisoners, had recourse to the following stratagem. They
gained over some few men on the island by secretly sending friends
with instructions to provide them with a boat, and to tell them, as
if for their own sakes, that they had best escape as quickly as possible,
as the Athenian generals were going to give them up to the Corcyraean

These representations succeeding, it was so arranged that the men
were caught sailing out in the boat that was provided, and the treaty
became void accordingly, and the whole body were given up to the Corcyraeans.
For this result the Athenian generals were in a great measure responsible;
their evident disinclination to sail for Sicily, and thus to leave
to others the honour of conducting the men to Athens, encouraged the
intriguers in their design and seemed to affirm the truth of their
representations. The prisoners thus handed over were shut up by the
Corcyraeans in a large building, and afterwards taken out by twenties
and led past two lines of heavy infantry, one on each side, being
bound together, and beaten and stabbed by the men in the lines whenever
any saw pass a personal enemy; while men carrying whips went by their
side and hastened on the road those that walked too slowly.

As many as sixty men were taken out and killed in this way without
the knowledge of their friends in the building, who fancied they were
merely being moved from one prison to another. At last, however, someone
opened their eyes to the truth, upon which they called upon the Athenians
to kill them themselves, if such was their pleasure, and refused any
longer to go out of the building, and said they would do all they
could to prevent any one coming in. The Corcyraeans, not liking themselves
to force a passage by the doors, got up on the top of the building,
and breaking through the roof, threw down the tiles and let fly arrows
at them, from which the prisoners sheltered themselves as well as
they could. Most of their number, meanwhile, were engaged in dispatching
themselves by thrusting into their throats the arrows shot by the
enemy, and hanging themselves with the cords taken from some beds
that happened to be there, and with strips made from their clothing;
adopting, in short, every possible means of self-destruction, and
also falling victims to the missiles of their enemies on the roof.
Night came on while these horrors were enacting, and most of it had
passed before they were concluded. When it was day the Corcyraeans
threw them in layers upon wagons and carried them out of the city.
All the women taken in the stronghold were sold as slaves. In this
way the Corcyraeans of the mountain were destroyed by the commons;
and so after terrible excesses the party strife came to an end, at
least as far as the period of this war is concerned, for of one party
there was practically nothing left. Meanwhile the Athenians sailed
off to Sicily, their primary destination, and carried on the war with
their allies there.

At the close of the summer, the Athenians at Naupactus and the Acarnanians
made an expedition against Anactorium, the Corinthian town lying at
the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf, and took it by treachery; and the
Acarnanians themselves, sending settlers from all parts of Acarnania,
occupied the place.

Summer was now over. During the winter ensuing, Aristides, son of
Archippus, one of the commanders of the Athenian ships sent to collect
money from the allies, arrested at Eion, on the Strymon, Artaphernes,
a Persian, on his way from the King to Lacedaemon. He was conducted
to Athens, where the Athenians got his dispatches translated from
the Assyrian character and read them. With numerous references to
other subjects, they in substance told the Lacedaemonians that the
King did not know what they wanted, as of the many ambassadors they
had sent him no two ever told the same story; if however they were
prepared to speak plainly they might send him some envoys with this
Persian. The Athenians afterwards sent back Artaphernes in a galley
to Ephesus, and ambassadors with him, who heard there of the death
of King Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes, which took place about that time,
and so returned home.

The same winter the Chians pulled down their new wall at the command
of the Athenians, who suspected them of meditating an insurrection,
after first however obtaining pledges from the Athenians, and security
as far as this was possible for their continuing to treat them as
before. Thus the winter ended, and with it ended the seventh year
of this war of which Thucydides is the historian.

In first days of the next summer there was an eclipse of the sun at
the time of new moon, and in the early part of the same month an earthquake.
Meanwhile, the Mitylenian and other Lesbian exiles set out, for the
most part from the continent, with mercenaries hired in Peloponnese,
and others levied on the spot, and took Rhoeteum, but restored it
without injury on the receipt of two thousand Phocaean staters. After
this they marched against Antandrus and took the town by treachery,
their plan being to free Antandrus and the rest of the Actaean towns,
formerly owned by Mitylene but now held by the Athenians. Once fortified
there, they would have every facility for ship-building from the vicinity
of Ida and the consequent abundance of timber, and plenty of other
supplies, and might from this base easily ravage Lesbos, which was
not far off, and make themselves masters of the Aeolian towns on the

While these were the schemes of the exiles, the Athenians in the same
summer made an expedition with sixty ships, two thousand heavy infantry,
a few cavalry, and some allied troops from Miletus and other parts,
against Cythera, under the command of Nicias, son of Niceratus, Nicostratus,
son of Diotrephes, and Autocles, son of Tolmaeus. Cythera is an island
lying off Laconia, opposite Malea; the inhabitants are Lacedaemonians
of the class of the Perioeci; and an officer called the judge of Cythera
went over to the place annually from Sparta. A garrison of heavy infantry
was also regularly sent there, and great attention paid to the island,
as it was the landing-place for the merchantmen from Egypt and Libya,
and at the same time secured Laconia from the attacks of privateers
from the sea, at the only point where it is assailable, as the whole
coast rises abruptly towards the Sicilian and Cretan seas.

Coming to land here with their armament, the Athenians with ten ships
and two thousand Milesian heavy infantry took the town of Scandea,
on the sea; and with the rest of their forces landing on the side
of the island looking towards Malea, went against the lower town of
Cythera, where they found all the inhabitants encamped. A battle ensuing,
the Cytherians held their ground for some little while, and then turned
and fled into the upper town, where they soon afterwards capitulated
to Nicias and his colleagues, agreeing to leave their fate to the
decision of the Athenians, their lives only being safe. A correspondence
had previously been going on between Nicias and certain of the inhabitants,
which caused the surrender to be effected more speedily, and upon
terms more advantageous, present and future, for the Cytherians; who
would otherwise have been expelled by the Athenians on account of
their being Lacedaemonians and their island being so near to Laconia.
After the capitulation, the Athenians occupied the town of Scandea
near the harbour, and appointing a garrison for Cythera, sailed to
Asine, Helus, and most of the places on the sea, and making descents
and passing the night on shore at such spots as were convenient, continued
ravaging the country for about seven days.

The Lacedaemonians seeing the Athenians masters of Cythera, and expecting
descents of the kind upon their coasts, nowhere opposed them in force,
but sent garrisons here and there through the country, consisting
of as many heavy infantry as the points menaced seemed to require,
and generally stood very much upon the defensive. After the severe
and unexpected blow that had befallen them in the island, the occupation
of Pylos and Cythera, and the apparition on every side of a war whose
rapidity defied precaution, they lived in constant fear of internal
revolution, and now took the unusual step of raising four hundred
horse and a force of archers, and became more timid than ever in military
matters, finding themselves involved in a maritime struggle, which
their organization had never contemplated, and that against Athenians,
with whom an enterprise unattempted was always looked upon as a success
sacrificed. Besides this, their late numerous reverses of fortune,
coming close one upon another without any reason, had thoroughly unnerved
them, and they were always afraid of a second disaster like that on
the island, and thus scarcely dared to take the field, but fancied
that they could not stir without a blunder, for being new to the experience
of adversity they had lost all confidence in themselves.

Accordingly they now allowed the Athenians to ravage their seaboard,
without making any movement, the garrisons in whose neighbourhood
the descents were made always thinking their numbers insufficient,
and sharing the general feeling. A single garrison which ventured
to resist, near Cotyrta and Aphrodisia, struck terror by its charge
into the scattered mob of light troops, but retreated, upon being
received by the heavy infantry, with the loss of a few men and some
arms, for which the Athenians set up a trophy, and then sailed off
to Cythera. From thence they sailed round to Epidaurus Limera, ravaged
part of the country, and so came to Thyrea in the Cynurian territory,
upon the Argive and Laconian border. This district had been given
by its Lacedaemonian owners to the expelled Aeginetans to inhabit,
in return for their good offices at the time of the earthquake and
the rising of the Helots; and also because, although subjects of Athens,
they had always sided with Lacedaemon.

While the Athenians were still at sea, the Aeginetans evacuated a
fort which they were building upon the coast, and retreated into the
upper town where they lived, rather more than a mile from the sea.
One of the Lacedaemonian district garrisons which was helping them
in the work, refused to enter here with them at their entreaty, thinking
it dangerous to shut themselves up within the wall, and retiring to
the high ground remained quiet, not considering themselves a match
for the enemy. Meanwhile the Athenians landed, and instantly advanced
with all their forces and took Thyrea. The town they burnt, pillaging
what was in it; the Aeginetans who were not slain in action they took
with them to Athens, with Tantalus, son of Patrocles, their Lacedaemonian
commander, who had been wounded and taken prisoner. They also took
with them a few men from Cythera whom they thought it safest to remove.
These the Athenians determined to lodge in the islands: the rest of
the Cytherians were to retain their lands and pay four talents tribute;
the Aeginetans captured to be all put to death, on account of the
old inveterate feud; and Tantalus to share the imprisonment of the
Lacedaemonians taken on the island.

The same summer, the inhabitants of Camarina and Gela in Sicily first
made an armistice with each other, after which embassies from all
the other Sicilian cities assembled at Gela to try to bring about
a pacification. After many expressions of opinion on one side and
the other, according to the griefs and pretensions of the different
parties complaining, Hermocrates, son of Hermon, a Syracusan, the
most influential man among them, addressed the following words to
the assembly:

“If I now address you, Sicilians, it is not because my city is the
least in Sicily or the greatest sufferer by the war, but in order
to state publicly what appears to me to be the best policy for the
whole island. That war is an evil is a proposition so familiar to
every one that it would be tedious to develop it. No one is forced
to engage in it by ignorance, or kept out of it by fear, if he fancies
there is anything to be gained by it. To the former the gain appears
greater than the danger, while the latter would rather stand the risk
than put up with any immediate sacrifice. But if both should happen
to have chosen the wrong moment for acting in this way, advice to
make peace would not be unserviceable; and this, if we did but see
it, is just what we stand most in need of at the present juncture.

“I suppose that no one will dispute that we went to war at first in
order to serve our own several interests, that we are now, in view
of the same interests, debating how we can make peace; and that if
we separate without having as we think our rights, we shall go to
war again. And yet, as men of sense, we ought to see that our separate
interests are not alone at stake in the present congress: there is
also the question whether we have still time to save Sicily, the whole
of which in my opinion is menaced by Athenian ambition; and we ought
to find in the name of that people more imperious arguments for peace
than any which I can advance, when we see the first power in Hellas
watching our mistakes with the few ships that she has at present in
our waters, and under the fair name of alliance speciously seeking
to turn to account the natural hostility that exists between us. If
we go to war, and call in to help us a people that are ready enough
to carry their arms even where they are not invited; and if we injure
ourselves at our own expense, and at the same time serve as the pioneers
of their dominion, we may expect, when they see us worn out, that
they will one day come with a larger armament, and seek to bring all
of us into subjection.

“And yet as sensible men, if we call in allies and court danger, it
should be in order to enrich our different countries with new acquisitions,
and not to ruin what they possess already; and we should understand
that the intestine discords which are so fatal to communities generally,
will be equally so to Sicily, if we, its inhabitants, absorbed in
our local quarrels, neglect the common enemy. These considerations
should reconcile individual with individual, and city with city, and
unite us in a common effort to save the whole of Sicily. Nor should
any one imagine that the Dorians only are enemies of Athens, while
the Chalcidian race is secured by its Ionian blood; the attack in
question is not inspired by hatred of one of two nationalities, but
by a desire for the good things in Sicily, the common property of
us all. This is proved by the Athenian reception of the Chalcidian
invitation: an ally who has never given them any assistance whatever,
at once receives from them almost more than the treaty entitles him
to. That the Athenians should cherish this ambition and practise this
policy is very excusable; and I do not blame those who wish to rule,
but those who are over-ready to serve. It is just as much in men’s
nature to rule those who submit to them, as it is to resist those
who molest them; one is not less invariable than the other. Meanwhile
all who see these dangers and refuse to provide for them properly,
or who have come here without having made up their minds that our
first duty is to unite to get rid of the common peril, are mistaken.
The quickest way to be rid of it is to make peace with each other;
since the Athenians menace us not from their own country, but from
that of those who invited them here. In this way instead of war issuing
in war, peace quietly ends our quarrels; and the guests who come hither
under fair pretences for bad ends, will have good reason for going
away without having attained them.

“So far as regards the Athenians, such are the great advantages proved
inherent in a wise policy. Independently of this, in the face of the
universal consent, that peace is the first of blessings, how can we
refuse to make it amongst ourselves; or do you not think that the
good which you have, and the ills that you complain of, would be better
preserved and cured by quiet than by war; that peace has its honours
and splendours of a less perilous kind, not to mention the numerous
other blessings that one might dilate on, with the not less numerous
miseries of war? These considerations should teach you not to disregard
my words, but rather to look in them every one for his own safety.
If there be any here who feels certain either by right or might to
effect his object, let not this surprise be to him too severe a disappointment.
Let him remember that many before now have tried to chastise a wrongdoer,
and failing to punish their enemy have not even saved themselves;
while many who have trusted in force to gain an advantage, instead
of gaining anything more, have been doomed to lose what they had.
Vengeance is not necessarily successful because wrong has been done,
or strength sure because it is confident; but the incalculable element
in the future exercises the widest influence, and is the most treacherous,
and yet in fact the most useful of all things, as it frightens us
all equally, and thus makes us consider before attacking each other.

“Let us therefore now allow the undefined fear of this unknown future,
and the immediate terror of the Athenians’ presence, to produce their
natural impression, and let us consider any failure to carry out the
programmes that we may each have sketched out for ourselves as sufficiently
accounted for by these obstacles, and send away the intruder from
the country; and if everlasting peace be impossible between us, let
us at all events make a treaty for as long a term as possible, and
put off our private differences to another day. In fine, let us recognize
that the adoption of my advice will leave us each citizens of a free
state, and as such arbiters of our own destiny, able to return good
or bad offices with equal effect; while its rejection will make us
dependent on others, and thus not only impotent to repel an insult,
but on the most favourable supposition, friends to our direst enemies,
and at feud with our natural friends.

“For myself, though, as I said at first, the representative of a great
city, and able to think less of defending myself than of attacking
others, I am prepared to concede something in prevision of these dangers.
I am not inclined to ruin myself for the sake of hurting my enemies,
or so blinded by animosity as to think myself equally master of my
own plans and of fortune which I cannot command; but I am ready to
give up anything in reason. I call upon the rest of you to imitate
my conduct of your own free will, without being forced to do so by
the enemy. There is no disgrace in connections giving way to one another,
a Dorian to a Dorian, or a Chalcidian to his brethren; above and beyond
this we are neighbours, live in the same country, are girt by the
same sea, and go by the same name of Sicilians. We shall go to war
again, I suppose, when the time comes, and again make peace among
ourselves by means of future congresses; but the foreign invader,
if we are wise, will always find us united against him, since the
hurt of one is the danger of all; and we shall never, in future, invite
into the island either allies or mediators. By so acting we shall
at the present moment do for Sicily a double service, ridding her
at once of the Athenians, and of civil war, and in future shall live
in freedom at home, and be less menaced from abroad.”

Such were the words of Hermocrates. The Sicilians took his advice,
and came to an understanding among themselves to end the war, each
keeping what they had- the Camarinaeans taking Morgantina at a price
fixed to be paid to the Syracusans- and the allies of the Athenians
called the officers in command, and told them that they were going
to make peace and that they would be included in the treaty. The generals
assenting, the peace was concluded, and the Athenian fleet afterwards
sailed away from Sicily. Upon their arrival at Athens, the Athenians
banished Pythodorus and Sophocles, and fined Eurymedon for having
taken bribes to depart when they might have subdued Sicily. So thoroughly
had the present prosperity persuaded the citizens that nothing could
withstand them, and that they could achieve what was possible and
impracticable alike, with means ample or inadequate it mattered not.
The secret of this was their general extraordinary success, which
made them confuse their strength with their hopes.

The same summer the Megarians in the city, pressed by the hostilities
of the Athenians, who invaded their country twice every year with
all their forces, and harassed by the incursions of their own exiles
at Pegae, who had been expelled in a revolution by the popular party,
began to ask each other whether it would not be better to receive
back their exiles, and free the town from one of its two scourges.
The friends of the emigrants, perceiving the agitation, now more openly
than before demanded the adoption of this proposition; and the leaders
of the commons, seeing that the sufferings of the times had tired
out the constancy of their supporters, entered in their alarm into
correspondence with the Athenian generals, Hippocrates, son of Ariphron,
and Demosthenes, son of Alcisthenes, and resolved to betray the town,
thinking this less dangerous to themselves than the return of the
party which they had banished. It was accordingly arranged that the
Athenians should first take the long walls extending for nearly a
mile from the city to the port of Nisaea, to prevent the Peloponnesians
coming to the rescue from that place, where they formed the sole garrison
to secure the fidelity of Megara; and that after this the attempt
should be made to put into their hands the upper town, which it was
thought would then come over with less difficulty.

The Athenians, after plans had been arranged between themselves and
their correspondents both as to words and actions, sailed by night
to Minoa, the island off Megara, with six hundred heavy infantry under
the command of Hippocrates, and took post in a quarry not far off,
out of which bricks used to be taken for the walls; while Demosthenes,
the other commander, with a detachment of Plataean light troops and
another of Peripoli, placed himself in ambush in the precinct of Enyalius,
which was still nearer. No one knew of it, except those whose business
it was to know that night. A little before daybreak, the traitors
in Megara began to act. Every night for a long time back, under pretence
of marauding, in order to have a means of opening the gates, they
had been used, with the consent of the officer in command, to carry
by night a sculling boat upon a cart along the ditch to the sea, and
so to sail out, bringing it back again before day upon the cart, and
taking it within the wall through the gates, in order, as they pretended,
to baffle the Athenian blockade at Minoa, there being no boat to be
seen in the harbour. On the present occasion the cart was already
at the gates, which had been opened in the usual way for the boat,
when the Athenians, with whom this had been concerted, saw it, and
ran at the top of their speed from the ambush in order to reach the
gates before they were shut again, and while the cart was still there
to prevent their being closed; their Megarian accomplices at the same
moment killing the guard at the gates. The first to run in was Demosthenes
with his Plataeans and Peripoli, just where the trophy now stands;
and he was no sooner within the gates than the Plataeans engaged and
defeated the nearest party of Peloponnesians who had taken the alarm
and come to the rescue, and secured the gates for the approaching
Athenian heavy infantry.

After this, each of the Athenians as fast as they entered went against
the wall. A few of the Peloponnesian garrison stood their ground at
first, and tried to repel the assault, and some of them were killed;
but the main body took fright and fled; the night attack and the sight
of the Megarian traitors in arms against them making them think that
all Megara had gone over to the enemy. It so happened also that the
Athenian herald of his own idea called out and invited any of the
Megarians that wished, to join the Athenian ranks; and this was no
sooner heard by the garrison than they gave way, and, convinced that
they were the victims of a concerted attack, took refuge in Nisaea.
By daybreak, the walls being now taken and the Megarians in the city
in great agitation, the persons who had negotiated with the Athenians,
supported by the rest of the popular party which was privy to the
plot, said that they ought to open the gates and march out to battle.
It had been concerted between them that the Athenians should rush
in, the moment that the gates were opened, while the conspirators
were to be distinguished from the rest by being anointed with oil,
and so to avoid being hurt. They could open the gates with more security,
as four thousand Athenian heavy infantry from Eleusis, and six hundred
horse, had marched all night, according to agreement, and were now
close at hand. The conspirators were all ready anointed and at their
posts by the gates, when one of their accomplices denounced the plot
to the opposite party, who gathered together and came in a body, and
roundly said that they must not march out- a thing they had never
yet ventured on even when in greater force than at present- or wantonly
compromise the safety of the town, and that if what they said was
not attended to, the battle would have to be fought in Megara. For
the rest, they gave no signs of their knowledge of the intrigue, but
stoutly maintained that their advice was the best, and meanwhile kept
close by and watched the gates, making it impossible for the conspirators
to effect their purpose.

The Athenian generals seeing that some obstacle had arisen, and that
the capture of the town by force was no longer practicable, at once
proceeded to invest Nisaea, thinking that, if they could take it before
relief arrived, the surrender of Megara would soon follow. Iron, stone-masons,
and everything else required quickly coming up from Athens, the Athenians
started from the wall which they occupied, and from this point built
a cross wall looking towards Megara down to the sea on either side
of Nisaea; the ditch and the walls being divided among the army, stones
and bricks taken from the suburb, and the fruit-trees and timber cut
down to make a palisade wherever this seemed necessary; the houses
also in the suburb with the addition of battlements sometimes entering
into the fortification. The whole of this day the work continued,
and by the afternoon of the next the wall was all but completed, when
the garrison in Nisaea, alarmed by the absolute want of provisions,
which they used to take in for the day from the upper town, not anticipating
any speedy relief from the Peloponnesians, and supposing Megara to
be hostile, capitulated to the Athenians on condition that they should
give up their arms, and should each be ransomed for a stipulated sum;
their Lacedaemonian commander, and any others of his countrymen in
the place, being left to the discretion of the Athenians. On these
conditions they surrendered and came out, and the Athenians broke
down the long walls at their point of junction with Megara, took possession
of Nisaea, and went on with their other preparations.

Just at this time the Lacedaemonian Brasidas, son of Tellis, happened
to be in the neighbourhood of Sicyon and Corinth, getting ready an
army for Thrace. As soon as he heard of the capture of the walls,
fearing for the Peloponnesians in Nisaea and the safety of Megara,
he sent to the Boeotians to meet him as quickly as possible at Tripodiscus,
a village so called of the Megarid, under Mount Geraneia, and went
himself, with two thousand seven hundred Corinthian heavy infantry,
four hundred Phliasians, six hundred Sicyonians, and such troops of
his own as he had already levied, expecting to find Nisaea not yet
taken. Hearing of its fall (he had marched out by night to Tripodiscus),
he took three hundred picked men from the army, without waiting till
his coming should be known, and came up to Megara unobserved by the
Athenians, who were down by the sea, ostensibly, and really if possible,
to attempt Nisaea, but above all to get into Megara and secure the
town. He accordingly invited the townspeople to admit his party, saying
that he had hopes of recovering Nisaea.

However, one of the Megarian factions feared that he might expel them
and restore the exiles; the other that the commons, apprehensive of
this very danger, might set upon them, and the city be thus destroyed
by a battle within its gates under the eyes of the ambushed Athenians.
He was accordingly refused admittance, both parties electing to remain
quiet and await the event; each expecting a battle between the Athenians
and the relieving army, and thinking it safer to see their friends
victorious before declaring in their favour.

Unable to carry his point, Brasidas went back to the rest of the army.
At daybreak the Boeotians joined him. Having determined to relieve
Megara, whose danger they considered their own, even before hearing
from Brasidas, they were already in full force at Plataea, when his
messenger arrived to add spurs to their resolution; and they at once
sent on to him two thousand two hundred heavy infantry, and six hundred
horse, returning home with the main body. The whole army thus assembled
numbered six thousand heavy infantry. The Athenian heavy infantry
were drawn up by Nisaea and the sea; but the light troops being scattered
over the plain were attacked by the Boeotian horse and driven to the
sea, being taken entirely by surprise, as on previous occasions no
relief had ever come to the Megarians from any quarter. Here the Boeotians
were in their turn charged and engaged by the Athenian horse, and
a cavalry action ensued which lasted a long time, and in which both
parties claimed the victory. The Athenians killed and stripped the
leader of the Boeotian horse and some few of his comrades who had
charged right up to Nisaea, and remaining masters of the bodies gave
them back under truce, and set up a trophy; but regarding the action
as a whole the forces separated without either side having gained
a decisive advantage, the Boeotians returning to their army and the
Athenians to Nisaea.

After this Brasidas and the army came nearer to the sea and to Megara,
and taking up a convenient position, remained quiet in order of battle,
expecting to be attacked by the Athenians and knowing that the Megarians
were waiting to see which would be the victor. This attitude seemed
to present two advantages. Without taking the offensive or willingly
provoking the hazards of a battle, they openly showed their readiness
to fight, and thus without bearing the burden of the day would fairly
reap its honours; while at the same time they effectually served their
interests at Megara. For if they had failed to show themselves they
would not have had a chance, but would have certainly been considered
vanquished, and have lost the town. As it was, the Athenians might
possibly not be inclined to accept their challenge, and their object
would be attained without fighting. And so it turned out. The Athenians
formed outside the long walls and, the enemy not attacking, there
remained motionless; their generals having decided that the risk was
too unequal. In fact most of their objects had been already attained;
and they would have to begin a battle against superior numbers, and
if victorious could only gain Megara, while a defeat would destroy
the flower of their heavy soldiery. For the enemy it was different;
as even the states actually represented in his army risked each only
a part of its entire force, he might well be more audacious. Accordingly,
after waiting for some time without either side attacking, the Athenians
withdrew to Nisaea, and the Peloponnesians after them to the point
from which they had set out. The friends of the Megarian exiles now
threw aside their hesitation, and opened the gates to Brasidas and
the commanders from the different states- looking upon him as the
victor and upon the Athenians as having declined the battle- and receiving
them into the town proceeded to discuss matters with them; the party
in correspondence with the Athenians being paralysed by the turn things
had taken.

Afterwards Brasidas let the allies go home, and himself went back
to Corinth, to prepare for his expedition to Thrace, his original
destination. The Athenians also returning home, the Megarians in the
city most implicated in the Athenian negotiation, knowing that they
had been detected, presently disappeared; while the rest conferred
with the friends of the exiles, and restored the party at Pegae, after
binding them under solemn oaths to take no vengeance for the past,
and only to consult the real interests of the town. However, as soon
as they were in office, they held a review of the heavy infantry,
and separating the battalions, picked out about a hundred of their
enemies, and of those who were thought to be most involved in the
correspondence with the Athenians, brought them before the people,
and compelling the vote to be given openly, had them condemned and
executed, and established a close oligarchy in the town- a revolution
which lasted a very long while, although effected by a very few partisans.

Chapter XIV

Eighth and Ninth Years of the War – Invasion of Boeotia – Fall of
Amphipolis – Brilliant Successes of Brasidas

The same summer the Mitylenians were about to fortify Antandrus, as
they had intended, when Demodocus and Aristides, the commanders of
the Athenian squadron engaged in levying subsidies, heard on the Hellespont
of what was being done to the place (Lamachus their colleague having
sailed with ten ships into the Pontus) and conceived fears of its
becoming a second Anaia-the place in which the Samian exiles had established
themselves to annoy Samos, helping the Peloponnesians by sending pilots
to their navy, and keeping the city in agitation and receiving all
its outlaws. They accordingly got together a force from the allies
and set sail, defeated in battle the troops that met them from Antandrus,
and retook the place. Not long after, Lamachus, who had sailed into
the Pontus, lost his ships at anchor in the river Calex, in the territory
of Heraclea, rain having fallen in the interior and the flood coming
suddenly down upon them; and himself and his troops passed by land
through the Bithynian Thracians on the Asiatic side, and arrived at
Chalcedon, the Megarian colony at the mouth of the Pontus.

The same summer the Athenian general, Demosthenes, arrived at Naupactus
with forty ships immediately after the return from the Megarid. Hippocrates
and himself had had overtures made to them by certain men in the cities
in Boeotia, who wished to change the constitution and introduce a
democracy as at Athens; Ptoeodorus, a Theban exile, being the chief
mover in this intrigue. The seaport town of Siphae, in the bay of
Crisae, in the Thespian territory, was to be betrayed to them by one
party; Chaeronea (a dependency of what was formerly called the Minyan,
now the Boeotian, Orchomenus) to be put into their hands by another
from that town, whose exiles were very active in the business, hiring
men in Peloponnese. Some Phocians also were in the plot, Chaeronea
being the frontier town of Boeotia and close to Phanotis in Phocia.
Meanwhile the Athenians were to seize Delium, the sanctuary of Apollo,
in the territory of Tanagra looking towards Euboea; and all these
events were to take place simultaneously upon a day appointed, in
order that the Boeotians might be unable to unite to oppose them at
Delium, being everywhere detained by disturbances at home. Should
the enterprise succeed, and Delium be fortified, its authors confidently
expected that even if no revolution should immediately follow in Boeotia,
yet with these places in their hands, and the country being harassed
by incursions, and a refuge in each instance near for the partisans
engaged in them, things would not remain as they were, but that the
rebels being supported by the Athenians and the forces of the oligarchs
divided, it would be possible after a while to settle matters according
to their wishes.

Such was the plot in contemplation. Hippocrates with a force raised
at home awaited the proper moment to take the field against the Boeotians;
while he sent on Demosthenes with the forty ships above mentioned
to Naupactus, to raise in those parts an army of Acarnanians and of
the other allies, and sail and receive Siphae from the conspirators;
a day having been agreed on for the simultaneous execution of both
these operations. Demosthenes on his arrival found Oeniadae already
compelled by the united Acarnanians to join the Athenian confederacy,
and himself raising all the allies in those countries marched against
and subdued Salynthius and the Agraeans; after which he devoted himself
to the preparations necessary to enable him to be at Siphae by the
time appointed.

About the same time in the summer, Brasidas set out on his march for
the Thracian places with seventeen hundred heavy infantry, and arriving
at Heraclea in Trachis, from thence sent on a messenger to his friends
at Pharsalus, to ask them to conduct himself and his army through
the country. Accordingly there came to Melitia in Achaia Panaerus,
Dorus, Hippolochidas, Torylaus, and Strophacus, the Chalcidian proxenus,
under whose escort he resumed his march, being accompanied also by
other Thessalians, among whom was Niconidas from Larissa, a friend
of Perdiccas. It was never very easy to traverse Thessaly without
an escort; and throughout all Hellas for an armed force to pass without
leave through a neighbour’s country was a delicate step to take. Besides
this the Thessalian people had always sympathized with the Athenians.
Indeed if instead of the customary dose oligarchy there had been a
constitutional government in Thessaly, he would never have been able
to proceed; since even as it was, he was met on his march at the river
Enipeus by certain of the opposite party who forbade his further progress,
and complained of his making the attempt without the consent of the
nation. To this his escort answered that they had no intention of
taking him through against their will; they were only friends in attendance
on an unexpected visitor. Brasidas himself added that he came as a
friend to Thessaly and its inhabitants, his arms not being directed
against them but against the Athenians, with whom he was at war, and
that although he knew of no quarrel between the Thessalians and Lacedaemonians
to prevent the two nations having access to each other’s territory,
he neither would nor could proceed against their wishes; he could
only beg them not to stop him. With this answer they went away, and
he took the advice of his escort, and pushed on without halting, before
a greater force might gather to prevent him. Thus in the day that
he set out from Melitia he performed the whole distance to Pharsalus,
and encamped on the river Apidanus; and so to Phacium and from thence
to Perrhaebia. Here his Thessalian escort went back, and the Perrhaebians,
who are subjects of Thessaly, set him down at Dium in the dominions
of Perdiccas, a Macedonian town under Mount Olympus, looking towards

In this way Brasidas hurried through Thessaly before any one could
be got ready to stop him, and reached Perdiccas and Chalcidice. The
departure of the army from Peloponnese had been procured by the Thracian
towns in revolt against Athens and by Perdiccas, alarmed at the successes
of the Athenians. The Chalcidians thought that they would be the first
objects of an Athenian expedition, not that the neighbouring towns
which had not yet revolted did not also secretly join in the invitation;
and Perdiccas also had his apprehensions on account of his old quarrels
with the Athenians, although not openly at war with them, and above
all wished to reduce Arrhabaeus, king of the Lyncestians. It had been
less difficult for them to get an army to leave Peloponnese, because
of the ill fortune of the Lacedaemonians at the present moment. The
attacks of the Athenians upon Peloponnese, and in particular upon
Laconia, might, it was hoped, be diverted most effectually by annoying
them in return, and by sending an army to their allies, especially
as they were willing to maintain it and asked for it to aid them in
revolting. The Lacedaemonians were also glad to have an excuse for
sending some of the Helots out of the country, for fear that the present
aspect of affairs and the occupation of Pylos might encourage them
to move. Indeed fear of their numbers and obstinacy even persuaded
the Lacedaemonians to the action which I shall now relate, their policy
at all times having been governed by the necessity of taking precautions
against them. The Helots were invited by a proclamation to pick out
those of their number who claimed to have most distinguished themselves
against the enemy, in order that they might receive their freedom;
the object being to test them, as it was thought that the first to
claim their freedom would be the most high-spirited and the most apt
to rebel. As many as two thousand were selected accordingly, who crowned
themselves and went round the temples, rejoicing in their new freedom.
The Spartans, however, soon afterwards did away with them, and no
one ever knew how each of them perished. The Spartans now therefore
gladly sent seven hundred as heavy infantry with Brasidas, who recruited
the rest of his force by means of money in Peloponnese.

Brasidas himself was sent out by the Lacedaemonians mainly at his
own desire, although the Chalcidians also were eager to have a man
so thorough as he had shown himself whenever there was anything to
be done at Sparta, and whose after-service abroad proved of the utmost
use to his country. At the present moment his just and moderate conduct
towards the towns generally succeeded in procuring their revolt, besides
the places which he managed to take by treachery; and thus when the
Lacedaemonians desired to treat, as they ultimately did, they had
places to offer in exchange, and the burden of war meanwhile shifted
from Peloponnese. Later on in the war, after the events in Sicily,
the present valour and conduct of Brasidas, known by experience to
some, by hearsay to others, was what mainly created in the allies
of Athens a feeling for the Lacedaemonians. He was the first who went
out and showed himself so good a man at all points as to leave behind
him the conviction that the rest were like him.

Meanwhile his arrival in the Thracian country no sooner became known
to the Athenians than they declared war against Perdiccas, whom they
regarded as the author of the expedition, and kept a closer watch
on their allies in that quarter.

Upon the arrival of Brasidas and his army, Perdiccas immediately started
with them and with his own forces against Arrhabaeus, son of Bromerus,
king of the Lyncestian Macedonians, his neighbour, with whom he had
a quarrel and whom he wished to subdue. However, when he arrived with
his army and Brasidas at the pass leading into Lyncus, Brasidas told
him that before commencing hostilities he wished to go and try to
persuade Arrhabaeus to become the ally of Lacedaemon, this latter
having already made overtures intimating his willingness to make Brasidas
arbitrator between them, and the Chalcidian envoys accompanying him
having warned him not to remove the apprehensions of Perdiccas, in
order to ensure his greater zeal in their cause. Besides, the envoys
of Perdiccas had talked at Lacedaemon about his bringing many of the
places round him into alliance with them; and thus Brasidas thought
he might take a larger view of the question of Arrhabaeus. Perdiccas
however retorted that he had not brought him with him to arbitrate
in their quarrel, but to put down the enemies whom he might point
out to him; and that while he, Perdiccas, maintained half his army
it was a breach of faith for Brasidas to parley with Arrhabaeus. Nevertheless
Brasidas disregarded the wishes of Perdiccas and held the parley in
spite of him, and suffered himself to be persuaded to lead off the
army without invading the country of Arrhabaeus; after which Perdiccas,
holding that faith had not been kept with him, contributed only a
third instead of half of the support of the army.

The same summer, without loss of time, Brasidas marched with the Chalcidians
against Acanthus, a colony of the Andrians, a little before vintage.
The inhabitants were divided into two parties on the question of receiving
him; those who had joined the Chalcidians in inviting him, and the
popular party. However, fear for their fruit, which was still out,
enabled Brasidas to persuade the multitude to admit him alone, and
to hear what he had to say before making a decision; and he was admitted
accordingly and appeared before the people, and not being a bad speaker
for a Lacedaemonian, addressed them as follows:

“Acanthians, the Lacedaemonians have sent out me and my army to make
good the reason that we gave for the war when we began it, viz., that
we were going to war with the Athenians in order to free Hellas. Our
delay in coming has been caused by mistaken expectations as to the
war at home, which led us to hope, by our own unassisted efforts and
without your risking anything, to effect the speedy downfall of the
Athenians; and you must not blame us for this, as we are now come
the moment that we were able, prepared with your aid to do our best
to subdue them. Meanwhile I am astonished at finding your gates shut
against me, and at not meeting with a better welcome. We Lacedaemonians
thought of you as allies eager to have us, to whom we should come
in spirit even before we were with you in body; and in this expectation
undertook all the risks of a march of many days through a strange
country, so far did our zeal carry us. It will be a terrible thing
if after this you have other intentions, and mean to stand in the
way of your own and Hellenic freedom. It is not merely that you oppose
me yourselves; but wherever I may go people will be less inclined
to join me, on the score that you, to whom I first came- an important
town like Acanthus, and prudent men like the Acanthians- refused to
admit me. I shall have nothing to prove that the reason which I advance
is the true one; it will be said either that there is something unfair
in the freedom which I offer, or that I am in insufficient force and
unable to protect you against an attack from Athens. Yet when I went
with the army which I now have to the relief of Nisaea, the Athenians
did not venture to engage me although in greater force than I; and
it is not likely they will ever send across sea against you an army
as numerous as they had at Nisaea. And for myself, I have come here
not to hurt but to free the Hellenes, witness the solemn oaths by
which I have bound my government that the allies that I may bring
over shall be independent; and besides my object in coming is not
by force or fraud to obtain your alliance, but to offer you mine to
help you against your Athenian masters. I protest, therefore, against
any suspicions of my intentions after the guarantees which I offer,
and equally so against doubts of my ability to protect you, and I
invite you to join me without hesitation.

“Some of you may hang back because they have private enemies, and
fear that I may put the city into the hands of a party: none need
be more tranquil than they. I am not come here to help this party
or that; and I do not consider that I should be bringing you freedom
in any real sense, if I should disregard your constitution, and enslave
the many to the few or the few to the many. This would be heavier
than a foreign yoke; and we Lacedaemonians, instead of being thanked
for our pains, should get neither honour nor glory, but, contrariwise,
reproaches. The charges which strengthen our hands in the war against
the Athenians would on our own showing be merited by ourselves, and
more hateful in us than in those who make no pretensions to honesty;
as it is more disgraceful for persons of character to take what they
covet by fair-seeming fraud than by open force; the one aggression
having for its justification the might which fortune gives, the other
being simply a piece of clever roguery. A matter which concerns us
thus nearly we naturally look to most jealously; and over and above
the oaths that I have mentioned, what stronger assurance can you have,
when you see that our words, compared with the actual facts, produce
the necessary conviction that it is our interest to act as we say?

“If to these considerations of mine you put in the plea of inability,
and claim that your friendly feeling should save you from being hurt
by your refusal; if you say that freedom, in your opinion, is not
without its dangers, and that it is right to offer it to those who
can accept it, but not to force it on any against their will, then
I shall take the gods and heroes of your country to witness that I
came for your good and was rejected, and shall do my best to compel
you by laying waste your land. I shall do so without scruple, being
justified by the necessity which constrains me, first, to prevent
the Lacedaemonians from being damaged by you, their friends, in the
event of your nonadhesion, through the moneys that you pay to the
Athenians; and secondly, to prevent the Hellenes from being hindered
by you in shaking off their servitude. Otherwise indeed we should
have no right to act as we propose; except in the name of some public
interest, what call should we Lacedaemonians have to free those who
do not wish it? Empire we do not aspire to: it is what we are labouring
to put down; and we should wrong the greater number if we allowed
you to stand in the way of the independence that we offer to all.
Endeavour, therefore, to decide wisely, and strive to begin the work
of liberation for the Hellenes, and lay up for yourselves endless
renown, while you escape private loss, and cover your commonwealth
with glory.”

Such were the words of Brasidas. The Acanthians, after much had been
said on both sides of the question, gave their votes in secret, and
the majority, influenced by the seductive arguments of Brasidas and
by fear for their fruit, decided to revolt from Athens; not however
admitting the army until they had taken his personal security for
the oaths sworn by his government before they sent him out, assuring
the independence of the allies whom he might bring over. Not long
after, Stagirus, a colony of the Andrians, followed their example
and revolted.

