Hellenica, by Xenophon

BOOK II

I

To return to Eteonicus and his troops in Chios. During summer they were well able to support themselves on the fruits of the season, or by labouring for hire in different parts of the island, but with the approach of winter these means of subsistence began to fail. Ill-clad at the same time, and ill-shod, they fell to caballing and arranging plans to attack the city of Chios. It was agreed amongst them, that in order to guage their numbers, every member of the conspiracy should carry a reed. Eteonicus got wind of the design, but was at a loss how to deal with it, considering the number of these reed-bearers. To make an open attack upon them seemed dangerous. It would probably lead to a rush to arms, in which the conspirators would seize the city and commence hostilities, and, in the event of their success, everything hitherto achieved would be lost. Or again, the destruction on his part of many fellow-creatures and allies was a terrible alternative, which would place the Spartans in an unenviable light with regard to the rest of Hellas, and render the soldiers ill-disposed to the cause in hand. Accordingly he took with him fifteen men, armed with daggers, and marched through the city. Falling in with one of the reed-bearers, a man suffering from ophthalmia, who was returning from the surgeon’s house, he put him to death. This led to some uproar, and people asked why the man was thus slain. By Eteonicus’s orders the answer was set afloat, “because he carried a reed.” As the explanation circulated, one reed-bearer after another threw away the symbol, each one saying to himself, as he heard the reason given, “I have better not be seen with this.” After a while Eteonicus called a meeting of the Chians, and imposed upon them a contribution of money, on the ground that with pay in their pockets the sailors would have no temptation to revolutionary projects. The Chians acquiesced. Whereupon Eteonicus promptly ordered his crews to get on board their vessels. He then rowed alongside each ship in turn, and addressed the men at some length in terms of encouragement and cheery admonition, just as though he knew nothing of what had taken place, and so distributed a month’s pay to every man on board.

After this the Chians and the other allies held a meeting in Ephesus, and, considering the present posture of affairs, determined to send ambassadors to Lacedaemon with a statement of the facts, and a request that Lysander might be sent out to take command of the fleet. Lysander’s high reputation among the allies dated back to his former period of office, when as admiral he had won the naval victory of Notium. The ambassadors accordingly were despatched, accompanied by envoys also from Cyrus, charged with the same message. The Lacedaemonians responded by sending them Lysander as second in command,62 with Aracus as admiral, since it was contrary to their custom that the same man should be admiral twice. At the same time the fleet was entrusted to Lysander.63

It was in this year64 that Cyrus put Autoboesaces and Mitraeus to death. These were sons of the sister of Dariaeus65 (the daughter of Xerxes, the father of Darius).66 He put them to death for neglecting, when they met him, to thrust their hands into the sleeve (or “kore”) which is a tribute of respect paid to the king alone. This “kore” is longer than the ordinary sleeve, so long in fact that a man with his hand inside is rendered helpless. In consequence of this act on the part of Cyrus, Hieramenes67 and his wife urged upon Dariaeus the danger of overlooking such excessive insolence on the part of the young prince, and Dariaeus, on the plea of sickness, sent a special embassy to summon Cyrus to his bedside.

B.C. 405. In the following year68 Lysander arrived at Ephesus, and sent for Eteonicus with his ships from Chios, and collected all other vessels elsewhere to be found. His time was now devoted to refitting the old ships and having new ones built in Antandrus. He also made a journey to the court of Cyrus with a request for money. All Cyrus could say was, that not only the money sent by the king was spent, but much more besides; and he pointed out the various sums which each of the admirals had received, but at the same time he gave him what he asked for. Furnished with this money, Lysander appointed captains to the different men-of-war, and remitted to the sailors their arrears of pay. Meanwhile the Athenian generals, on their side, were devoting their energies to the improvements of their navy at Samos.

