The History of the Peloponnesian War

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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 revolu