Such were the events of this summer. It was in the first days of the
winter following that the places in Boeotia were to be put into the
hands of the Athenian generals, Hippocrates and Demosthenes, the latter
of whom was to go with his ships to Siphae, the former to Delium.
A mistake, however, was made in the days on which they were each to
start; and Demosthenes, sailing first to Siphae, with the Acarnanians
and many of the allies from those parts on board, failed to effect
anything, through the plot having been betrayed by Nicomachus, a Phocian
from Phanotis, who told the Lacedaemonians, and they the Boeotians.
Succours accordingly flocked in from all parts of Boeotia, Hippocrates
not being yet there to make his diversion, and Siphae and Chaeronea
were promptly secured, and the conspirators, informed of the mistake,
did not venture on any movement in the towns.

Meanwhile Hippocrates made a levy in mass of the citizens, resident
aliens, and foreigners in Athens, and arrived at his destination after
the Boeotians had already come back from Siphae, and encamping his
army began to fortify Delium, the sanctuary of Apollo, in the following
manner. A trench was dug all round the temple and the consecrated
ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do
duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted, the vines round
the sanctuary being cut down and thrown in, together with stones and
bricks pulled down from the houses near; every means, in short, being
used to run up the rampart. Wooden towers were also erected where
they were wanted, and where there was no part of the temple buildings
left standing, as on the side where the gallery once existing had
fallen in. The work was begun on the third day after leaving home,
and continued during the fourth, and till dinnertime on the fifth,
when most of it being now finished the army removed from Delium about
a mile and a quarter on its way home. From this point most of the
light troops went straight on, while the heavy infantry halted and
remained where they were; Hippocrates having stayed behind at Delium
to arrange the posts, and to give directions for the completion of
such part of the outworks as had been left unfinished.

During the days thus employed the Boeotians were mustering at Tanagra,
and by the time that they had come in from all the towns, found the
Athenians already on their way home. The rest of the eleven Boeotarchs
were against giving battle, as the enemy was no longer in Boeotia,
the Athenians being just over the Oropian border, when they halted;
but Pagondas, son of Aeolidas, one of the Boeotarchs of Thebes (Arianthides,
son of Lysimachidas, being the other), and then commander-in-chief,
thought it best to hazard a battle. He accordingly called the men
to him, company after company, to prevent their all leaving their
arms at once, and urged them to attack the Athenians, and stand the
issue of a battle, speaking as follows:

“Boeotians, the idea that we ought not to give battle to the Athenians,
unless we came up with them in Boeotia, is one which should never
have entered into the head of any of us, your generals. It was to
annoy Boeotia that they crossed the frontier and built a fort in our
country; and they are therefore, I imagine, our enemies wherever we
may come up with them, and from wheresoever they may have come to
act as enemies do. And if any one has taken up with the idea in question
for reasons of safety, it is high time for him to change his mind.
The party attacked, whose own country is in danger, can scarcely discuss
what is prudent with the calmness of men who are in full enjoyment
of what they have got, and are thinking of attacking a neighbour in
order to get more. It is your national habit, in your country or out
of it, to oppose the same resistance to a foreign invader; and when
that invader is Athenian, and lives upon your frontier besides, it
is doubly imperative to do so. As between neighbours generally, freedom
means simply a determination to hold one’s own; and with neighbours
like these, who are trying to enslave near and far alike, there is
nothing for it but to fight it out to the last. Look at the condition
of the Euboeans and of most of the rest of Hellas, and be convinced
that others have to fight with their neighbours for this frontier
or that, but that for us conquest means one frontier for the whole
country, about which no dispute can be made, for they will simply
come and take by force what we have. So much more have we to fear
from this neighbour than from another. Besides, people who, like the
Athenians in the present instance, are tempted by pride of strength
to attack their neighbours, usually march most confidently against
those who keep still, and only defend themselves in their own country,
but think twice before they grapple with those who meet them outside
their frontier and strike the first blow if opportunity offers. The
Athenians have shown us this themselves; the defeat which we inflicted
upon them at Coronea, at the time when our quarrels had allowed them
to occupy the country, has given great security to Boeotia until the
present day. Remembering this, the old must equal their ancient exploits,
and the young, the sons of the heroes of that time, must endeavour
not to disgrace their native valour; and trusting in the help of the
god whose temple has been sacrilegiously fortified, and in the victims
which in our sacrifices have proved propitious, we must march against
the enemy, and teach him that he must go and get what he wants by
attacking someone who will not resist him, but that men whose glory
it is to be always ready to give battle for the liberty of their own
country, and never unjustly to enslave that of others, will not let
him go without a struggle.”

By these arguments Pagondas persuaded the Boeotians to attack the
Athenians, and quickly breaking up his camp led his army forward,
it being now late in the day. On nearing the enemy, he halted in a
position where a hill intervening prevented the two armies from seeing
each other, and then formed and prepared for action. Meanwhile Hippocrates
at Delium, informed of the approach of the Boeotians, sent orders
to his troops to throw themselves into line, and himself joined them
not long afterwards, leaving about three hundred horse behind him
at Delium, at once to guard the place in case of attack, and to watch
their opportunity and fall upon the Boeotians during the battle. The
Boeotians placed a detachment to deal with these, and when everything
was arranged to their satisfaction appeared over the hill, and halted
in the order which they had determined on, to the number of seven
thousand heavy infantry, more than ten thousand light troops, one
thousand horse, and five hundred targeteers. On their right were the
Thebans and those of their province, in the centre the Haliartians,
Coronaeans, Copaeans, and the other people around the lake, and on
the left the Thespians, Tanagraeans, and Orchomenians, the cavalry
and the light troops being at the extremity of each wing. The Thebans
formed twenty-five shields deep, the rest as they pleased. Such was
the strength and disposition of the Boeotian army.

On the side of the Athenians, the heavy infantry throughout the whole
army formed eight deep, being in numbers equal to the enemy, with
the cavalry upon the two wings. Light troops regularly armed there
were none in the army, nor had there ever been any at Athens. Those
who had joined in the invasion, though many times more numerous than
those of the enemy, had mostly followed unarmed, as part of the levy
in mass of the citizens and foreigners at Athens, and having started
first on their way home were not present in any number. The armies
being now in line and upon the point of engaging, Hippocrates, the
general, passed along the Athenian ranks, and encouraged them as follows:

“Athenians, I shall only say a few words to you, but brave men require
no more, and they are addressed more to your understanding than to
your courage. None of you must fancy that we are going out of our
way to run this risk in the country of another. Fought in their territory
the battle will be for ours: if we conquer, the Peloponnesians will
never invade your country without the Boeotian horse, and in one battle
you will win Boeotia and in a manner free Attica. Advance to meet
them then like citizens of a country in which you all glory as the
first in Hellas, and like sons of the fathers who beat them at Oenophyta
with Myronides and thus gained possession of Boeotia.”

Hippocrates had got half through the army with his exhortation, when
the Boeotians, after a few more hasty words from Pagondas, struck
up the paean, and came against them from the hill; the Athenians advancing
to meet them, and closing at a run. The extreme wing of neither army
came into action, one like the other being stopped by the water-courses
in the way; the rest engaged with the utmost obstinacy, shield against
shield. The Boeotian left, as far as the centre, was worsted by the
Athenians. The Thespians in that part of the field suffered most severely.
The troops alongside them having given way, they were surrounded in
a narrow space and cut down fighting hand to hand; some of the Athenians
also fell into confusion in surrounding the enemy and mistook and
so killed each other. In this part of the field the Boeotians were
beaten, and retreated upon the troops still fighting; but the right,
where the Thebans were, got the better of the Athenians and shoved
them further and further back, though gradually at first. It so happened
also that Pagondas, seeing the distress of his left, had sent two
squadrons of horse, where they could not be seen, round the hill,
and their sudden appearance struck a panic into the victorious wing
of the Athenians, who thought that it was another army coming against
them. At length in both parts of the field, disturbed by this panic,
and with their line broken by the advancing Thebans, the whole Athenian
army took to flight. Some made for Delium and the sea, some for Oropus,
others for Mount Parnes, or wherever they had hopes of safety, pursued
and cut down by the Boeotians, and in particular by the cavalry, composed
partly of Boeotians and partly of Locrians, who had come up just as
the rout began. Night however coming on to interrupt the pursuit,
the mass of the fugitives escaped more easily than they would otherwise
have done. The next day the troops at Oropus and Delium returned home
by sea, after leaving a garrison in the latter place, which they continued
to hold notwithstanding the defeat.

The Boeotians set up a trophy, took up their own dead, and stripped
those of the enemy, and leaving a guard over them retired to Tanagra,
there to take measures for attacking Delium. Meanwhile a herald came
from the Athenians to ask for the dead, but was met and turned back
by a Boeotian herald, who told him that he would effect nothing until
the return of himself the Boeotian herald, and who then went on to
the Athenians, and told them on the part of the Boeotians that they
had done wrong in transgressing the law of the Hellenes. Of what use
was the universal custom protecting the temples in an invaded country,
if the Athenians were to fortify Delium and live there, acting exactly
as if they were on unconsecrated ground, and drawing and using for
their purposes the water which they, the Boeotians, never touched
except for sacred uses? Accordingly for the god as well as for themselves,
in the name of the deities concerned, and of Apollo, the Boeotians
invited them first to evacuate the temple, if they wished to take
up the dead that belonged to them.

After these words from the herald, the Athenians sent their own herald
to the Boeotians to say that they had not done any wrong to the temple,
and for the future would do it no more harm than they could help;
not having occupied it originally in any such design, but to defend
themselves from it against those who were really wronging them. The
law of the Hellenes was that conquest of a country, whether more or
less extensive, carried with it possession of the temples in that
country, with the obligation to keep up the usual ceremonies, at least
as far as possible. The Boeotians and most other people who had turned
out the owners of a country, and put themselves in their places by
force, now held as of right the temples which they originally entered
as usurpers. If the Athenians could have conquered more of Boeotia
this would have been the case with them: as things stood, the piece
of it which they had got they should treat as their own, and not quit
unless obliged. The water they had disturbed under the impulsion of
a necessity which they had not wantonly incurred, having been forced
to use it in defending themselves against the Boeotians who first
invaded Attica. Besides, anything done under the pressure of war and
danger might reasonably claim indulgence even in the eye of the god;
or why, pray, were the altars the asylum for involuntary offences?
Transgression also was a term applied to presumptuous offenders, not
to the victims of adverse circumstances. In short, which were most
impious- the Boeotians who wished to barter dead bodies for holy places,
or the Athenians who refused to give up holy places to obtain what
was theirs by right? The condition of evacuating Boeotia must therefore
be withdrawn. They were no longer in Boeotia. They stood where they
stood by the right of the sword. All that the Boeotians had to do
was to tell them to take up their dead under a truce according to
the national custom.

The Boeotians replied that if they were in Boeotia, they must evacuate
that country before taking up their dead; if they were in their own
territory, they could do as they pleased: for they knew that, although
the Oropid where the bodies as it chanced were lying (the battle having
been fought on the borders) was subject to Athens, yet the Athenians
could not get them without their leave. Besides, why should they grant
a truce for Athenian ground? And what could be fairer than to tell
them to evacuate Boeotia if they wished to get what they asked? The
Athenian herald accordingly returned with this answer, without having
accomplished his object.

Meanwhile the Boeotians at once sent for darters and slingers from
the Malian Gulf, and with two thousand Corinthian heavy infantry who
had joined them after the battle, the Peloponnesian garrison which
had evacuated Nisaea, and some Megarians with them, marched against
Delium, and attacked the fort, and after divers efforts finally succeeded
in taking it by an engine of the following description. They sawed
in two and scooped out a great beam from end to end, and fitting it
nicely together again like a pipe, hung by chains a cauldron at one
extremity, with which communicated an iron tube projecting from the
beam, which was itself in great part plated with iron. This they brought
up from a distance upon carts to the part of the wall principally
composed of vines and timber, and when it was near, inserted huge
bellows into their end of the beam and blew with them. The blast passing
closely confined into the cauldron, which was filled with lighted
coals, sulphur and pitch, made a great blaze, and set fire to the
wall, which soon became untenable for its defenders, who left it and
fled; and in this way the fort was taken. Of the garrison some were
killed and two hundred made prisoners; most of the rest got on board
their ships and returned home.

Soon after the fall of Delium, which took place seventeen days after
the battle, the Athenian herald, without knowing what had happened,
came again for the dead, which were now restored by the Boeotians,
who no longer answered as at first. Not quite five hundred Boeotians
fell in the battle, and nearly one thousand Athenians, including Hippocrates
the general, besides a great number of light troops and camp followers.

Soon after this battle Demosthenes, after the failure of his voyage
to Siphae and of the plot on the town, availed himself of the Acarnanian
and Agraean troops and of the four hundred Athenian heavy infantry
which he had on board, to make a descent on the Sicyonian coast. Before
however all his ships had come to shore, the Sicyonians came up and
routed and chased to their ships those that had landed, killing some
and taking others prisoners; after which they set up a trophy, and
gave back the dead under truce.

About the same time with the affair of Delium took place the death
of Sitalces, king of the Odrysians, who was defeated in battle, in
a campaign against the Triballi; Seuthes, son of Sparadocus, his nephew,
succeeding to the kingdom of the Odrysians, and of the rest of Thrace
ruled by Sitalces.

The same winter Brasidas, with his allies in the Thracian places,
marched against Amphipolis, the Athenian colony on the river Strymon.
A settlement upon the spot on which the city now stands was before
attempted by Aristagoras, the Milesian (when he fled from King Darius),
who was however dislodged by the Edonians; and thirty-two years later
by the Athenians, who sent thither ten thousand settlers of their
own citizens, and whoever else chose to go. These were cut off at
Drabescus by the Thracians. Twenty-nine years after, the Athenians
returned (Hagnon, son of Nicias, being sent out as leader of the colony)
and drove out the Edonians, and founded a town on the spot, formerly
called Ennea Hodoi or Nine Ways. The base from which they started
was Eion, their commercial seaport at the mouth of the river, not
more than three miles from the present town, which Hagnon named Amphipolis,
because the Strymon flows round it on two sides, and he built it so
as to be conspicuous from the sea and land alike, running a long wall
across from river to river, to complete the circumference.

Brasidas now marched against this town, starting from Arne in Chalcidice.
Arriving about dusk at Aulon and Bromiscus, where the lake of Bolbe
runs into the sea, he supped there, and went on during the night.
The weather was stormy and it was snowing a little, which encouraged
him to hurry on, in order, if possible, to take every one at Amphipolis
by surprise, except the party who were to betray it. The plot was
carried on by some natives of Argilus, an Andrian colony, residing
in Amphipolis, where they had also other accomplices gained over by
Perdiccas or the Chalcidians. But the most active in the matter were
the inhabitants of Argilus itself, which is close by, who had always
been suspected by the Athenians, and had had designs on the place.
These men now saw their opportunity arrive with Brasidas, and having
for some time been in correspondence with their countrymen in Amphipolis
for the betrayal of the town, at once received him into Argilus, and
revolted from the Athenians, and that same night took him on to the
bridge over the river; where he found only a small guard to oppose
him, the town being at some distance from the passage, and the walls
not reaching down to it as at present. This guard he easily drove
in, partly through there being treason in their ranks, partly from
the stormy state of the weather and the suddenness of his attack,
and so got across the bridge, and immediately became master of all
the property outside; the Amphipolitans having houses all over the

The passage of Brasidas was a complete surprise to the people in the
town; and the capture of many of those outside, and the flight of
the rest within the wall, combined to produce great confusion among
the citizens; especially as they did not trust one another. It is
even said that if Brasidas, instead of stopping to pillage, had advanced
straight against the town, he would probably have taken it. In fact,
however, he established himself where he was and overran the country
outside, and for the present remained inactive, vainly awaiting a
demonstration on the part of his friends within. Meanwhile the party
opposed to the traitors proved numerous enough to prevent the gates
being immediately thrown open, and in concert with Eucles, the general,
who had come from Athens to defend the place, sent to the other commander
in Thrace, Thucydides, son of Olorus, the author of this history,
who was at the isle of Thasos, a Parian colony, half a day’s sail
from Amphipolis, to tell him to come to their relief. On receipt of
this message he at once set sail with seven ships which he had with
him, in order, if possible, to reach Amphipolis in time to prevent
its capitulation, or in any case to save Eion.

Meanwhile Brasidas, afraid of succours arriving by sea from Thasos,
and learning that Thucydides possessed the right of working the gold
mines in that part of Thrace, and had thus great influence with the
inhabitants of the continent, hastened to gain the town, if possible,
before the people of Amphipolis should be encouraged by his arrival
to hope that he could save them by getting together a force of allies
from the sea and from Thrace, and so refuse to surrender. He accordingly
offered moderate terms, proclaiming that any of the Amphipolitans
and Athenians who chose, might continue to enjoy their property with
full rights of citizenship; while those who did not wish to stay had
five days to depart, taking their property with them.

The bulk of the inhabitants, upon hearing this, began to change their
minds, especially as only a small number of the citizens were Athenians,
the majority having come from different quarters, and many of the
prisoners outside had relations within the walls. They found the proclamation
a fair one in comparison of what their fear had suggested; the Athenians
being glad to go out, as they thought they ran more risk than the
rest, and further, did not expect any speedy relief, and the multitude
generally being content at being left in possession of their civic
rights, and at such an unexpected reprieve from danger. The partisans
of Brasidas now openly advocated this course, seeing that the feeling
of the people had changed, and that they no longer gave ear to the
Athenian general present; and thus the surrender was made and Brasidas
was admitted by them on the terms of his proclamation. In this way
they gave up the city, and late in the same day Thucydides and his
ships entered the harbour of Eion, Brasidas having just got hold of
Amphipolis, and having been within a night of taking Eion: had the
ships been less prompt in relieving it, in the morning it would have
been his.

After this Thucydides put all in order at Eion to secure it against
any present or future attack of Brasidas, and received such as had
elected to come there from the interior according to the terms agreed
on. Meanwhile Brasidas suddenly sailed with a number of boats down
the river to Eion to see if he could not seize the point running out
from the wall, and so command the entrance; at the same time he attempted
it by land, but was beaten off on both sides and had to content himself
with arranging matters at Amphipolis and in the neighbourhood. Myrcinus,
an Edonian town, also came over to him; the Edonian king Pittacus
having been killed by the sons of Goaxis and his own wife Brauro;
and Galepsus and Oesime, which are Thasian colonies, not long after
followed its example. Perdiccas too came up immediately after the
capture and joined in these arrangements.

The news that Amphipolis was in the hands of the enemy caused great
alarm at Athens. Not only was the town valuable for the timber it
afforded for shipbuilding, and the money that it brought in; but also,
although the escort of the Thessalians gave the Lacedaemonians a means
of reaching the allies of Athens as far as the Strymon, yet as long
as they were not masters of the bridge but were watched on the side
of Eion by the Athenian galleys, and on the land side impeded by a
large and extensive lake formed by the waters of the river, it was
impossible for them to go any further. Now, on the contrary, the path
seemed open. There was also the fear of the allies revolting, owing
to the moderation displayed by Brasidas in all his conduct, and to
the declarations which he was everywhere making that he sent out to
free Hellas. The towns subject to the Athenians, hearing of the capture
of Amphipolis and of the terms accorded to it, and of the gentleness
of Brasidas, felt most strongly encouraged to change their condition,
and sent secret messages to him, begging him to come on to them; each
wishing to be the first to revolt. Indeed there seemed to be no danger
in so doing; their mistake in their estimate of the Athenian power
was as great as that power afterwards turned out to be, and their
judgment was based more upon blind wishing than upon any sound prevision;
for it is a habit of mankind to entrust to careless hope what they
long for, and to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do
not fancy. Besides the late severe blow which the Athenians had met
with in Boeotia, joined to the seductive, though untrue, statements
of Brasidas, about the Athenians not having ventured to engage his
single army at Nisaea, made the allies confident, and caused them
to believe that no Athenian force would be sent against them. Above
all the wish to do what was agreeable at the moment, and the likelihood
that they should find the Lacedaemonians full of zeal at starting,
made them eager to venture. Observing this, the Athenians sent garrisons
to the different towns, as far as was possible at such short notice
and in winter; while Brasidas sent dispatches to Lacedaemon asking
for reinforcements, and himself made preparations for building galleys
in the Strymon. The Lacedaemonians however did not send him any, partly
through envy on the part of their chief men, partly because they were
more bent on recovering the prisoners of the island and ending the

The same winter the Megarians took and razed to the foundations the
long walls which had been occupied by the Athenians; and Brasidas
after the capture of Amphipolis marched with his allies against Acte,
a promontory running out from the King’s dike with an inward curve,
and ending in Athos, a lofty mountain looking towards the Aegean Sea.
In it are various towns, Sane, an Andrian colony, close to the canal,
and facing the sea in the direction of Euboea; the others being Thyssus,
Cleone, Acrothoi, Olophyxus, and Dium, inhabited by mixed barbarian
races speaking the two languages. There is also a small Chalcidian
element; but the greater number are Tyrrheno-Pelasgians once settled
in Lemnos and Athens, and Bisaltians, Crestonians, and Edonians; the
towns being all small ones. Most of these came over to Brasidas; but
Sane and Dium held out and saw their land ravaged by him and his army.

Upon their not submitting, he at once marched against Torone in Chalcidice,
which was held by an Athenian garrison, having been invited by a few
persons who were prepared to hand over the town. Arriving in the dark
a little before daybreak, he sat down with his army near the temple
of the Dioscuri, rather more than a quarter of a mile from the city.
The rest of the town of Torone and the Athenians in garrison did not
perceive his approach; but his partisans knowing that he was coming
(a few of them had secretly gone out to meet him) were on the watch
for his arrival, and were no sooner aware of it than they took it
to them seven light-armed men with daggers, who alone of twenty men
ordered on this service dared to enter, commanded by Lysistratus an
Olynthian. These passed through the sea wall, and without being seen
went up and put to the sword the garrison of the highest post in the
town, which stands on a hill, and broke open the postern on the side
of Canastraeum.

Brasidas meanwhile came a little nearer and then halted with his main
body, sending on one hundred targeteers to be ready to rush in first,
the moment that a gate should be thrown open and the beacon lighted
as agreed. After some time passed in waiting and wondering at the
delay, the targeteers by degrees got up close to the town. The Toronaeans
inside at work with the party that had entered had by this time broken
down the postern and opened the gates leading to the market-place
by cutting through the bar, and first brought some men round and let
them in by the postern, in order to strike a panic into the surprised
townsmen by suddenly attacking them from behind and on both sides
at once; after which they raised the fire-signal as had been agreed,
and took in by the market gates the rest of the targeteers.

Brasidas seeing the signal told the troops to rise, and dashed forward
amid the loud hurrahs of his men, which carried dismay among the astonished
townspeople. Some burst in straight by the gate, others over some
square pieces of timber placed against the wall (which has fallen
down and was being rebuilt) to draw up stones; Brasidas and the greater
number making straight uphill for the higher part of the town, in
order to take it from top to bottom, and once for all, while the rest
of the multitude spread in all directions.

The capture of the town was effected before the great body of the
Toronaeans had recovered from their surprise and confusion; but the
conspirators and the citizens of their party at once joined the invaders.
About fifty of the Athenian heavy infantry happened to be sleeping
in the market-place when the alarm reached them. A few of these were
killed fighting; the rest escaped, some by land, others to the two
ships on the station, and took refuge in Lecythus, a fort garrisoned
by their own men in the corner of the town running out into the sea
and cut off by a narrow isthmus; where they were joined by the Toronaeans
of their party.

Day now arrived, and the town being secured, Brasidas made a proclamation
to the Toronaeans who had taken refuge with the Athenians, to come
out, as many as chose, to their homes without fearing for their rights
or persons, and sent a herald to invite the Athenians to accept a
truce, and to evacuate Lecythus with their property, as being Chalcidian
ground. The Athenians refused this offer, but asked for a truce for
a day to take up their dead. Brasidas granted it for two days, which
he employed in fortifying the houses near, and the Athenians in doing
the same to their positions. Meanwhile he called a meeting of the
Toronaeans, and said very much what he had said at Acanthus, namely,
that they must not look upon those who had negotiated with him for
the capture of the town as bad men or as traitors, as they had not
acted as they had done from corrupt motives or in order to enslave
the city, but for the good and freedom of Torone; nor again must those
who had not shared in the enterprise fancy that they would not equally
reap its fruits, as he had not come to destroy either city or individual.
This was the reason of his proclamation to those that had fled for
refuge to the Athenians: he thought none the worse of them for their
friendship for the Athenians; he believed that they had only to make
trial of the Lacedaemonians to like them as well, or even much better,
as acting much more justly: it was for want of such a trial that they
were now afraid of them. Meanwhile he warned all of them to prepare
to be staunch allies, and for being held responsible for all faults
in future: for the past, they had not wronged the Lacedaemonians but
had been wronged by others who were too strong for them, and any opposition
that they might have offered him could be excused.

Having encouraged them with this address, as soon as the truce expired
he made his attack upon Lecythus; the Athenians defending themselves
from a poor wall and from some houses with parapets. One day they
beat him off; the next the enemy were preparing to bring up an engine
against them from which they meant to throw fire upon the wooden defences,
and the troops were already coming up to the point where they fancied
they could best bring up the engine, and where place was most assailable;
meanwhile the Athenians put a wooden tower upon a house opposite,
and carried up a quantity of jars and casks of water and big stones,
and a large number of men also climbed up. The house thus laden too
heavily suddenly broke down with a loud crash; at which the men who
were near and saw it were more vexed than frightened; but those not
so near, and still more those furthest off, thought that the place
was already taken at that point, and fled in haste to the sea and
the ships.

Brasidas, perceiving that they were deserting the parapet, and seeing
what was going on, dashed forward with his troops, and immediately
took the fort, and put to the sword all whom he found in it. In this
way the place was evacuated by the Athenians, who went across in their
boats and ships to Pallene. Now there is a temple of Athene in Lecythus,
and Brasidas had proclaimed in the moment of making the assault that
he would give thirty silver minae to the man first on the wall. Being
now of opinion that the capture was scarcely due to human means, he
gave the thirty minae to the goddess for her temple, and razed and
cleared Lecythus, and made the whole of it consecrated ground. The
rest of the winter he spent in settling the places in his hands, and
in making designs upon the rest; and with the expiration of the winter
the eighth year of this war ended.

In the spring of the summer following, the Lacedaemonians and Athenians
made an armistice for a year; the Athenians thinking that they would
thus have full leisure to take their precautions before Brasidas could
procure the revolt of any more of their towns, and might also, if
it suited them, conclude a general peace; the Lacedaemonians divining
the actual fears of the Athenians, and thinking that after once tasting
a respite from trouble and misery they would be more disposed to consent
to a reconciliation, and to give back the prisoners, and make a treaty
for the longer period. The great idea of the Lacedaemonians was to
get back their men while Brasidas’s good fortune lasted: further successes
might make the struggle a less unequal one in Chalcidice, but would
leave them still deprived of their men, and even in Chalcidice not
more than a match for the Athenians and by no means certain of victory.
An armistice was accordingly concluded by Lacedaemon and her allies
upon the terms following:

  1. As to the temple and oracle of the Pythian Apollo, we are agreed
    that whosoever will shall have access to it, without fraud or fear,
    according to the usages of his forefathers. The Lacedaemonians and
    the allies present agree to this, and promise to send heralds to the
    Boeotians and Phocians, and to do their best to persuade them to agree

  2. As to the treasure of the god, we agree to exert ourselves to detect
    all malversators, truly and honestly following the customs of our
    forefathers, we and you and all others willing to do so, all following
    the customs of our forefathers. As to these points the Lacedaemonians
    and the other allies are agreed as has been said.

  3. As to what follows, the Lacedaemonians and the other allies agree,
    if the Athenians conclude a treaty, to remain, each of us in our own
    territory, retaining our respective acquisitions: the garrison in
    Coryphasium keeping within Buphras and Tomeus: that in Cythera attempting
    no communication with the Peloponnesian confederacy, neither we with
    them, nor they with us: that in Nisaea and Minoa not crossing the
    road leading from the gates of the temple of Nisus to that of Poseidon
    and from thence straight to the bridge at Minoa: the Megarians and
    the allies being equally bound not to cross this road, and the Athenians
    retaining the island they have taken, without any communication on
    either side: as to Troezen, each side retaining what it has, and as
    was arranged with the Athenians.

  4. As to the use of the sea, so far as refers to their own coast and
    to that of their confederacy, that the Lacedaemonians and their allies
    may voyage upon it in any vessel rowed by oars and of not more than
    five hundred talents tonnage, not a vessel of war.

  5. That all heralds and embassies, with as many attendants as they
    please, for concluding the war and adjusting claims, shall have free
    passage, going and coming, to Peloponnese or Athens by land and by

  6. That during the truce, deserters whether bond or free shall be
    received neither by you, nor by us.

  7. Further, that satisfaction shall be given by you to us and by us
    to you according to the public law of our several countries, all disputes
    being settled by law without recourse to hostilities.

The Lacedaemonians and allies agree to these articles; but if you
have anything fairer or juster to suggest, come to Lacedaemon and
let us know: whatever shall be just will meet with no objection either
from the Lacedaemonians or from the allies. Only let those who come
come with full powers, as you desire us. The truce shall be for one

Approved by the people.
The tribe of Acamantis had the prytany, Phoenippus was secretary,
Niciades chairman. Laches moved, in the name of the good luck of the
Athenians, that they should conclude the armistice upon the terms
agreed upon by the Lacedaemonians and the allies. It was agreed accordingly
in the popular assembly that the armistice should be for one year,
beginning that very day, the fourteenth of the month of Elaphebolion;
during which time ambassadors and heralds should go and come between
the two countries to discuss the bases of a pacification. That the
generals and prytanes should call an assembly of the people, in which
the Athenians should first consult on the peace, and on the mode in
which the embassy for putting an end to the war should be admitted.
That the embassy now present should at once take the engagement before
the people to keep well and truly this truce for one year.

On these terms the Lacedaemonians concluded with the Athenians and
their allies on the twelfth day of the Spartan month Gerastius; the
allies also taking the oaths. Those who concluded and poured the libation
were Taurus, son of Echetimides, Athenaeus, son of Pericleidas, and
Philocharidas, son of Eryxidaidas, Lacedaemonians; Aeneas, son of
Ocytus, and Euphamidas, son of Aristonymus, Corinthians; Damotimus,
son of Naucrates, and Onasimus, son of Megacles, Sicyonians; Nicasus,
son of Cecalus, and Menecrates, son of Amphidorus, Megarians; and
Amphias, son of Eupaidas, an Epidaurian; and the Athenian generals
Nicostratus, son of Diitrephes, Nicias, son of Niceratus, and Autocles,
son of Tolmaeus. Such was the armistice, and during the whole of it
conferences went on on the subject of a pacification.

In the days in which they were going backwards and forwards to these
conferences, Scione, a town in Pallene, revolted from Athens, and
went over to Brasidas. The Scionaeans say that they are Pallenians
from Peloponnese, and that their first founders on their voyage from
Troy were carried in to this spot by the storm which the Achaeans
were caught in, and there settled. The Scionaeans had no sooner revolted
than Brasidas crossed over by night to Scione, with a friendly galley
ahead and himself in a small boat some way behind; his idea being
that if he fell in with a vessel larger than the boat he would have
the galley to defend him, while a ship that was a match for the galley
would probably neglect the small vessel to attack the large one, and
thus leave him time to escape. His passage effected, he called a meeting
of the Scionaeans and spoke to the same effect as at Acanthus and
Torone, adding that they merited the utmost commendation, in that,
in spite of Pallene within the isthmus being cut off by the Athenian
occupation of Potidaea and of their own practically insular position,
they had of their own free will gone forward to meet their liberty
instead of timorously waiting until they had been by force compelled
to their own manifest good. This was a sign that they would valiantly
undergo any trial, however great; and if he should order affairs as
he intended, he should count them among the truest and sincerest friends
of the Lacedaemonians, and would in every other way honour them.

The Scionaeans were elated by his language, and even those who had
at first disapproved of what was being done catching the general confidence,
they determined on a vigorous conduct of the war, and welcomed Brasidas
with all possible honours, publicly crowning him with a crown of gold
as the liberator of Hellas; while private persons crowded round him
and decked him with garlands as though he had been an athlete. Meanwhile
Brasidas left them a small garrison for the present and crossed back
again, and not long afterwards sent over a larger force, intending
with the help of the Scionaeans to attempt Mende and Potidaea before
the Athenians should arrive; Scione, he felt, being too like an island
for them not to relieve it. He had besides intelligence in the above
towns about their betrayal.

In the midst of his designs upon the towns in question, a galley arrived
with the commissioners carrying round the news of the armistice, Aristonymus
for the Athenians and Athenaeus for the Lacedaemonians. The troops
now crossed back to Torone, and the commissioners gave Brasidas notice
of the convention. All the Lacedaemonian allies in Thrace accepted
what had been done; and Aristonymus made no difficulty about the rest,
but finding, on counting the days, that the Scionaeans had revolted
after the date of the convention, refused to include them in it. To
this Brasidas earnestly objected, asserting that the revolt took place
before, and would not give up the town. Upon Aristonymus reporting
the case to Athens, the people at once prepared to send an expedition
to Scione. Upon this, envoys arrived from Lacedaemon, alleging that
this would be a breach of the truce, and laying claim to the town
upon the faith of the assertion of Brasidas, and meanwhile offering
to submit the question to arbitration. Arbitration, however, was what
the Athenians did not choose to risk; being determined to send troops
at once to the place, and furious at the idea of even the islanders
now daring to revolt, in a vain reliance upon the power of the Lacedaemonians
by land. Besides the facts of the revolt were rather as the Athenians
contended, the Scionaeans having revolted two days after the convention.
Cleon accordingly succeeded in carrying a decree to reduce and put
to death the Scionaeans; and the Athenians employed the leisure which
they now enjoyed in preparing for the expedition. Meanwhile Mende
revolted, a town in Pallene and a colony of the Eretrians, and was
received without scruple by Brasidas, in spite of its having evidently
come over during the armistice, on account of certain infringements
of the truce alleged by him against the Athenians. This audacity of
Mende was partly caused by seeing Brasidas forward in the matter and
by the conclusions drawn from his refusal to betray Scione; and besides,
the conspirators in Mende were few, and, as I have already intimated,
had carried on their practices too long not to fear detection for
themselves, and not to wish to force the inclination of the multitude.
This news made the Athenians more furious than ever, and they at once
prepared against both towns. Brasidas, expecting their arrival, conveyed
away to Olynthus in Chalcidice the women and children of the Scionaeans
and Mendaeans, and sent over to them five hundred Peloponnesian heavy
infantry and three hundred Chalcidian targeteers, all under the command
of Polydamidas.

Leaving these two towns to prepare together against the speedy arrival
of the Athenians, Brasidas and Perdiccas started on a second joint
expedition into Lyncus against Arrhabaeus; the latter with the forces
of his Macedonian subjects, and a corps of heavy infantry composed
of Hellenes domiciled in the country; the former with the Peloponnesians
whom he still had with him and the Chalcidians, Acanthians, and the
rest in such force as they were able. In all there were about three
thousand Hellenic heavy infantry, accompanied by all the Macedonian
cavalry with the Chalcidians, near one thousand strong, besides an
immense crowd of barbarians. On entering the country of Arrhabaeus,
they found the Lyncestians encamped awaiting them, and themselves
took up a position opposite. The infantry on either side were upon
a hill, with a plain between them, into which the horse of both armies
first galloped down and engaged a cavalry action. After this the Lyncestian
heavy infantry advanced from their hill to join their cavalry and
offered battle; upon which Brasidas and Perdiccas also came down to
meet them, and engaged and routed them with heavy loss; the survivors
taking refuge upon the heights and there remaining inactive. The victors
now set up a trophy and waited two or three days for the Illyrian
mercenaries who were to join Perdiccas. Perdiccas then wished to go
on and attack the villages of Arrhabaeus, and to sit still no longer;
but Brasidas, afraid that the Athenians might sail up during his absence,
and of something happening to Mende, and seeing besides that the Illyrians
did not appear, far from seconding this wish was anxious to return.

While they were thus disputing, the news arrived that the Illyrians
had actually betrayed Perdiccas and had joined Arrhabaeus; and the
fear inspired by their warlike character made both parties now think
it best to retreat. However, owing to the dispute, nothing had been
settled as to when they should start; and night coming on, the Macedonians
and the barbarian crowd took fright in a moment in one of those mysterious
panics to which great armies are liable; and persuaded that an army
many times more numerous than that which had really arrived was advancing
and all but upon them, suddenly broke and fled in the direction of
home, and thus compelled Perdiccas, who at first did not perceive
what had occurred, to depart without seeing Brasidas, the two armies
being encamped at a considerable distance from each other. At daybreak
Brasidas, perceiving that the Macedonians had gone on, and that the
Illyrians and Arrhabaeus were on the point of attacking him, formed
his heavy infantry into a square, with the light troops in the centre,
and himself also prepared to retreat. Posting his youngest soldiers
to dash out wherever the enemy should attack them, he himself with
three hundred picked men in the rear intended to face about during
the retreat and beat off the most forward of their assailants, Meanwhile,
before the enemy approached, he sought to sustain the courage of his
soldiers with the following hasty exhortation:

“Peloponnesians, if I did not suspect you of being dismayed at being
left alone to sustain the attack of a numerous and barbarian enemy,
I should just have said a few words to you as usual without further
explanation. As it is, in the face of the desertion of our friends
and the numbers of the enemy, I have some advice and information to
offer, which, brief as they must be, will, I hope, suffice for the
more important points. The bravery that you habitually display in
war does not depend on your having allies at your side in this or
that encounter, but on your native courage; nor have numbers any terrors
for citizens of states like yours, in which the many do not rule the
few, but rather the few the many, owing their position to nothing
else than to superiority in the field. Inexperience now makes you
afraid of barbarians; and yet the trial of strength which you had
with the Macedonians among them, and my own judgment, confirmed by
what I hear from others, should be enough to satisfy you that they
will not prove formidable. Where an enemy seems strong but is really
weak, a true knowledge of the facts makes his adversary the bolder,
just as a serious antagonist is encountered most confidently by those
who do not know him. Thus the present enemy might terrify an inexperienced
imagination; they are formidable in outward bulk, their loud yelling
is unbearable, and the brandishing of their weapons in the air has
a threatening appearance. But when it comes to real fighting with
an opponent who stands his ground, they are not what they seemed;
they have no regular order that they should be ashamed of deserting
their positions when hard pressed; flight and attack are with them
equally honourable, and afford no test of courage; their independent
mode of fighting never leaving any one who wants to run away without
a fair excuse for so doing. In short, they think frightening you at
a secure distance a surer game than meeting you hand to hand; otherwise
they would have done the one and not the other. You can thus plainly
see that the terrors with which they were at first invested are in
fact trifling enough, though to the eye and ear very prominent. Stand
your ground therefore when they advance, and again wait your opportunity
to retire in good order, and you will reach a place of safety all
the sooner, and will know for ever afterwards that rabble such as
these, to those who sustain their first attack, do but show off their
courage by threats of the terrible things that they are going to do,
at a distance, but with those who give way to them are quick enough
to display their heroism in pursuit when they can do so without danger.”

With this brief address Brasidas began to lead off his army. Seeing
this, the barbarians came on with much shouting and hubbub, thinking
that he was flying and that they would overtake him and cut him off.
But wherever they charged they found the young men ready to dash out
against them, while Brasidas with his picked company sustained their
onset. Thus the Peloponnesians withstood the first attack, to the
surprise of the enemy, and afterwards received and repulsed them as
fast as they came on, retiring as soon as their opponents became quiet.
The main body of the barbarians ceased therefore to molest the Hellenes
with Brasidas in the open country, and leaving behind a certain number
to harass their march, the rest went on after the flying Macedonians,
slaying those with whom they came up, and so arrived in time to occupy
the narrow pass between two hills that leads into the country of Arrhabaeus.
They knew that this was the only way by which Brasidas could retreat,
and now proceeded to surround him just as he entered the most impracticable
part of the road, in order to cut him off.