It was now Cyrus’s turn to send for Lysander. It was the moment at which the envoy from his father had arrived with the message: “Your father is on his sick-bed and desires your presence.” The king lay at Thamneria, in Media, near the territory of the Cadusians, against whom he had marched to put down a revolt. When Lysander presented himself, Cyrus was urgent with him not to engage the Athenians at sea unless he had many more ships than they. “The king,” he added, “and I have plenty of wealth, so that, as far as money goes, you can man plenty of vessels.” He then consigned to him all the tributes from the several cities which belonged to him personally, and gave him the ready money which he had as a gift; and finally, reminding him of the sincere friendship he entertained towards the state of Lacedaemon, as well as to himself personally, he set out up country to visit his father. Lysander, finding himself thus left with the complete control of the property of Cyrus (during the absence of that prince, so summoned to the bedside of his father), was able to distribute pay to his troops, after which he set sail for the Ceramic Gulf of Caria. Here he stormed a city in alliance with the Athenians named Cedreae, and on the following day’s assault took it, and reduced the inhabitants to slavery. These were of a mixed Hellene and barbaric stock. From Cedreae he continued his voyage to Rhodes. The Athenians meanwhile, using Samos as their base of operations, were employed in devastating the king’s territory, or in swooping down upon Chios and Ephesus, and in general were preparing for a naval battle, having but lately chosen three new generals in addition to those already in office, whose names were Menander, Tydeus, and Cephisodotus. Now Lysander, leaving Rhodes, and coasting along Ionia, made his way to the Hellespont, having an eye to the passage of vessels through the Straits, and, in a more hostile sense, on the cities which had revolted from Sparta. The Athenians also set sail from Chios, but stood out to open sea, since the seaboard of Asia was hostile to them.

Lysander was again on the move; leaving Abydos, he passed up channel to Lampsacus, which town was allied with Athens; the men of Abydos and the rest of the troops advancing by land, under the command of the Lacedaemonian Thorax. They then attacked and took by storm the town, which was wealthy, and with its stores of wine and wheat and other commodities was pillaged by the soldiery. All free-born persons, however, were without exception released by Lysander. And now the Athenian fleet, following close on his heels, came to moorings at Elaeus, in the Chersonesus, one hundred and eighty sail in all. It was not until they had reached this place, and were getting their early meal, that the news of what had happened at Lampsacus reached them. Then they instantly set sail again to Sestos, and, having halted long enough merely to take in stores, sailed on further to Aegospotami, a point facing Lampsacus, where the Hellespont is not quite two miles69 broad. Here they took their evening meal.

The night following, or rather early next morning, with the first streak of dawn, Lysander gave the signal for the men to take their breakfasts and get on board their vessels; and so, having got all ready for a naval engagement, with his ports closed and movable bulwarks attached, he issued the order that no one was to stir from his post or put out to sea. As the sun rose the Athenians drew up their vessels facing the harbour, in line of battle ready for action; but Lysander declining to come out to meet them, as the day advanced they retired again to Aegospotami. Then Lysander ordered the swiftest of his ships to follow the Athenians, and as soon as the crews had disembarked, to watch what they did, sail back, and report to him. Until these look-outs returned he would permit no disembarkation from his ships. This performance he repeated for four successive days, and each day the Athenians put out to sea and challenged an engagement.