Brasidas, perceiving their intention, told his three hundred to run
on without order, each as quickly as he could, to the hill which seemed
easiest to take, and to try to dislodge the barbarians already there,
before they should be joined by the main body closing round him. These
attacked and overpowered the party upon the hill, and the main army
of the Hellenes now advanced with less difficulty towards it- the
barbarians being terrified at seeing their men on that side driven
from the height and no longer following the main body, who, they considered,
had gained the frontier and made good their escape. The heights once
gained, Brasidas now proceeded more securely, and the same day arrived
at Arnisa, the first town in the dominions of Perdiccas. The soldiers,
enraged at the desertion of the Macedonians, vented their rage on
all their yokes of oxen which they found on the road, and on any baggage
which had tumbled off (as might easily happen in the panic of a night
retreat), by unyoking and cutting down the cattle and taking the baggage
for themselves. From this moment Perdiccas began to regard Brasidas
as an enemy and to feel against the Peloponnesians a hatred which
could not be congenial to the adversary of the Athenians. However,
he departed from his natural interests and made it his endeavour to
come to terms with the latter and to get rid of the former.

On his return from Macedonia to Torone, Brasidas found the Athenians
already masters of Mende, and remained quiet where he was, thinking
it now out of his power to cross over into Pallene and assist the
Mendaeans, but he kept good watch over Torone. For about the same
time as the campaign in Lyncus, the Athenians sailed upon the expedition
which we left them preparing against Mende and Scione, with fifty
ships, ten of which were Chians, one thousand Athenian heavy infantry
and six hundred archers, one hundred Thracian mercenaries and some
targeteers drawn from their allies in the neighbourhood, under the
command of Nicias, son of Niceratus, and Nicostratus, son of Diitrephes.
Weighing from Potidaea, the fleet came to land opposite the temple
of Poseidon, and proceeded against Mende; the men of which town, reinforced
by three hundred Scionaeans, with their Peloponnesian auxiliaries,
seven hundred heavy infantry in all, under Polydamidas, they found
encamped upon a strong hill outside the city. These Nicias, with one
hundred and twenty light-armed Methonaeans, sixty picked men from
the Athenian heavy infantry, and all the archers, tried to reach by
a path running up the hill, but received a wound and found himself
unable to force the position; while Nicostratus, with all the rest
of the army, advancing upon the hill, which was naturally difficult,
by a different approach further off, was thrown into utter disorder;
and the whole Athenian army narrowly escaped being defeated. For that
day, as the Mendaeans and their allies showed no signs of yielding,
the Athenians retreated and encamped, and the Mendaeans at nightfall
returned into the town.

The next day the Athenians sailed round to the Scione side, and took
the suburb, and all day plundered the country, without any one coming
out against them, partly because of intestine disturbances in the
town; and the following night the three hundred Scionaeans returned
home. On the morrow Nicias advanced with half the army to the frontier
of Scione and laid waste the country; while Nicostratus with the remainder
sat down before the town near the upper gate on the road to Potidaea.
The arms of the Mendaeans and of their Peloponnesian auxiliaries within
the wall happened to be piled in that quarter, where Polydamidas accordingly
began to draw them up for battle, encouraging the Mendaeans to make
a sortie. At this moment one of the popular party answered him factiously
that they would not go out and did not want a war, and for thus answering
was dragged by the arm and knocked about by Polydamidas. Hereupon
the infuriated commons at once seized their arms and rushed at the
Peloponnesians and at their allies of the opposite faction. The troops
thus assaulted were at once routed, partly from the suddenness of
the conflict and partly through fear of the gates being opened to
the Athenians, with whom they imagined that the attack had been concerted.
As many as were not killed on the spot took refuge in the citadel,
which they had held from the first; and the whole, Athenian army,
Nicias having by this time returned and being close to the city, now
burst into Mende, which had opened its gates without any convention,
and sacked it just as if they had taken it by storm, the generals
even finding some difficulty in restraining them from also massacring
the inhabitants. After this the Athenians told the Mendaeans that
they might retain their civil rights, and themselves judge the supposed
authors of the revolt; and cut off the party in the citadel by a wall
built down to the sea on either side, appointing troops to maintain
the blockade. Having thus secured Mende, they proceeded against Scione.

The Scionaeans and Peloponnesians marched out against them, occupying
a strong hill in front of the town, which had to be captured by the
enemy before they could invest the place. The Athenians stormed the
hill, defeated and dislodged its occupants, and, having encamped and
set up a trophy, prepared for the work of circumvallation. Not long
after they had begun their operations, the auxiliaries besieged in
the citadel of Mende forced the guard by the sea-side and arrived
by night at Scione, into which most of them succeeded in entering,
passing through the besieging army.

While the investment of Scione was in progress, Perdiccas sent a herald
to the Athenian generals and made peace with the Athenians, through
spite against Brasidas for the retreat from Lyncus, from which moment
indeed he had begun to negotiate. The Lacedaemonian Ischagoras was
just then upon the point of starting with an army overland to join
Brasidas; and Perdiccas, being now required by Nicias to give some
proof of the sincerity of his reconciliation to the Athenians, and
being himself no longer disposed to let the Peloponnesians into his
country, put in motion his friends in Thessaly, with whose chief men
he always took care to have relations, and so effectually stopped
the army and its preparation that they did not even try the Thessalians.
Ischagoras himself, however, with Ameinias and Aristeus, succeeded
in reaching Brasidas; they had been commissioned by the Lacedaemonians
to inspect the state of affairs, and brought out from Sparta (in violation
of all precedent) some of their young men to put in command of the
towns, to guard against their being entrusted to the persons upon
the spot. Brasidas accordingly placed Clearidas, son of Cleonymus,
in Amphipolis, and Pasitelidas, son of Hegesander, in Torone.

The same summer the Thebans dismantled the wall of the Thespians on
the charge of Atticism, having always wished to do so, and now finding
it an easy matter, as the flower of the Thespian youth had perished
in the battle with the Athenians. The same summer also the temple
of Hera at Argos was burnt down, through Chrysis, the priestess, placing
a lighted torch near the garlands and then falling asleep, so that
they all caught fire and were in a blaze before she observed it. Chrysis
that very night fled to Phlius for fear of the Argives, who, agreeably
to the law in such a case, appointed another priestess named Phaeinis.
Chrysis at the time of her flight had been priestess for eight years
of the present war and half the ninth. At the close of the summer
the investment of Scione was completed, and the Athenians, leaving
a detachment to maintain the blockade, returned with the rest of their

During the winter following, the Athenians and Lacedaemonians were
kept quiet by the armistice; but the Mantineans and Tegeans, and their
respective allies, fought a battle at Laodicium, in the Oresthid.
The victory remained doubtful, as each side routed one of the wings
opposed to them, and both set up trophies and sent spoils to Delphi.
After heavy loss on both sides the battle was undecided, and night
interrupted the action; yet the Tegeans passed the night on the field
and set up a trophy at once, while the Mantineans withdrew to Bucolion
and set up theirs afterwards.

At the close of the same winter, in fact almost in spring, Brasidas
made an attempt upon Potidaea. He arrived by night, and succeeded
in planting a ladder against the wall without being discovered, the
ladder being planted just in the interval between the passing round
of the bell and the return of the man who brought it back. Upon the
garrison, however, taking the alarm immediately afterwards, before
his men came up, he quickly led off his troops, without waiting until
it was day. So ended the winter and the ninth year of this war of
which Thucydides is the historian.


Chapter XV

Tenth Year of the War – Death of Cleon and Brasidas – Peace of Nicias

The next summer the truce for a year ended, after lasting until the
Pythian games. During the armistice the Athenians expelled the Delians
from Delos, concluding that they must have been polluted by some old
offence at the time of their consecration, and that this had been
the omission in the previous purification of the island, which, as
I have related, had been thought to have been duly accomplished by
the removal of the graves of the dead. The Delians had Atramyttium
in Asia given them by Pharnaces, and settled there as they removed
from Delos.

Meanwhile Cleon prevailed on the Athenians to let him set sail at
the expiration of the armistice for the towns in the direction of
Thrace with twelve hundred heavy infantry and three hundred horse
from Athens, a large force of the allies, and thirty ships. First
touching at the still besieged Scione, and taking some heavy infantry
from the army there, he next sailed into Cophos, a harbour in the
territory of Torone, which is not far from the town. From thence,
having learnt from deserters that Brasidas was not in Torone, and
that its garrison was not strong enough to give him battle, he advanced
with his army against the town, sending ten ships to sail round into
the harbour. He first came to the fortification lately thrown up in
front of the town by Brasidas in order to take in the suburb, to do
which he had pulled down part of the original wall and made it all
one city. To this point Pasitelidas, the Lacedaemonian commander,
with such garrison as there was in the place, hurried to repel the
Athenian assault; but finding himself hard pressed, and seeing the
ships that had been sent round sailing into the harbour, Pasitelidas
began to be afraid that they might get up to the city before its defenders
were there and, the fortification being also carried, he might be
taken prisoner, and so abandoned the outwork and ran into the town.
But the Athenians from the ships had already taken Torone, and their
land forces following at his heels burst in with him with a rush over
the part of the old wall that had been pulled down, killing some of
the Peloponnesians and Toronaeans in the melee, and making prisoners
of the rest, and Pasitelidas their commander amongst them. Brasidas
meanwhile had advanced to relieve Torone, and had only about four
miles more to go when he heard of its fall on the road, and turned
back again. Cleon and the Athenians set up two trophies, one by the
harbour, the other by the fortification and, making slaves of the
wives and children of the Toronaeans, sent the men with the Peloponnesians
and any Chalcidians that were there, to the number of seven hundred,
to Athens; whence, however, they all came home afterwards, the Peloponnesians
on the conclusion of peace, and the rest by being exchanged against
other prisoners with the Olynthians. About the same time Panactum,
a fortress on the Athenian border, was taken by treachery by the Boeotians.
Meanwhile Cleon, after placing a garrison in Torone, weighed anchor
and sailed around Athos on his way to Amphipolis.

About the same time Phaeax, son of Erasistratus, set sail with two
colleagues as ambassador from Athens to Italy and Sicily. The Leontines,
upon the departure of the Athenians from Sicily after the pacification,
had placed a number of new citizens upon the roll, and the commons
had a design for redividing the land; but the upper classes, aware
of their intention, called in the Syracusans and expelled the commons.
These last were scattered in various directions; but the upper classes
came to an agreement with the Syracusans, abandoned and laid waste
their city, and went and lived at Syracuse, where they were made citizens.
Afterwards some of them were dissatisfied, and leaving Syracuse occupied
Phocaeae, a quarter of the town of Leontini, and Bricinniae, a strong
place in the Leontine country, and being there joined by most of the
exiled commons carried on war from the fortifications. The Athenians
hearing this, sent Phaeax to see if they could not by some means so
convince their allies there and the rest of the Sicilians of the ambitious
designs of Syracuse as to induce them to form a general coalition
against her, and thus save the commons of Leontini. Arrived in Sicily,
Phaeax succeeded at Camarina and Agrigentum, but meeting with a repulse
at Gela did not go on to the rest, as he saw that he should not succeed
with them, but returned through the country of the Sicels to Catana,
and after visiting Bricinniae as he passed, and encouraging its inhabitants,
sailed back to Athens.

During his voyage along the coast to and from Sicily, he treated with
some cities in Italy on the subject of friendship with Athens, and
also fell in with some Locrian settlers exiled from Messina, who had
been sent thither when the Locrians were called in by one of the factions
that divided Messina after the pacification of Sicily, and Messina
came for a time into the hands of the Locrians. These being met by
Phaeax on their return home received no injury at his hands, as the
Locrians had agreed with him for a treaty with Athens. They were the
only people of the allies who, when the reconciliation between the
Sicilians took place, had not made peace with her; nor indeed would
they have done so now, if they had not been pressed by a war with
the Hipponians and Medmaeans who lived on their border, and were colonists
of theirs. Phaeax meanwhile proceeded on his voyage, and at length
arrived at Athens.

Cleon, whom we left on his voyage from Torone to Amphipolis, made
Eion his base, and after an unsuccessful assault upon the Andrian
colony of Stagirus, took Galepsus, a colony of Thasos, by storm. He
now sent envoys to Perdiccas to command his attendance with an army,
as provided by the alliance; and others to Thrace, to Polles, king
of the Odomantians, who was to bring as many Thracian mercenaries
as possible; and himself remained inactive in Eion, awaiting their
arrival. Informed of this, Brasidas on his part took up a position
of observation upon Cerdylium, a place situated in the Argilian country
on high ground across the river, not far from Amphipolis, and commanding
a view on all sides, and thus made it impossible for Cleon’s army
to move without his seeing it; for he fully expected that Cleon, despising
the scanty numbers of his opponent, would march against Amphipolis
with the force that he had got with him. At the same time Brasidas
made his preparations, calling to his standard fifteen hundred Thracian
mercenaries and all the Edonians, horse and targeteers; he also had
a thousand Myrcinian and Chalcidian targeteers, besides those in Amphipolis,
and a force of heavy infantry numbering altogether about two thousand,
and three hundred Hellenic horse. Fifteen hundred of these he had
with him upon Cerdylium; the rest were stationed with Clearidas in

After remaining quiet for some time, Cleon was at length obliged to
do as Brasidas expected. His soldiers, tired of their inactivity,
began also seriously to reflect on the weakness and incompetence of
their commander, and the skill and valour that would be opposed to
him, and on their own original unwillingness to accompany him. These
murmurs coming to the ears of Cleon, he resolved not to disgust the
army by keeping it in the same place, and broke up his camp and advanced.
The temper of the general was what it had been at Pylos, his success
on that occasion having given him confidence in his capacity. He never
dreamed of any one coming out to fight him, but said that he was rather
going up to view the place; and if he waited for his reinforcements,
it was not in order to make victory secure in case he should be compelled
to engage, but to be enabled to surround and storm the city. He accordingly
came and posted his army upon a strong hill in front of Amphipolis,
and proceeded to examine the lake formed by the Strymon, and how the
town lay on the side of Thrace. He thought to retire at pleasure without
fighting, as there was no one to be seen upon the wall or coming out
of the gates, all of which were shut. Indeed, it seemed a mistake
not to have brought down engines with him; he could then have taken
the town, there being no one to defend it.

As soon as Brasidas saw the Athenians in motion he descended himself
from Cerdylium and entered Amphipolis. He did not venture to go out
in regular order against the Athenians: he mistrusted his strength,
and thought it inadequate to the attempt; not in numbers- these were
not so unequal- but in quality, the flower of the Athenian army being
in the field, with the best of the Lemnians and Imbrians. He therefore
prepared to assail them by stratagem. By showing the enemy the number
of his troops, and the shifts which he had been put to to to arm them,
he thought that he should have less chance of beating him than by
not letting him have a sight of them, and thus learn how good a right
he had to despise them. He accordingly picked out a hundred and fifty
heavy infantry and, putting the rest under Clearidas, determined to
attack suddenly before the Athenians retired; thinking that he should
not have again such a chance of catching them alone, if their reinforcements
were once allowed to come up; and so calling all his soldiers together
in order to encourage them and explain his intention, spoke as follows:

“Peloponnesians, the character of the country from which we have come,
one which has always owed its freedom to valour, and the fact that
you are Dorians and the enemy you are about to fight Ionians, whom
you are accustomed to beat, are things that do not need further comment.
But the plan of attack that I propose to pursue, this it is as well
to explain, in order that the fact of our adventuring with a part
instead of with the whole of our forces may not damp your courage
by the apparent disadvantage at which it places you. I imagine it
is the poor opinion that he has of us, and the fact that he has no
idea of any one coming out to engage him, that has made the enemy
march up to the place and carelessly look about him as he is doing,
without noticing us. But the most successful soldier will always be
the man who most happily detects a blunder like this, and who carefully
consulting his own means makes his attack not so much by open and
regular approaches, as by seizing the opportunity of the moment; and
these stratagems, which do the greatest service to our friends by
most completely deceiving our enemies, have the most brilliant name
in war. Therefore, while their careless confidence continues, and
they are still thinking, as in my judgment they are now doing, more
of retreat than of maintaining their position, while their spirit
is slack and not high-strung with expectation, I with the men under
my command will, if possible, take them by surprise and fall with
a run upon their centre; and do you, Clearidas, afterwards, when you
see me already upon them, and, as is likely, dealing terror among
them, take with you the Amphipolitans, and the rest of the allies,
and suddenly open the gates and dash at them, and hasten to engage
as quickly as you can. That is our best chance of establishing a panic
among them, as a fresh assailant has always more terrors for an enemy
than the one he is immediately engaged with. Show yourself a brave
man, as a Spartan should; and do you, allies, follow him like men,
and remember that zeal, honour, and obedience mark the good soldier,
and that this day will make you either free men and allies of Lacedaemon,
or slaves of Athens; even if you escape without personal loss of liberty
or life, your bondage will be on harsher terms than before, and you
will also hinder the liberation of the rest of the Hellenes. No cowardice
then on your part, seeing the greatness of the issues at stake, and
I will show that what I preach to others I can practise myself.”

After this brief speech Brasidas himself prepared for the sally, and
placed the rest with Clearidas at the Thracian gates to support him
as had been agreed. Meanwhile he had been seen coming down from Cerdylium
and then in the city, which is overlooked from the outside, sacrificing
near the temple of Athene; in short, all his movements had been observed,
and word was brought to Cleon, who had at the moment gone on to look
about him, that the whole of the enemy’s force could be seen in the
town, and that the feet of horses and men in great numbers were visible
under the gates, as if a sally were intended. Upon hearing this he
went up to look, and having done so, being unwilling to venture upon
the decisive step of a battle before his reinforcements came up, and
fancying that he would have time to retire, bid the retreat be sounded
and sent orders to the men to effect it by moving on the left wing
in the direction of Eion, which was indeed the only way practicable.
This however not being quick enough for him, he joined the retreat
in person and made the right wing wheel round, thus turning its unarmed
side to the enemy. It was then that Brasidas, seeing the Athenian
force in motion and his opportunity come, said to the men with him
and the rest: “Those fellows will never stand before us, one can see
that by the way their spears and heads are going. Troops which do
as they do seldom stand a charge. Quick, someone, and open the gates
I spoke of, and let us be out and at them with no fears for the result.”
Accordingly issuing out by the palisade gate and by the first in the
long wall then existing, he ran at the top of his speed along the
straight road, where the trophy now stands as you go by the steepest
part of the hill, and fell upon and routed the centre of the Athenians,
panic-stricken by their own disorder and astounded at his audacity.
At the same moment Clearidas in execution of his orders issued out
from the Thracian gates to support him, and also attacked the enemy.
The result was that the Athenians, suddenly and unexpectedly attacked
on both sides, fell into confusion; and their left towards Eion, which
had already got on some distance, at once broke and fled. Just as
it was in full retreat and Brasidas was passing on to attack the right,
he received a wound; but his fall was not perceived by the Athenians,
as he was taken up by those near him and carried off the field. The
Athenian right made a better stand, and though Cleon, who from the
first had no thought of fighting, at once fled and was overtaken and
slain by a Myrcinian targeteer, his infantry forming in close order
upon the hill twice or thrice repulsed the attacks of Clearidas, and
did not finally give way until they were surrounded and routed by
the missiles of the Myrcinian and Chalcidian horse and the targeteers.
Thus the Athenian army was all now in flight; and such as escaped
being killed in the battle, or by the Chalcidian horse and the targeteers,
dispersed among the hills, and with difficulty made their way to Eion.
The men who had taken up and rescued Brasidas, brought him into the
town with the breath still in him: he lived to hear of the victory
of his troops, and not long after expired. The rest of the army returning
with Clearidas from the pursuit stripped the dead and set up a trophy.
After this all the allies attended in arms and buried Brasidas at
the public expense in the city, in front of what is now the marketplace,
and the Amphipolitans, having enclosed his tomb, ever afterwards sacrifice
to him as a hero and have given to him the honour of games and annual
offerings. They constituted him the founder of their colony, and pulled
down the Hagnonic erections, and obliterated everything that could
be interpreted as a memorial of his having founded the place; for
they considered that Brasidas had been their preserver, and courting
as they did the alliance of Lacedaemon for fear of Athens, in their
present hostile relations with the latter they could no longer with
the same advantage or satisfaction pay Hagnon his honours. They also
gave the Athenians back their dead. About six hundred of the latter
had fallen and only seven of the enemy, owing to there having been
no regular engagement, but the affair of accident and panic that I
have described. After taking up their dead the Athenians sailed off
home, while Clearidas and his troops remained to arrange matters at

About the same time three Lacedaemonians- Ramphias, Autocharidas,
and Epicydidas- led a reinforcement of nine hundred heavy infantry
to the towns in the direction of Thrace, and arriving at Heraclea
in Trachis reformed matters there as seemed good to them. While they
delayed there, this battle took place and so the summer ended.

With the beginning of the winter following, Ramphias and his companions
penetrated as far as Pierium in Thessaly; but as the Thessalians opposed
their further advance, and Brasidas whom they came to reinforce was
dead, they turned back home, thinking that the moment had gone by,
the Athenians being defeated and gone, and themselves not equal to
the execution of Brasidas’s designs. The main cause however of their
return was because they knew that when they set out Lacedaemonian
opinion was really in favour of peace.

Indeed it so happened that directly after the battle of Amphipolis
and the retreat of Ramphias from Thessaly, both sides ceased to prosecute
the war and turned their attention to peace. Athens had suffered severely
at Delium, and again shortly afterwards at Amphipolis, and had no
longer that confidence in her strength which had made her before refuse
to treat, in the belief of ultimate victory which her success at the
moment had inspired; besides, she was afraid of her allies being tempted
by her reverses to rebel more generally, and repented having let go
the splendid opportunity for peace which the affair of Pylos had offered.
Lacedaemon, on the other hand, found the event of the war to falsify
her notion that a few years would suffice for the overthrow of the
power of the Athenians by the devastation of their land. She had suffered
on the island a disaster hitherto unknown at Sparta; she saw her country
plundered from Pylos and Cythera; the Helots were deserting, and she
was in constant apprehension that those who remained in Peloponnese
would rely upon those outside and take advantage of the situation
to renew their old attempts at revolution. Besides this, as chance
would have it, her thirty years’ truce with the Argives was upon the
point of expiring; and they refused to renew it unless Cynuria were
restored to them; so that it seemed impossible to fight Argos and
Athens at once. She also suspected some of the cities in Peloponnese
of intending to go over to the endeed was indeed the case.

These considerations made both sides disposed for an accommodation;
the Lacedaemonians being probably the most eager, as they ardently
desired to recover the men taken upon the island, the Spartans among
whom belonged to the first families and were accordingly related to
the governing body in Lacedaemon. Negotiations had been begun directly
after their capture, but the Athenians in their hour of triumph would
not consent to any reasonable terms; though after their defeat at
Delium, Lacedaemon, knowing that they would be now more inclined to
listen, at once concluded the armistice for a year, during which they
were to confer together and see if a longer period could not be agreed

Now, however, after the Athenian defeat at Amphipolis, and the death
of Cleon and Brasidas, who had been the two principal opponents of
peace on either side- the latter from the success and honour which
war gave him, the former because he thought that, if tranquillity
were restored, his crimes would be more open to detection and his
slanders less credited- the foremost candidates for power in either
city, Pleistoanax, son of Pausanias, king of Lacedaemon, and Nicias,
son of Niceratus, the most fortunate general of his time, each desired
peace more ardently than ever. Nicias, while still happy and honoured,
wished to secure his good fortune, to obtain a present release from
trouble for himself and his countrymen, and hand down to posterity
a name as an ever-successful statesman, and thought the way to do
this was to keep out of danger and commit himself as little as possible
to fortune, and that peace alone made this keeping out of danger possible.
Pleistoanax, again, was assailed by his enemies for his restoration,
and regularly held up by them to the prejudice of his countrymen,
upon every reverse that befell them, as though his unjust restoration
were the cause; the accusation being that he and his brother Aristocles
had bribed the prophetess of Delphi to tell the Lacedaemonian deputations
which successively arrived at the temple to bring home the seed of
the demigod son of Zeus from abroad, else they would have to plough
with a silver share. In this way, it was insisted, in time he had
induced the Lacedaemonians in the nineteenth year of his exile to
Lycaeum (whither he had gone when banished on suspicion of having
been bribed to retreat from Attica, and had built half his house within
the consecrated precinct of Zeus for fear of the Lacedaemonians),
to restore him with the same dances and sacrifices with which they
had instituted their kings upon the first settlement of Lacedaemon.
The smart of this accusation, and the reflection that in peace no
disaster could occur, and that when Lacedaemon had recovered her men
there would be nothing for his enemies to take hold of (whereas, while
war lasted, the highest station must always bear the scandal of everything
that went wrong), made him ardently desire a settlement. Accordingly
this winter was employed in conferences; and as spring rapidly approached,
the Lacedaemonians sent round orders to the cities to prepare for
a fortified occupation of Attica, and held this as a sword over the
heads of the Athenians to induce them to listen to their overtures;
and at last, after many claims had been urged on either side at the
conferences a peace was agreed on upon the following basis. Each party
was to restore its conquests, but Athens was to keep Nisaea; her demand
for Plataea being met by the Thebans asserting that they had acquired
the place not by force or treachery, but by the voluntary adhesion
upon agreement of its citizens; and the same, according to the Athenian
account, being the history of her acquisition of Nisaea. This arranged,
the Lacedaemonians summoned their allies, and all voting for peace
except the Boeotians, Corinthians, Eleans, and Megarians, who did
not approve of these proceedings, they concluded the treaty and made
peace, each of the contracting parties swearing to the following articles:

The Athenians and Lacedaemonians and their allies made a treaty, and
swore to it, city by city, as follows;

  1. Touching the national temples, there shall be a free passage by
    land and by sea to all who wish it, to sacrifice, travel, consult,
    and attend the oracle or games, according to the customs of their

  2. The temple and shrine of Apollo at Delphi and the Delphians shall
    be governed by their own laws, taxed by their own state, and judged
    by their own judges, the land and the people, according to the custom
    of their country.

  3. The treaty shall be binding for fifty years upon the Athenians
    and the allies of the Athenians, and upon the Lacedaemonians and the
    allies of the Lacedaemonians, without fraud or hurt by land or by

  4. It shall not be lawful to take up arms, with intent to do hurt,
    either for the Lacedaemonians and their allies against the Athenians
    and their allies, or for the Athenians and their allies against the
    Lacedaemonians and their allies, in any way or means whatsoever. But
    should any difference arise between them they are to have recourse
    to law and oaths, according as may be agreed between the parties.

  5. The Lacedaemonians and their allies shall give back Amphipolis
    to the Athenians. Nevertheless, in the case of cities given up by
    the Lacedaemonians to the Athenians, the inhabitants shall be allowed
    to go where they please and to take their property with them: and
    the cities shall be independent, paying only the tribute of Aristides.
    And it shall not be lawful for the Athenians or their allies to carry
    on war against them after the treaty has been concluded, so long as
    the tribute is paid. The cities referred to are Argilus, Stagirus,
    Acanthus, Scolus, Olynthus, and Spartolus. These cities shall be neutral,
    allies neither of the Lacedaemonians nor of the Athenians: but if
    the cities consent, it shall be lawful for the Athenians to make them
    their allies, provided always that the cities wish it. The Mecybernaeans,
    Sanaeans, and Singaeans shall inhabit their own cities, as also the
    Olynthians and Acanthians: but the Lacedaemonians and their allies
    shall give back Panactum to the Athenians.

  6. The Athenians shall give back Coryphasium, Cythera, Methana, Pteleum,
    and Atalanta to the Lacedaemonians, and also all Lacedaemonians that
    are in the prison at Athens or elsewhere in the Athenian dominions,
    and shall let go the Peloponnesians besieged in Scione, and all others
    in Scione that are allies of the Lacedaemonians, and all whom Brasidas
    sent in there, and any others of the allies of the Lacedaemonians
    that may be in the prison at Athens or elsewhere in the Athenian dominions.

  7. The Lacedaemonians and their allies shall in like manner give back
    any of the Athenians or their allies that they may have in their hands.

  8. In the case of Scione, Torone, and Sermylium, and any other cities
    that the Athenians may have, the Athenians may adopt such measures
    as they please.

  9. The Athenians shall take an oath to the Lacedaemonians and their
    allies, city by city. Every man shall swear by the most binding oath
    of his country, seventeen from each city. The oath shall be as follows;
    “I will abide by this agreement and treaty honestly and without deceit.”
    In the same way an oath shall be taken by the Lacedaemonians and their
    allies to the Athenians: and the oath shall be renewed annually by
    both parties. Pillars shall be erected at Olympia, Pythia, the Isthmus,
    at Athens in the Acropolis, and at Lacedaemon in the temple at Amyclae.

  10. If anything be forgotten, whatever it be, and on whatever point,
    it shall be consistent with their oath for both parties, the Athenians
    and Lacedaemonians, to alter it, according to their discretion.

The treaty begins from the ephoralty of Pleistolas in Lacedaemon,
on the 27th day of the month of Artemisium, and from the archonship,
of Alcaeus at Athens, on the 25th day of the month of Elaphebolion.
Those who took the oath and poured the libations for the Lacedaemonians
were Pleistoanax, Agis, Pleistolas, Damagetis, Chionis, Metagenes,
Acanthus, Daithus, Ischagoras, Philocharidas, Zeuxidas, Antippus,
Tellis, Alcinadas, Empedias, Menas, and Laphilus: for the Athenians,
Lampon, Isthmonicus, Nicias, Laches, Euthydemus, Procles, Pythodorus,
Hagnon, Myrtilus, Thrasycles, Theagenes, Aristocrates, Iolcius, Timocrates,
Leon, Lamachus, and Demosthenes.

This treaty was made in the spring, just at the end of winter, directly
after the city festival of Dionysus, just ten years, with the difference
of a few days, from the first invasion of Attica and the commencement
of this war. This must be calculated by the seasons rather than by
trusting to the enumeration of the names of the several magistrates
or offices of honour that are used to mark past events. Accuracy is
impossible where an event may have occurred in the beginning, or middle,
or at any period in their tenure of office. But by computing by summers
and winters, the method adopted in this history, it will be found
that, each of these amounting to half a year, there were ten summers
and as many winters contained in this first war.

Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians, to whose lot it fell to begin the work
of restitution, immediately set free all the prisoners of war in their
possession, and sent Ischagoras, Menas, and Philocharidas as envoys
to the towns in the direction of Thrace, to order Clearidas to hand
over Amphipolis to the Athenians, and the rest of their allies each
to accept the treaty as it affected them. They, however, did not like
its terms, and refused to accept it; Clearidas also, willing to oblige
the Chalcidians, would not hand over the town, averring his inability
to do so against their will. Meanwhile he hastened in person to Lacedaemon
with envoys from the place, to defend his disobedience against the
possible accusations of Ischagoras and his companions, and also to
see whether it was too late for the agreement to be altered; and on
finding the Lacedaemonians were bound, quickly set out back again
with instructions from them to hand over the place, if possible, or
at all events to bring out the Peloponnesians that were in it.

The allies happened to be present in person at Lacedaemon, and those
who had not accepted the treaty were now asked by the Lacedaemonians
to adopt it. This, however, they refused to do, for the same reasons
as before, unless a fairer one than the present were agreed upon;
and remaining firm in their determination were dismissed by the Lacedaemonians,
who now decided on forming an alliance with the Athenians, thinking
that Argos, who had refused the application of Ampelidas and Lichas
for a renewal of the treaty, would without Athens be no longer formidable,
and that the rest of the Peloponnese would be most likely to keep
quiet, if the coveted alliance of Athens were shut against them. Accordingly,
after conference with the Athenian ambassadors, an alliance was agreed
upon and oaths were exchanged, upon the terms following:

  1. The Lacedaemonians shall be allies of the Athenians for fifty years.

  2. Should any enemy invade the territory of Lacedaemon and injure
    the Lacedaemonians, the Athenians shall help in such way as they most
    effectively can, according to their power. But if the invader be gone
    after plundering the country, that city shall be the enemy of Lacedaemon
    and Athens, and shall be chastised by both, and one shall not make
    peace without the other. This to be honestly, loyally, and without

  3. Should any enemy invade the territory of Athens and injure the
    Athenians, the Lacedaemonians shall help them in such way as they
    most effectively can, according to their power. But if the invader
    be gone after plundering the country, that city shall be the enemy
    of Lacedaemon and Athens, and shall be chastised by both, and one
    shall not make peace without the other. This to be honestly, loyally,
    and without fraud.

  4. Should the slave population rise, the Athenians shall help the
    Lacedaemonians with all their might, according to their power.

  5. This treaty shall be sworn to by the same persons on either side
    that swore to the other. It shall be renewed annually by the Lacedaemonians
    going to Athens for the Dionysia, and the Athenians to Lacedaemon
    for the Hyacinthia, and a pillar shall be set up by either party:
    at Lacedaemon near the statue of Apollo at Amyclae, and at Athens
    on the Acropolis near the statue of Athene. Should the Lacedaemonians
    and Athenians see to add to or take away from the alliance in any
    particular, it shall be consistent with their oaths for both parties
    to do so, according to their discretion.

Those who took the oath for the Lacedaemonians were Pleistoanax, Agis,
Pleistolas, Damagetus, Chionis, Metagenes, Acanthus, Daithus, Ischagoras,
Philocharidas, Zeuxidas, Antippus, Alcinadas, Tellis, Empedias, Menas,
and Laphilus; for the Athenians, Lampon, Isthmionicus, Laches, Nicias,
Euthydemus, Procles, Pythodorus, Hagnon, Myrtilus, Thrasycles, Theagenes,
Aristocrates, Iolcius, Timocrates, Leon, Lamachus, and Demosthenes.

This alliance was made not long after the treaty; and the Athenians
gave back the men from the island to the Lacedaemonians, and the summer
of the eleventh year began. This completes the history of the first
war, which occupied the whole of the ten years previously.

Chapter XVI

Feeling against Sparta in Peloponnese – League of the Mantineans,
Eleans, Argives, and Athenians – Battle of Mantinea and breaking up
of the League

After the treaty and the alliance between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians,
concluded after the ten years’ war, in the ephorate of Pleistolas
at Lacedaemon, and the archonship of Alcaeus at Athens, the states
which had accepted them were at peace; but the Corinthians and some
of the cities in Peloponnese trying to disturb the settlement, a fresh
agitation was instantly commenced by the allies against Lacedaemon.
Further, the Lacedaemonians, as time went on, became suspected by
the Athenians through their not performing some of the provisions
in the treaty; and though for six years and ten months they abstained
from invasion of each other’s territory, yet abroad an unstable armistice
did not prevent either party doing the other the most effectual injury,
until they were finally obliged to break the treaty made after the
ten years’ war and to have recourse to open hostilities.

The history of this period has been also written by the same Thucydides,
an Athenian, in the chronological order of events by summers and winters,
to the time when the Lacedaemonians and their allies put an end to
the Athenian empire, and took the Long Walls and Piraeus. The war
had then lasted for twenty-seven years in all. Only a mistaken judgment
can object to including the interval of treaty in the war. Looked
at by the light of facts it cannot, it will be found, be rationally
considered a state of peace, where neither party either gave or got
back all that they had agreed, apart from the violations of it which
occurred on both sides in the Mantinean and Epidaurian wars and other
instances, and the fact that the allies in the direction of Thrace
were in as open hostility as ever, while the Boeotians had only a
truce renewed every ten days. So that the first ten years’ war, the
treacherous armistice that followed it, and the subsequent war will,
calculating by the seasons, be found to make up the number of years
which I have mentioned, with the difference of a few days, and to
afford an instance of faith in oracles being for once justified by
the event. I certainly all along remember from the beginning to the
end of the war its being commonly declared that it would last thrice
nine years. I lived through the whole of it, being of an age to comprehend
events, and giving my attention to them in order to know the exact
truth about them. It was also my fate to be an exile from my country
for twenty years after my command at Amphipolis; and being present
with both parties, and more especially with the Peloponnesians by
reason of my exile, I had leisure to observe affairs somewhat particularly.
I will accordingly now relate the differences that arose after the
ten years’ war, the breach of the treaty, and the hostilities that

After the conclusion of the fifty years’ truce and of the subsequent
alliance, the embassies from Peloponnese which had been summoned for
this business returned from Lacedaemon. The rest went straight home,
but the Corinthians first turned aside to Argos and opened negotiations
with some of the men in office there, pointing out that Lacedaemon
could have no good end in view, but only the subjugation of Peloponnese,
or she would never have entered into treaty and alliance with the
once detested Athenians, and that the duty of consulting for the safety
of Peloponnese had now fallen upon Argos, who should immediately pass
a decree inviting any Hellenic state that chose, such state being
independent and accustomed to meet fellow powers upon the fair and
equal ground of law and justice, to make a defensive alliance with
the Argives; appointing a few individuals with plenipotentiary powers,
instead of making the people the medium of negotiation, in order that,
in the case of an applicant being rejected, the fact of his overtures
might not be made public. They said that many would come over from
hatred of the Lacedaemonians. After this explanation of their views,
the Corinthians returned home.

The persons with whom they had communicated reported the proposal
to their government and people, and the Argives passed the decree
and chose twelve men to negotiate an alliance for any Hellenic state
that wished it, except Athens and Lacedaemon, neither of which should
be able to join without reference to the Argive people. Argos came
into the plan the more readily because she saw that war with Lacedaemon
was inevitable, the truce being on the point of expiring; and also
because she hoped to gain the supremacy of Peloponnese. For at this
time Lacedaemon had sunk very low in public estimation because of
her disasters, while the Argives were in a most flourishing condition,
having taken no part in the Attic war, but having on the contrary
profited largely by their neutrality. The Argives accordingly prepared
to receive into alliance any of the Hellenes that desired it.

The Mantineans and their allies were the first to come over through
fear of the Lacedaemonians. Having taken advantage of the war against
Athens to reduce a large part of Arcadia into subjection, they thought
that Lacedaemon would not leave them undisturbed in their conquests,
now that she had leisure to interfere, and consequently gladly turned
to a powerful city like Argos, the historical enemy of the Lacedaemonians,
and a sister democracy. Upon the defection of Mantinea, the rest of
Peloponnese at once began to agitate the propriety of following her
example, conceiving that the Mantineans not have changed sides without
good reason; besides which they were angry with Lacedaemon among other
reasons for having inserted in the treaty with Athens that it should
be consistent with their oaths for both parties, Lacedaemonians and
Athenians, to add to or take away from it according to their discretion.
It was this clause that was the real origin of the panic in Peloponnese,
by exciting suspicions of a Lacedaemonian and Athenian combination
against their liberties: any alteration should properly have been
made conditional upon the consent of the whole body of the allies.
With these apprehensions there was a very general desire in each state
to place itself in alliance with Argos.

In the meantime the Lacedaemonians perceiving the agitation going
on in Peloponnese, and that Corinth was the author of it and was herself
about to enter into alliance with the Argives, sent ambassadors thither
in the hope of preventing what was in contemplation. They accused
her of having brought it all about, and told her that she could not
desert Lacedaemon and become the ally of Argos, without adding violation
of her oaths to the crime which she had already committed in not accepting
the treaty with Athens, when it had been expressly agreed that the
decision of the majority of the allies should be binding, unless the
gods or heroes stood in the way. Corinth in her answer, delivered
before those of her allies who had like her refused to accept the
treaty, and whom she had previously invited to attend, refrained from
openly stating the injuries she complained of, such as the non-recovery
of Sollium or Anactorium from the Athenians, or any other point in
which she thought she had been prejudiced, but took shelter under
the pretext that she could not give up her Thracian allies, to whom
her separate individual security had been given, when they first rebelled
with Potidaea, as well as upon subsequent occasions. She denied, therefore,
that she committed any violation of her oaths to the allies in not
entering into the treaty with Athens; having sworn upon the faith
of the gods to her Thracian friends, she could not honestly give them
up. Besides, the expression was, “unless the gods or heroes stand
in the way.” Now here, as it appeared to her, the gods stood in the
way. This was what she said on the subject of her former oaths. As
to the Argive alliance, she would confer with her friends and do whatever
was right. The Lacedaemonian envoys returning home, some Argive ambassadors
who happened to be in Corinth pressed her to conclude the alliance
without further delay, but were told to attend at the next congress
to be held at Corinth.

Immediately afterwards an Elean embassy arrived, and first making
an alliance with Corinth went on from thence to Argos, according to
their instructions, and became allies of the Argives, their country
being just then at enmity with Lacedaemon and Lepreum. Some time back
there had been a war between the Lepreans and some of the Arcadians;
and the Eleans being called in by the former with the offer of half
their lands, had put an end to the war, and leaving the land in the
hands of its Leprean occupiers had imposed upon them the tribute of
a talent to the Olympian Zeus. Till the Attic war this tribute was
paid by the Lepreans, who then took the war as an excuse for no longer
doing so, and upon the Eleans using force appealed to Lacedaemon.
The case was thus submitted to her arbitrament; but the Eleans, suspecting
the fairness of the tribunal, renounced the reference and laid waste
the Leprean territory. The Lacedaemonians nevertheless decided that
the Lepreans were independent and the Eleans aggressors, and as the
latter did not abide by the arbitration, sent a garrison of heavy
infantry into Lepreum. Upon this the Eleans, holding that Lacedaemon
had received one of their rebel subjects, put forward the convention
providing that each confederate should come out of the Attic war in
possession of what he had when he went into it, and considering that
justice had not been done them went over to the Argives, and now made
the alliance through their ambassadors, who had been instructed for
that purpose. Immediately after them the Corinthians and the Thracian
Chalcidians became allies of Argos. Meanwhile the Boeotians and Megarians,
who acted together, remained quiet, being left to do as they pleased
by Lacedaemon, and thinking that the Argive democracy would not suit
so well with their aristocratic government as the Lacedaemonian constitution.

About the same time in this summer Athens succeeded in reducing Scione,
put the adult males to death, and, making slaves of the women and
children, gave the land for the Plataeans to live in. She also brought
back the Delians to Delos, moved by her misfortunes in the field and
by the commands of the god at Delphi. Meanwhile the Phocians and Locrians
commenced hostilities. The Corinthians and Argives, being now in alliance,
went to Tegea to bring about its defection from Lacedaemon, seeing
that, if so considerable a state could be persuaded to join, all Peloponnese
would be with them. But when the Tegeans said that they would do nothing
against Lacedaemon, the hitherto zealous Corinthians relaxed their
activity, and began to fear that none of the rest would now come over.
Still they went to the Boeotians and tried to persuade them to alliance
and a common action generally with Argos and themselves, and also
begged them to go with them to Athens and obtain for them a ten days’
truce similar to that made between the Athenians and Boeotians not
long after the fifty years’ treaty, and, in the event of the Athenians
refusing, to throw up the armistice, and not make any truce in future
without Corinth. These were the requests of the Corinthians. The Boeotians
stopped them on the subject of the Argive alliance, but went with
them to Athens, where however they failed to obtain the ten days’
truce; the Athenian answer being that the Corinthians had truce already,
as being allies of Lacedaemon. Nevertheless the Boeotians did not
throw up their ten days’ truce, in spite of the prayers and reproaches
of the Corinthians for their breach of faith; and these last had to
content themselves with a de facto armistice with Athens.

The same summer the Lacedaemonians marched into Arcadia with their
whole levy under Pleistoanax, son of Pausanias, king of Lacedaemon,
against the Parrhasians, who were subjects of Mantinea, and a faction
of whom had invited their aid. They also meant to demolish, if possible,
the fort of Cypsela which the Mantineans had built and garrisoned
in the Parrhasian territory, to annoy the district of Sciritis in
Laconia. The Lacedaemonians accordingly laid waste the Parrhasian
country, and the Mantineans, placing their town in the hands of an
Argive garrison, addressed themselves to the defence of their confederacy,
but being unable to save Cypsela or the Parrhasian towns went back
to Mantinea. Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians made the Parrhasians independent,
razed the fortress, and returned home.

The same summer the soldiers from Thrace who had gone out with Brasidas
came back, having been brought from thence after the treaty by Clearidas;
and the Lacedaemonians decreed that the Helots who had fought with
Brasidas should be free and allowed to live where they liked, and
not long afterwards settled them with the Neodamodes at Lepreum, which
is situated on the Laconian and Elean border; Lacedaemon being at
this time at enmity with Elis. Those however of the Spartans who had
been taken prisoners on the island and had surrendered their arms
might, it was feared, suppose that they were to be subjected to some
degradation in consequence of their misfortune, and so make some attempt
at revolution, if left in possession of their franchise. These were
therefore at once disfranchised, although some of them were in office
at the time, and thus placed under a disability to take office, or
buy and sell anything. After some time, however, the franchise was
restored to them.

The same summer the Dians took Thyssus, a town on Acte by Athos in
alliance with Athens. During the whole of this summer intercourse
between the Athenians and Peloponnesians continued, although each
party began to suspect the other directly after the treaty, because
of the places specified in it not being restored. Lacedaemon, to whose
lot it had fallen to begin by restoring Amphipolis and the other towns,
had not done so. She had equally failed to get the treaty accepted
by her Thracian allies, or by the Boeotians or the Corinthians; although
she was continually promising to unite with Athens in compelling their
compliance, if it were longer refused. She also kept fixing a time
at which those who still refused to come in were to be declared enemies
to both parties, but took care not to bind herself by any written
agreement. Meanwhile the Athenians, seeing none of these professions
performed in fact, began to suspect the honesty of her intentions,
and consequently not only refused to comply with her demands for Pylos,
but also repented having given up the prisoners from the island, and
kept tight hold of the other places, until Lacedaemon’s part of the
treaty should be fulfilled. Lacedaemon, on the other hand, said she
had done what she could, having given up the Athenian prisoners of
war in her possession, evacuated Thrace, and performed everything
else in her power. Amphipolis it was out of her ability to restore;
but she would endeavour to bring the Boeotians and Corinthians into
the treaty, to recover Panactum, and send home all the Athenian prisoners
of war in Boeotia. Meanwhile she required that Pylos should be restored,
or at all events that the Messenians and Helots should be withdrawn,
as her troops had been from Thrace, and the place garrisoned, if necessary,
by the Athenians themselves. After a number of different conferences
held during the summer, she succeeded in persuading Athens to withdraw
from Pylos the Messenians and the rest of the Helots and deserters
from Laconia, who were accordingly settled by her at Cranii in Cephallenia.
Thus during this summer there was peace and intercourse between the
two peoples.

Next winter, however, the ephors under whom the treaty had been made
were no longer in office, and some of their successors were directly
opposed to it. Embassies now arrived from the Lacedaemonian confederacy,
and the Athenians, Boeotians, and Corinthians also presented themselves
at Lacedaemon, and after much discussion and no agreement between
them, separated for their several homes; when Cleobulus and Xenares,
the two ephors who were the most anxious to break off the treaty,
took advantage of this opportunity to communicate privately with the
Boeotians and Corinthians, and, advising them to act as much as possible
together, instructed the former first to enter into alliance with
Argos, and then try and bring themselves and the Argives into alliance
with Lacedaemon. The Boeotians would so be least likely to be compelled
to come into the Attic treaty; and the Lacedaemonians would prefer
gaining the friendship and alliance of Argos even at the price of
the hostility of Athens and the rupture of the treaty. The Boeotians
knew that an honourable friendship with Argos had been long the desire
of Lacedaemon; for the Lacedaemonians believed that this would considerably
facilitate the conduct of the war outside Peloponnese. Meanwhile they
begged the Boeotians to place Panactum in her hands in order that
she might, if possible, obtain Pylos in exchange for it, and so be
more in a position to resume hostilities with Athens.

After receiving these instructions for their governments from Xenares
and Cleobulus and their friends at Lacedaemon, the Boeotians and Corinthians
departed. On their way home they were joined by two persons high in
office at Argos, who had waited for them on the road, and who now
sounded them upon the possibility of the Boeotians joining the Corinthians,
Eleans, and Mantineans in becoming the allies of Argos, in the idea
that if this could be effected they would be able, thus united, to
make peace or war as they pleased either against Lacedaemon or any
other power. The Boeotian envoys were were pleased at thus hearing
themselves accidentally asked to do what their friends at Lacedaemon
had told them; and the two Argives perceiving that their proposal
was agreeable, departed with a promise to send ambassadors to the
Boeotians. On their arrival the Boeotians reported to the Boeotarchs
what had been said to them at Lacedaemon and also by the Argives who
had met them, and the Boeotarchs, pleased with the idea, embraced
it with the more eagerness from the lucky coincidence of Argos soliciting
the very thing wanted by their friends at Lacedaemon. Shortly afterwards
ambassadors appeared from Argos with the proposals indicated; and
the Boeotarchs approved of the terms and dismissed the ambassadors
with a promise to send envoys to Argos to negotiate the alliance.

In the meantime it was decided by the Boeotarchs, the Corinthians,
the Megarians, and the envoys from Thrace first to interchange oaths
together to give help to each other whenever it was required and not
to make war or peace except in common; after which the Boeotians and
Megarians, who acted together, should make the alliance with Argos.
But before the oaths were taken the Boeotarchs communicated these
proposals to the four councils of the Boeotians, in whom the supreme
power resides, and advised them to interchange oaths with all such
cities as should be willing to enter into a defensive league with
the Boeotians. But the members of the Boeotian councils refused their
assent to the proposal, being afraid of offending Lacedaemon by entering
into a league with the deserter Corinth; the Boeotarchs not having
acquainted them with what had passed at Lacedaemon and with the advice
given by Cleobulus and Xenares and the Boeotian partisans there, namely,
that they should become allies of Corinth and Argos as a preliminary
to a junction with Lacedaemon; fancying that, even if they should
say nothing about this, the councils would not vote against what had
been decided and advised by the Boeotarchs. This difficulty arising,
the Corinthians and the envoys from Thrace departed without anything
having been concluded; and the Boeotarchs, who had previously intended
after carrying this to try and effect the alliance with Argos, now
omitted to bring the Argive question before the councils, or to send
to Argos the envoys whom they had promised; and a general coldness
and delay ensued in the matter.

In this same winter Mecyberna was assaulted and taken by the Olynthians,
having an Athenian garrison inside it.

All this while negotiations had been going on between the Athenians
and Lacedaemonians about the conquests still retained by each, and
Lacedaemon, hoping that if Athens were to get back Panactum from the
Boeotians she might herself recover Pylos, now sent an embassy to
the Boeotians, and begged them to place Panactum and their Athenian
prisoners in her hands, in order that she might exchange them for
Pylos. This the Boeotians refused to do, unless Lacedaemon made a
separate alliance with them as she had done with Athens. Lacedaemon
knew that this would be a breach of faith to Athens, as it had been
agreed that neither of them should make peace or war without the other;
yet wishing to obtain Panactum which she hoped to exchange for Pylos,
and the party who pressed for the dissolution of the treaty strongly
affecting the Boeotian connection, she at length concluded the alliance
just as winter gave way to spring; and Panactum was instantly razed.
And so the eleventh year of the war ended.

In the first days of the summer following, the Argives, seeing that
the promised ambassadors from Boeotia did not arrive, and that Panactum
was being demolished, and that a separate alliance had been concluded
between the Boeotians and Lacedaemonians, began to be afraid that
Argos might be left alone, and all the confederacy go over to Lacedaemon.
They fancied that the Boeotians had been persuaded by the Lacedaemonians
to raze Panactum and to enter into the treaty with the Athenians,
and that Athens was privy to this arrangement, and even her alliance,
therefore, no longer open to them- a resource which they had always
counted upon, by reason of the dissensions existing, in the event
of the noncontinuance of their treaty with Lacedaemon. In this strait
the Argives, afraid that, as the result of refusing to renew the treaty
with Lacedaemon and of aspiring to the supremacy in Peloponnese, they
would have the Lacedaemonians, Tegeans, Boeotians, and Athenians on
their hands all at once, now hastily sent off Eustrophus and Aeson,
who seemed the persons most likely to be acceptable, as envoys to
Lacedaemon, with the view of making as good a treaty as they could
with the Lacedaemonians, upon such terms as could be got, and being
left in peace.

Having reached Lacedaemon, their ambassadors proceeded to negotiate
the terms of the proposed treaty. What the Argives first demanded
was that they might be allowed to refer to the arbitration of some
state or private person the question of the Cynurian land, a piece
of frontier territory about which they have always been disputing,
and which contains the towns of Thyrea and Anthene, and is occupied
by the Lacedaemonians. The Lacedaemonians at first said that they
could not allow this point to be discussed, but were ready to conclude
upon the old terms. Eventually, however, the Argive ambassadors succeeded
in obtaining from them this concession: For the present there was
to be a truce for fifty years, but it should be competent for either
party, there being neither plague nor war in Lacedaemon or Argos,
to give a formal challenge and decide the question of this territory
by battle, as on a former occasion, when both sides claimed the victory;
pursuit not being allowed beyond the frontier of Argos or Lacedaemon.
The Lacedaemonians at first thought this mere folly; but at last,
anxious at any cost to have the friendship of Argos they agreed to
the terms demanded, and reduced them to writing. However, before any
of this should become binding, the ambassadors were to return to Argos
and communicate with their people and, in the event of their approval,
to come at the feast of the Hyacinthia and take the oaths.

The envoys returned accordingly. In the meantime, while the Argives
were engaged in these negotiations, the Lacedaemonian ambassadors-
Andromedes, Phaedimus, and Antimenidas- who were to receive the prisoners
from the Boeotians and restore them and Panactum to the Athenians,
found that the Boeotians had themselves razed Panactum, upon the plea
that oaths had been anciently exchanged between their people and the
Athenians, after a dispute on the subject to the effect that neither
should inhabit the place, but that they should graze it in common.
As for the Athenian prisoners of war in the hands of the Boeotians,
these were delivered over to Andromedes and his colleagues, and by
them conveyed to Athens and given back. The envoys at the same time
announced the razing of Panactum, which to them seemed as good as
its restitution, as it would no longer lodge an enemy of Athens. This
announcement was received with great indignation by the Athenians,
who thought that the Lacedaemonians had played them false, both in
the matter of the demolition of Panactum, which ought to have been
restored to them standing, and in having, as they now heard, made
a separate alliance with the Boeotians, in spite of their previous
promise to join Athens in compelling the adhesion of those who refused
to accede to the treaty. The Athenians also considered the other points
in which Lacedaemon had failed in her compact, and thinking that they
had been overreached, gave an angry answer to the ambassadors and
sent them away.

The breach between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians having gone thus
far, the party at Athens, also, who wished to cancel the treaty, immediately
put themselves in motion. Foremost amongst these was Alcibiades, son
of Clinias, a man yet young in years for any other Hellenic city,
but distinguished by the splendour of his ancestry. Alcibiades thought
the Argive alliance really preferable, not that personal pique had
not also a great deal to do with his opposition; he being offended
with the Lacedaemonians for having negotiated the treaty through Nicias
and Laches, and having overlooked him on account of his youth, and
also for not having shown him the respect due to the ancient connection
of his family with them as their proxeni, which, renounced by his
grandfather, he had lately himself thought to renew by his attentions
to their prisoners taken in the island. Being thus, as he thought,
slighted on all hands, he had in the first instance spoken against
the treaty, saying that the Lacedaemonians were not to be trusted,
but that they only treated, in order to be enabled by this means to
crush Argos, and afterwards to attack Athens alone; and now, immediately
upon the above occurring, he sent privately to the Argives, telling
them to come as quickly as possible to Athens, accompanied by the
Mantineans and Eleans, with proposals of alliance; as the moment was
propitious and he himself would do all he could to help them.

Upon receiving this message and discovering that the Athenians, far
from being privy to the Boeotian alliance, were involved in a serious
quarrel with the Lacedaemonians, the Argives paid no further attention
to the embassy which they had just sent to Lacedaemon on the subject
of the treaty, and began to incline rather towards the Athenians,
reflecting that, in the event of war, they would thus have on their
side a city that was not only an ancient ally of Argos, but a sister
democracy and very powerful at sea. They accordingly at once sent
ambassadors to Athens to treat for an alliance, accompanied by others
from Elis and Mantinea.

At the same time arrived in haste from Lacedaemon an embassy consisting
of persons reputed well disposed towards the Athenians- Philocharidas,
Leon, and Endius- for fear that the Athenians in their irritation
might conclude alliance with the Argives, and also to ask back Pylos
in exchange for Panactum, and in defence of the alliance with the
Boeotians to plead that it had not been made to hurt the Athenians.
Upon the envoys speaking in the senate upon these points, and stating
that they had come with full powers to settle all others at issue
between them, Alcibiades became afraid that, if they were to repeat
these statements to the popular assembly, they might gain the multitude,
and the Argive alliance might be rejected, and accordingly had recourse
to the following stratagem. He persuaded the Lacedaemonians by a solemn
assurance that if they would say nothing of their full powers in the
assembly, he would give back Pylos to them (himself, the present opponent
of its restitution, engaging to obtain this from the Athenians), and
would settle the other points at issue. His plan was to detach them
from Nicias and to disgrace them before the people, as being without
sincerity in their intentions, or even common consistency in their
language, and so to get the Argives, Eleans, and Mantineans taken
into alliance. This plan proved successful. When the envoys appeared
before the people, and upon the question being put to them, did not
say as they had said in the senate, that they had come with full powers,
the Athenians lost all patience, and carried away by Alcibiades, who
thundered more loudly than ever against the Lacedaemonians, were ready
instantly to introduce the Argives and their companions and to take
them into alliance. An earthquake, however, occurring, before anything
definite had been done, this assembly was adjourned.

In the assembly held the next day, Nicias, in spite of the Lacedaemonians
having been deceived themselves, and having allowed him to be deceived
also in not admitting that they had come with full powers, still maintained
that it was best to be friends with the Lacedaemonians, and, letting
the Argive proposals stand over, to send once more to Lacedaemon and
learn her intentions. The adjournment of the war could only increase
their own prestige and injure that of their rivals; the excellent
state of their affairs making it their interest to preserve this prosperity
as long as possible, while those of Lacedaemon were so desperate that
the sooner she could try her fortune again the better. He succeeded
accordingly in persuading them to send ambassadors, himself being
among the number, to invite the Lacedaemonians, if they were really
sincere, to restore Panactum intact with Amphipolis, and to abandon
their alliance with the Boeotians (unless they consented to accede
to the treaty), agreeably to the stipulation which forbade either
to treat without the other. The ambassadors were also directed to
say that the Athenians, had they wished to play false, might already
have made alliance with the Argives, who were indeed come to Athens
for that very purpose, and went off furnished with instructions as
to any other complaints that the Athenians had to make. Having reached
Lacedaemon, they communicated their instructions, and concluded by
telling the Lacedaemonians that unless they gave up their alliance
with the Boeotians, in the event of their not acceding to the treaty,
the Athenians for their part would ally themselves with the Argives
and their friends. The Lacedaemonians, however, refused to give up
the Boeotian alliance- the party of Xenares the ephor, and such as
shared their view, carrying the day upon this point- but renewed the
oaths at the request of Nicias, who feared to return without having
accomplished anything and to be disgraced; as was indeed his fate,
he being held the author of the treaty with Lacedaemon. When he returned,
and the Athenians heard that nothing had been done at Lacedaemon,
they flew into a passion, and deciding that faith had not been kept
with them, took advantage of the presence of the Argives and their
allies, who had been introduced by Alcibiades, and made a treaty and
alliance with them upon the terms following:

The Athenians, Argives, Mantineans, and Eleans, acting for themselves
and the allies in their respective empires, made a treaty for a hundred
years, to be without fraud or hurt by land and by sea.

  1. It shall not be lawful to carry on war, either for the Argives,
    Eleans, Mantineans, and their allies, against the Athenians, or the
    allies in the Athenian empire: or for the Athenians and their allies
    against the Argives, Eleans, Mantineans, or their allies, in any way
    or means whatsoever. The Athenians, Argives, Eleans, and Mantineans
    shall be allies for a hundred years upon the terms following:

  2. If an enemy invade the country of the Athenians, the Argives, Eleans,
    and Mantineans shall go to the relief of Athens, according as the
    Athenians may require by message, in such way as they most effectually
    can, to the best of their power. But if the invader be gone after
    plundering the territory, the offending state shall be the enemy of
    the Argives, Mantineans, Eleans, and Athenians, and war shall be made
    against it by all these cities: and no one of the cities shall be
    able to make peace with that state, except all the above cities agree
    to do so.

  3. Likewise the Athenians shall go to the relief of Argos, Mantinea,
    and Elis, if an enemy invade the country of Elis, Mantinea, or Argos,
    according as the above cities may require by message, in such way
    as they most effectually can, to the best of their power. But if the
    invader be gone after plundering the territory, the state offending
    shall be the enemy of the Athenians, Argives, Mantineans, and Eleans,
    and war shall be made against it by all these cities, and peace may
    not be made with that state except all the above cities agree to it.

  4. No armed force shall be allowed to pass for hostile purposes through
    the country of the powers contracting, or of the allies in their respective
    empires, or to go by sea, except all the cities- that is to say, Athens,
    Argos, Mantinea, and Elis- vote for such passage.

  5. The relieving troops shall be maintained by the city sending them
    for thirty days from their arrival in the city that has required them,
    and upon their return in the same way: if their services be desired
    for a longer period, the city that sent for them shall maintain them,
    at the rate of three Aeginetan obols per day for a heavy-armed soldier,
    archer, or light soldier, and an Aeginetan drachma for a trooper.

  6. The city sending for the troops shall have the command when the
    war is in its own country: but in case of the cities resolving upon
    a joint expedition the command shall be equally divided among all
    the cities.

  7. The treaty shall be sworn to by the Athenians for themselves and
    their allies, by the Argives, Mantineans, Eleans, and their allies,
    by each state individually. Each shall swear the oath most binding
    in his country over full-grown victims: the oath being as follows:

Whatsoever.” The oath shall taken at Athens by the Senate and the
magistrates, the Prytanes administering it: as by the Senate, the
Eighty, and the Artynae, the Eighty administering it: at Mantinea
by the Demiurgi, the Senate, and the other magistrates, the Theori
and Polemarchs administering it: at Elis by the Demiurgi, the magistrates,
and the Six Hundred, the Demiurgi and the Thesmophylaces administering
it. The oaths shall be renewed by the Athenians going to Elis, Mantinea,
and Argos thirty days before the Olympic games: by the Argives, Mantineans,
and Eleans going to Athens ten days before the great feast of the
Panathenaea. The articles of the treaty, the oaths, and the alliance
shall be inscribed on a stone pillar by the Athenians in the citadel,
by the Argives in the market-place, in the temple of Apollo: by the
Mantineans in the temple of Zeus, in the market-place: and a brazen
pillar shall be erected jointly by them at the Olympic games now at
hand. Should the above cities see good to make any addition in these
articies, whatever all the above cities shall agree upon, after consulting
together, shall be binding.

Although the treaty and alliances were thus concluded, still the treaty
between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians was not renounced by either
party. Meanwhile Corinth, although the ally of the Argives, did not
accede to the new treaty, any more than she had done to the alliance,
defensive and offensive, formed before this between the Eleans, Argives,
and Mantineans, when she declared herself content with the first alliance,
which was defensive only, and which bound them to help each other,
but not to join in attacking any. The Corinthians thus stood aloof
from their allies, and again turned their thoughts towards Lacedaemon.

At the Olympic games which were held this summer, and in which the
Arcadian Androsthenes was victor the first time in the wrestling and
boxing, the Lacedaemonians were excluded from the temple by the Eleans,
and thus prevented from sacrificing or contending, for having refused
to pay the fine specified in the Olympic law imposed upon them by
the Eleans, who alleged that they had attacked Fort Phyrcus, and sent
heavy infantry of theirs into Lepreum during the Olympic truce. The
amount of the fine was two thousand minae, two for each heavy-armed
soldier, as the law prescribes. The Lacedaemonians sent envoys, and
pleaded that the imposition was unjust; saying that the truce had
not yet been proclaimed at Lacedaemon when the heavy infantry were
sent off. But the Eleans affirmed that the armistice with them had
already begun (they proclaim it first among themselves), and that
the aggression of the Lacedaemonians had taken them by surprise while
they were living quietly as in time of peace, and not expecting anything.
Upon this the Lacedaemonians submitted, that if the Eleans really
believed that they had committed an aggression, it was useless after
that to proclaim the truce at Lacedaemon; but they had proclaimed
it notwithstanding, as believing nothing of the kind, and from that
moment the Lacedaemonians had made no attack upon their country. Nevertheless
the Eleans adhered to what they had said, that nothing would persuade
them that an aggression had not been committed; if, however, the Lacedaemonians
would restore Lepreum, they would give up their own share of the money
and pay that of the god for them.

As this proposal was not accepted, the Eleans tried a second. Instead
of restoring Lepreum, if this was objected to, the Lacedaemonians
should ascend the altar of the Olympian Zeus, as they were so anxious
to have access to the temple, and swear before the Hellenes that they
would surely pay the fine at a later day. This being also refused,
the Lacedaemonians were excluded from the temple, the sacrifice, and
the games, and sacrificed at home; the Lepreans being the only other
Hellenes who did not attend. Still the Eleans were afraid of the Lacedaemonians
sacrificing by force, and kept guard with a heavy-armed company of
their young men; being also joined by a thousand Argives, the same
number of Mantineans, and by some Athenian cavalry who stayed at Harpina
during the feast. Great fears were felt in the assembly of the Lacedaemonians
coming in arms, especially after Lichas, son of Arcesilaus, a Lacedaemonian,
had been scourged on the course by the umpires; because, upon his
horses being the winners, and the Boeotian people being proclaimed
the victor on account of his having no right to enter, he came forward
on the course and crowned the charioteer, in order to show that the
chariot was his. After this incident all were more afraid than ever,
and firmly looked for a disturbance: the Lacedaemonians, however,
kept quiet, and let the feast pass by, as we have seen. After the
Olympic games, the Argives and the allies repaired to Corinth to invite
her to come over to them. There they found some Lacedaemonian envoys;
and a long discussion ensued, which after all ended in nothing, as
an earthquake occurred, and they dispersed to their different homes.

Summer was now over. The winter following a battle took place between
the Heracleots in Trachinia and the Aenianians, Dolopians, Malians,
and certain of the Thessalians, all tribes bordering on and hostile
to the town, which directly menaced their country. Accordingly, after
having opposed and harassed it from its very foundation by every means
in their power, they now in this battle defeated the Heracleots, Xenares,
son of Cnidis, their Lacedaemonian commander, being among the slain.
Thus the winter ended and the twelfth year of this war ended also.
After the battle, Heraclea was so terribly reduced that in the first
days of the summer following the Boeotians occupied the place and
sent away the Lacedaemonian Agesippidas for misgovernment, fearing
that the town might be taken by the Athenians while the Lacedaemonians
were distracted with the affairs of Peloponnese. The Lacedaemonians,
nevertheless, were offended with them for what they had done.

The same summer Alcibiades, son of Clinias, now one of the generals
at Athens, in concert with the Argives and the allies, went into Peloponnese
with a few Athenian heavy infantry and archers and some of the allies
in those parts whom he took up as he passed, and with this army marched
here and there through Peloponnese, and settled various matters connected
with the alliance, and among other things induced the Patrians to
carry their walls down to the sea, intending himself also to build
a fort near the Achaean Rhium. However, the Corinthians and Sicyonians,
and all others who would have suffered by its being built, came up
and hindered him.

The same summer war broke out between the Epidaurians and Argives.
The pretext was that the Epidaurians did not send an offering for
their pasture-land to Apollo Pythaeus, as they were bound to do, the
Argives having the chief management of the temple; but, apart from
this pretext, Alcibiades and the Argives were determined, if possible,
to gain possession of Epidaurus, and thus to ensure the neutrality
of Corinth and give the Athenians a shorter passage for their reinforcements
from Aegina than if they had to sail round Scyllaeum. The Argives
accordingly prepared to invade Epidaurus by themselves, to exact the

About the same time the Lacedaemonians marched out with all their
people to Leuctra upon their frontier, opposite to Mount Lycaeum,
under the command of Agis, son of Archidamus, without any one knowing
their destination, not even the cities that sent the contingents.
The sacrifices, however, for crossing the frontier not proving propitious,
the Lacedaemonians returned home themselves, and sent word to the
allies to be ready to march after the month ensuing, which happened
to be the month of Carneus, a holy time for the Dorians. Upon the
retreat of the Lacedaemonians the Argives marched out on the last
day but three of the month before Carneus, and keeping this as the
day during the whole time that they were out, invaded and plundered
Epidaurus. The Epidaurians summoned their allies to their aid, some
of whom pleaded the month as an excuse; others came as far as the
frontier of Epidaurus and there remained inactive.

While the Argives were in Epidaurus embassies from the cities assembled
at Mantinea, upon the invitation of the Athenians. The conference
having begun, the Corinthian Euphamidas said that their actions did
not agree with their words; while they were sitting deliberating about
peace, the Epidaurians and their allies and the Argives were arrayed
against each other in arms; deputies from each party should first
go and separate the armies, and then the talk about peace might be
resumed. In compliance with this suggestion, they went and brought
back the Argives from Epidaurus, and afterwards reassembled, but without
succeeding any better in coming to a conclusion; and the Argives a
second time invaded Epidaurus and plundered the country. The Lacedaemonians
also marched out to Caryae; but the frontier sacrifices again proving
unfavourable, they went back again, and the Argives, after ravaging
about a third of the Epidaurian territory, returned home. Meanwhile
a thousand Athenian heavy infantry had come to their aid under the
command of Alcibiades, but finding that the Lacedaemonian expedition
was at an end, and that they were no longer wanted, went back again.

So passed the summer. The next winter the Lacedaemonians managed to
elude the vigilance of the Athenians, and sent in a garrison of three
hundred men to Epidaurus, under the command of Agesippidas. Upon this
the Argives went to the Athenians and complained of their having allowed
an enemy to pass by sea, in spite of the clause in the treaty by which
the allies were not to allow an enemy to pass through their country.
Unless, therefore, they now put the Messenians and Helots in Pylos
to annoy the Lacedaemonians, they, the Argives, should consider that
faith had not been kept with them. The Athenians were persuaded by
Alcibiades to inscribe at the bottom of the Laconian pillar that the
Lacedaemonians had not kept their oaths, and to convey the Helots
at Cranii to Pylos to plunder the country; but for the rest they remained
quiet as before. During this winter hostilities went on between the
Argives and Epidaurians, without any pitched battle taking place,
but only forays and ambuscades, in which the losses were small and
fell now on one side and now on the other. At the close of the winter,
towards the beginning of spring, the Argives went with scaling ladders
to Epidaurus, expecting to find it left unguarded on account of the
war and to be able to take it by assault, but returned unsuccessful.
And the winter ended, and with it the thirteenth year of the war ended

In the middle of the next summer the Lacedaemonians, seeing the Epidaurians,
their allies, in distress, and the rest of Peloponnese either in revolt
or disaffected, concluded that it was high time for them to interfere
if they wished to stop the progress of the evil, and accordingly with
their full force, the Helots included, took the field against Argos,
under the command of Agis, son of Archidamus, king of the Lacedaemonians.
The Tegeans and the other Arcadian allies of Lacedaemon joined in
the expedition. The allies from the rest of Peloponnese and from outside
mustered at Phlius; the Boeotians with five thousand heavy infantry
and as many light troops, and five hundred horse and the same number
of dismounted troopers; the Corinthians with two thousand heavy infantry;
the rest more or less as might happen; and the Phliasians with all
their forces, the army being in their country.

The preparations of the Lacedaemonians from the first had been known
to the Argives, who did not, however, take the field until the enemy
was on his road to join the rest at Phlius. Reinforced by the Mantineans
with their allies, and by three thousand Elean heavy infantry, they
advanced and fell in with the Lacedaemonians at Methydrium in Arcadia.
Each party took up its position upon a hill, and the Argives prepared
to engage the Lacedaemonians while they were alone; but Agis eluded
them by breaking up his camp in the night, and proceeded to join the
rest of the allies at Phlius. The Argives discovering this at daybreak,
marched first to Argos and then to the Nemean road, by which they
expected the Lacedaemonians and their allies would come down. However,
Agis, instead of taking this road as they expected, gave the Lacedaemonians,
Arcadians, and Epidaurians their orders, and went along another difficult
road, and descended into the plain of Argos. The Corinthians, Pellenians,
and Phliasians marched by another steep road; while the Boeotians,
Megarians, and Sicyonians had instructions to come down by the Nemean
road where the Argives were posted, in order that, if the enemy advanced
into the plain against the troops of Agis, they might fall upon his
rear with their cavalry. These dispositions concluded, Agis invaded
the plain and began to ravage Saminthus and other places.

Discovering this, the Argives came up from Nemea, day having now dawned.
On their way they fell in with the troops of the Phliasians and Corinthians,
and killed a few of the Phliasians and had perhaps a few more of their
own men killed by the Corinthians. Meanwhile the Boeotians, Megarians,
and Sicyonians, advancing upon Nemea according to their instructions,
found the Argives no longer there, as they had gone down on seeing
their property ravaged, and were now forming for battle, the Lacedaemonians
imitating their example. The Argives were now completely surrounded;
from the plain the Lacedaemonians and their allies shut them off from
their city; above them were the Corinthians, Phliasians, and Pellenians;
and on the side of Nemea the Boeotians, Sicyonians, and Megarians.
Meanwhile their army was without cavalry, the Athenians alone among
the allies not having yet arrived. Now the bulk of the Argives and
their allies did not see the danger of their position, but thought
that they could not have a fairer field, having intercepted the Lacedaemonians
in their own country and close to the city. Two men, however, in the
Argive army, Thrasylus, one of the five generals, and Alciphron, the
Lacedaemonian proxenus, just as the armies were upon the point of
engaging, went and held a parley with Agis and urged him not to bring
on a battle, as the Argives were ready to refer to fair and equal
arbitration whatever complaints the Lacedaemonians might have against
them, and to make a treaty and live in peace in future.

The Argives who made these statements did so upon their own authority,
not by order of the people, and Agis on his accepted their proposals,
and without himself either consulting the majority, simply communicated
the matter to a single individual, one of the high officers accompanying
the expedition, and granted the Argives a truce for four months, in
which to fulfil their promises; after which he immediately led off
the army without giving any explanation to any of the other allies.
The Lacedaemonians and allies followed their general out of respect
for the law, but amongst themselves loudly blamed Agis for going away
from so fair a field (the enemy being hemmed in on every side by infantry
and cavalry) without having done anything worthy of their strength.
Indeed this was by far the finest Hellenic army ever yet brought together;
and it should have been seen while it was still united at Nemea, with
the Lacedaemonians in full force, the Arcadians, Boeotians, Corinthians,
Sicyonians, Pellenians, Phliasians and Megarians, and all these the
flower of their respective populations, thinking themselves a match
not merely for the Argive confederacy, but for another such added
to it. The army thus retired blaming Agis, and returned every man
to his home. The Argives however blamed still more loudly the persons
who had concluded the truce without consulting the people, themselves
thinking that they had let escape with the Lacedaemonians an opportunity
such as they should never see again; as the struggle would have been
under the walls of their city, and by the side of many and brave allies.
On their return accordingly they began to stone Thrasylus in the bed
of the Charadrus, where they try all military causes before entering
the city. Thrasylus fled to the altar, and so saved his life; his
property however they confiscated.

After this arrived a thousand Athenian heavy infantry and three hundred
horse, under the command of Laches and Nicostratus; whom the Argives,
being nevertheless loath to break the truce with the Lacedaemonians,
begged to depart, and refused to bring before the people, to whom
they had a communication to make, until compelled to do so by the
entreaties of the Mantineans and Eleans, who were still at Argos.
The Athenians, by the mouth of Alcibiades their ambassador there present,
told the Argives and the allies that they had no right to make a truce
at all without the consent of their fellow confederates, and now that
the Athenians had arrived so opportunely the war ought to be resumed.
These arguments proving successful with the allies, they immediately
marched upon Orchomenos, all except the Argives, who, although they
had consented like the rest, stayed behind at first, but eventually
joined the others. They now all sat down and besieged Orchomenos,
and made assaults upon it; one of their reasons for desiring to gain
this place being that hostages from Arcadia had been lodged there
by the Lacedaemonians. The Orchomenians, alarmed at the weakness of
their wall and the numbers of the enemy, and at the risk they ran
of perishing before relief arrived, capitulated upon condition of
joining the league, of giving hostages of their own to the Mantineans,
and giving up those lodged with them by the Lacedaemonians. Orchomenos
thus secured, the allies now consulted as to which of the remaining
places they should attack next. The Eleans were urgent for Lepreum;
the Mantineans for Tegea; and the Argives and Athenians giving their
support to the Mantineans, the Eleans went home in a rage at their
not having voted for Lepreum; while the rest of the allies made ready
at Mantinea for going against Tegea, which a party inside had arranged
to put into their hands.

Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians, upon their return from Argos after concluding
the four months’ truce, vehemently blamed Agis for not having subdued
Argos, after an opportunity such as they thought they had never had
before; for it was no easy matter to bring so many and so good allies
together. But when the news arrived of the capture of Orchomenos,
they became more angry than ever, and, departing from all precedent,
in the heat of the moment had almost decided to raze his house, and
to fine him ten thousand drachmae. Agis however entreated them to
do none of these things, promising to atone for his fault by good
service in the field, failing which they might then do to him whatever
they pleased; and they accordingly abstained from razing his house
or fining him as they had threatened to do, and now made a law, hitherto
unknown at Lacedaemon, attaching to him ten Spartans as counsellors,
without whose consent he should have no power to lead an army out
of the city.

At this juncture arrived word from their friends in Tegea that, unless
they speedily appeared, Tegea would go over from them to the Argives
and their allies, if it had not gone over already. Upon this news
a force marched out from Lacedaemon, of the Spartans and Helots and
all their people, and that instantly and upon a scale never before
witnessed. Advancing to Orestheum in Maenalia, they directed the Arcadians
in their league to follow close after them to Tegea, and, going on
themselves as far as Orestheum, from thence sent back the sixth part
of the Spartans, consisting of the oldest and youngest men, to guard
their homes, and with the rest of their army arrived at Tegea; where
their Arcadian allies soon after joined them. Meanwhile they sent
to Corinth, to the Boeotians, the Phocians, and Locrians, with orders
to come up as quickly as possible to Mantinea. These had but short
notice; and it was not easy except all together, and after waiting
for each other, to pass through the enemy’s country, which lay right
across and blocked up the line of communication. Nevertheless they
made what haste they could. Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians with the
Arcadian allies that had joined them, entered the territory of Mantinea,
and encamping near the temple of Heracles began to plunder the country.

Here they were seen by the Argives and their allies, who immediately
took up a strong and difficult position, and formed in order of battle.
The Lacedaemonians at once advanced against them, and came on within
a stone’s throw or javelin’s cast, when one of the older men, seeing
the enemy’s position to be a strong one, hallooed to Agis that he
was minded to cure one evil with another; meaning that he wished to
make amends for his retreat, which had been so much blamed, from Argos,
by his present untimely precipitation. Meanwhile Agis, whether in
consequence of this halloo or of some sudden new idea of his own,
quickly led back his army without engaging, and entering the Tegean
territory, began to turn off into that of Mantinea the water about
which the Mantineans and Tegeans are always fighting, on account of
the extensive damage it does to whichever of the two countries it
falls into. His object in this was to make the Argives and their allies
come down from the hill, to resist the diversion of the water, as
they would be sure to do when they knew of it, and thus to fight the
battle in the plain. He accordingly stayed that day where he was,
engaged in turning off the water. The Argives and their allies were
at first amazed at the sudden retreat of the enemy after advancing
so near, and did not know what to make of it; but when he had gone
away and disappeared, without their having stirred to pursue him,
they began anew to find fault with their generals, who had not only
let the Lacedaemonians get off before, when they were so happily intercepted
before Argos, but who now again allowed them to run away, without
any one pursuing them, and to escape at their leisure while the Argive
army was leisurely betrayed.