But now Alcibiades, from one of his fortresses, could espy the position of his fellow-countrymen, moored on an open beach beyond reach of any city, and forced to send for supplies to Sestos, which was nearly two miles distant, while their enemies were safely lodged in a harbour, with a city adjoining, and everything within reach. The situation did not please him, and he advised them to shift their anchorage to Sestos, where they would have the advantage of a harbour and a city. “Once there,” he concluded, “you can engage the enemy whenever it suits you.” But the generals, and more particularly Tydeus and Menander, bade him go about his business. “We are generals now — not you,” they said; and so he went away. And now for five days in succession the Athenians had sailed out to offer battle, and for the fifth time retired, followed by the same swift sailors of the enemy. But this time Lysander’s orders to the vessels so sent in pursuit were, that as soon as they saw the enemy’s crew fairly disembarked and dispersed along the shores of the Chersonesus (a practice, it should be mentioned, which had grown upon them from day to day owing to the distance at which eatables had to be purchased, and out of sheer contempt, no doubt, of Lysander, who refused to accept battle), they were to begin their return voyage, and when in mid-channel to hoist a shield. The orders were punctually carried out, and Lysander at once signalled to his whole squadron to put across with all speed, while Thorax, with the land forces, was to march parallel with the fleet along the coast. Aware of the enemy’s fleet, which he could see bearing down upon him, Conon had only time to signal to the crews to join their ships and rally to the rescue with all their might. But the men were scattered far and wide, and some of the vessels had only two out of their three banks of rowers, some only a single one, while others again were completely empty. Conon’s own ship, with seven others in attendance on him and the “Paralus,”70 put out to sea, a little cluster of nine vessels, with their full complement of men; but every one of the remaining one hundred and seventy-one vessels were captured by Lysander on the beach. As to the men themselves, the large majority of them were easily made prisoners on shore, a few only escaping to the small fortresses of the neighbourhood. Meanwhile Conon and his nine vessels made good their escape. For himself, knowing that the fortune of Athens was ruined, he put into Abarnis, the promontory of Lampsacus, and there picked up the great sails of Lysander’s ships, and then with eight ships set sail himself to seek refuge with Evagoras in Cyprus, while the “Paralus” started for Athens with tidings of what had taken place.

Lysander, on his side, conveyed the ships and prisoners and all other spoil back to Lampsacus, having on board some of the Athenian generals, notably Philocles and Adeimantus. On the very day of these achievements he despatched Theopompus, a Milesian privateersman, to Lacedaemon to report what had taken place. This envoy arrived within three days and delivered his message. Lysander’s next step was to convene the allies and bid them deliberate as to the treatment of the prisoners. Many were the accusations here levied against the Athenians. There was talk of crimes committed against the law of Hellas, and of cruelties sanctioned by popular decrees; which, had they conquered in the late sea-fight, would have been carried out; such as the proposal to cut off the right hand of every prisoner taken alive, and lastly the ill-treatment of two captured men-of-war, a Corinthian and an Andrian vessel, when every man on board had been hurled headlong down the cliff. Philocles was the very general of the Athenians who had so ruthlessly destroyed those men. Many other tales were told; and at length a resolution was passed to put all the Athenian prisoners, with the exception of Adeimantus, to death. He alone, it was pleaded, had taken exception to the proposal to cut off the prisoners’ hands. On the other hand, he was himself accused by some people of having betrayed the fleet. As to Philocles, Lysander put to him one question, as the officer who had thrown71 the Corinthians and Andrians down the cliff: What fate did the man deserve to suffer who had embarked on so cruel a course of illegality against Hellenes? and so delivered him to the executioner.

62 Epistoleus. See above.

63 “At this date the war had lasted five-and-twenty years.” So the MSS. read. The words are probably an interpolation.

64 B.C. 406.

65 Dariaeus, i.e. Darius, but the spelling of the name is correct, and occurs in Ctesias, though in the “Anabasis” we have the spelling Darius.

66 These words look like the note of a foolish and ignorant scribe. He ought to have written, “The daughter of Artaxerxes and own sister of Darius, commonly so called.”

67 For Hieramenes cf. Thuc. viii. 95, and Prof. Jowett ad loc.

68 The MSS. add “during the ephorate of Archytas and the archonship at Athens of Alexias,” which, though correct enough, is probably an interpolation.

69 Lit. fifteen stades.

70 The “Paralus”— the Athenian sacred vessel; cf. Thuc. iii. 33 et passim.

71 Reading os . . . katekremnise.

II

When he had set the affairs of Lampsacus in order, Lysander sailed to Byzantium and Chalcedon, where the inhabitants, having first dismissed the Athenian garrison under a flag of truce, admitted him within their walls. Those citizens of Byzantium, who had betrayed Byzantium into the hands of Alcibiades, fled as exiles into Pontus, but subsequently betaking themselves to Athens, became Athenian citizens. In dealing with the Athenian garrisons, and indeed with all Athenians wheresoever found, Lysander made it a rule to give them safe conduct to Athens, and to Athens only, in the certainty that the larger the number collected within the city and Piraeus, the more quickly the want of necessaries of life would make itself felt. And now, leaving Sthenelaus, a Laconian, as governor-general of Byzantium and Chalcedon, he sailed back himself to Lampsacus and devoted himself to refitting his ships.