The generals, half-stunned for the moment, afterwards led them down
from the hill, and went forward and encamped in the plain, with the
intention of attacking the enemy.

The next day the Argives and their allies formed in the order in which
they meant to fight, if they chanced to encounter the enemy; and the
Lacedaemonians returning from the water to their old encampment by
the temple of Heracles, suddenly saw their adversaries close in front
of them, all in complete order, and advanced from the hill. A shock
like that of the present moment the Lacedaemonians do not ever remember
to have experienced: there was scant time for preparation, as they
instantly and hastily fell into their ranks, Agis, their king, directing
everything, agreeably to the law. For when a king is in the field
all commands proceed from him: he gives the word to the Polemarchs;
they to the Lochages; these to the Pentecostyes; these again to the
Enomotarchs, and these last to the Enomoties. In short all orders
required pass in the same way and quickly reach the troops; as almost
the whole Lacedaemonian army, save for a small part, consists of officers
under officers, and the care of what is to be done falls upon many.

In this battle the left wing was composed of the Sciritae, who in
a Lacedaemonian army have always that post to themselves alone; next
to these were the soldiers of Brasidas from Thrace, and the Neodamodes
with them; then came the Lacedaemonians themselves, company after
company, with the Arcadians of Heraea at their side. After these were
the Maenalians, and on the right wing the Tegeans with a few of the
Lacedaemonians at the extremity; their cavalry being posted upon the
two wings. Such was the Lacedaemonian formation. That of their opponents
was as follows: On the right were the Mantineans, the action taking
place in their country; next to them the allies from Arcadia; after
whom came the thousand picked men of the Argives, to whom the state
had given a long course of military training at the public expense;
next to them the rest of the Argives, and after them their allies,
the Cleonaeans and Orneans, and lastly the Athenians on the extreme
left, and lastly the Athenians on the extreme left, and their own
cavalry with them.

Such were the order and the forces of the two combatants. The Lacedaemonian
army looked the largest; though as to putting down the numbers of
either host, or of the contingents composing it, I could not do so
with any accuracy. Owing to the secrecy of their government the number
of the Lacedaemonians was not known, and men are so apt to brag about
the forces of their country that the estimate of their opponents was
not trusted. The following calculation, however, makes it possible
to estimate the numbers of the Lacedaemonians present upon this occasion.
There were seven companies in the field without counting the Sciritae,
who numbered six hundred men: in each company there were four Pentecostyes,
and in the Pentecosty four Enomoties. The first rank of the Enomoty
was composed of four soldiers: as to the depth, although they had
not been all drawn up alike, but as each captain chose, they were
generally ranged eight deep; the first rank along the whole line,
exclusive of the Sciritae, consisted of four hundred and forty-eight

The armies being now on the eve of engaging, each contingent received
some words of encouragement from its own commander. The Mantineans
were, reminded that they were going to fight for their country and
to avoid returning to the experience of servitude after having tasted
that of empire; the Argives, that they would contend for their ancient
supremacy, to regain their once equal share of Peloponnese of which
they had been so long deprived, and to punish an enemy and a neighbour
for a thousand wrongs; the Athenians, of the glory of gaining the
honours of the day with so many and brave allies in arms, and that
a victory over the Lacedaemonians in Peloponnese would cement and
extend their empire, and would besides preserve Attica from all invasions
in future. These were the incitements addressed to the Argives and
their allies. The Lacedaemonians meanwhile, man to man, and with their
war-songs in the ranks, exhorted each brave comrade to remember what
he had learnt before; well aware that the long training of action
was of more saving virtue than any brief verbal exhortation, though
never so well delivered.

After this they joined battle, the Argives and their allies advancing
with haste and fury, the Lacedaemonians slowly and to the music of
many flute-players- a standing institution in their army, that has
nothing to do with religion, but is meant to make them advance evenly,
stepping in time, without break their order, as large armies are apt
to do in the moment of engaging.

Just before the battle joined, King Agis resolved upon the following
manoeuvre. All armies are alike in this: on going into action they
get forced out rather on their right wing, and one and the other overlap
with this adversary’s left; because fear makes each man do his best
to shelter his unarmed side with the shield of the man next him on
the right, thinking that the closer the shields are locked together
the better will he be protected. The man primarily responsible for
this is the first upon the right wing, who is always striving to withdraw
from the enemy his unarmed side; and the same apprehension makes the
rest follow him. On the present occasion the Mantineans reached with
their wing far beyond the Sciritae, and the Lacedaemonians and Tegeans
still farther beyond the Athenians, as their army was the largest.
Agis, afraid of his left being surrounded, and thinking that the Mantineans
outflanked it too far, ordered the Sciritae and Brasideans to move
out from their place in the ranks and make the line even with the
Mantineans, and told the Polemarchs Hipponoidas and Aristocles to
fill up the gap thus formed, by throwing themselves into it with two
companies taken from the right wing; thinking that his right would
still be strong enough and to spare, and that the line fronting the
Mantineans would gain in solidity.

However, as he gave these orders in the moment of the onset, and at
short notice, it so happened that Aristocles and Hipponoidas would
not move over, for which offence they were afterwards banished from
Sparta, as having been guilty of cowardice; and the enemy meanwhile
closed before the Sciritae (whom Agis on seeing that the two companies
did not move over ordered to return to their place) had time to fill
up the breach in question. Now it was, however, that the Lacedaemonians,
utterly worsted in respect of skill, showed themselves as superior
in point of courage. As soon as they came to close quarters with the
enemy, the Mantinean right broke their Sciritae and Brasideans, and,
bursting in with their allies and the thousand picked Argives into
the unclosed breach in their line, cut up and surrounded the Lacedaemonians,
and drove them in full rout to the wagons, slaying some of the older
men on guard there. But the Lacedaemonians, worsted in this part of
the field, with the rest of their army, and especially the centre,
where the three hundred knights, as they are called, fought round
King Agis, fell on the older men of the Argives and the five companies
so named, and on the Cleonaeans, the Orneans, and the Athenians next
them, and instantly routed them; the greater number not even waiting
to strike a blow, but giving way the moment that they came on, some
even being trodden under foot, in their fear of being overtaken by
their assailants.

The army of the Argives and their allies, having given way in this
quarter, was now completely cut in two, and the Lacedaemonian and
Tegean right simultaneously closing round the Athenians with the troops
that outflanked them, these last found themselves placed between two
fires, being surrounded on one side and already defeated on the other.
Indeed they would have suffered more severely than any other part
of the army, but for the services of the cavalry which they had with
them. Agis also on perceiving the distress of his left opposed to
the Mantineans and the thousand Argives, ordered all the army to advance
to the support of the defeated wing; and while this took place, as
the enemy moved past and slanted away from them, the Athenians escaped
at their leisure, and with them the beaten Argive division. Meanwhile
the Mantineans and their allies and the picked body of the Argives
ceased to press the enemy, and seeing their friends defeated and the
Lacedaemonians in full advance upon them, took to flight. Many of
the Mantineans perished; but the bulk of the picked body of the Argives
made good their escape. The flight and retreat, however, were neither
hurried nor long; the Lacedaemonians fighting long and stubbornly
until the rout of their enemy, but that once effected, pursuing for
a short time and not far.

Such was the battle, as nearly as possible as I have described it;
the greatest that had occurred for a very long while among the Hellenes,
and joined by the most considerable states. The Lacedaemonians took
up a position in front of the enemy’s dead, and immediately set up
a trophy and stripped the slain; they took up their own dead and carried
them back to Tegea, where they buried them, and restored those of
the enemy under truce. The Argives, Orneans, and Cleonaeans had seven
hundred killed; the Mantineans two hundred, and the Athenians and
Aeginetans also two hundred, with both their generals. On the side
of the Lacedaemonians, the allies did not suffer any loss worth speaking
of: as to the Lacedaemonians themselves it was difficult to learn
the truth; it is said, however, that there were slain about three
hundred of them.

While the battle was impending, Pleistoanax, the other king, set out
with a reinforcement composed of the oldest and youngest men, and
got as far as Tegea, where he heard of the victory and went back again.
The Lacedaemonians also sent and turned back the allies from Corinth
and from beyond the Isthmus, and returning themselves dismissed their
allies, and kept the Carnean holidays, which happened to be at that
time. The imputations cast upon them by the Hellenes at the time,
whether of cowardice on account of the disaster in the island, or
of mismanagement and slowness generally, were all wiped out by this
single action: fortune, it was thought, might have humbled them, but
the men themselves were the same as ever.

The day before this battle, the Epidaurians with all their forces
invaded the deserted Argive territory, and cut off many of the guards
left there in the absence of the Argive army. After the battle three
thousand Elean heavy infantry arriving to aid the Mantineans, and
a reinforcement of one thousand Athenians, all these allies marched
at once against Epidaurus, while the Lacedaemonians were keeping the
Carnea, and dividing the work among them began to build a wall round
the city. The rest left off; but the Athenians finished at once the
part assigned to them round Cape Heraeum; and having all joined in
leaving a garrison in the fortification in question, they returned
to their respective cities.

Summer now came to an end. In the first days of the next winter, when
the Carnean holidays were over, the Lacedaemonians took the field,
and arriving at Tegea sent on to Argos proposals of accommodation.
They had before had a party in the town desirous of overthrowing the
democracy; and after the battle that had been fought, these were now
far more in a position to persuade the people to listen to terms.
Their plan was first to make a treaty with the Lacedaemonians, to
be followed by an alliance, and after this to fall upon the commons.
Lichas, son of Arcesilaus, the Argive proxenus, accordingly arrived
at Argos with two proposals from Lacedaemon, to regulate the conditions
of war or peace, according as they preferred the one or the other.
After much discussion, Alcibiades happening to be in the town, the
Lacedaemonian party, who now ventured to act openly, persuaded the
Argives to accept the proposal for accommodation; which ran as follows:

The assembly of the Lacedaemonians agrees to treat with the Argives
upon the terms following:

  1. The Argives shall restore to the Orchomenians their children, and
    to the Maenalians their men, and shall restore the men they have in
    Mantinea to the Lacedaemonians.

  2. They shall evacuate Epidaurus, and raze the fortification there.
    If the Athenians refuse to withdraw from Epidaurus, they shall be
    declared enemies of the Argives and of the Lacedaemonians, and of
    the allies of the Lacedaemonians and the allies of the Argives.

  3. If the Lacedaemonians have any children in their custody, they
    shall restore them every one to his city.

  4. As to the offering to the god, the Argives, if they wish, shall
    impose an oath upon the Epidaurians, but, if not, they shall swear
    it themselves.

  5. All the cities in Peloponnese, both small and great, shall be independent
    according to the customs of their country.

  6. If any of the powers outside Peloponnese invade Peloponnesian territory,
    the parties contracting shall unite to repel them, on such terms as
    they may agree upon, as being most fair for the Peloponnesians.

  7. All allies of the Lacedaemonians outside Peloponnese shall be on
    the same footing as the Lacedaemonians, and the allies of the Argives
    shall be on the same footing as the Argives, being left in enjoyment
    of their own possessions.

  8. This treaty shall be shown to the allies, and shall be concluded,
    if they approve; if the allies think fit, they may send the treaty
    to be considered at home.

The Argives began by accepting this proposal, and the Lacedaemonian
army returned home from Tegea. After this intercourse was renewed
between them, and not long afterwards the same party contrived that
the Argives should give up the league with the Mantineans, Eleans,
and Athenians, and should make a treaty and alliance with the Lacedaemonians;
which was consequently done upon the terms following:

The Lacedaemonians and Argives agree to a treaty and alliance for
fifty years upon the terms following:

  1. All disputes shall be decided by fair and impartial arbitration,
    agreeably to the customs of the two countries.

  2. The rest of the cities in Peloponnese may be included in this treaty
    and alliance, as independent and sovereign, in full enjoyment of what
    they possess, all disputes being decided by fair and impartial arbitration,
    agreeably to the customs of the said cities.

  3. All allies of the Lacedaemonians outside Peloponnese shall be upon
    the same footing as the Lacedaemonians themselves, and the allies
    of the Argives shall be upon the same footing as the Argives themselves,
    continuing to enjoy what they possess.

  4. If it shall be anywhere necessary to make an expedition in common,
    the Lacedaemonians and Argives shall consult upon it and decide, as
    may be most fair for the allies.

  5. If any of the cities, whether inside or outside Peloponnese, have
    a question whether of frontiers or otherwise, it must be settled,
    but if one allied city should have a quarrel with another allied city,
    it must be referred to some third city thought impartial by both parties.
    Private citizens shall have their disputes decided according to the
    laws of their several countries.

The treaty and above alliance concluded, each party at once released
everything whether acquired by war or otherwise, and thenceforth acting
in common voted to receive neither herald nor embassy from the Athenians
unless they evacuated their forts and withdrew from Peloponnese, and
also to make neither peace nor war with any, except jointly. Zeal
was not wanting: both parties sent envoys to the Thracian places and
to Perdiccas, and persuaded the latter to join their league. Still
he did not at once break off from Athens, although minded to do so
upon seeing the way shown him by Argos, the original home of his family.
They also renewed their old oaths with the Chalcidians and took new
ones: the Argives, besides, sent ambassadors to the Athenians, bidding
them evacuate the fort at Epidaurus. The Athenians, seeing their own
men outnumbered by the rest of the garrison, sent Demosthenes to bring
them out. This general, under colour of a gymnastic contest which
he arranged on his arrival, got the rest of the garrison out of the
place, and shut the gates behind them. Afterwards the Athenians renewed
their treaty with the Epidaurians, and by themselves gave up the fortress.

After the defection of Argos from the league, the Mantineans, though
they held out at first, in the end finding themselves powerless without
the Argives, themselves too came to terms with Lacedaemon, and gave
up their sovereignty over the towns. The Lacedaemonians and Argives,
each a thousand strong, now took the field together, and the former
first went by themselves to Sicyon and made the government there more
oligarchical than before, and then both, uniting, put down the democracy
at Argos and set up an oligarchy favourable to Lacedaemon. These events
occurred at the close of the winter, just before spring; and the fourteenth
year of the war ended. The next summer the people of Dium, in Athos,
revolted from the Athenians to the Chalcidians, and the Lacedaemonians
settled affairs in Achaea in a way more agreeable to the interests
of their country. Meanwhile the popular party at Argos little by little
gathered new consistency and courage, and waited for the moment of
the Gymnopaedic festival at Lacedaemon, and then fell upon the oligarchs.
After a fight in the city, victory declared for the commons, who slew
some of their opponents and banished others. The Lacedaemonians for
a long while let the messages of their friends at Argos remain without
effect. At last they put off the Gymnopaediae and marched to their
succour, but learning at Tegea the defeat of the oligarchs, refused
to go any further in spite of the entreaties of those who had escaped,
and returned home and kept the festival. Later on, envoys arrived
with messages from the Argives in the town and from the exiles, when
the allies were also at Sparta; and after much had been said on both
sides, the Lacedaemonians decided that the party in the town had done
wrong, and resolved to march against Argos, but kept delaying and
putting off the matter. Meanwhile the commons at Argos, in fear of
the Lacedaemonians, began again to court the Athenian alliance, which
they were convinced would be of the greatest service to them; and
accordingly proceeded to build long walls to the sea, in order that
in case of a blockade by land; with the help of the Athenians they
might have the advantage of importing what they wanted by sea. Some
of the cities in Peloponnese were also privy to the building of these
walls; and the Argives with all their people, women and slaves not
excepted, addressed themselves to the work, while carpenters and masons
came to them from Athens.

Summer was now over. The winter following the Lacedaemonians, hearing
of the walls that were building, marched against Argos with their
allies, the Corinthians excepted, being also not without intelligence
in the city itself; Agis, son of Archidamus, their king, was in command.
The intelligence which they counted upon within the town came to nothing;
they however took and razed the walls which were being built, and
after capturing the Argive town Hysiae and killing all the freemen
that fell into their hands, went back and dispersed every man to his
city. After this the Argives marched into Phlius and plundered it
for harbouring their exiles, most of whom had settled there, and so
returned home. The same winter the Athenians blockaded Macedonia,
on the score of the league entered into by Perdiccas with the Argives
and Lacedaemonians, and also of his breach of his engagements on the
occasion of the expedition prepared by Athens against the Chalcidians
in the direction of Thrace and against Amphipolis, under the command
of Nicias, son of Niceratus, which had to be broken up mainly because
of his desertion. He was therefore proclaimed an enemy. And thus the
winter ended, and the fifteenth year of the war ended with it.

Chapter XVII

Sixteenth Year of the War – The Melian Conference – Fate of Melos

The next summer Alcibiades sailed with twenty ships to Argos and seized
the suspected persons still left of the Lacedaemonian faction to the
number of three hundred, whom the Athenians forthwith lodged in the
neighbouring islands of their empire. The Athenians also made an expedition
against the isle of Melos with thirty ships of their own, six Chian,
and two Lesbian vessels, sixteen hundred heavy infantry, three hundred
archers, and twenty mounted archers from Athens, and about fifteen
hundred heavy infantry from the allies and the islanders. The Melians
are a colony of Lacedaemon that would not submit to the Athenians
like the other islanders, and at first remained neutral and took no
part in the struggle, but afterwards upon the Athenians using violence
and plundering their territory, assumed an attitude of open hostility.
Cleomedes, son of Lycomedes, and Tisias, son of Tisimachus, the generals,
encamping in their territory with the above armament, before doing
any harm to their land, sent envoys to negotiate. These the Melians
did not bring before the people, but bade them state the object of
their mission to the magistrates and the few; upon which the Athenian
envoys spoke as follows:

Athenians. Since the negotiations are not to go on before the people,
in order that we may not be able to speak straight on without interruption,
and deceive the ears of the multitude by seductive arguments which
would pass without refutation (for we know that this is the meaning
of our being brought before the few), what if you who sit there were
to pursue a method more cautious still? Make no set speech yourselves,
but take us up at whatever you do not like, and settle that before
going any farther. And first tell us if this proposition of ours suits

The Melian commissioners answered:
Melians. To the fairness of quietly instructing each other as you
propose there is nothing to object; but your military preparations
are too far advanced to agree with what you say, as we see you are
come to be judges in your own cause, and that all we can reasonably
expect from this negotiation is war, if we prove to have right on
our side and refuse to submit, and in the contrary case, slavery.

Athenians. If you have met to reason about presentiments of the future,
or for anything else than to consult for the safety of your state
upon the facts that you see before you, we will give over; otherwise
we will go on.

Melians. It is natural and excusable for men in our position to turn
more ways than one both in thought and utterance. However, the question
in this conference is, as you say, the safety of our country; and
the discussion, if you please, can proceed in the way which you propose.

Athenians. For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretences-
either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the
Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done
us- and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return
we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that
you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or
that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding
in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as
we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals
in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what
they must.

Melians. As we think, at any rate, it is expedient- we speak as we
are obliged, since you enjoin us to let right alone and talk only
of interest- that you should not destroy what is our common protection,
the privilege of being allowed in danger to invoke what is fair and
right, and even to profit by arguments not strictly valid if they
can be got to pass current. And you are as much interested in this
as any, as your fall would be a signal for the heaviest vengeance
and an example for the world to meditate upon.

Athenians. The end of our empire, if end it should, does not frighten
us: a rival empire like Lacedaemon, even if Lacedaemon was our real
antagonist, is not so terrible to the vanquished as subjects who by
themselves attack and overpower their rulers. This, however, is a
risk that we are content to take. We will now proceed to show you
that we are come here in the interest of our empire, and that we shall
say what we are now going to say, for the preservation of your country;
as we would fain exercise that empire over you without trouble, and
see you preserved for the good of us both.

Melians. And how, pray, could it turn out as good for us to serve
as for you to rule?

Athenians. Because you would have the advantage of submitting before
suffering the worst, and we should gain by not destroying you.

Melians. So that you would not consent to our being neutral, friends
instead of enemies, but allies of neither side.

Athenians. No; for your hostility cannot so much hurt us as your friendship
will be an argument to our subjects of our weakness, and your enmity
of our power.

Melians. Is that your subjects’ idea of equity, to put those who have
nothing to do with you in the same category with peoples that are
most of them your own colonists, and some conquered rebels?

Athenians. As far as right goes they think one has as much of it as
the other, and that if any maintain their independence it is because
they are strong, and that if we do not molest them it is because we
are afraid; so that besides extending our empire we should gain in
security by your subjection; the fact that you are islanders and weaker
than others rendering it all the more important that you should not
succeed in baffling the masters of the sea.

Melians. But do you consider that there is no security in the policy
which we indicate? For here again if you debar us from talking about
justice and invite us to obey your interest, we also must explain
ours, and try to persuade you, if the two happen to coincide. How
can you avoid making enemies of all existing neutrals who shall look
at case from it that one day or another you will attack them? And
what is this but to make greater the enemies that you have already,
and to force others to become so who would otherwise have never thought
of it?

Athenians. Why, the fact is that continentals generally give us but
little alarm; the liberty which they enjoy will long prevent their
taking precautions against us; it is rather islanders like yourselves,
outside our empire, and subjects smarting under the yoke, who would
be the most likely to take a rash step and lead themselves and us
into obvious danger.

Melians. Well then, if you risk so much to retain your empire, and
your subjects to get rid of it, it were surely great baseness and
cowardice in us who are still free not to try everything that can
be tried, before submitting to your yoke.

Athenians. Not if you are well advised, the contest not being an equal
one, with honour as the prize and shame as the penalty, but a question
of self-preservation and of not resisting those who are far stronger
than you are.

Melians. But we know that the fortune of war is sometimes more impartial
than the disproportion of numbers might lead one to suppose; to submit
is to give ourselves over to despair, while action still preserves
for us a hope that we may stand erect.

Athenians. Hope, danger’s comforter, may be indulged in by those who
have abundant resources, if not without loss at all events without
ruin; but its nature is to be extravagant, and those who go so far
as to put their all upon the venture see it in its true colours only
when they are ruined; but so long as the discovery would enable them
to guard against it, it is never found wanting. Let not this be the
case with you, who are weak and hang on a single turn of the scale;
nor be like the vulgar, who, abandoning such security as human means
may still afford, when visible hopes fail them in extremity, turn
to invisible, to prophecies and oracles, and other such inventions
that delude men with hopes to their destruction.

Melians. You may be sure that we are as well aware as you of the difficulty
of contending against your power and fortune, unless the terms be
equal. But we trust that the gods may grant us fortune as good as
yours, since we are just men fighting against unjust, and that what
we want in power will be made up by the alliance of the Lacedaemonians,
who are bound, if only for very shame, to come to the aid of their
kindred. Our confidence, therefore, after all is not so utterly irrational.

Athenians. When you speak of the favour of the gods, we may as fairly
hope for that as yourselves; neither our pretensions nor our conduct
being in any way contrary to what men believe of the gods, or practise
among themselves. Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that
by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can. And
it is not as if we were the first to make this law, or to act upon
it when made: we found it existing before us, and shall leave it to
exist for ever after us; all we do is to make use of it, knowing that
you and everybody else, having the same power as we have, would do
the same as we do. Thus, as far as the gods are concerned, we have
no fear and no reason to fear that we shall be at a disadvantage.
But when we come to your notion about the Lacedaemonians, which leads
you to believe that shame will make them help you, here we bless your
simplicity but do not envy your folly. The Lacedaemonians, when their
own interests or their country’s laws are in question, are the worthiest
men alive; of their conduct towards others much might be said, but
no clearer idea of it could be given than by shortly saying that of
all the men we know they are most conspicuous in considering what
is agreeable honourable, and what is expedient just. Such a way of
thinking does not promise much for the safety which you now unreasonably
count upon.

Melians. But it is for this very reason that we now trust to their
respect for expediency to prevent them from betraying the Melians,
their colonists, and thereby losing the confidence of their friends
in Hellas and helping their enemies.

Athenians. Then you do not adopt the view that expediency goes with
security, while justice and honour cannot be followed without danger;
and danger the Lacedaemonians generally court as little as possible.

Melians. But we believe that they would be more likely to face even
danger for our sake, and with more confidence than for others, as
our nearness to Peloponnese makes it easier for them to act, and our
common blood ensures our fidelity.

Athenians. Yes, but what an intending ally trusts to is not the goodwill
of those who ask his aid, but a decided superiority of power for action;
and the Lacedaemonians look to this even more than others. At least,
such is their distrust of their home resources that it is only with
numerous allies that they attack a neighbour; now is it likely that
while we are masters of the sea they will cross over to an island?

Melians. But they would have others to send. The Cretan Sea is a wide
one, and it is more difficult for those who command it to intercept
others, than for those who wish to elude them to do so safely. And
should the Lacedaemonians miscarry in this, they would fall upon your
land, and upon those left of your allies whom Brasidas did not reach;
and instead of places which are not yours, you will have to fight
for your own country and your own confederacy.

Athenians. Some diversion of the kind you speak of you may one day
experience, only to learn, as others have done, that the Athenians
never once yet withdrew from a siege for fear of any. But we are struck
by the fact that, after saying you would consult for the safety of
your country, in all this discussion you have mentioned nothing which
men might trust in and think to be saved by. Your strongest arguments
depend upon hope and the future, and your actual resources are too
scanty, as compared with those arrayed against you, for you to come
out victorious. You will therefore show great blindness of judgment,
unless, after allowing us to retire, you can find some counsel more
prudent than this. You will surely not be caught by that idea of disgrace,
which in dangers that are disgraceful, and at the same time too plain
to be mistaken, proves so fatal to mankind; since in too many cases
the very men that have their eyes perfectly open to what they are
rushing into, let the thing called disgrace, by the mere influence
of a seductive name, lead them on to a point at which they become
so enslaved by the phrase as in fact to fall wilfully into hopeless
disaster, and incur disgrace more disgraceful as the companion of
error, than when it comes as the result of misfortune. This, if you
are well advised, you will guard against; and you will not think it
dishonourable to submit to the greatest city in Hellas, when it makes
you the moderate offer of becoming its tributary ally, without ceasing
to enjoy the country that belongs to you; nor when you have the choice
given you between war and security, will you be so blinded as to choose
the worse. And it is certain that those who do not yield to their
equals, who keep terms with their superiors, and are moderate towards
their inferiors, on the whole succeed best. Think over the matter,
therefore, after our withdrawal, and reflect once and again that it
is for your country that you are consulting, that you have not more
than one, and that upon this one deliberation depends its prosperity
or ruin.

The Athenians now withdrew from the conference; and the Melians, left
to themselves, came to a decision corresponding with what they had
maintained in the discussion, and answered: “Our resolution, Athenians,
is the same as it was at first. We will not in a moment deprive of
freedom a city that has been inhabited these seven hundred years;
but we put our trust in the fortune by which the gods have preserved
it until now, and in the help of men, that is, of the Lacedaemonians;
and so we will try and save ourselves. Meanwhile we invite you to
allow us to be friends to you and foes to neither party, and to retire
from our country after making such a treaty as shall seem fit to us

Such was the answer of the Melians. The Athenians now departing from
the conference said: “Well, you alone, as it seems to us, judging
from these resolutions, regard what is future as more certain than
what is before your eyes, and what is out of sight, in your eagerness,
as already coming to pass; and as you have staked most on, and trusted
most in, the Lacedaemonians, your fortune, and your hopes, so will
you be most completely deceived.”

The Athenian envoys now returned to the army; and the Melians showing
no signs of yielding, the generals at once betook themselves to hostilities,
and drew a line of circumvallation round the Melians, dividing the
work among the different states. Subsequently the Athenians returned
with most of their army, leaving behind them a certain number of their
own citizens and of the allies to keep guard by land and sea. The
force thus left stayed on and besieged the place.

About the same time the Argives invaded the territory of Phlius and
lost eighty men cut off in an ambush by the Phliasians and Argive
exiles. Meanwhile the Athenians at Pylos took so much plunder from
the Lacedaemonians that the latter, although they still refrained
from breaking off the treaty and going to war with Athens, yet proclaimed
that any of their people that chose might plunder the Athenians. The
Corinthians also commenced hostilities with the Athenians for private
quarrels of their own; but the rest of the Peloponnesians stayed quiet.
Meanwhile the Melians attacked by night and took the part of the Athenian
lines over against the market, and killed some of the men, and brought
in corn and all else that they could find useful to them, and so returned
and kept quiet, while the Athenians took measures to keep better guard
in future.

Summer was now over. The next winter the Lacedaemonians intended to
invade the Argive territory, but arriving at the frontier found the
sacrifices for crossing unfavourable, and went back again. This intention
of theirs gave the Argives suspicions of certain of their fellow citizens,
some of whom they arrested; others, however, escaped them. About the
same time the Melians again took another part of the Athenian lines
which were but feebly garrisoned. Reinforcements afterwards arriving
from Athens in consequence, under the command of Philocrates, son
of Demeas, the siege was now pressed vigorously; and some treachery
taking place inside, the Melians surrendered at discretion to the
Athenians, who put to death all the grown men whom they took, and
sold the women and children for slaves, and subsequently sent out
five hundred colonists and inhabited the place themselves.


Chapter XVIII

Seventeenth Year of the War – The Sicilian Campaign – Affair of the
Hermae – Departure of the Expedition

The same winter the Athenians resolved to sail again to Sicily, with
a greater armament than that under Laches and Eurymedon, and, if possible,
to conquer the island; most of them being ignorant of its size and
of the number of its inhabitants, Hellenic and barbarian, and of the
fact that they were undertaking a war not much inferior to that against
the Peloponnesians. For the voyage round Sicily in a merchantman is
not far short of eight days; and yet, large as the island is, there
are only two miles of sea to prevent its being mainland.

It was settled originally as follows, and the peoples that occupied
it are these. The earliest inhabitants spoken of in any part of the
country are the Cyclopes and Laestrygones; but I cannot tell of what
race they were, or whence they came or whither they went, and must
leave my readers to what the poets have said of them and to what may
be generally known concerning them. The Sicanians appear to have been
the next settlers, although they pretend to have been the first of
all and aborigines; but the facts show that they were Iberians, driven
by the Ligurians from the river Sicanus in Iberia. It was from them
that the island, before called Trinacria, took its name of Sicania,
and to the present day they inhabit the west of Sicily. On the fall
of Ilium, some of the Trojans escaped from the Achaeans, came in ships
to Sicily, and settled next to the Sicanians under the general name
of Elymi; their towns being called Eryx and Egesta. With them settled
some of the Phocians carried on their way from Troy by a storm, first
to Libya, and afterwards from thence to Sicily. The Sicels crossed
over to Sicily from their first home Italy, flying from the Opicans,
as tradition says and as seems not unlikely, upon rafts, having watched
till the wind set down the strait to effect the passage; although
perhaps they may have sailed over in some other way. Even at the present
day there are still Sicels in Italy; and the country got its name
of Italy from Italus, a king of the Sicels, so called. These went
with a great host to Sicily, defeated the Sicanians in battle and
forced them to remove to the south and west of the island, which thus
came to be called Sicily instead of Sicania, and after they crossed
over continued to enjoy the richest parts of the country for near
three hundred years before any Hellenes came to Sicily; indeed they
still hold the centre and north of the island. There were also Phoenicians
living all round Sicily, who had occupied promontories upon the sea
coasts and the islets adjacent for the purpose of trading with the
Sicels. But when the Hellenes began to arrive in considerable numbers
by sea, the Phoenicians abandoned most of their stations, and drawing
together took up their abode in Motye, Soloeis, and Panormus, near
the Elymi, partly because they confided in their alliance, and also
because these are the nearest points for the voyage between Carthage
and Sicily.

These were the barbarians in Sicily, settled as I have said. Of the
Hellenes, the first to arrive were Chalcidians from Euboea with Thucles,
their founder. They founded Naxos and built the altar to Apollo Archegetes,
which now stands outside the town, and upon which the deputies for
the games sacrifice before sailing from Sicily. Syracuse was founded
the year afterwards by Archias, one of the Heraclids from Corinth,
who began by driving out the Sicels from the island upon which the
inner city now stands, though it is no longer surrounded by water:
in process of time the outer town also was taken within the walls
and became populous. Meanwhile Thucles and the Chalcidians set out
from Naxos in the fifth year after the foundation of Syracuse, and
drove out the Sicels by arms and founded Leontini and afterwards Catana;
the Catanians themselves choosing Evarchus as their founder.

About the same time Lamis arrived in Sicily with a colony from Megara,
and after founding a place called Trotilus beyond the river Pantacyas,
and afterwards leaving it and for a short while joining the Chalcidians
at Leontini, was driven out by them and founded Thapsus. After his
death his companions were driven out of Thapsus, and founded a place
called the Hyblaean Megara; Hyblon, a Sicel king, having given up
the place and inviting them thither. Here they lived two hundred and
forty-five years; after which they were expelled from the city and
the country by the Syracusan tyrant Gelo. Before their expulsion,
however, a hundred years after they had settled there, they sent out
Pamillus and founded Selinus; he having come from their mother country
Megara to join them in its foundation. Gela was founded by Antiphemus
from Rhodes and Entimus from Crete, who joined in leading a colony
thither, in the forty-fifth year after the foundation of Syracuse.
The town took its name from the river Gelas, the place where the citadel
now stands, and which was first fortified, being called Lindii. The
institutions which they adopted were Dorian. Near one hundred and
eight years after the foundation of Gela, the Geloans founded Acragas
(Agrigentum), so called from the river of that name, and made Aristonous
and Pystilus their founders; giving their own institutions to the
colony. Zancle was originally founded by pirates from Cuma, the Chalcidian
town in the country of the Opicans: afterwards, however, large numbers
came from Chalcis and the rest of Euboea, and helped to people the
place; the founders being Perieres and Crataemenes from Cuma and Chalcis
respectively. It first had the name of Zancle given it by the Sicels,
because the place is shaped like a sickle, which the Sicels call zanclon;
but upon the original settlers being afterwards expelled by some Samians
and other Ionians who landed in Sicily flying from the Medes, and
the Samians in their turn not long afterwards by Anaxilas, tyrant
of Rhegium, the town was by him colonized with a mixed population,
and its name changed to Messina, after his old country.

Himera was founded from Zancle by Euclides, Simus, and Sacon, most
of those who went to the colony being Chalcidians; though they were
joined by some exiles from Syracuse, defeated in a civil war, called
the Myletidae. The language was a mixture of Chalcidian and Doric,
but the institutions which prevailed were the Chalcidian. Acrae and
Casmenae were founded by the Syracusans; Acrae seventy years after
Syracuse, Casmenae nearly twenty after Acrae. Camarina was first founded
by the Syracusans, close upon a hundred and thirty-five years after
the building of Syracuse; its founders being Daxon and Menecolus.
But the Camarinaeans being expelled by arms by the Syracusans for
having revolted, Hippocrates, tyrant of Gela, some time later receiving
their land in ransom for some Syracusan prisoners, resettled Camarina,
himself acting as its founder. Lastly, it was again depopulated by
Gelo, and settled once more for the third time by the Geloans.

Such is the list of the peoples, Hellenic and barbarian, inhabiting
Sicily, and such the magnitude of the island which the Athenians were
now bent upon invading; being ambitious in real truth of conquering
the whole, although they had also the specious design of succouring
their kindred and other allies in the island. But they were especially
incited by envoys from Egesta, who had come to Athens and invoked
their aid more urgently than ever. The Egestaeans had gone to war
with their neighbours the Selinuntines upon questions of marriage
and disputed territory, and the Selinuntines had procured the alliance
of the Syracusans, and pressed Egesta hard by land and sea. The Egestaeans
now reminded the Athenians of the alliance made in the time of Laches,
during the former Leontine war, and begged them to send a fleet to
their aid, and among a number of other considerations urged as a capital
argument that if the Syracusans were allowed to go unpunished for
their depopulation of Leontini, to ruin the allies still left to Athens
in Sicily, and to get the whole power of the island into their hands,
there would be a danger of their one day coming with a large force,
as Dorians, to the aid of their Dorian brethren, and as colonists,
to the aid of the Peloponnesians who had sent them out, and joining
these in pulling down the Athenian empire. The Athenians would, therefore,
do well to unite with the allies still left to them, and to make a
stand against the Syracusans; especially as they, the Egestaeans,
were prepared to furnish money sufficient for the war. The Athenians,
hearing these arguments constantly repeated in their assemblies by
the Egestaeans and their supporters, voted first to send envoys to
Egesta, to see if there was really the money that they talked of in
the treasury and temples, and at the same time to ascertain in what
posture was the war with the Selinuntines.

The envoys of the Athenians were accordingly dispatched to Sicily.
The same winter the Lacedaemonians and their allies, the Corinthians
excepted, marched into the Argive territory, and ravaged a small part
of the land, and took some yokes of oxen and carried off some corn.
They also settled the Argive exiles at Orneae, and left them a few
soldiers taken from the rest of the army; and after making a truce
for a certain while, according to which neither Orneatae nor Argives
were to injure each other’s territory, returned home with the army.
Not long afterwards the Athenians came with thirty ships and six hundred
heavy infantry, and the Argives joining them with all their forces,
marched out and besieged the men in Orneae for one day; but the garrison
escaped by night, the besiegers having bivouacked some way off. The
next day the Argives, discovering it, razed Orneae to the ground,
and went back again; after which the Athenians went home in their
ships. Meanwhile the Athenians took by sea to Methone on the Macedonian
border some cavalry of their own and the Macedonian exiles that were
at Athens, and plundered the country of Perdiccas. Upon this the Lacedaemonians
sent to the Thracian Chalcidians, who had a truce with Athens from
one ten days to another, urging them to join Perdiccas in the war,
which they refused to do. And the winter ended, and with it ended
the sixteenth year of this war of which Thucydides is the historian.

Early in the spring of the following summer the Athenian envoys arrived
from Sicily, and the Egestaeans with them, bringing sixty talents
of uncoined silver, as a month’s pay for sixty ships, which they were
to ask to have sent them. The Athenians held an assembly and, after
hearing from the Egestaeans and their own envoys a report, as attractive
as it was untrue, upon the state of affairs generally, and in particular
as to the money, of which, it was said, there was abundance in the
temples and the treasury, voted to send sixty ships to Sicily, under
the command of Alcibiades, son of Clinias, Nicias, son of Niceratus,
and Lamachus, son of Xenophanes, who were appointed with full powers;
they were to help the Egestaeans against the Selinuntines, to restore
Leontini upon gaining any advantage in the war, and to order all other
matters in Sicily as they should deem best for the interests of Athens.
Five days after this a second assembly was held, to consider the speediest
means of equipping the ships, and to vote whatever else might be required
by the generals for the expedition; and Nicias, who had been chosen
to the command against his will, and who thought that the state was
not well advised, but upon a slight aid specious pretext was aspiring
to the conquest of the whole of Sicily, a great matter to achieve,
came forward in the hope of diverting the Athenians from the enterprise,
and gave them the following counsel:

“Although this assembly was convened to consider the preparations
to be made for sailing to Sicily, I think, notwithstanding, that we
have still this question to examine, whether it be better to send
out the ships at all, and that we ought not to give so little consideration
to a matter of such moment, or let ourselves be persuaded by foreigners
into undertaking a war with which we have nothing to do. And yet,
individually, I gain in honour by such a course, and fear as little
as other men for my person- not that I think a man need be any the
worse citizen for taking some thought for his person and estate; on
the contrary, such a man would for his own sake desire the prosperity
of his country more than others- nevertheless, as I have never spoken
against my convictions to gain honour, I shall not begin to do so
now, but shall say what I think best. Against your character any words
of mine would be weak enough, if I were to advise your keeping what
you have got and not risking what is actually yours for advantages
which are dubious in themselves, and which you may or may not attain.
I will, therefore, content myself with showing that your ardour is
out of season, and your ambition not easy of accomplishment.