It was night when the “Paralus” reached Athens with her evil tidings, on receipt of which a bitter wail of woe broke forth. From Piraeus, following the line of the long walls up to the heart of the city, it swept and swelled, as each man to his neighbour passed on the news. On that night no man slept. There was mourning and sorrow for those that were lost, but the lamentation for the dead was merged in even deeper sorrow for themselves, as they pictured the evils they were about to suffer, the like of which they themselves had inflicted upon the men of Melos, who were colonists of the Lacedaemonians, when they mastered them by siege. Or on the men of Histiaea; on Scione and Torone; on the Aeginetans, and many another Hellene city.72 On the following day the public assembly met, and, after debate, it was resolved to block up all the harbours save one, to put the walls in a state of defence, to post guards at various points, and to make all other necessary preparations for a siege. Such were the concerns of the men of Athens.

Lysander presently left the Hellespont with two hundred sail and arrived at Lesbos, where he established a new order of things in Mitylene and the other cities of the island. Meanwhile he despatched Eteonicus with a squadron of ten ships to the northern coasts,73 where that officer brought about a revolution of affairs which placed the whole region in the hands of Lacedaemon. Indeed, in a moment of time, after the sea-fight, the whole of Hellas had revolted from Athens, with the solitary exception of the men of Samos. These, having massacred the notables,74 held the state under their control. After a while Lysander sent messages to Agis at Deceleia, and to Lacedaemon, announcing his approach with a squadron of two hundred sail.

In obedience to a general order of Pausanias, the other king of Lacedaemon, a levy in force of the Lacedaemonians and all the rest of Peloponnesus, except the Argives, was set in motion for a campaign. As soon as the several contingents had arrived, the king put himself at their head and marched against Athens, encamping in the gymnasium of the Academy,75 as it is called. Lysander had now reached Aegina, where, having got together as many of the former inhabitants as possible, he formally reinstated them in their city; and what he did in behalf of the Aeginetans, he did also in behalf of the Melians, and of the rest who had been deprived of their countries. He then pillaged the island of Salamis, and finally came to moorings off Piraeus with one hundred and fifty ships of the line, and established a strict blockade against all merchant ships entering that harbour.

The Athenians, finding themselves besieged by land and sea, were in sore perplexity what to do. Without ships, without allies, without provisions, the belief gained hold upon them that there was no way of escape. They must now, in their turn, suffer what they had themselves inflincted upon others; not in retaliation, indeed, for ills received, but out of sheer insolence, overriding the citizens of petty states, and for no better reason than that these were allies of the very men now at their gates. In this frame of mind they enfranchised those who at any time had lost their civil rights, and schooled themselves to endurance; and, albeit many succumbed to starvation, no thought of truce or reconciliation with their foes was breathed.76 But when the stock of corn was absolutely insufficient, they sent an embassage to Agis, proposing to become allies of the Lacedaemonians on the sole condition of keeping their fortification walls and Piraeus; and to draw up articles of treaty on these terms. Agis bade them betake themselves to Lacedaemon, seeing that he had no authority to act himself. With this answer the ambassadors returned to Athens, and were forthwith sent on to Lacedaemon. On reaching Sellasia,77 a town in78 Laconian territory, they waited till they got their answer from the ephors, who, having learnt their terms (which were identical to those already proposed to Agis), bade them instantly to be gone, and, if they really desired peace, to come with other proposals, the fruit of happier reflection. Thus the ambassadors returned home, and reported the result of their embassage, whereupon despondency fell upon all. It was a painful reflection that in the end they would be sold into slavery; and meanwhile, pending the return of a second embassy, many must needs fall victims to starvation. The razing of their fortifications was not a solution which any one cared to recommend. A senator, Archestratus, had indeed put the question in the senate, whether it were not best to make peace with the Lacedaemonians on such terms as they were willing to propose; but he was thrown into prison. The Laconian proposals referred to involved the destruction of both long walls for a space of more than a mile. And a decree had been passed, making it illegal to submit any such proposition about the walls. Things having reached this pass, Theramenes made a proposal in the public assembly as follows: If they chose to send him as an ambassador to Lysander, he would go and find out why the Lacedaemonians were so unyielding about the walls; whether it was they really intended to enslave the city, or merely that they wanted a guarantee of good faith. Despatched accordingly, he lingered on with Lysander for three whole months and more, watching for the time when the Athenians, at the last pinch of starvation, would be willing to accede to any terms that might be offered. At last, in the fourth month, he returned and reported to the public assembly that Lysander had detained him all this while, and had ended by bidding him betake himself to Lacedaemon, since he had no authority himself to answer his questions, which must be addressed directly to the ephors. After this Theramenes was chosen with nine others to go to Lacedaemon as ambassadors with full powers. Meanwhile Lysander had sent an Athenian exile, named Aristoteles, in company of certain Lacedaemonians, to Sparta to report to the board of ephors how he had answered Theramenes, that they, and they alone, had supreme authority in matters of peace and war.