“I affirm, then, that you leave many enemies behind you here to go
yonder and bring more back with you. You imagine, perhaps, that the
treaty which you have made can be trusted; a treaty that will continue
to exist nominally, as long as you keep quiet- for nominal it has
become, owing to the practices of certain men here and at Sparta-
but which in the event of a serious reverse in any quarter would not
delay our enemies a moment in attacking us; first, because the convention
was forced upon them by disaster and was less honourable to them than
to us; and secondly, because in this very convention there are many
points that are still disputed. Again, some of the most powerful states
have never yet accepted the arrangement at all. Some of these are
at open war with us; others (as the Lacedaemonians do not yet move)
are restrained by truces renewed every ten days, and it is only too
probable that if they found our power divided, as we are hurrying
to divide it, they would attack us vigorously with the Siceliots,
whose alliance they would have in the past valued as they would that
of few others. A man ought, therefore, to consider these points, and
not to think of running risks with a country placed so critically,
or of grasping at another empire before we have secured the one we
have already; for in fact the Thracian Chalcidians have been all these
years in revolt from us without being yet subdued, and others on the
continents yield us but a doubtful obedience. Meanwhile the Egestaeans,
our allies, have been wronged, and we run to help them, while the
rebels who have so long wronged us still wait for punishment.

“And yet the latter, if brought under, might be kept under; while
the Sicilians, even if conquered, are too far off and too numerous
to be ruled without difficulty. Now it is folly to go against men
who could not be kept under even if conquered, while failure would
leave us in a very different position from that which we occupied
before the enterprise. The Siceliots, again, to take them as they
are at present, in the event of a Syracusan conquest (the favourite
bugbear of the Egestaeans), would to my thinking be even less dangerous
to us than before. At present they might possibly come here as separate
states for love of Lacedaemon; in the other case one empire would
scarcely attack another; for after joining the Peloponnesians to overthrow
ours, they could only expect to see the same hands overthrow their
own in the same way. The Hellenes in Sicily would fear us most if
we never went there at all, and next to this, if after displaying
our power we went away again as soon as possible. We all know that
that which is farthest off, and the reputation of which can least
be tested, is the object of admiration; at the least reverse they
would at once begin to look down upon us, and would join our enemies
here against us. You have yourselves experienced this with regard
to the Lacedaemonians and their allies, whom your unexpected success,
as compared with what you feared at first, has made you suddenly despise,
tempting you further to aspire to the conquest of Sicily. Instead,
however, of being puffed up by the misfortunes of your adversaries,
you ought to think of breaking their spirit before giving yourselves
up to confidence, and to understand that the one thought awakened
in the Lacedaemonians by their disgrace is how they may even now,
if possible, overthrow us and repair their dishonour; inasmuch as
military reputation is their oldest and chiefest study. Our struggle,
therefore, if we are wise, will not be for the barbarian Egestaeans
in Sicily, but how to defend ourselves most effectually against the
oligarchical machinations of Lacedaemon.

“We should also remember that we are but now enjoying some respite
from a great pestilence and from war, to the no small benefit of our
estates and persons, and that it is right to employ these at home
on our own behalf, instead of using them on behalf of these exiles
whose interest it is to lie as fairly as they can, who do nothing
but talk themselves and leave the danger to others, and who if they
succeed will show no proper gratitude, and if they fail will drag
down their friends with them. And if there be any man here, overjoyed
at being chosen to command, who urges you to make the expedition,
merely for ends of his own- specially if he be still too young to
command- who seeks to be admired for his stud of horses, but on account
of its heavy expenses hopes for some profit from his appointment,
do not allow such a one to maintain his private splendour at his country’s
risk, but remember that such persons injure the public fortune while
they squander their own, and that this is a matter of importance,
and not for a young man to decide or hastily to take in hand.

“When I see such persons now sitting here at the side of that same
individual and summoned by him, alarm seizes me; and I, in my turn,
summon any of the older men that may have such a person sitting next
him not to let himself be shamed down, for fear of being thought a
coward if he do not vote for war, but, remembering how rarely success
is got by wishing and how often by forecast, to leave to them the
mad dream of conquest, and as a true lover of his country, now threatened
by the greatest danger in its history, to hold up his hand on the
other side; to vote that the Siceliots be left in the limits now existing
between us, limits of which no one can complain (the Ionian sea for
the coasting voyage, and the Sicilian across the open main), to enjoy
their own possessions and to settle their own quarrels; that the Egestaeans,
for their part, be told to end by themselves with the Selinuntines
the war which they began without consulting the Athenians; and that
for the future we do not enter into alliance, as we have been used
to do, with people whom we must help in their need, and who can never
help us in ours.

“And you, Prytanis, if you think it your duty to care for the commonwealth,
and if you wish to show yourself a good citizen, put the question
to the vote, and take a second time the opinions of the Athenians.
If you are afraid to move the question again, consider that a violation
of the law cannot carry any prejudice with so many abettors, that
you will be the physician of your misguided city, and that the virtue
of men in office is briefly this, to do their country as much good
as they can, or in any case no harm that they can avoid.”

Such were the words of Nicias. Most of the Athenians that came forward
spoke in favour of the expedition, and of not annulling what had been
voted, although some spoke on the other side. By far the warmest advocate
of the expedition was, however, Alcibiades, son of Clinias, who wished
to thwart Nicias both as his political opponent and also because of
the attack he had made upon him in his speech, and who was, besides,
exceedingly ambitious of a command by which he hoped to reduce Sicily
and Carthage, and personally to gain in wealth and reputation by means
of his successes. For the position he held among the citizens led
him to indulge his tastes beyond what his real means would bear, both
in keeping horses and in the rest of his expenditure; and this later
on had not a little to do with the ruin of the Athenian state. Alarmed
at the greatness of his licence in his own life and habits, and of
the ambition which he showed in all things soever that he undertook,
the mass of the people set him down as a pretender to the tyranny,
and became his enemies; and although publicly his conduct of the war
was as good as could be desired, individually, his habits gave offence
to every one, and caused them to commit affairs to other hands, and
thus before long to ruin the city. Meanwhile he now came forward and
gave the following advice to the Athenians:

“Athenians, I have a better right to command than others- I must begin
with this as Nicias has attacked me- and at the same time I believe
myself to be worthy of it. The things for which I am abused, bring
fame to my ancestors and to myself, and to the country profit besides.
The Hellenes, after expecting to see our city ruined by the war, concluded
it to be even greater than it really is, by reason of the magnificence
with which I represented it at the Olympic games, when I sent into
the lists seven chariots, a number never before entered by any private
person, and won the first prize, and was second and fourth, and took
care to have everything else in a style worthy of my victory. Custom
regards such displays as honourable, and they cannot be made without
leaving behind them an impression of power. Again, any splendour that
I may have exhibited at home in providing choruses or otherwise, is
naturally envied by my fellow citizens, but in the eyes of foreigners
has an air of strength as in the other instance. And this is no useless
folly, when a man at his own private cost benefits not himself only,
but his city: nor is it unfair that he who prides himself on his position
should refuse to be upon an equality with the rest. He who is badly
off has his misfortunes all to himself, and as we do not see men courted
in adversity, on the like principle a man ought to accept the insolence
of prosperity; or else, let him first mete out equal measure to all,
and then demand to have it meted out to him. What I know is that persons
of this kind and all others that have attained to any distinction,
although they may be unpopular in their lifetime in their relations
with their fellow-men and especially with their equals, leave to posterity
the desire of claiming connection with them even without any ground,
and are vaunted by the country to which they belonged, not as strangers
or ill-doers, but as fellow-countrymen and heroes. Such are my aspirations,
and however I am abused for them in private, the question is whether
any one manages public affairs better than I do. Having united the
most powerful states of Peloponnese, without great danger or expense
to you, I compelled the Lacedaemonians to stake their all upon the
issue of a single day at Mantinea; and although victorious in the
battle, they have never since fully recovered confidence.

“Thus did my youth and so-called monstrous folly find fitting arguments
to deal with the power of the Peloponnesians, and by its ardour win
their confidence and prevail. And do not be afraid of my youth now,
but while I am still in its flower, and Nicias appears fortunate,
avail yourselves to the utmost of the services of us both. Neither
rescind your resolution to sail to Sicily, on the ground that you
would be going to attack a great power. The cities in Sicily are peopled
by motley rabbles, and easily change their institutions and adopt
new ones in their stead; and consequently the inhabitants, being without
any feeling of patriotism, are not provided with arms for their persons,
and have not regularly established themselves on the land; every man
thinks that either by fair words or by party strife he can obtain
something at the public expense, and then in the event of a catastrophe
settle in some other country, and makes his preparations accordingly.
From a mob like this you need not look for either unanimity in counsel
or concert in action; but they will probably one by one come in as
they get a fair offer, especially if they are torn by civil strife
as we are told. Moreover, the Siceliots have not so many heavy infantry
as they boast; just as the Hellenes generally did not prove so numerous
as each state reckoned itself, but Hellas greatly over-estimated their
numbers, and has hardly had an adequate force of heavy infantry throughout
this war. The states in Sicily, therefore, from all that I can hear,
will be found as I say, and I have not pointed out all our advantages,
for we shall have the help of many barbarians, who from their hatred
of the Syracusans will join us in attacking them; nor will the powers
at home prove any hindrance, if you judge rightly. Our fathers with
these very adversaries, which it is said we shall now leave behind
us when we sail, and the Mede as their enemy as well, were able to
win the empire, depending solely on their superiority at sea. The
Peloponnesians had never so little hope against us as at present;
and let them be ever so sanguine, although strong enough to invade
our country even if we stay at home, they can never hurt us with their
navy, as we leave one of our own behind us that is a match for them.

“In this state of things what reason can we give to ourselves for
holding back, or what excuse can we offer to our allies in Sicily
for not helping them? They are our confederates, and we are bound
to assist them, without objecting that they have not assisted us.
We did not take them into alliance to have them to help us in Hellas,
but that they might so annoy our enemies in Sicily as to prevent them
from coming over here and attacking us. It is thus that empire has
been won, both by us and by all others that have held it, by a constant
readiness to support all, whether barbarians or Hellenes, that invite
assistance; since if all were to keep quiet or to pick and choose
whom they ought to assist, we should make but few new conquests, and
should imperil those we have already won. Men do not rest content
with parrying the attacks of a superior, but often strike the first
blow to prevent the attack being made. And we cannot fix the exact
point at which our empire shall stop; we have reached a position in
which we must not be content with retaining but must scheme to extend
it, for, if we cease to rule others, we are in danger of being ruled
ourselves. Nor can you look at inaction from the same point of view
as others, unless you are prepared to change your habits and make
them like theirs.

“Be convinced, then, that we shall augment our power at home by this
adventure abroad, and let us make the expedition, and so humble the
pride of the Peloponnesians by sailing off to Sicily, and letting
them see how little we care for the peace that we are now enjoying;
and at the same time we shall either become masters, as we very easily
may, of the whole of Hellas through the accession of the Sicilian
Hellenes, or in any case ruin the Syracusans, to the no small advantage
of ourselves and our allies. The faculty of staying if successful,
or of returning, will be secured to us by our navy, as we shall be
superior at sea to all the Siceliots put together. And do not let
the do-nothing policy which Nicias advocates, or his setting of the
young against the old, turn you from your purpose, but in the good
old fashion by which our fathers, old and young together, by their
united counsels brought our affairs to their present height, do you
endeavour still to advance them; understanding that neither youth
nor old age can do anything the one without the other, but that levity,
sobriety, and deliberate judgment are strongest when united, and that,
by sinking into inaction, the city, like everything else, will wear
itself out, and its skill in everything decay; while each fresh struggle
will give it fresh experience, and make it more used to defend itself
not in word but in deed. In short, my conviction is that a city not
inactive by nature could not choose a quicker way to ruin itself than
by suddenly adopting such a policy, and that the safest rule of life
is to take one’s character and institutions for better and for worse,
and to live up to them as closely as one can.”

Such were the words of Alcibiades. After hearing him and the Egestaeans
and some Leontine exiles, who came forward reminding them of their
oaths and imploring their assistance, the Athenians became more eager
for the expedition than before. Nicias, perceiving that it would be
now useless to try to deter them by the old line of argument, but
thinking that he might perhaps alter their resolution by the extravagance
of his estimates, came forward a second time and spoke as follows:

“I see, Athenians, that you are thoroughly bent upon the expedition,
and therefore hope that all will turn out as we wish, and proceed
to give you my opinion at the present juncture. From all that I hear
we are going against cities that are great and not subject to one
another, or in need of change, so as to be glad to pass from enforced
servitude to an easier condition, or in the least likely to accept
our rule in exchange for freedom; and, to take only the Hellenic towns,
they are very numerous for one island. Besides Naxos and Catana, which
I expect to join us from their connection with Leontini, there are
seven others armed at all points just like our own power, particularly
Selinus and Syracuse, the chief objects of our expedition. These are
full of heavy infantry, archers, and darters, have galleys in abundance
and crowds to man them; they have also money, partly in the hands
of private persons, partly in the temples at Selinus, and at Syracuse
first-fruits from some of the barbarians as well. But their chief
advantage over us lies in the number of their horses, and in the fact
that they grow their corn at home instead of importing it.

“Against a power of this kind it will not do to have merely a weak
naval armament, but we shall want also a large land army to sail with
us, if we are to do anything worthy of our ambition, and are not to
be shut out from the country by a numerous cavalry; especially if
the cities should take alarm and combine, and we should be left without
friends (except the Egestaeans) to furnish us with horse to defend
ourselves with. It would be disgraceful to have to retire under compulsion,
or to send back for reinforcements, owing to want of reflection at
first: we must therefore start from home with a competent force, seeing
that we are going to sail far from our country, and upon an expedition
not like any which you may undertaken undertaken the quality of allies,
among your subject states here in Hellas, where any additional supplies
needed were easily drawn from the friendly territory; but we are cutting
ourselves off, and going to a land entirely strange, from which during
four months in winter it is not even easy for a messenger get to Athens.

“I think, therefore, that we ought to take great numbers of heavy
infantry, both from Athens and from our allies, and not merely from
our subjects, but also any we may be able to get for love or for money
in Peloponnese, and great numbers also of archers and slingers, to
make head against the Sicilian horse. Meanwhile we must have an overwhelming
superiority at sea, to enable us the more easily to carry in what
we want; and we must take our own corn in merchant vessels, that is
to say, wheat and parched barley, and bakers from the mills compelled
to serve for pay in the proper proportion; in order that in case of
our being weather-bound the armament may not want provisions, as it
is not every city that will be able to entertain numbers like ours.
We must also provide ourselves with everything else as far as we can,
so as not to be dependent upon others; and above all we must take
with us from home as much money as possible, as the sums talked of
as ready at Egesta are readier, you may be sure, in talk than in any
other way.

“Indeed, even if we leave Athens with a force not only equal to that
of the enemy except in the number of heavy infantry in the field,
but even at all points superior to him, we shall still find it difficult
to conquer Sicily or save ourselves. We must not disguise from ourselves
that we go to found a city among strangers and enemies, and that he
who undertakes such an enterprise should be prepared to become master
of the country the first day he lands, or failing in this to find
everything hostile to him. Fearing this, and knowing that we shall
have need of much good counsel and more good fortune- a hard matter
for mortal man to aspire to- I wish as far as may be to make myself
independent of fortune before sailing, and when I do sail, to be as
safe as a strong force can make me. This I believe to be surest for
the country at large, and safest for us who are to go on the expedition.
If any one thinks differently I resign to him my command.”

With this Nicias concluded, thinking that he should either disgust
the Athenians by the magnitude of the undertaking, or, if obliged
to sail on the expedition, would thus do so in the safest way possible.
The Athenians, however, far from having their taste for the voyage
taken away by the burdensomeness of the preparations, became more
eager for it than ever; and just the contrary took place of what Nicias
had thought, as it was held that he had given good advice, and that
the expedition would be the safest in the world. All alike fell in
love with the enterprise. The older men thought that they would either
subdue the places against which they were to sail, or at all events,
with so large a force, meet with no disaster; those in the prime of
life felt a longing for foreign sights and spectacles, and had no
doubt that they should come safe home again; while the idea of the
common people and the soldiery was to earn wages at the moment, and
make conquests that would supply a never-ending fund of pay for the
future. With this enthusiasm of the majority, the few that liked it
not, feared to appear unpatriotic by holding up their hands against
it, and so kept quiet.

At last one of the Athenians came forward and called upon Nicias and
told him that he ought not to make excuses or put them off, but say
at once before them all what forces the Athenians should vote him.
Upon this he said, not without reluctance, that he would advise upon
that matter more at leisure with his colleagues; as far however as
he could see at present, they must sail with at least one hundred
galleys- the Athenians providing as many transports as they might
determine, and sending for others from the allies- not less than five
thousand heavy infantry in all, Athenian and allied, and if possible
more; and the rest of the armament in proportion; archers from home
and from Crete, and slingers, and whatever else might seem desirable,
being got ready by the generals and taken with them.

Upon hearing this the Athenians at once voted that the generals should
have full powers in the matter of the numbers of the army and of the
expedition generally, to do as they judged best for the interests
of Athens. After this the preparations began; messages being sent
to the allies and the rolls drawn up at home. And as the city had
just recovered from the plague and the long war, and a number of young
men had grown up and capital had accumulated by reason of the truce,
everything was the more easily provided.

In the midst of these preparations all the stone Hermae in the city
of Athens, that is to say the customary square figures, so common
in the doorways of private houses and temples, had in one night most
of them their fares mutilated. No one knew who had done it, but large
public rewards were offered to find the authors; and it was further
voted that any one who knew of any other act of impiety having been
committed should come and give information without fear of consequences,
whether he were citizen, alien, or slave. The matter was taken up
the more seriously, as it was thought to be ominous for the expedition,
and part of a conspiracy to bring about a revolution and to upset
the democracy.

Information was given accordingly by some resident aliens and body
servants, not about the Hermae but about some previous mutilations
of other images perpetrated by young men in a drunken frolic, and
of mock celebrations of the mysteries, averred to take place in private
houses. Alcibiades being implicated in this charge, it was taken hold
of by those who could least endure him, because he stood in the way
of their obtaining the undisturbed direction of the people, and who
thought that if he were once removed the first place would be theirs.
These accordingly magnified the matter and loudly proclaimed that
the affair of the mysteries and the mutilation of the Hermae were
part and parcel of a scheme to overthrow the democracy, and that nothing
of all this had been done without Alcibiades; the proofs alleged being
the general and undemocratic licence of his life and habits.

Alcibiades repelled on the spot the charges in question, and also
before going on the expedition, the preparations for which were now
complete, offered to stand his trial, that it might be seen whether
he was guilty of the acts imputed to him; desiring to be punished
if found guilty, but, if acquitted, to take the command. Meanwhile
he protested against their receiving slanders against him in his absence,
and begged them rather to put him to death at once if he were guilty,
and pointed out the imprudence of sending him out at the head of so
large an army, with so serious a charge still undecided. But his enemies
feared that he would have the army for him if he were tried immediately,
and that the people might relent in favour of the man whom they already
caressed as the cause of the Argives and some of the Mantineans joining
in the expedition, and did their utmost to get this proposition rejected,
putting forward other orators who said that he ought at present to
sail and not delay the departure of the army, and be tried on his
return within a fixed number of days; their plan being to have him
sent for and brought home for trial upon some graver charge, which
they would the more easily get up in his absence. Accordingly it was
decreed that he should sail.

After this the departure for Sicily took place, it being now about
midsummer. Most of the allies, with the corn transports and the smaller
craft and the rest of the expedition, had already received orders
to muster at Corcyra, to cross the Ionian Sea from thence in a body
to the Iapygian promontory. But the Athenians themselves, and such
of their allies as happened to be with them, went down to Piraeus
upon a day appointed at daybreak, and began to man the ships for putting
out to sea. With them also went down the whole population, one may
say, of the city, both citizens and foreigners; the inhabitants of
the country each escorting those that belonged to them, their friends,
their relatives, or their sons, with hope and lamentation upon their
way, as they thought of the conquests which they hoped to make, or
of the friends whom they might never see again, considering the long
voyage which they were going to make from their country. Indeed, at
this moment, when they were now upon the point of parting from one
another, the danger came more home to them than when they voted for
the expedition; although the strength of the armament, and the profuse
provision which they remarked in every department, was a sight that
could not but comfort them. As for the foreigners and the rest of
the crowd, they simply went to see a sight worth looking at and passing
all belief.

Indeed this armament that first sailed out was by far the most costly
and splendid Hellenic force that had ever been sent out by a single
city up to that time. In mere number of ships and heavy infantry that
against Epidaurus under Pericles, and the same when going against
Potidaea under Hagnon, was not inferior; containing as it did four
thousand Athenian heavy infantry, three hundred horse, and one hundred
galleys accompanied by fifty Lesbian and Chian vessels and many allies
besides. But these were sent upon a short voyage and with a scanty
equipment. The present expedition was formed in contemplation of a
long term of service by land and sea alike, and was furnished with
ships and troops so as to be ready for either as required. The fleet
had been elaborately equipped at great cost to the captains and the
state; the treasury giving a drachma a day to each seaman, and providing
empty ships, sixty men-of-war and forty transports, and manning these
with the best crews obtainable; while the captains gave a bounty in
addition to the pay from the treasury to the thranitae and crews generally,
besides spending lavishly upon figure-heads and equipments, and one
and all making the utmost exertions to enable their own ships to excel
in beauty and fast sailing. Meanwhile the land forces had been picked
from the best muster-rolls, and vied with each other in paying great
attention to their arms and personal accoutrements. From this resulted
not only a rivalry among themselves in their different departments,
but an idea among the rest of the Hellenes that it was more a display
of power and resources than an armament against an enemy. For if any
one had counted up the public expenditure of the state, and the private
outlay of individuals- that is to say, the sums which the state had
already spent upon the expedition and was sending out in the hands
of the generals, and those which individuals had expended upon their
personal outfit, or as captains of galleys had laid out and were still
to lay out upon their vessels; and if he had added to this the journey
money which each was likely to have provided himself with, independently
of the pay from the treasury, for a voyage of such length, and what
the soldiers or traders took with them for the purpose of exchange-
it would have been found that many talents in all were being taken
out of the city. Indeed the expedition became not less famous for
its wonderful boldness and for the splendour of its appearance, than
for its overwhelming strength as compared with the peoples against
whom it was directed, and for the fact that this was the longest passage
from home hitherto attempted, and the most ambitious in its objects
considering the resources of those who undertook it.

The ships being now manned, and everything put on board with which
they meant to sail, the trumpet commanded silence, and the prayers
customary before putting out to sea were offered, not in each ship
by itself, but by all together to the voice of a herald; and bowls
of wine were mixed through all the armament, and libations made by
the soldiers and their officers in gold and silver goblets. In their
prayers joined also the crowds on shore, the citizens and all others
that wished them well. The hymn sung and the libations finished, they
put out to sea, and first out in column then raced each other as far
as Aegina, and so hastened to reach Corcyra, where the rest of the
allied forces were also assembling.

Chapter XIX

Seventeenth Year of the War – Parties at Syracuse – Story of Harmodius
and Aristogiton – Disgrace of Alcibiades

Meanwhile at Syracuse news came in from many quarters of the expedition,
but for a long while met with no credence whatever. Indeed, an assembly
was held in which speeches, as will be seen, were delivered by different
orators, believing or contradicting the report of the Athenian expedition;
among whom Hermocrates, son of Hermon, came forward, being persuaded
that he knew the truth of the matter, and gave the following counsel:

“Although I shall perhaps be no better believed than others have been
when I speak upon the reality of the expedition, and although I know
that those who either make or repeat statements thought not worthy
of belief not only gain no converts but are thought fools for their
pains, I shall certainly not be frightened into holding my tongue
when the state is in danger, and when I am persuaded that I can speak
with more authority on the matter than other persons. Much as you
wonder at it, the Athenians nevertheless have set out against us with
a large force, naval and military, professedly to help the Egestaeans
and to restore Leontini, but really to conquer Sicily, and above all
our city, which once gained, the rest, they think, will easily follow.
Make up your minds, therefore, to see them speedily here, and see
how you can best repel them with the means under your hand, and do
be taken off your guard through despising the news, or neglect the
common weal through disbelieving it. Meanwhile those who believe me
need not be dismayed at the force or daring of the enemy. They will
not be able to do us more hurt than we shall do them; nor is the greatness
of their armament altogether without advantage to us. Indeed, the
greater it is the better, with regard to the rest of the Siceliots,
whom dismay will make more ready to join us; and if we defeat or drive
them away, disappointed of the objects of their ambition (for I do
not fear for a moment that they will get what they want), it will
be a most glorious exploit for us, and in my judgment by no means
an unlikely one. Few indeed have been the large armaments, either
Hellenic or barbarian, that have gone far from home and been successful.
They cannot be more numerous than the people of the country and their
neighbours, all of whom fear leagues together; and if they miscarry
for want of supplies in a foreign land, to those against whom their
plans were laid none the less they leave renown, although they may
themselves have been the main cause of their own discomfort. Thus
these very Athenians rose by the defeat of the Mede, in a great measure
due to accidental causes, from the mere fact that Athens had been
the object of his attack; and this may very well be the case with
us also.

“Let us, therefore, confidently begin preparations here; let us send
and confirm some of the Sicels, and obtain the friendship and alliance
of others, and dispatch envoys to the rest of Sicily to show that
the danger is common to all, and to Italy to get them to become our
allies, or at all events to refuse to receive the Athenians. I also
think that it would be best to send to Carthage as well; they are
by no means there without apprehension, but it is their constant fear
that the Athenians may one day attack their city, and they may perhaps
think that they might themselves suffer by letting Sicily be sacrificed,
and be willing to help us secretly if not openly, in one way if not
in another. They are the best able to do so, if they will, of any
of the present day, as they possess most gold and silver, by which
war, like everything else, flourishes. Let us also send to Lacedaemon
and Corinth, and ask them to come here and help us as soon as possible,
and to keep alive the war in Hellas. But the true thing of all others,
in my opinion, to do at the present moment, is what you, with your
constitutional love of quiet, will be slow to see, and what I must
nevertheless mention. If we Siceliots, all together, or at least as
many as possible besides ourselves, would only launch the whole of
our actual navy with two months’ provisions, and meet the Athenians
at Tarentum and the Iapygian promontory, and show them that before
fighting for Sicily they must first fight for their passage across
the Ionian Sea, we should strike dismay into their army, and set them
on thinking that we have a base for our defensive- for Tarentum is
ready to receive us- while they have a wide sea to cross with all
their armament, which could with difficulty keep its order through
so long a voyage, and would be easy for us to attack as it came on
slowly and in small detachments. On the other hand, if they were to
lighten their vessels, and draw together their fast sailers and with
these attack us, we could either fall upon them when they were wearied
with rowing, or if we did not choose to do so, we could retire to
Tarentum; while they, having crossed with few provisions just to give
battle, would be hard put to it in desolate places, and would either
have to remain and be blockaded, or to try to sail along the coast,
abandoning the rest of their armament, and being further discouraged
by not knowing for certain whether the cities would receive them.
In my opinion this consideration alone would be sufficient to deter
them from putting out from Corcyra; and what with deliberating and
reconnoitring our numbers and whereabouts, they would let the season
go on until winter was upon them, or, confounded by so unexpected
a circumstance, would break up the expedition, especially as their
most experienced general has, as I hear, taken the command against
his will, and would grasp at the first excuse offered by any serious
demonstration of ours. We should also be reported, I am certain, as
more numerous than we really are, and men’s minds are affected by
what they hear, and besides the first to attack, or to show that they
mean to defend themselves against an attack, inspire greater fear
because men see that they are ready for the emergency. This would
just be the case with the Athenians at present. They are now attacking
us in the belief that we shall not resist, having a right to judge
us severely because we did not help the Lacedaemonians in crushing
them; but if they were to see us showing a courage for which they
are not prepared, they would be more dismayed by the surprise than
they could ever be by our actual power. I could wish to persuade you
to show this courage; but if this cannot be, at all events lose not
a moment in preparing generally for the war; and remember all of you
that contempt for an assailant is best shown by bravery in action,
but that for the present the best course is to accept the preparations
which fear inspires as giving the surest promise of safety, and to
act as if the danger was real. That the Athenians are coming to attack
us, and are already upon the voyage, and all but here- this is what
I am sure of.”

Thus far spoke Hermocrates. Meanwhile the people of Syracuse were
at great strife among themselves; some contending that the Athenians
had no idea of coming and that there was no truth in what he said;
some asking if they did come what harm they could do that would not
be repaid them tenfold in return; while others made light of the whole
affair and turned it into ridicule. In short, there were few that
believed Hermocrates and feared for the future. Meanwhile Athenagoras,
the leader of the people and very powerful at that time with the masses,
came forward and spoke as follows:

“For the Athenians, he who does not wish that they may be as misguided
as they are supposed to be, and that they may come here to become
our subjects, is either a coward or a traitor to his country; while
as for those who carry such tidings and fill you with so much alarm,
I wonder less at their audacity than at their folly if they flatter
themselves that we do not see through them. The fact is that they
have their private reasons to be afraid, and wish to throw the city
into consternation to have their own terrors cast into the shade by
the public alarm. In short, this is what these reports are worth;
they do not arise of themselves, but are concocted by men who are
always causing agitation here in Sicily. However, if you are well
advised, you will not be guided in your calculation of probabilities
by what these persons tell you, but by what shrewd men and of large
experience, as I esteem the Athenians to be, would be likely to do.
Now it is not likely that they would leave the Peloponnesians behind
them, and before they have well ended the war in Hellas wantonly come
in quest of a new war quite as arduous in Sicily; indeed, in my judgment,
they are only too glad that we do not go and attack them, being so
many and so great cities as we are.

“However, if they should come as is reported, I consider Sicily better
able to go through with the war than Peloponnese, as being at all
points better prepared, and our city by itself far more than a match
for this pretended army of invasion, even were it twice as large again.
I know that they will not have horses with them, or get any here,
except a few perhaps from the Egestaeans; or be able to bring a force
of heavy infantry equal in number to our own, in ships which will
already have enough to do to come all this distance, however lightly
laden, not to speak of the transport of the other stores required
against a city of this magnitude, which will be no slight quantity.
In fact, so strong is my opinion upon the subject, that I do not well
see how they could avoid annihilation if they brought with them another
city as large as Syracuse, and settled down and carried on war from
our frontier; much less can they hope to succeed with all Sicily hostile
to them, as all Sicily will be, and with only a camp pitched from
the ships, and composed of tents and bare necessaries, from which
they would not be able to stir far for fear of our cavalry.

“But the Athenians see this as I tell you, and as I have reason to
know are looking after their possessions at home, while persons here
invent stories that neither are true nor ever will be. Nor is this
the first time that I see these persons, when they cannot resort to
deeds, trying by such stories and by others even more abominable to
frighten your people and get into their hands the government: it is
what I see always. And I cannot help fearing that trying so often
they may one day succeed, and that we, as long as we do not feel the
smart, may prove too weak for the task of prevention, or, when the
offenders are known, of pursuit. The result is that our city is rarely
at rest, but is subject to constant troubles and to contests as frequent
against herself as against the enemy, not to speak of occasional tyrannies
and infamous cabals. However, I will try, if you will support me,
to let nothing of this happen in our time, by gaining you, the many,
and by chastising the authors of such machinations, not merely when
they are caught in the act- a difficult feat to accomplish- but also
for what they have the wish though not the power to do; as it is necessary
to punish an enemy not only for what he does, but also beforehand
for what he intends to do, if the first to relax precaution would
not be also the first to suffer. I shall also reprove, watch, and
on occasion warn the few- the most effectual way, in my opinion, of
turning them from their evil courses. And after all, as I have often
asked, what would you have, young men? Would you hold office at once?
The law forbids it, a law enacted rather because you are not competent
than to disgrace you when competent. Meanwhile you would not be on
a legal equality with the many! But how can it be right that citizens
of the same state should be held unworthy of the same privileges?
“It will be said, perhaps, that democracy is neither wise nor equitable,
but that the holders of property are also the best fitted to rule.
I say, on the contrary, first, that the word demos, or people, includes
the whole state, oligarchy only a part; next, that if the best guardians
of property are the rich, and the best counsellors the wise, none
can hear and decide so well as the many; and that all these talents,
severally and collectively, have their just place in a democracy.
But an oligarchy gives the many their share of the danger, and not
content with the largest part takes and keeps the whole of the profit;
and this is what the powerful and young among you aspire to, but in
a great city cannot possibly obtain.

“But even now, foolish men, most senseless of all the Hellenes that
I know, if you have no sense of the wickedness of your designs, or
most criminal if you have that sense and still dare to pursue them-
even now, if it is not a case for repentance, you may still learn
wisdom, and thus advance the interest of the country, the common interest
of us all. Reflect that in the country’s prosperity the men of merit
in your ranks will have a share and a larger share than the great
mass of your fellow countrymen, but that if you have other designs
you run a risk of being deprived of all; and desist from reports like
these, as the people know your object and will not put up with it.
If the Athenians arrive, this city will repulse them in a manner worthy
of itself; we have moreover, generals who will see to this matter.
And if nothing of this be true, as I incline to believe, the city
will not be thrown into a panic by your intelligence, or impose upon
itself a self-chosen servitude by choosing you for its rulers; the
city itself will look into the matter, and will judge your words as
if they were acts, and, instead of allowing itself to be deprived
of its liberty by listening to you, will strive to preserve that liberty,
by taking care to have always at hand the means of making itself respected.”

Such were the words of Athenagoras. One of the generals now stood
up and stopped any other speakers coming forward, adding these words
of his own with reference to the matter in hand: “It is not well for
speakers to utter calumnies against one another, or for their hearers
to entertain them; we ought rather to look to the intelligence that
we have received, and see how each man by himself and the city as
a whole may best prepare to repel the invaders. Even if there be no
need, there is no harm in the state being furnished with horses and
arms and all other insignia of war; and we will undertake to see to
and order this, and to send round to the cities to reconnoitre and
do all else that may appear desirable. Part of this we have seen to
already, and whatever we discover shall be laid before you.” After
these words from the general, the Syracusans departed from the assembly.

In the meantime the Athenians with all their allies had now arrived
at Corcyra. Here the generals began by again reviewing the armament,
and made arrangements as to the order in which they were to anchor
and encamp, and dividing the whole fleet into three divisions, allotted
one to each of their number, to avoid sailing all together and being
thus embarrassed for water, harbourage, or provisions at the stations
which they might touch at, and at the same time to be generally better
ordered and easier to handle, by each squadron having its own commander.
Next they sent on three ships to Italy and Sicily to find out which
of the cities would receive them, with instructions to meet them on
the way and let them know before they put in to land.

After this the Athenians weighed from Corcyra, and proceeded to cross
to Sicily with an armament now consisting of one hundred and thirty-four
galleys in all (besides two Rhodian fifty-oars), of which one hundred
were Athenian vessels- sixty men-of-war, and forty troopships- and
the remainder from Chios and the other allies; five thousand and one
hundred heavy infantry in all, that is to say, fifteen hundred Athenian
citizens from the rolls at Athens and seven hundred Thetes shipped
as marines, and the rest allied troops, some of them Athenian subjects,
and besides these five hundred Argives, and two hundred and fifty
Mantineans serving for hire; four hundred and eighty archers in all,
eighty of whom were Cretans, seven hundred slingers from Rhodes, one
hundred and twenty light-armed exiles from Megara, and one horse-transport
carrying thirty horses.

Such was the strength of the first armament that sailed over for the
war. The supplies for this force were carried by thirty ships of burden
laden with corn, which conveyed the bakers, stone-masons, and carpenters,
and the tools for raising fortifications, accompanied by one hundred
boats, like the former pressed into the service, besides many other
boats and ships of burden which followed the armament voluntarily
for purposes of trade; all of which now left Corcyra and struck across
the Ionian Sea together. The whole force making land at the Iapygian
promontory and Tarentum, with more or less good fortune, coasted along
the shores of Italy, the cities shutting their markets and gates against
them, and according them nothing but water and liberty to anchor,
and Tarentum and Locri not even that, until they arrived at Rhegium,
the extreme point of Italy. Here at length they reunited, and not
gaining admission within the walls pitched a camp outside the city
in the precinct of Artemis, where a market was also provided for them,
and drew their ships on shore and kept quiet. Meanwhile they opened
negotiations with the Rhegians, and called upon them as Chalcidians
to assist their Leontine kinsmen; to which the Rhegians replied that
they would not side with either party, but should await the decision
of the rest of the Italiots, and do as they did. Upon this the Athenians
now began to consider what would be the best action to take in the
affairs of Sicily, and meanwhile waited for the ships sent on to come
back from Egesta, in order to know whether there was really there
the money mentioned by the messengers at Athens.

In the meantime came in from all quarters to the Syracusans, as well
as from their own officers sent to reconnoitre, the positive tidings
that the fleet was at Rhegium; upon which they laid aside their incredulity
and threw themselves heart and soul into the work of preparation.
Guards or envoys, as the case might be, were sent round to the Sicels,
garrisons put into the posts of the Peripoli in the country, horses
and arms reviewed in the city to see that nothing was wanting, and
all other steps taken to prepare for a war which might be upon them
at any moment.

Meanwhile the three ships that had been sent on came from Egesta to
the Athenians at Rhegium, with the news that so far from there being
the sums promised, all that could be produced was thirty talents.
The generals were not a little disheartened at being thus disappointed
at the outset, and by the refusal to join in the expedition of the
Rhegians, the people they had first tried to gain and had had had
most reason to count upon, from their relationship to the Leontines
and constant friendship for Athens. If Nicias was prepared for the
news from Egesta, his two colleagues were taken completely by surprise.
The Egestaeans had had recourse to the following stratagem, when the
first envoys from Athens came to inspect their resources. They took
the envoys in question to the temple of Aphrodite at Eryx and showed
them the treasures deposited there: bowls, wine-ladles, censers, and
a large number of other pieces of plate, which from being in silver
gave an impression of wealth quite out of proportion to their really
small value. They also privately entertained the ships’ crews, and
collected all the cups of gold and silver that they could find in
Egesta itself or could borrow in the neighbouring Phoenician and Hellenic
towns, and each brought them to the banquets as their own; and as
all used pretty nearly the same, and everywhere a great quantity of
plate was shown, the effect was most dazzling upon the Athenian sailors,
and made them talk loudly of the riches they had seen when they got
back to Athens. The dupes in question- who had in their turn persuaded
the rest- when the news got abroad that there was not the money supposed
at Egesta, were much blamed by the soldiers.

Meanwhile the generals consulted upon what was to be done. The opinion
of Nicias was to sail with all the armament to Selinus, the main object
of the expedition, and if the Egestaeans could provide money for the
whole force, to advise accordingly; but if they could not, to require
them to supply provisions for the sixty ships that they had asked
for, to stay and settle matters between them and the Selinuntines
either by force or by agreement, and then to coast past the other
cities, and after displaying the power of Athens and proving their
zeal for their friends and allies, to sail home again (unless they
should have some sudden and unexpected opportunity of serving the
Leontines, or of bringing over some of the other cities), and not
to endanger the state by wasting its home resources.

Alcibiades said that a great expedition like the present must not
disgrace itself by going away without having done anything; heralds
must be sent to all the cities except Selinus and Syracuse, and efforts
be made to make some of the Sicels revolt from the Syracusans, and
to obtain the friendship of others, in order to have corn and troops;
and first of all to gain the Messinese, who lay right in the passage
and entrance to Sicily, and would afford an excellent harbour and
base for the army. Thus, after bringing over the towns and knowing
who would be their allies in the war, they might at length attack
Syracuse and Selinus; unless the latter came to terms with Egesta
and the former ceased to oppose the restoration of Leontini.

Lamachus, on the other hand, said that they ought to sail straight
to Syracuse, and fight their battle at once under the walls of the
town while the people were still unprepared, and the panic at its
height. Every armament was most terrible at first; if it allowed time
to run on without showing itself, men’s courage revived, and they
saw it appear at last almost with indifference. By attacking suddenly,
while Syracuse still trembled at their coming, they would have the
best chance of gaining a victory for themselves and of striking a
complete panic into the enemy by the aspect of their numbers- which
would never appear so considerable as at present- by the anticipation
of coming disaster, and above all by the immediate danger of the engagement.
They might also count upon surprising many in the fields outside,
incredulous of their coming; and at the moment that the enemy was
carrying in his property the army would not want for booty if it sat
down in force before the city. The rest of the Siceliots would thus
be immediately less disposed to enter into alliance with the Syracusans,
and would join the Athenians, without waiting to see which were the
strongest. They must make Megara their naval station as a place to
retreat to and a base from which to attack: it was an uninhabited
place at no great distance from Syracuse either by land or by sea.

After speaking to this effect, Lamachus nevertheless gave his support
to the opinion of Alcibiades. After this Alcibiades sailed in his
own vessel across to Messina with proposals of alliance, but met with
no success, the inhabitants answering that they could not receive
him within their walls, though they would provide him with a market
outside. Upon this he sailed back to Rhegium. Immediately upon his
return the generals manned and victualled sixty ships out of the whole
fleet and coasted along to Naxos, leaving the rest of the armament
behind them at Rhegium with one of their number. Received by the Naxians,
they then coasted on to Catana, and being refused admittance by the
inhabitants, there being a Syracusan party in the town, went on to
the river Terias. Here they bivouacked, and the next day sailed in
single file to Syracuse with all their ships except ten which they
sent on in front to sail into the great harbour and see if there was
any fleet launched, and to proclaim by herald from shipboard that
the Athenians were come to restore the Leontines to their country,
as being their allies and kinsmen, and that such of them, therefore,
as were in Syracuse should leave it without fear and join their friends
and benefactors the Athenians. After making this proclamation and
reconnoitring the city and the harbours, and the features of the country
which they would have to make their base of operations in the war,
they sailed back to Catana.

An assembly being held here, the inhabitants refused to receive the
armament, but invited the generals to come in and say what they desired;
and while Alcibiades was speaking and the citizens were intent on
the assembly, the soldiers broke down an ill-walled-up postern gate
without being observed, and getting inside the town, flocked into
the marketplace. The Syracusan party in the town no sooner saw the
army inside than they became frightened and withdrew, not being at
all numerous; while the rest voted for an alliance with the Athenians
and invited them to fetch the rest of their forces from Rhegium. After
this the Athenians sailed to Rhegium, and put off, this time with
all the armament, for Catana, and fell to work at their camp immediately
upon their arrival.

Meanwhile word was brought them from Camarina that if they went there
the town would go over to them, and also that the Syracusans were
manning a fleet. The Athenians accordingly sailed alongshore with
all their armament, first to Syracuse, where they found no fleet manning,
and so always along the coast to Camarina, where they brought to at
the beach, and sent a herald to the people, who, however, refused
to receive them, saying that their oaths bound them to receive the
Athenians only with a single vessel, unless they themselves sent for
more. Disappointed here, the Athenians now sailed back again, and
after landing and plundering on Syracusan territory and losing some
stragglers from their light infantry through the coming up of the
Syracusan horse, so got back to Catana.

There they found the Salaminia come from Athens for Alcibiades, with
orders for him to sail home to answer the charges which the state
brought against him, and for certain others of the soldiers who with
him were accused of sacrilege in the matter of the mysteries and of
the Hermae. For the Athenians, after the departure of the expedition,
had continued as active as ever in investigating the facts of the
mysteries and of the Hermae, and, instead of testing the informers,
in their suspicious temper welcomed all indifferently, arresting and
imprisoning the best citizens upon the evidence of rascals, and preferring
to sift the matter to the bottom sooner than to let an accused person
of good character pass unquestioned, owing to the rascality of the
informer. The commons had heard how oppressive the tyranny of Pisistratus
and his sons had become before it ended, and further that that had
been put down at last, not by themselves and Harmodius, but by the
Lacedaemonians, and so were always in fear and took everything suspiciously.

Indeed, the daring action of Aristogiton and Harmodius was undertaken
in consequence of a love affair, which I shall relate at some length,
to show that the Athenians are not more accurate than the rest of
the world in their accounts of their own tyrants and of the facts
of their own history. Pisistratus dying at an advanced age in possession
of the tyranny, was succeeded by his eldest son, Hippias, and not
Hipparchus, as is vulgarly believed. Harmodius was then in the flower
of youthful beauty, and Aristogiton, a citizen in the middle rank
of life, was his lover and possessed him. Solicited without success
by Hipparchus, son of Pisistratus, Harmodius told Aristogiton, and
the enraged lover, afraid that the powerful Hipparchus might take
Harmodius by force, immediately formed a design, such as his condition
in life permitted, for overthrowing the tyranny. In the meantime Hipparchus,
after a second solicitation of Harmodius, attended with no better
success, unwilling to use violence, arranged to insult him in some
covert way. Indeed, generally their government was not grievous to
the multitude, or in any way odious in practice; and these tyrants
cultivated wisdom and virtue as much as any, and without exacting
from the Athenians more than a twentieth of their income, splendidly
adorned their city, and carried on their wars, and provided sacrifices
for the temples. For the rest, the city was left in full enjoyment
of its existing laws, except that care was always taken to have the
offices in the hands of some one of the family. Among those of them
that held the yearly archonship at Athens was Pisistratus, son of
the tyrant Hippias, and named after his grandfather, who dedicated
during his term of office the altar to the twelve gods in the market-place,
and that of Apollo in the Pythian precinct. The Athenian people afterwards
built on to and lengthened the altar in the market-place, and obliterated
the inscription; but that in the Pythian precinct can still be seen,
though in faded letters, and is to the following effect:

Pisistratus, the son of Hippias,
Sent up this record of his archonship
In precinct of Apollo Pythias.

That Hippias was the eldest son and succeeded to the government, is
what I positively assert as a fact upon which I have had more exact
accounts than others, and may be also ascertained by the following
circumstance. He is the only one of the legitimate brothers that appears
to have had children; as the altar shows, and the pillar placed in
the Athenian Acropolis, commemorating the crime of the tyrants, which
mentions no child of Thessalus or of Hipparchus, but five of Hippias,
which he had by Myrrhine, daughter of Callias, son of Hyperechides;
and naturally the eldest would have married first. Again, his name
comes first on the pillar after that of his father; and this too is
quite natural, as he was the eldest after him, and the reigning tyrant.
Nor can I ever believe that Hippias would have obtained the tyranny
so easily, if Hipparchus had been in power when he was killed, and
he, Hippias, had had to establish himself upon the same day; but he
had no doubt been long accustomed to overawe the citizens, and to
be obeyed by his mercenaries, and thus not only conquered, but conquered
with ease, without experiencing any of the embarrassment of a younger
brother unused to the exercise of authority. It was the sad fate which
made Hipparchus famous that got him also the credit with posterity
of having been tyrant.

To return to Harmodius; Hipparchus having been repulsed in his solicitations
insulted him as he had resolved, by first inviting a sister of his,
a young girl, to come and bear a basket in a certain procession, and
then rejecting her, on the plea that she had never been invited at
all owing to her unworthiness. If Harmodius was indignant at this,
Aristogiton for his sake now became more exasperated than ever; and
having arranged everything with those who were to join them in the
enterprise, they only waited for the great feast of the Panathenaea,
the sole day upon which the citizens forming part of the procession
could meet together in arms without suspicion. Aristogiton and Harmodius
were to begin, but were to be supported immediately by their accomplices
against the bodyguard. The conspirators were not many, for better
security, besides which they hoped that those not in the plot would
be carried away by the example of a few daring spirits, and use the
arms in their hands to recover their liberty.

At last the festival arrived; and Hippias with his bodyguard was outside
the city in the Ceramicus, arranging how the different parts of the
procession were to proceed. Harmodius and Aristogiton had already
their daggers and were getting ready to act, when seeing one of their
accomplices talking familiarly with Hippias, who was easy of access
to every one, they took fright, and concluded that they were discovered
and on the point of being taken; and eager if possible to be revenged
first upon the man who had wronged them and for whom they had undertaken
all this risk, they rushed, as they were, within the gates, and meeting
with Hipparchus by the Leocorium recklessly fell upon him at once,
infuriated, Aristogiton by love, and Harmodius by insult, and smote
him and slew him. Aristogiton escaped the guards at the moment, through
the crowd running up, but was afterwards taken and dispatched in no
merciful way: Harmodius was killed on the spot.

When the news was brought to Hippias in the Ceramicus, he at once
proceeded not to the scene of action, but to the armed men in the
procession, before they, being some distance away, knew anything of
the matter, and composing his features for the occasion, so as not
to betray himself, pointed to a certain spot, and bade them repair
thither without their arms. They withdrew accordingly, fancying he
had something to say; upon which he told the mercenaries to remove
the arms, and there and then picked out the men he thought guilty
and all found with daggers, the shield and spear being the usual weapons
for a procession.

In this way offended love first led Harmodius and Aristogiton to conspire,
and the alarm of the moment to commit the rash action recounted. After
this the tyranny pressed harder on the Athenians, and Hippias, now
grown more fearful, put to death many of the citizens, and at the
same time began to turn his eyes abroad for a refuge in case of revolution.
Thus, although an Athenian, he gave his daughter, Archedice, to a
Lampsacene, Aeantides, son of the tyrant of Lampsacus, seeing that
they had great influence with Darius. And there is her tomb in Lampsacus
with this inscription:

Archedice lies buried in this earth,
Hippias her sire, and Athens gave her birth;
Unto her bosom pride was never known,
Though daughter, wife, and sister to the throne. Hippias, after reigning
three years longer over the Athenians, was deposed in the fourth by
the Lacedaemonians and the banished Alcmaeonidae, and went with a
safe conduct to Sigeum, and to Aeantides at Lampsacus, and from thence
to King Darius; from whose court he set out twenty years after, in
his old age, and came with the Medes to Marathon.

With these events in their minds, and recalling everything they knew
by hearsay on the subject, the Athenian people grow difficult of humour
and suspicious of the persons charged in the affair of the mysteries,
and persuaded that all that had taken place was part of an oligarchical
and monarchical conspiracy. In the state of irritation thus produced,
many persons of consideration had been already thrown into prison,
and far from showing any signs of abating, public feeling grew daily
more savage, and more arrests were made; until at last one of those
in custody, thought to be the most guilty of all, was induced by a
fellow prisoner to make a revelation, whether true or not is a matter
on which there are two opinions, no one having been able, either then
or since, to say for certain who did the deed. However this may be,
the other found arguments to persuade him, that even if he had not
done it, he ought to save himself by gaining a promise of impunity,
and free the state of its present suspicions; as he would be surer
of safety if he confessed after promise of impunity than if he denied
and were brought to trial. He accordingly made a revelation, affecting
himself and others in the affair of the Hermae; and the Athenian people,
glad at last, as they supposed, to get at the truth, and furious until
then at not being able to discover those who had conspired against
the commons, at once let go the informer and all the rest whom he
had not denounced, and bringing the accused to trial executed as many
as were apprehended, and condemned to death such as had fled and set
a price upon their heads. In this it was, after all, not clear whether
the sufferers had been punished unjustly, while in any case the rest
of the city received immediate and manifest relief.

To return to Alcibiades: public feeling was very hostile to him, being
worked on by the same enemies who had attacked him before he went
out; and now that the Athenians fancied that they had got at the truth
of the matter of the Hermae, they believed more firmly than ever that
the affair of the mysteries also, in which he was implicated, had
been contrived by him in the same intention and was connected with
the plot against the democracy. Meanwhile it so happened that, just
at the time of this agitation, a small force of Lacedaemonians had
advanced as far as the Isthmus, in pursuance of some scheme with the
Boeotians. It was now thought that this had come by appointment, at
his instigation, and not on account of the Boeotians, and that, if
the citizens had not acted on the information received, and forestalled
them by arresting the prisoners, the city would have been betrayed.
The citizens went so far as to sleep one night armed in the temple
of Theseus within the walls. The friends also of Alcibiades at Argos
were just at this time suspected of a design to attack the commons;
and the Argive hostages deposited in the islands were given up by
the Athenians to the Argive people to be put to death upon that account:
in short, everywhere something was found to create suspicion against
Alcibiades. It was therefore decided to bring him to trial and execute
him, and the Salaminia was sent to Sicily for him and the others named
in the information, with instructions to order him to come and answer
the charges against him, but not to arrest him, because they wished
to avoid causing any agitation in the army or among the enemy in Sicily,
and above all to retain the services of the Mantineans and Argives,
who, it was thought, had been induced to join by his influence. Alcibiades,
with his own ship and his fellow accused, accordingly sailed off with
the Salaminia from Sicily, as though to return to Athens, and went
with her as far as Thurii, and there they left the ship and disappeared,
being afraid to go home for trial with such a prejudice existing against
them. The crew of the Salaminia stayed some time looking for Alcibiades
and his companions, and at length, as they were nowhere to be found,
set sail and departed. Alcibiades, now an outlaw, crossed in a boat
not long after from Thurii to Peloponnese; and the Athenians passed
sentence of death by default upon him and those in his company.

Chapter XX

Seventeenth and Eighteenth Years of the War – Inaction of the Athenian
Army – Alcibiades at Sparta – Investment of Syracuse

The Athenian generals left in Sicily now divided the armament into
two parts, and, each taking one by lot, sailed with the whole for
Selinus and Egesta, wishing to know whether the Egestaeans would give
the money, and to look into the question of Selinus and ascertain
the state of the quarrel between her and Egesta. Coasting along Sicily,
with the shore on their left, on the side towards the Tyrrhene Gulf
they touched at Himera, the only Hellenic city in that part of the
island, and being refused admission resumed their voyage. On their
way they took Hyccara, a petty Sicanian seaport, nevertheless at war
with Egesta, and making slaves of the inhabitants gave up the town
to the Egestaeans, some of whose horse had joined them; after which
the army proceeded through the territory of the Sicels until it reached
Catana, while the fleet sailed along the coast with the slaves on
board. Meanwhile Nicias sailed straight from Hyccara along the coast
and went to Egesta and, after transacting his other business and receiving
thirty talents, rejoined the forces. They now sold their slaves for
the sum of one hundred and twenty talents, and sailed round to their
Sicel allies to urge them to send troops; and meanwhile went with
half their own force to the hostile town of Hybla in the territory
of Gela, but did not succeed in taking it.

Summer was now over. The winter following, the Athenians at once began
to prepare for moving on Syracuse, and the Syracusans on their side
for marching against them. From the moment when the Athenians failed
to attack them instantly as they at first feared and expected, every
day that passed did something to revive their courage; and when they
saw them sailing far away from them on the other side of Sicily, and
going to Hybla only to fail in their attempts to storm it, they thought
less of them than ever, and called upon their generals, as the multitude
is apt to do in its moments of confidence, to lead them to Catana,
since the enemy would not come to them. Parties also of the Syracusan
horse employed in reconnoitring constantly rode up to the Athenian
armament, and among other insults asked them whether they had not
really come to settle with the Syracusans in a foreign country rather
than to resettle the Leontines in their own.

Aware of this, the Athenian generals determined to draw them out in
mass as far as possible from the city, and themselves in the meantime
to sail by night alongshore, and take up at their leisure a convenient
position. This they knew they could not so well do, if they had to
disembark from their ships in front of a force prepared for them,
or to go by land openly. The numerous cavalry of the Syracusans (a
force which they were themselves without) would then be able to do
the greatest mischief to their light troops and the crowd that followed
them; but this plan would enable them to take up a position in which
the horse could do them no hurt worth speaking of, some Syracusan
exiles with the army having told them of the spot near the Olympieum,
which they afterwards occupied. In pursuance of their idea, the generals
imagined the following stratagem. They sent to Syracuse a man devoted
to them, and by the Syracusan generals thought to be no less in their
interest; he was a native of Catana, and said he came from persons
in that place, whose names the Syracusan generals were acquainted
with, and whom they knew to be among the members of their party still
left in the city. He told them that the Athenians passed the night
in the town, at some distance from their arms, and that if the Syracusans
would name a day and come with all their people at daybreak to attack
the armament, they, their friends, would close the gates upon the
troops in the city, and set fire to the vessels, while the Syracusans
would easily take the camp by an attack upon the stockade. In this
they would be aided by many of the Catanians, who were already prepared
to act, and from whom he himself came.

The generals of the Syracusans, who did not want confidence, and who
had intended even without this to march on Catana, believed the man
without any sufficient inquiry, fixed at once a day upon which they
would be there, and dismissed him, and the Selinuntines and others
of their allies having now arrived, gave orders for all the Syracusans
to march out in mass. Their preparations completed, and the time fixed
for their arrival being at hand, they set out for Catana, and passed
the night upon the river Symaethus, in the Leontine territory. Meanwhile
the Athenians no sooner knew of their approach than they took all
their forces and such of the Sicels or others as had joined them,
put them on board their ships and boats, and sailed by night to Syracuse.
Thus, when morning broke the Athenians were landing opposite the Olympieum
ready to seize their camping ground, and the Syracusan horse having
ridden up first to Catana and found that all the armament had put
to sea, turned back and told the infantry, and then all turned back
together, and went to the relief of the city.

In the meantime, as the march before the Syracusans was a long one,
the Athenians quietly sat down their army in a convenient position,
where they could begin an engagement when they pleased, and where
the Syracusan cavalry would have least opportunity of annoying them,
either before or during the action, being fenced off on one side by
walls, houses, trees, and by a marsh, and on the other by cliffs.
They also felled the neighbouring trees and carried them down to the
sea, and formed a palisade alongside of their ships, and with stones
which they picked up and wood hastily raised a fort at Daskon, the
most vulnerable point of their position, and broke down the bridge
over the Anapus. These preparations were allowed to go on without
any interruption from the city, the first hostile force to appear
being the Syracusan cavalry, followed afterwards by all the foot together.
At first they came close up to the Athenian army, and then, finding
that they did not offer to engage, crossed the Helorine road and encamped
for the night.

The next day the Athenians and their allies prepared for battle, their
dispositions being as follows: Their right wing was occupied by the
Argives and Mantineans, the centre by the Athenians, and the rest
of the field by the other allies. Half their army was drawn up eight
deep in advance, half close to their tents in a hollow square, formed
also eight deep, which had orders to look out and be ready to go to
the support of the troops hardest pressed. The camp followers were
placed inside this reserve. The Syracusans, meanwhile, formed their
heavy infantry sixteen deep, consisting of the mass levy of their
own people, and such allies as had joined them, the strongest contingent
being that of the Selinuntines; next to them the cavalry of the Geloans,
numbering two hundred in all, with about twenty horse and fifty archers
from Camarina. The cavalry was posted on their right, full twelve
hundred strong, and next to it the darters. As the Athenians were
about to begin the attack, Nicias went along the lines, and addressed
these words of encouragement to the army and the nations composing

“Soldiers, a long exhortation is little needed by men like ourselves,
who are here to fight in the same battle, the force itself being,
to my thinking, more fit to inspire confidence than a fine speech
with a weak army. Where we have Argives, Mantineans, Athenians, and
the first of the islanders in the ranks together, it were strange
indeed, with so many and so brave companions in arms, if we did not
feel confident of victory; especially when we have mass levies opposed
to our picked troops, and what is more, Siceliots, who may disdain
us but will not stand against us, their skill not being at all commensurate
to their rashness. You may also remember that we are far from home
and have no friendly land near, except what your own swords shall
win you; and here I put before you a motive just the reverse of that
which the enemy are appealing to; their cry being that they shall
fight for their country, mine that we shall fight for a country that
is not ours, where we must conquer or hardly get away, as we shall
have their horse upon us in great numbers. Remember, therefore, your
renown, and go boldly against the enemy, thinking the present strait
and necessity more terrible than they.”

After this address Nicias at once led on the army. The Syracusans
were not at that moment expecting an immediate engagement, and some
had even gone away to the town, which was close by; these now ran
up as hard as they could and, though behind time, took their places
here or there in the main body as fast as they joined it. Want of
zeal or daring was certainly not the fault of the Syracusans, either
in this or the other battles, but although not inferior in courage,
so far as their military science might carry them, when this failed
them they were compelled to give up their resolution also. On the
present occasion, although they had not supposed that the Athenians
would begin the attack, and although constrained to stand upon their
defence at short notice, they at once took up their arms and advanced
to meet them. First, the stone-throwers, slingers, and archers of
either army began skirmishing, and routed or were routed by one another,
as might be expected between light troops; next, soothsayers brought
forward the usual victims, and trumpeters urged on the heavy infantry
to the charge; and thus they advanced, the Syracusans to fight for
their country, and each individual for his safety that day and liberty
hereafter; in the enemy’s army, the Athenians to make another’s country
theirs and to save their own from suffering by their defeat; the Argives
and independent allies to help them in getting what they came for,
and to earn by victory another sight of the country they had left
behind; while the subject allies owed most of their ardour to the
desire of self-preservation, which they could only hope for if victorious;
next to which, as a secondary motive, came the chance of serving on
easier terms, after helping the Athenians to a fresh conquest.

The armies now came to close quarters, and for a long while fought
without either giving ground. Meanwhile there occurred some claps
of thunder with lightning and heavy rain, which did not fail to add
to the fears of the party fighting for the first time, and very little
acquainted with war; while to their more experienced adversaries these
phenomena appeared to be produced by the time of year, and much more
alarm was felt at the continued resistance of the enemy. At last the
Argives drove in the Syracusan left, and after them the Athenians
routed the troops opposed to them, and the Syracusan army was thus
cut in two and betook itself to flight. The Athenians did not pursue
far, being held in check by the numerous and undefeated Syracusan
horse, who attacked and drove back any of their heavy infantry whom
they saw pursuing in advance of the rest; in spite of which the victors
followed so far as was safe in a body, and then went back and set
up a trophy. Meanwhile the Syracusans rallied at the Helorine road,
where they re-formed as well as they could under the circumstances,
and even sent a garrison of their own citizens to the Olympieum, fearing
that the Athenians might lay hands on some of the treasures there.
The rest returned to the town.

The Athenians, however, did not go to the temple, but collected their
dead and laid them upon a pyre, and passed the night upon the field.
The next day they gave the enemy back their dead under truce, to the
number of about two hundred and sixty, Syracusans and allies, and
gathered together the bones of their own, some fifty, Athenians and
allies, and taking the spoils of the enemy, sailed back to Catana.
It was now winter; and it did not seem possible for the moment to
carry on the war before Syracuse, until horse should have been sent
for from Athens and levied among the allies in Sicily- to do away
with their utter inferiority in cavalry- and money should have been
collected in the country and received from Athens, and until some
of the cities, which they hoped would be now more disposed to listen
to them after the battle, should have been brought over, and corn
and all other necessaries provided, for a campaign in the spring against

With this intention they sailed off to Naxos and Catana for the winter.
Meanwhile the Syracusans burned their dead and then held an assembly,
in which Hermocrates, son of Hermon, a man who with a general ability
of the first order had given proofs of military capacity and brilliant
courage in the war, came forward and encouraged them, and told them
not to let what had occurred make them give way, since their spirit
had not been conquered, but their want of discipline had done the
mischief. Still they had not been beaten by so much as might have
been expected, especially as they were, one might say, novices in
the art of war, an army of artisans opposed to the most practised
soldiers in Hellas. What had also done great mischief was the number
of the generals (there were fifteen of them) and the quantity of orders
given, combined with the disorder and insubordination of the troops.
But if they were to have a few skilful generals, and used this winter
in preparing their heavy infantry, finding arms for such as had not
got any, so as to make them as numerous as possible, and forcing them
to attend to their training generally, they would have every chance
of beating their adversaries, courage being already theirs and discipline
in the field having thus been added to it. Indeed, both these qualities
would improve, since danger would exercise them in discipline, while
their courage would be led to surpass itself by the confidence which
skill inspires. The generals should be few and elected with full powers,
and an oath should be taken to leave them entire discretion in their
command: if they adopted this plan, their secrets would be better
kept, all preparations would be properly made, and there would be
no room for excuses.

The Syracusans heard him, and voted everything as he advised, and
elected three generals, Hermocrates himself, Heraclides, son of Lysimachus,
and Sicanus, son of Execestes. They also sent envoys to Corinth and
Lacedaemon to procure a force of allies to join them, and to induce
the Lacedaemonians for their sakes openly to address themselves in
real earnest to the war against the Athenians, that they might either
have to leave Sicily or be less able to send reinforcements to their
army there.

The Athenian forces at Catana now at once sailed against Messina,
in the expectation of its being betrayed to them. The intrigue, however,
after all came to nothing: Alcibiades, who was in the secret, when
he left his command upon the summons from home, foreseeing that he
would be outlawed, gave information of the plot to the friends of
the Syracusans in Messina, who had at once put to death its authors,
and now rose in arms against the opposite faction with those of their
way of thinking, and succeeded in preventing the admission of the
Athenians. The latter waited for thirteen days, and then, as they
were exposed to the weather and without provisions, and met with no
success, went back to Naxos, where they made places for their ships
to lie in, erected a palisade round their camp, and retired into winter
quarters; meanwhile they sent a galley to Athens for money and cavalry
to join them in the spring. During the winter the Syracusans built
a wall on to the city, so as to take in the statue of Apollo Temenites,
all along the side looking towards Epipolae, to make the task of circumvallation
longer and more difficult, in case of their being defeated, and also
erected a fort at Megara and another in the Olympieum, and stuck palisades
along the sea wherever there was a landing Place. Meanwhile, as they
knew that the Athenians were wintering at Naxos, they marched with
all their people to Catana, and ravaged the land and set fire to the
tents and encampment of the Athenians, and so returned home. Learning
also that the Athenians were sending an embassy to Camarina, on the
strength of the alliance concluded in the time of Laches, to gain,
if possible, that city, they sent another from Syracuse to oppose
them. They had a shrewd suspicion that the Camarinaeans had not sent
what they did send for the first battle very willingly; and they now
feared that they would refuse to assist them at all in future, after
seeing the success of the Athenians in the action, and would join
the latter on the strength of their old friendship. Hermocrates, with
some others, accordingly arrived at Camarina from Syracuse, and Euphemus
and others from the Athenians; and an assembly of the Camarinaeans
having been convened, Hermocrates spoke as follows, in the hope of
prejudicing them against the Athenians:

“Camarinaeans, we did not come on this embassy because we were afraid
of your being frightened by the actual forces of the Athenians, but
rather of your being gained by what they would say to you before you
heard anything from us. They are come to Sicily with the pretext that
you know, and the intention which we all suspect, in my opinion less
to restore the Leontines to their homes than to oust us from ours;
as it is out of all reason that they should restore in Sicily the
cities that they lay waste in Hellas, or should cherish the Leontine
Chalcidians because of their Ionian blood and keep in servitude the
Euboean Chalcidians, of whom the Leontines are a colony. No; but the
same policy which has proved so successful in Hellas is now being
tried in Sicily. After being chosen as the leaders of the Ionians
and of the other allies of Athenian origin, to punish the Mede, the
Athenians accused some of failure in military service, some of fighting
against each other, and others, as the case might be, upon any colourable
pretext that could be found, until they thus subdued them all. In
fine, in the struggle against the Medes, the Athenians did not fight
for the liberty of the Hellenes, or the Hellenes for their own liberty,
but the former to make their countrymen serve them instead of him,
the latter to change one master for another, wiser indeed than the
first, but wiser for evil.

“But we are not now come to declare to an audience familiar with them
the misdeeds of a state so open to accusation as is the Athenian,
but much rather to blame ourselves, who, with the warnings we possess
in the Hellenes in those parts that have been enslaved through not
supporting each other, and seeing the same sophisms being now tried
upon ourselves- such as restorations of Leontine kinsfolk and support
of Egestaean allies- do not stand together and resolutely show them
that here are no Ionians, or Hellespontines, or islanders, who change
continually, but always serve a master, sometimes the Mede and sometimes
some other, but free Dorians from independent Peloponnese, dwelling
in Sicily. Or, are we waiting until we be taken in detail, one city
after another; knowing as we do that in no other way can we be conquered,
and seeing that they turn to this plan, so as to divide some of us
by words, to draw some by the bait of an alliance into open war with
each other, and to ruin others by such flattery as different circumstances
may render acceptable? And do we fancy when destruction first overtakes
a distant fellow countryman that the danger will not come to each
of us also, or that he who suffers before us will suffer in himself

“As for the Camarinaean who says that it is the Syracusan, not he,
that is the enemy of the Athenian, and who thinks it hard to have
to encounter risk in behalf of my country, I would have him bear in
mind that he will fight in my country, not more for mine than for
his own, and by so much the more safely in that he will enter on the
struggle not alone, after the way has been cleared by my ruin, but
with me as his ally, and that the object of the Athenian is not so
much to punish the enmity of the Syracusan as to use me as a blind
to secure the friendship of the Camarinaean. As for him who envies
or even fears us (and envied and feared great powers must always be),
and who on this account wishes Syracuse to be humbled to teach us
a lesson, but would still have her survive, in the interest of his
own security the wish that he indulges is not humanly possible. A
man can control his own desires, but he cannot likewise control circumstances;
and in the event of his calculations proving mistaken, he may live
to bewail his own misfortune, and wish to be again envying my prosperity.
An idle wish, if he now sacrifice us and refuse to take his share
of perils which are the same, in reality though not in name, for him
as for us; what is nominally the preservation of our power being really
his own salvation. It was to be expected that you, of all people in
the world, Camarinaeans, being our immediate neighbours and the next
in danger, would have foreseen this, and instead of supporting us
in the lukewarm way that you are now doing, would rather come to us
of your own accord, and be now offering at Syracuse the aid which
you would have asked for at Camarina, if to Camarina the Athenians
had first come, to encourage us to resist the invader. Neither you,
however, nor the rest have as yet bestirred yourselves in this direction.

“Fear perhaps will make you study to do right both by us and by the
invaders, and plead that you have an alliance with the Athenians.
But you made that alliance, not against your friends, but against
the enemies that might attack you, and to help the Athenians when
they were wronged by others, not when as now they are wronging their
neighbours. Even the Rhegians, Chalcidians though they be, refuse
to help to restore the Chalcidian Leontines; and it would be strange
if, while they suspect the gist of this fine pretence and are wise
without reason, you, with every reason on your side, should yet choose
to assist your natural enemies, and should join with their direst
foes in undoing those whom nature has made your own kinsfolk. This
is not to do right; but you should help us without fear of their armament,
which has no terrors if we hold together, but only if we let them
succeed in their endeavours to separate us; since even after attacking
us by ourselves and being victorious in battle, they had to go off
without effecting their purpose.

“United, therefore, we have no cause to despair, but rather new encouragement
to league together; especially as succour will come to us from the
Peloponnesians, in military matters the undoubted superiors of the
Athenians. And you need not think that your prudent policy of taking
sides with neither, because allies of both, is either safe for you
or fair to us. Practically it is not as fair as it pretends to be.
If the vanquished be defeated, and the victor conquer, through your
refusing to join, what is the effect of your abstention but to leave
the former to perish unaided, and to allow the latter to offend unhindered?
And yet it were more honourable to join those who are not only the
injured party, but your own kindred, and by so doing to defend the
common interests of Sicily and save your friends the Athenians from
doing wrong.

“In conclusion, we Syracusans say that it is useless for us to demonstrate
either to you or to the rest what you know already as well as we do;
but we entreat, and if our entreaty fail, we protest that we are menaced
by our eternal enemies the Ionians, and are betrayed by you our fellow
Dorians. If the Athenians reduce us, they will owe their victory to
your decision, but in their own name will reap the honour, and will
receive as the prize of their triumph the very men who enabled them
to gain it. On the other hand, if we are the conquerors, you will
have to pay for having been the cause of our danger. Consider, therefore;
and now make your choice between the security which present servitude
offers and the prospect of conquering with us and so escaping disgraceful
submission to an Athenian master and avoiding the lasting enmity of

Such were the words of Hermocrates; after whom Euphemus, the Athenian
ambassador, spoke as follows:

“Although we came here only to renew the former alliance, the attack
of the Syracusans compels us to speak of our empire and of the good
right we have to it. The best proof of this the speaker himself furnished,
when he called the Ionians eternal enemies of the Dorians. It is the
fact; and the Peloponnesian Dorians being our superiors in numbers
and next neighbours, we Ionians looked out for the best means of escaping
their domination. After the Median War we had a fleet, and so got
rid of the empire and supremacy of the Lacedaemonians, who had no
right to give orders to us more than we to them, except that of being
the strongest at that moment; and being appointed leaders of the King’s
former subjects, we continue to be so, thinking that we are least
likely to fall under the dominion of the Peloponnesians, if we have
a force to defend ourselves with, and in strict truth having done
nothing unfair in reducing to subjection the Ionians and islanders,
the kinsfolk whom the Syracusans say we have enslaved. They, our kinsfolk,
came against their mother country, that is to say against us, together
with the Mede, and, instead of having the courage to revolt and sacrifice
their property as we did when we abandoned our city, chose to be slaves
themselves, and to try to make us so.

“We, therefore, deserve to rule because we placed the largest fleet
and an unflinching patriotism at the service of the Hellenes, and
because these, our subjects, did us mischief by their ready subservience
to the Medes; and, desert apart, we seek to strengthen ourselves against
the Peloponnesians. We make no fine profession of having a right to
rule because we overthrew the barbarian single-handed, or because
we risked what we did risk for the freedom of the subjects in question
any more than for that of all, and for our own: no one can be quarrelled
with for providing for his proper safety. If we are now here in Sicily,
it is equally in the interest of our security, with which we perceive
that your interest also coincides. We prove this from the conduct
which the Syracusans cast against us and which you somewhat too timorously
suspect; knowing that those whom fear has made suspicious may be carried
away by the charm of eloquence for the moment, but when they come
to act follow their interests.

“Now, as we have said, fear makes us hold our empire in Hellas, and
fear makes us now come, with the help of our friends, to order safely
matters in Sicily, and not to enslave any but rather to prevent any
from being enslaved. Meanwhile, let no one imagine that we are interesting
ourselves in you without your having anything to do with us, seeing
that, if you are preserved and able to make head against the Syracusans,
they will be less likely to harm us by sending troops to the Peloponnesians.
In this way you have everything to do with us, and on this account
it is perfectly reasonable for us to restore the Leontines, and to
make them, not subjects like their kinsmen in Euboea, but as powerful
as possible, to help us by annoying the Syracusans from their frontier.
In Hellas we are alone a match for our enemies; and as for the assertion
that it is out of all reason that we should free the Sicilian, while
we enslave the Chalcidian, the fact is that the latter is useful to
us by being without arms and contributing money only; while the former,
the Leontines and our other friends, cannot be too independent.

“Besides, for tyrants and imperial cities nothing is unreasonable
if expedient, no one a kinsman unless sure; but friendship or enmity
is everywhere an affair of time and circumstance. Here, in Sicily,
our interest is not to weaken our friends, but by means of their strength
to cripple our enemies. Why doubt this? In Hellas we treat our allies
as we find them useful. The Chians and Methymnians govern themselves
and furnish ships; most of the rest have harder terms and pay tribute
in money; while others, although islanders and easy for us to take,
are free altogether, because they occupy convenient positions round
Peloponnese. In our settlement of the states here in Sicily, we should
therefore; naturally be guided by our interest, and by fear, as we
say, of the Syracusans. Their ambition is to rule you, their object
to use the suspicions that we excite to unite you, and then, when
we have gone away without effecting anything, by force or through
your isolation, to become the masters of Sicily. And masters they
must become, if you unite with them; as a force of that magnitude
would be no longer easy for us to deal with united, and they would
be more than a match for you as soon as we were away.

“Any other view of the case is condemned by the facts. When you first
asked us over, the fear which you held out was that of danger to Athens
if we let you come under the dominion of Syracuse; and it is not right
now to mistrust the very same argument by which you claimed to convince
us, or to give way to suspicion because we are come with a larger
force against the power of that city. Those whom you should really
distrust are the Syracusans. We are not able to stay here without
you, and if we proved perfidious enough to bring you into subjection,
we should be unable to keep you in bondage, owing to the length of
the voyage and the difficulty of guarding large, and in a military
sense continental, towns: they, the Syracusans, live close to you,
not in a camp, but in a city greater than the force we have with us,
plot always against you, never let slip an opportunity once offered,
as they have shown in the case of the Leontines and others, and now
have the face, just as if you were fools, to invite you to aid them
against the power that hinders this, and that has thus far maintained
Sicily independent. We, as against them, invite you to a much more
real safety, when we beg you not to betray that common safety which
we each have in the other, and to reflect that they, even without
allies, will, by their numbers, have always the way open to you, while
you will not often have the opportunity of defending yourselves with
such numerous auxiliaries; if, through your suspicions, you once let
these go away unsuccessful or defeated, you will wish to see if only
a handful of them back again, when the day is past in which their
presence could do anything for you.

“But we hope, Camarinaeans, that the calumnies of the Syracusans will
not be allowed to succeed either with you or with the rest: we have
told you the whole truth upon the things we are suspected of, and
will now briefly recapitulate, in the hope of convincing you. We assert
that we are rulers in Hellas in order not to be subjects; liberators
in Sicily that we may not be harmed by the Sicilians; that we are
compelled to interfere in many things, because we have many things
to guard against; and that now, as before, we are come as allies to
those of you who suffer wrong in this island, not without invitation
but upon invitation. Accordingly, instead of making yourselves judges
or censors of our conduct, and trying to turn us, which it were now
difficult to do, so far as there is anything in our interfering policy
or in our character that chimes in with your interest, this take and
make use of; and be sure that, far from being injurious to all alike,
to most of the Hellenes that policy is even beneficial. Thanks to
it, all men in all places, even where we are not, who either apprehend
or meditate aggression, from the near prospect before them, in the
one case, of obtaining our intervention in their favour, in the other,
of our arrival making the venture dangerous, find themselves constrained,
respectively, to be moderate against their will, and to be preserved
without trouble of their own. Do not you reject this security that
is open to all who desire it, and is now offered to you; but do like
others, and instead of being always on the defensive against the Syracusans,
unite with us, and in your turn at last threaten them.”

Such were the words of Euphemus. What the Camarinaeans felt was this.
Sympathizing with the Athenians, except in so far as they might be
afraid of their subjugating Sicily, they had always been at enmity
with their neighbour Syracuse. From the very fact, however, that they
were their neighbours, they feared the Syracusans most of the two,
and being apprehensive of their conquering even without them, both
sent them in the first instance the few horsemen mentioned, and for
the future determined to support them most in fact, although as sparingly
as possible; but for the moment in order not to seem to slight the
Athenians, especially as they had been successful in the engagement,
to answer both alike. Agreeably to this resolution they answered that
as both the contending parties happened to be allies of theirs, they
thought it most consistent with their oaths at present to side with
neither; with which answer the ambassadors of either party departed.

In the meantime, while Syracuse pursued her preparations for war,
the Athenians were encamped at Naxos, and tried by negotiation to
gain as many of the Sicels as possible. Those more in the low lands,
and subjects of Syracuse, mostly held aloof; but the peoples of the
interior who had never been otherwise than independent, with few exceptions,
at once joined the Athenians, and brought down corn to the army, and
in some cases even money. The Athenians marched against those who
refused to join, and forced some of them to do so; in the case of
others they were stopped by the Syracusans sending garrisons and reinforcements.
Meanwhile the Athenians moved their winter quarters from Naxos to
Catana, and reconstructed the camp burnt by the Syracusans, and stayed
there the rest of the winter. They also sent a galley to Carthage,
with proffers of friendship, on the chance of obtaining assistance,
and another to Tyrrhenia; some of the cities there having spontaneously
offered to join them in the war. They also sent round to the Sicels
and to Egesta, desiring them to send them as many horses as possible,
and meanwhile prepared bricks, iron, and all other things necessary
for the work of circumvallation, intending by the spring to begin

In the meantime the Syracusan envoys dispatched to Corinth and Lacedaemon
tried as they passed along the coast to persuade the Italiots to interfere
with the proceedings of the Athenians, which threatened Italy quite
as much as Syracuse, and having arrived at Corinth made a speech calling
on the Corinthians to assist them on the ground of their common origin.
The Corinthians voted at once to aid them heart and soul themselves,
and then sent on envoys with them to Lacedaemon, to help them to persuade
her also to prosecute the war with the Athenians more openly at home
and to send succours to Sicily. The envoys from Corinth having reached
Lacedaemon found there Alcibiades with his fellow refugees, who had
at once crossed over in a trading vessel from Thurii, first to Cyllene
in Elis, and afterwards from thence to Lacedaemon; upon the Lacedaemonians’
own invitation, after first obtaining a safe conduct, as he feared
them for the part he had taken in the affair of Mantinea. The result
was that the Corinthians, Syracusans, and Alcibiades, pressing all
the same request in the assembly of the Lacedaemonians, succeeded
in persuading them; but as the ephors and the authorities, although
resolved to send envoys to Syracuse to prevent their surrendering
to the Athenians, showed no disposition to send them any assistance,
Alcibiades now came forward and inflamed and stirred the Lacedaemonians
by speaking as follows:

“I am forced first to speak to you of the prejudice with which I am
regarded, in order that suspicion may not make you disinclined to
listen to me upon public matters. The connection, with you as your
proxeni, which the ancestors of our family by reason of some discontent
renounced, I personally tried to renew by my good offices towards
you, in particular upon the occasion of the disaster at Pylos. But
although I maintained this friendly attitude, you yet chose to negotiate
the peace with the Athenians through my enemies, and thus to strengthen
them and to discredit me. You had therefore no right to complain if
I turned to the Mantineans and Argives, and seized other occasions
of thwarting and injuring you; and the time has now come when those
among you, who in the bitterness of the moment may have been then
unfairly angry with me, should look at the matter in its true light,
and take a different view. Those again who judged me unfavourably,
because I leaned rather to the side of the commons, must not think
that their dislike is any better founded. We have always been hostile
to tyrants, and all who oppose arbitrary power are called commons;
hence we continued to act as leaders of the multitude; besides which,
as democracy was the government of the city, it was necessary in most
things to conform to established conditions. However, we endeavoured
to be more moderate than the licentious temper of the times; and while
there were others, formerly as now, who tried to lead the multitude
astray- the same who banished me- our party was that of the whole
people, our creed being to do our part in preserving the form of government
under which the city enjoyed the utmost greatness and freedom, and
which we had found existing. As for democracy, the men of sense among
us knew what it was, and I perhaps as well as any, as I have the more
cause to complain of it; but there is nothing new to be said of a
patent absurdity; meanwhile we did not think it safe to alter it under
the pressure of your hostility.

“So much then for the prejudices with which I am regarded: I now can
call your attention to the questions you must consider, and upon which
superior knowledge perhaps permits me to speak. We sailed to Sicily
first to conquer, if possible, the Siceliots, and after them the Italiots
also, and finally to assail the empire and city of Carthage. In the
event of all or most of these schemes succeeding, we were then to
attack Peloponnese, bringing with us the entire force of the Hellenes
lately acquired in those parts, and taking a number of barbarians
into our pay, such as the Iberians and others in those countries,
confessedly the most warlike known, and building numerous galleys
in addition to those which we had already, timber being plentiful
in Italy; and with this fleet blockading Peloponnese from the sea
and assailing it with our armies by land, taking some of the cities
by storm, drawing works of circumvallation round others, we hoped
without difficulty to effect its reduction, and after this to rule
the whole of the Hellenic name. Money and corn meanwhile for the better
execution of these plans were to be supplied in sufficient quantities
by the newly acquired places in those countries, independently of
our revenues here at home.

“You have thus heard the history of the present expedition from the
man who most exactly knows what our objects were; and the remaining
generals will, if they can, carry these out just the same. But that
the states in Sicily must succumb if you do not help them, I will
now show. Although the Siceliots, with all their inexperience, might
even now be saved if their forces were united, the Syracusans alone,
beaten already in one battle with all their people and blockaded from
the sea, will be unable to withstand the Athenian armament that is
now there. But if Syracuse falls, all Sicily falls also, and Italy
immediately afterwards; and the danger which I just now spoke of from
that quarter will before long be upon you. None need therefore fancy
that Sicily only is in question; Peloponnese will be so also, unless
you speedily do as I tell you, and send on board ship to Syracuse
troops that shall able to row their ships themselves, and serve as
heavy infantry the moment that they land; and what I consider even
more important than the troops, a Spartan as commanding officer to
discipline the forces already on foot and to compel recusants to serve.
The friends that you have already will thus become more confident,
and the waverers will be encouraged to join you. Meanwhile you must
carry on the war here more openly, that the Syracusans, seeing that
you do not forget them, may put heart into their resistance, and that
the Athenians may be less able to reinforce their armament. You must
fortify Decelea in Attica, the blow of which the Athenians are always
most afraid and the only one that they think they have not experienced
in the present war; the surest method of harming an enemy being to
find out what he most fears, and to choose this means of attacking
him, since every one naturally knows best his own weak points and
fears accordingly. The fortification in question, while it benefits
you, will create difficulties for your adversaries, of which I shall
pass over many, and shall only mention the chief. Whatever property
there is in the country will most of it become yours, either by capture
or surrender; and the Athenians will at once be deprived of their
revenues from the silver mines at Laurium, of their present gains
from their land and from the law courts, and above all of the revenue
from their allies, which will be paid less regularly, as they lose
their awe of Athens and see you addressing yourselves with vigour
to the war. The zeal and speed with which all this shall be done depends,
Lacedaemonians, upon yourselves; as to its possibility, I am quite
confident, and I have little fear of being mistaken.

“Meanwhile I hope that none of you will think any the worse of me
if, after having hitherto passed as a lover of my country, I now actively
join its worst enemies in attacking it, or will suspect what I say
as the fruit of an outlaw’s enthusiasm. I am an outlaw from the iniquity
of those who drove me forth, not, if you will be guided by me, from
your service; my worst enemies are not you who only harmed your foes,
but they who forced their friends to become enemies; and love of country
is what I do not feel when I am wronged, but what I felt when secure
in my rights as a citizen. Indeed I do not consider that I am now
attacking a country that is still mine; I am rather trying to recover
one that is mine no longer; and the true lover of his country is not
he who consents to lose it unjustly rather than attack it, but he
who longs for it so much that he will go all lengths to recover it.
For myself, therefore, Lacedaemonians, I beg you to use me without
scruple for danger and trouble of every kind, and to remember the
argument in every one’s mouth, that if I did you great harm as an
enemy, I could likewise do you good service as a friend, inasmuch
as I know the plans of the Athenians, while I only guessed yours.
For yourselves I entreat you to believe that your most capital interests
are now under deliberation; and I urge you to send without hesitation
the expeditions to Sicily and Attica; by the presence of a small part
of your forces you will save important cities in that island, and
you will destroy the power of Athens both present and prospective;
after this you will dwell in security and enjoy the supremacy over
all Hellas, resting not on force but upon consent and affection.”

Such were the words of Alcibiades. The Lacedaemonians, who had themselves
before intended to march against Athens, but were still waiting and
looking about them, at once became much more in earnest when they
received this particular information from Alcibiades, and considered
that they had heard it from the man who best knew the truth of the
matter. Accordingly they now turned their attention to the fortifying
of Decelea and sending immediate aid to the Sicilians; and naming
Gylippus, son of Cleandridas, to the command of the Syracusans, bade
him consult with that people and with the Corinthians and arrange
for succours reaching the island, in the best and speediest way possible
under the circumstances. Gylippus desired the Corinthians to send
him at once two ships to Asine, and to prepare the rest that they
intended to send, and to have them ready to sail at the proper time.
Having settled this, the envoys departed from Lacedaemon.

In the meantime arrived the Athenian galley from Sicily sent by the
generals for money and cavalry; and the Athenians, after hearing what
they wanted, voted to send the supplies for the armament and the cavalry.
And the winter ended, and with it ended the seventeenth year of the
present war of which Thucydides is the historian.

The next summer, at the very beginning of the season, the Athenians
in Sicily put out from Catana, and sailed along shore to Megara in
Sicily, from which, as I have mentioned above, the Syracusans expelled
the inhabitants in the time of their tyrant Gelo, themselves occupying
the territory. Here the Athenians landed and laid waste the country,
and after an unsuccessful attack upon a fort of the Syracusans, went
on with the fleet and army to the river Terias, and advancing inland
laid waste the plain and set fire to the corn; and after killing some
of a small Syracusan party which they encountered, and setting up
a trophy, went back again to their ships. They now sailed to Catana
and took in provisions there, and going with their whole force against
Centoripa, a town of the Sicels, acquired it by capitulation, and
departed, after also burning the corn of the Inessaeans and Hybleans.
Upon their return to Catana they found the horsemen arrived from Athens,
to the number of two hundred and fifty (with their equipments, but
without their horses which were to be procured upon the spot), and
thirty mounted archers and three hundred talents of silver.

The same spring the Lacedaemonians marched against Argos, and went
as far as Cleonae, when an earthquake occurred and caused them to
return. After this the Argives invaded the Thyreatid, which is on
their border, and took much booty from the Lacedaemonians, which was
sold for no less than twenty-five talents. The same summer, not long
after, the Thespian commons made an attack upon the party in office,
which was not successful, but succours arrived from Thebes, and some
were caught, while others took refuge at Athens.

The same summer the Syracusans learned that the Athenians had been
joined by their cavalry, and were on the point of marching against
them; and seeing that without becoming masters of Epipolae, a precipitous
spot situated exactly over the town, the Athenians could not, even
if victorious in battle, easily invest them, they determined to guard
its approaches, in order that the enemy might not ascend unobserved
by this, the sole way by which ascent was possible, as the remainder
is lofty ground, and falls right down to the city, and can all be
seen from inside; and as it lies above the rest the place is called
by the Syracusans Epipolae or Overtown. They accordingly went out
in mass at daybreak into the meadow along the river Anapus, their
new generals, Hermocrates and his colleagues, having just come into
office, and held a review of their heavy infantry, from whom they
first selected a picked body of six hundred, under the command of
Diomilus, an exile from Andros, to guard Epipolae, and to be ready
to muster at a moment’s notice to help wherever help should be required.

Meanwhile the Athenians, the very same morning, were holding a review,
having already made land unobserved with all the armament from Catana,
opposite a place called Leon, not much more than half a mile from
Epipolae, where they disembarked their army, bringing the fleet to
anchor at Thapsus, a peninsula running out into the sea, with a narrow
isthmus, and not far from the city of Syracuse either by land or water.
While the naval force of the Athenians threw a stockade across the
isthmus and remained quiet at Thapsus, the land army immediately went
on at a run to Epipolae, and succeeded in getting up by Euryelus before
the Syracusans perceived them, or could come up from the meadow and
the review. Diomilus with his six hundred and the rest advanced as
quickly as they could, but they had nearly three miles to go from
the meadow before reaching them. Attacking in this way in considerable
disorder, the Syracusans were defeated in battle at Epipolae and retired
to the town, with a loss of about three hundred killed, and Diomilus
among the number. After this the Athenians set up a trophy and restored
to the Syracusans their dead under truce, and next day descended to
Syracuse itself; and no one coming out to meet them, reascended and
built a fort at Labdalum, upon the edge of the cliffs of Epipolae,
looking towards Megara, to serve as a magazine for their baggage and
money, whenever they advanced to battle or to work at the lines.

Not long afterwards three hundred cavalry came to them from Egesta,
and about a hundred from the Sicels, Naxians, and others; and thus,
with the two hundred and fifty from Athens, for whom they had got
horses from the Egestaeans and Catanians, besides others that they
bought, they now mustered six hundred and fifty cavalry in all. After
posting a garrison in Labdalum, they advanced to Syca, where they
sat down and quickly built the Circle or centre of their wall of circumvallation.
The Syracusans, appalled at the rapidity with which the work advanced,
determined to go out against them and give battle and interrupt it;
and the two armies were already in battle array, when the Syracusan
generals observed that their troops found such difficulty in getting
into line, and were in such disorder, that they led them back into
the town, except part of the cavalry. These remained and hindered
the Athenians from carrying stones or dispersing to any great distance,
until a tribe of the Athenian heavy infantry, with all the cavalry,
charged and routed the Syracusan horse with some loss; after which
they set up a trophy for the cavalry action.

The next day the Athenians began building the wall to the north of
the Circle, at the same time collecting stone and timber, which they
kept laying down towards Trogilus along the shortest line for their
works from the great harbour to the sea; while the Syracusans, guided
by their generals, and above all by Hermocrates, instead of risking
any more general engagements, determined to build a counterwork in
the direction in which the Athenians were going to carry their wall.
If this could be completed in time, the enemy’s lines would be cut;
and meanwhile, if he were to attempt to interrupt them by an attack,
they would send a part of their forces against him, and would secure
the approaches beforehand with their stockade, while the Athenians
would have to leave off working with their whole force in order to
attend to them. They accordingly sallied forth and began to build,
starting from their city, running a cross wall below the Athenian
Circle, cutting down the olives and erecting wooden towers. As the
Athenian fleet had not yet sailed round into the great harbour, the
Syracusans still commanded the seacoast, and the Athenians brought
their provisions by land from Thapsus.

The Syracusans now thought the stockades and stonework of their counterwall
sufficiently far advanced; and as the Athenians, afraid of being divided
and so fighting at a disadvantage, and intent upon their own wall,
did not come out to interrupt them, they left one tribe to guard the
new work and went back into the city. Meanwhile the Athenians destroyed
their pipes of drinking-water carried underground into the city; and
watching until the rest of the Syracusans were in their tents at midday,
and some even gone away into the city, and those in the stockade keeping
but indifferent guard, appointed three hundred picked men of their
own, and some men picked from the light troops and armed for the purpose,
to run suddenly as fast as they could to the counterwork, while the
rest of the army advanced in two divisions, the one with one of the
generals to the city in case of a sortie, the other with the other
general to the stockade by the postern gate. The three hundred attacked
and took the stockade, abandoned by its garrison, who took refuge
in the outworks round the statue of Apollo Temenites. Here the pursuers
burst in with them, and after getting in were beaten out by the Syracusans,
and some few of the Argives and Athenians slain; after which the whole
army retired, and having demolished the counterwork and pulled up
the stockade, carried away the stakes to their own lines, and set
up a trophy.

The next day the Athenians from the Circle proceeded to fortify the
cliff above the marsh which on this side of Epipolae looks towards
the great harbour; this being also the shortest line for their work
to go down across the plain and the marsh to the harbour. Meanwhile
the Syracusans marched out and began a second stockade, starting from
the city, across the middle of the marsh, digging a trench alongside
to make it impossible for the Athenians to carry their wall down to
the sea. As soon as the Athenians had finished their work at the cliff
they again attacked the stockade and ditch of the Syracusans. Ordering
the fleet to sail round from Thapsus into the great harbour of Syracuse,
they descended at about dawn from Epipolae into the plain, and laying
doors and planks over the marsh, where it was muddy and firmest, crossed
over on these, and by daybreak took the ditch and the stockade, except
a small portion which they captured afterwards. A battle now ensued,
in which the Athenians were victorious, the right wing of the Syracusans
flying to the town and the left to the river. The three hundred picked
Athenians, wishing to cut off their passage, pressed on at a run to
the bridge, when the alarmed Syracusans, who had with them most of
their cavalry, closed and routed them, hurling them back upon the
Athenian right wing, the first tribe of which was thrown into a panic
by the shock. Seeing this, Lamachus came to their aid from the Athenian
left with a few archers and with the Argives, and crossing a ditch,
was left alone with a few that had crossed with him, and was killed
with five or six of his men. These the Syracusans managed immediately
to snatch up in haste and get across the river into a place of security,
themselves retreating as the rest of the Athenian army now came up.

Meanwhile those who had at first fled for refuge to the city, seeing
the turn affairs were taking, now rallied from the town and formed
against the Athenians in front of them, sending also a part of their
number to the Circle on Epipolae, which they hoped to take while denuded
of its defenders. These took and destroyed the Athenian outwork of
a thousand feet, the Circle itself being saved by Nicias, who happened
to have been left in it through illness, and who now ordered the servants
to set fire to the engines and timber thrown down before the wall;
want of men, as he was aware, rendering all other means of escape
impossible. This step was justified by the result, the Syracusans
not coming any further on account of the fire, but retreating. Meanwhile
succours were coming up from the Athenians below, who had put to flight
the troops opposed to them; and the fleet also, according to orders,
was sailing from Thapsus into the great harbour. Seeing this, the
troops on the heights retired in haste, and the whole army of the
Syracusans re-entered the city, thinking that with their present force
they would no longer be able to hinder the wall reaching the sea.

After this the Athenians set up a trophy and restored to the Syracusans
their dead under truce, receiving in return Lamachus and those who
had fallen with him. The whole of their forces, naval and military,
being now with them, they began from Epipolae and the cliffs and enclosed
the Syracusans with a double wall down to the sea. Provisions were
now brought in for the armament from all parts of Italy; and many
of the Sicels, who had hitherto been looking to see how things went,
came as allies to the Athenians: there also arrived three ships of
fifty oars from Tyrrhenia. Meanwhile everything else progressed favourably
for their hopes. The Syracusans began to despair of finding safety
in arms, no relief having reached them from Peloponnese, and were
now proposing terms of capitulation among themselves and to Nicias,
who after the death of Lamachus was left sole commander. No decision
was come to, but, as was natural with men in difficulties and besieged
more straitly than before, there was much discussion with Nicias and
still more in the town. Their present misfortunes had also made them
suspicious of one another; and the blame of their disasters was thrown
upon the ill-fortune or treachery of the generals under whose command
they had happened; and these were deposed and others, Heraclides,
Eucles, and Tellias, elected in their stead.

Meanwhile the Lacedaemonian, Gylippus, and the ships from Corinth
were now off Leucas, intent upon going with all haste to the relief
of Sicily. The reports that reached them being of an alarming kind,
and all agreeing in the falsehood that Syracuse was already completely
invested, Gylippus abandoned all hope of Sicily, and wishing to save
Italy, rapidly crossed the Ionian Sea to Tarentum with the Corinthian,
Pythen, two Laconian, and two Corinthian vessels, leaving the Corinthians
to follow him after manning, in addition to their own ten, two Leucadian
and two Ambraciot ships. From Tarentum Gylippus first went on an embassy
to Thurii, and claimed anew the rights of citizenship which his father
had enjoyed; failing to bring over the townspeople, he weighed anchor
and coasted along Italy. Opposite the Terinaean Gulf he was caught
by the wind which blows violently and steadily from the north in that
quarter, and was carried out to sea; and after experiencing very rough
weather, remade Tarentum, where he hauled ashore and refitted such
of his ships as had suffered most from the tempest. Nicias heard of
his approach, but, like the Thurians, despised the scanty number of
his ships, and set down piracy as the only probable object of the
voyage, and so took no precautions for the present.

About the same time in this summer, the Lacedaemonians invaded Argos
with their allies, and laid waste most of the country. The Athenians
went with thirty ships to the relief of the Argives, thus breaking
their treaty with the Lacedaemonians in the most overt manner. Up
to this time incursions from Pylos, descents on the coast of the rest
of Peloponnese, instead of on the Laconian, had been the extent of
their co-operation with the Argives and Mantineans; and although the
Argives had often begged them to land, if only for a moment, with
their heavy infantry in Laconia, lay waste ever so little of it with
them, and depart, they had always refused to do so. Now, however,
under the command of Phytodorus, Laespodius, and Demaratus, they landed
at Epidaurus Limera, Prasiae, and other places, and plundered the
country; and thus furnished the Lacedaemonians with a better pretext
for hostilities against Athens. After the Athenians had retired from
Argos with their fleet, and the Lacedaemonians also, the Argives made
an incursion into the Phlisaid, and returned home after ravaging their
land and killing some of the inhabitants.


Chapter XXI

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Years of the War – Arrival of Gylippus at
Syracuse – Fortification of Decelea – Successes of the Syracusans

After refitting their ships, Gylippus and Pythen coasted along from
Tarentum to Epizephyrian Locris. They now received the more correct
information that Syracuse was not yet completely invested, but that
it was still possible for an army arriving at Epipolae to effect an
entrance; and they consulted, accordingly, whether they should keep
Sicily on their right and risk sailing in by sea, or, leaving it on
their left, should first sail to Himera and, taking with them the
Himeraeans and any others that might agree to join them, go to Syracuse
by land. Finally they determined to sail for Himera, especially as
the four Athenian ships which Nicias had at length sent off, on hearing
that they were at Locris, had not yet arrived at Rhegium. Accordingly,
before these reached their post, the Peloponnesians crossed the strait
and, after touching at Rhegium and Messina, came to Himera. Arrived
there, they persuaded the Himeraeans to join in the war, and not only
to go with them themselves but to provide arms for the seamen from
their vessels which they had drawn ashore at Himera; and they sent
and appointed a place for the Selinuntines to meet them with all their
forces. A few troops were also promised by the Geloans and some of
the Sicels, who were now ready to join them with much greater alacrity,
owing to the recent death of Archonidas, a powerful Sicel king in
that neighbourhood and friendly to Athens, and owing also to the vigour
shown by Gylippus in coming from Lacedaemon. Gylippus now took with
him about seven hundred of his sailors and marines, that number only
having arms, a thousand heavy infantry and light troops from Himera
with a body of a hundred horse, some light troops and cavalry from
Selinus, a few Geloans, and Sicels numbering a thousand in all, and
set out on his march for Syracuse.

Meanwhile the Corinthian fleet from Leucas made all haste to arrive;
and one of their commanders, Gongylus, starting last with a single
ship, was the first to reach Syracuse, a little before Gylippus. Gongylus
found the Syracusans on the point of holding an assembly to consider
whether they should put an end to the war. This he prevented, and
reassured them by telling them that more vessels were still to arrive,
and that Gylippus, son of Cleandridas, had been dispatched by the
Lacedaemonians to take the command. Upon this the Syracusans took
courage, and immediately marched out with all their forces to meet
Gylippus, who they found was now close at hand. Meanwhile Gylippus,
after taking Ietae, a fort of the Sicels, on his way, formed his army
in order of battle, and so arrived at Epipolae, and ascending by Euryelus,
as the Athenians had done at first, now advanced with the Syracusans
against the Athenian lines. His arrival chanced at a critical moment.
The Athenians had already finished a double wall of six or seven furlongs
to the great harbour, with the exception of a small portion next the
sea, which they were still engaged upon; and in the remainder of the
circle towards Trogilus on the other sea, stones had been laid ready
for building for the greater part of the distance, and some points
had been left half finished, while others were entirely completed.
The danger of Syracuse had indeed been great.

Meanwhile the Athenians, recovering from the confusion into which
they had been first thrown by the sudden approach of Gylippus and
the Syracusans, formed in order of battle. Gylippus halted at a short
distance off and sent on a herald to tell them that, if they would
evacuate Sicily with bag and baggage within five days’ time, he was
willing to make a truce accordingly. The Athenians treated this proposition
with contempt, and dismissed the herald without an answer. After this
both sides began to prepare for action. Gylippus, observing that the
Syracusans were in disorder and did not easily fall into line, drew
off his troops more into the open ground, while Nicias did not lead
on the Athenians but lay still by his own wall. When Gylippus saw
that they did not come on, he led off his army to the citadel of the
quarter of Apollo Temenites, and passed the night there. On the following
day he led out the main body of his army, and, drawing them up in
order of battle before the walls of the Athenians to prevent their
going to the relief of any other quarter, dispatched a strong force
against Fort Labdalum, and took it, and put all whom he found in it
to the sword, the place not being within sight of the Athenians. On
the same day an Athenian galley that lay moored off the harbour was
captured by the Syracusans.

After this the Syracusans and their allies began to carry a single
wall, starting from the city, in a slanting direction up Epipolae,
in order that the Athenians, unless they could hinder the work, might
be no longer able to invest them. Meanwhile the Athenians, having
now finished their wall down to the sea, had come up to the heights;
and part of their wall being weak, Gylippus drew out his army by night
and attacked it. However, the Athenians who happened to be bivouacking
outside took the alarm and came out to meet him, upon seeing which
he quickly led his men back again. The Athenians now built their wall
higher, and in future kept guard at this point themselves, disposing
their confederates along the remainder of the works, at the stations
assigned to them. Nicias also determined to fortify Plemmyrium, a
promontory over against the city, which juts out and narrows the mouth
of the Great Harbour. He thought that the fortification of this place
would make it easier to bring in supplies, as they would be able to
carry on their blockade from a less distance, near to the port occupied
by the Syracusans; instead of being obliged, upon every movement of
the enemy’s navy, to put out against them from the bottom of the great
harbour. Besides this, he now began to pay more attention to the war
by sea, seeing that the coming of Gylippus had diminished their hopes
by land. Accordingly, he conveyed over his ships and some troops,
and built three forts in which he placed most of his baggage, and
moored there for the future the larger craft and men-of-war. This
was the first and chief occasion of the losses which the crews experienced.
The water which they used was scarce and had to be fetched from far,
and the sailors could not go out for firewood without being cut off
by the Syracusan horse, who were masters of the country; a third of
the enemy’s cavalry being stationed at the little town of Olympieum,
to prevent plundering incursions on the part of the Athenians at Plemmyrium.
Meanwhile Nicias learned that the rest of the Corinthian fleet was
approaching, and sent twenty ships to watch for them, with orders
to be on the look-out for them about Locris and Rhegium and the approach
to Sicily.

Gylippus, meanwhile, went on with the wall across Epipolae, using
the stones which the Athenians had laid down for their own wall, and
at the same time constantly led out the Syracusans and their allies,
and formed them in order of battle in front of the lines, the Athenians
forming against him. At last he thought that the moment was come,
and began the attack; and a hand-to-hand fight ensued between the
lines, where the Syracusan cavalry could be of no use; and the Syracusans
and their allies were defeated and took up their dead under truce,
while the Athenians erected a trophy. After this Gylippus called the
soldiers together, and said that the fault was not theirs but his;
he had kept their lines too much within the works, and had thus deprived
them of the services of their cavalry and darters. He would now, therefore,
lead them on a second time. He begged them to remember that in material
force they would be fully a match for their opponents, while, with
respect to moral advantages, it were intolerable if Peloponnesians
and Dorians should not feel confident of overcoming Ionians and islanders
with the motley rabble that accompanied them, and of driving them
out of the country.

After this he embraced the first opportunity that offered of again
leading them against the enemy. Now Nicias and the Athenians held
the opinion that even if the Syracusans should not wish to offer battle,
it was necessary for them to prevent the building of the cross wall,
as it already almost overlapped the extreme point of their own, and
if it went any further it would from that moment make no difference
whether they fought ever so many successful actions, or never fought
at all. They accordingly came out to meet the Syracusans. Gylippus
led out his heavy infantry further from the fortifications than on
the former occasion, and so joined battle; posting his horse and darters
upon the flank of the Athenians in the open space, where the works
of the two walls terminated. During the engagement the cavalry attacked
and routed the left wing of the Athenians, which was opposed to them;
and the rest of the Athenian army was in consequence defeated by the
Syracusans and driven headlong within their lines. The night following
the Syracusans carried their wall up to the Athenian works and passed
them, thus putting it out of their power any longer to stop them,
and depriving them, even if victorious in the field, of all chance
of investing the city for the future.

After this the remaining twelve vessels of the Corinthians, Ambraciots,
and Leucadians sailed into the harbour under the command of Erasinides,
a Corinthian, having eluded the Athenian ships on guard, and helped
the Syracusans in completing the remainder of the cross wall. Meanwhile
Gylippus went into the rest of Sicily to raise land and naval forces,
and also to bring over any of the cities that either were lukewarm
in the cause or had hitherto kept out of the war altogether. Syracusan
and Corinthian envoys were also dispatched to Lacedaemon and Corinth
to get a fresh force sent over, in any way that might offer, either
in merchant vessels or transports, or in any other manner likely to
prove successful, as the Athenians too were sending for reinforcements;
while the Syracusans proceeded to man a fleet and to exercise, meaning
to try their fortune in this way also, and generally became exceedingly

Nicias perceiving this, and seeing the strength of the enemy and his
own difficulties daily increasing, himself also sent to Athens. He
had before sent frequent reports of events as they occurred, and felt
it especially incumbent upon him to do so now, as he thought that
they were in a critical position, and that, unless speedily recalled
or strongly reinforced from home, they had no hope of safety. He feared,
however, that the messengers, either through inability to speak, or
through failure of memory, or from a wish to please the multitude,
might not report the truth, and so thought it best to write a letter,
to ensure that the Athenians should know his own opinion without its
being lost in transmission, and be able to decide upon the real facts
of the case.

His emissaries, accordingly, departed with the letter and the requisite
verbal instructions; and he attended to the affairs of the army, making
it his aim now to keep on the defensive and to avoid any unnecessary

At the close of the same summer the Athenian general Euetion marched
in concert with Perdiccas with a large body of Thracians against Amphipolis,
and failing to take it brought some galleys round into the Strymon,
and blockaded the town from the river, having his base at Himeraeum.

Summer was now over. The winter ensuing, the persons sent by Nicias,
reaching Athens, gave the verbal messages which had been entrusted
to them, and answered any questions that were asked them, and delivered
the letter. The clerk of the city now came forward and read out to
the Athenians the letter, which was as follows:

“Our past operations, Athenians, have been made known to you by many
other letters; it is now time for you to become equally familiar with
our present condition, and to take your measures accordingly. We had
defeated in most of our engagements with them the Syracusans, against
whom we were sent, and we had built the works which we now occupy,
when Gylippus arrived from Lacedaemon with an army obtained from Peloponnese
and from some of the cities in Sicily. In our first battle with him
we were victorious; in the battle on the following day we were overpowered
by a multitude of cavalry and darters, and compelled to retire within
our lines. We have now, therefore, been forced by the numbers of those
opposed to us to discontinue the work of circumvallation, and to remain
inactive; being unable to make use even of all the force we have,
since a large portion of our heavy infantry is absorbed in the defence
of our lines. Meanwhile the enemy have carried a single wall past
our lines, thus making it impossible for us to invest them in future,
until this cross wall be attacked by a strong force and captured.
So that the besieger in name has become, at least from the land side,
the besieged in reality; as we are prevented by their cavalry from
even going for any distance into the country.

“Besides this, an embassy has been dispatched to Peloponnese to procure
reinforcements, and Gylippus has gone to the cities in Sicily, partly
in the hope of inducing those that are at present neutral to join
him in the war, partly of bringing from his allies additional contingents
for the land forces and material for the navy. For I understand that
they contemplate a combined attack, upon our lines with their land
forces and with their fleet by sea. You must none of you be surprised
that I say by sea also. They have discovered that the length of the
time we have now been in commission has rotted our ships and wasted
our crews, and that with the entireness of our crews and the soundness
of our ships the pristine efficiency of our navy has departed. For
it is impossible for us to haul our ships ashore and careen them,
because, the enemy’s vessels being as many or more than our own, we
are constantly anticipating an attack. Indeed, they may be seen exercising,
and it lies with them to take the initiative; and not having to maintain
a blockade, they have greater facilities for drying their ships.

“This we should scarcely be able to do, even if we had plenty of ships
to spare, and were freed from our present necessity of exhausting
all our strength upon the blockade. For it is already difficult to
carry in supplies past Syracuse; and were we to relax our vigilance
in the slightest degree it would become impossible. The losses which
our crews have suffered and still continue to suffer arise from the
following causes. Expeditions for fuel and for forage, and the distance
from which water has to be fetched, cause our sailors to be cut off
by the Syracusan cavalry; the loss of our previous superiority emboldens
our slaves to desert; our foreign seamen are impressed by the unexpected
appearance of a navy against us, and the strength of the enemy’s resistance;
such of them as were pressed into the service take the first opportunity
of departing to their respective cities; such as were originally seduced
by the temptation of high pay, and expected little fighting and large
gains, leave us either by desertion to the enemy or by availing themselves
of one or other of the various facilities of escape which the magnitude
of Sicily affords them. Some even engage in trade themselves and prevail
upon the captains to take Hyccaric slaves on board in their place;
thus they have ruined the efficiency of our navy.

“Now I need not remind you that the time during which a crew is in
its prime is short, and that the number of sailors who can start a
ship on her way and keep the rowing in time is small. But by far my
greatest trouble is, that holding the post which I do, I am prevented
by the natural indocility of the Athenian seaman from putting a stop
to these evils; and that meanwhile we have no source from which to
recruit our crews, which the enemy can do from many quarters, but
are compelled to depend both for supplying the crews in service and
for making good our losses upon the men whom we brought with us. For
our present confederates, Naxos and Catana, are incapable of supplying
us. There is only one thing more wanting to our opponents, I mean
the defection of our Italian markets. If they were to see you neglect
to relieve us from our present condition, and were to go over to the
enemy, famine would compel us to evacuate, and Syracuse would finish
the war without a blow.

“I might, it is true, have written to you something different and
more agreeable than this, but nothing certainly more useful, if it
is desirable for you to know the real state of things here before
taking your measures. Besides I know that it is your nature to love
to be told the best side of things, and then to blame the teller if
the expectations which he has raised in your minds are not answered
by the result; and I therefore thought it safest to declare to you
the truth.

“Now you are not to think that either your generals or your soldiers
have ceased to be a match for the forces originally opposed to them.
But you are to reflect that a general Sicilian coalition is being
formed against us; that a fresh army is expected from Peloponnese,
while the force we have here is unable to cope even with our present
antagonists; and you must promptly decide either to recall us or to
send out to us another fleet and army as numerous again, with a large
sum of money, and someone to succeed me, as a disease in the kidneys
unfits me for retaining my post. I have, I think, some claim on your
indulgence, as while I was in my prime I did you much good service
in my commands. But whatever you mean to do, do it at the commencement
of spring and without delay, as the enemy will obtain his Sicilian
reinforcements shortly, those from Peloponnese after a longer interval;
and unless you attend to the matter the former will be here before
you, while the latter will elude you as they have done before.”

Such were the contents of Nicias’s letter. When the Athenians had
heard it they refused to accept his resignation, but chose him two
colleagues, naming Menander and Euthydemus, two of the officers at
the seat of war, to fill their places until their arrival, that Nicias
might not be left alone in his sickness to bear the whole weight of
affairs. They also voted to send out another army and navy, drawn
partly from the Athenians on the muster-roll, partly from the allies.
The colleagues chosen for Nicias were Demosthenes, son of Alcisthenes,
and Eurymedon, son of Thucles. Eurymedon was sent off at once, about
the time of the winter solstice, with ten ships, a hundred and twenty
talents of silver, and instructions to tell the army that reinforcements
would arrive, and that care would be taken of them; but Demosthenes
stayed behind to organize the expedition, meaning to start as soon
as it was spring, and sent for troops to the allies, and meanwhile
got together money, ships, and heavy infantry at home.

The Athenians also sent twenty vessels round Peloponnese to prevent
any one crossing over to Sicily from Corinth or Peloponnese. For the
Corinthians, filled with confidence by the favourable alteration in
Sicilian affairs which had been reported by the envoys upon their
arrival, and convinced that the fleet which they had before sent out
had not been without its use, were now preparing to dispatch a force
of heavy infantry in merchant vessels to Sicily, while the Lacedaemonians
did the like for the rest of Peloponnese. The Corinthians also manned
a fleet of twenty-five vessels, intending to try the result of a battle
with the squadron on guard at Naupactus, and meanwhile to make it
less easy for the Athenians there to hinder the departure of their
merchantmen, by obliging them to keep an eye upon the galleys thus
arrayed against them.

In the meantime the Lacedaemonians prepared for their invasion of
Attica, in accordance with their own previous resolve, and at the
instigation of the Syracusans and Corinthians, who wished for an invasion
to arrest the reinforcements which they heard that Athens was about
to send to Sicily. Alcibiades also urgently advised the fortification
of Decelea, and a vigorous prosecution of the war. But the Lacedaemonians
derived most encouragement from the belief that Athens, with two wars
on her hands, against themselves and against the Siceliots, would
be more easy to subdue, and from the conviction that she had been
the first to infringe the truce. In the former war, they considered,
the offence had been more on their own side, both on account of the
entrance of the Thebans into Plataea in time of peace, and also of
their own refusal to listen to the Athenian offer of arbitration,
in spite of the clause in the former treaty that where arbitration
should be offered there should be no appeal to arms. For this reason
they thought that they deserved their misfortunes, and took to heart
seriously the disaster at Pylos and whatever else had befallen them.
But when, besides the ravages from Pylos, which went on without any
intermission, the thirty Athenian ships came out from Argos and wasted
part of Epidaurus, Prasiae, and other places; when upon every dispute
that arose as to the interpretation of any doubtful point in the treaty,
their own offers of arbitration were always rejected by the Athenians,
the Lacedaemonians at length decided that Athens had now committed
the very same offence as they had before done, and had become the
guilty party; and they began to be full of ardour for the war. They
spent this winter in sending round to their allies for iron, and in
getting ready the other implements for building their fort; and meanwhile
began raising at home, and also by forced requisitions in the rest
of Peloponnese, a force to be sent out in the merchantmen to their
allies in Sicily. Winter thus ended, and with it the eighteenth year
of this war of which Thucydides is the historian.

In the first days of the spring following, at an earlier period than
usual, the Lacedaemonians and their allies invaded Attica, under the
command of Agis, son of Archidamus, king of the Lacedaemonians. They
began by devastating the parts bordering upon the plain, and next
proceeded to fortify Decelea, dividing the work among the different
cities. Decelea is about thirteen or fourteen miles from the city
of Athens, and the same distance or not much further from Boeotia;
and the fort was meant to annoy the plain and the richest parts of
the country, being in sight of Athens. While the Peloponnesians and
their allies in Attica were engaged in the work of fortification,
their countrymen at home sent off, at about the same time, the heavy
infantry in the merchant vessels to Sicily; the Lacedaemonians furnishing
a picked force of Helots and Neodamodes (or freedmen), six hundred
heavy infantry in all, under the command of Eccritus, a Spartan; and
the Boeotians three hundred heavy infantry, commanded by two Thebans,
Xenon and Nicon, and by Hegesander, a Thespian. These were among the
first to put out into the open sea, starting from Taenarus in Laconia.
Not long after their departure the Corinthians sent off a force of
five hundred heavy infantry, consisting partly of men from Corinth
itself, and partly of Arcadian mercenaries, placed under the command
of Alexarchus, a Corinthian. The Sicyonians also sent off two hundred
heavy infantry at same time as the Corinthians, under the command
of Sargeus, a Sicyonian. Meantime the five-and-twenty vessels manned
by Corinth during the winter lay confronting the twenty Athenian ships
at Naupactus until the heavy infantry in the merchantmen were fairly
on their way from Peloponnese; thus fulfilling the object for which
they had been manned originally, which was to divert the attention
of the Athenians from the merchantmen to the galleys.

During this time the Athenians were not idle. Simultaneously with
the fortification of Decelea, at the very beginning of spring, they
sent thirty ships round Peloponnese, under Charicles, son of Apollodorus,
with instructions to call at Argos and demand a force of their heavy
infantry for the fleet, agreeably to the alliance. At the same time
they dispatched Demosthenes to Sicily, as they had intended, with
sixty Athenian and five Chian vessels, twelve hundred Athenian heavy
infantry from the muster-roll, and as many of the islanders as could
be raised in the different quarters, drawing upon the other subject
allies for whatever they could supply that would be of use for the
war. Demosthenes was instructed first to sail round with Charicles
and to operate with him upon the coasts of Laconia, and accordingly
sailed to Aegina and there waited for the remainder of his armament,
and for Charicles to fetch the Argive troops.

In Sicily, about the same time in this spring, Gylippus came to Syracuse
with as many troops as he could bring from the cities which he had
persuaded to join. Calling the Syracusans together, he told them that
they must man as many ships as possible, and try their hand at a sea-fight,
by which he hoped to achieve an advantage in the war not unworthy
of the risk. With him Hermocrates actively joined in trying to encourage
his countrymen to attack the Athenians at sea, saying that the latter
had not inherited their naval prowess nor would they retain it for
ever; they had been landsmen even to a greater degree than the Syracusans,
and had only become a maritime power when obliged by the Mede. Besides,
to daring spirits like the Athenians, a daring adversary would seem
the most formidable; and the Athenian plan of paralysing by the boldness
of their attack a neighbour often not their inferior in strength could
now be used against them with as good effect by the Syracusans. He
was convinced also that the unlooked-for spectacle