Theramenes and his companions presently reached Sellasia, and being there questioned as to the reason of their visit, replied that they had full powers to treat of peace. After which the ephors ordered them to be summoned to their presence. On their arrival a general assembly was convened, in which the Corinthians and Thebans more particularly, though their views were shared by many other Hellenes also, urged the meeting not to come to terms with the Athenians, but to destroy them. The Lacedaemonians replied that they would never reduce to slavery a city which was itself an integral portion of Hellas, and had performed a great and noble service to Hellas in the most perilous of emergencies. On the contrary, they were willing to offer peace on the terms now specified — namely, “That the long walls and the fortifications of Piraeus should be destroyed; that the Athenian fleet, with the exception of twelve vessels, should be surrendered; that the exiles should be restored; and lastly, that the Athenians should acknowledge the headship of Sparta in peace and war, leaving to her the choice of friends and foes, and following her lead by land and sea.” Such were the terms which Theramenes and the rest who acted with him were able to report on their return to Athens. As they entered the city, a vast crowd met them, trembling lest their mission have proved fruitless. For indeed delay was no longer possible, so long already was the list of victims daily perishing from starvation. On the day following, the ambassadors delivered their report, stating the terms upon which the Lacedaemonians were willing to make peace. Theramenes acted as spokesman, insisting that they ought to obey the Lacedaemonians and pull down the walls. A small minority raised their voice in opposition, but the majority were strongly in favour of the proposition, and the resolution was passed to accept the peace. After that, Lysander sailed into the Piraeus, and the exiles were readmitted. And so they fell to levelling the fortifications and walls with much enthusiasm, to the accompaniment of female flute-players, deeming that day the beginning of liberty to Greece.

Thus the year drew to its close79 — during its middle months took place the accession of Dionysius, the son of Hermocrates the Syracusan, to the tyranny of Syracuse; an incident itself preceded by a victory gained over the Carthaginians by the Syracusans; the reduction of Agrigentum through famine by the Carthaginians themselves; and the exodus of the Sicilian Greeks from that city.

72 With regard to these painful recollections, see (1) for the siege and surrender of Melos (in B.C. 416), Thuc. v. 114, 116; and cf. Aristoph. “Birds,” 186; Plut. (“Lysander,” 14); (2) for the ejection of the Histiaeans, an incident of the recovery of Euboea in 445 B.C., see Thuc. i. 14; Plut. (“Pericles,” 23); (3) for the matter of Scione, which revolted in 423 B.C., and was for a long time a source of disagreement between the Athenians and Lacedaemonians, until finally captured by the former in 421 B.C., when the citizens were slain and the city given to the Plataeans, see Thuc. iv. 120-122, 129-133; v. 18, 32; (4) for Torone see Thuc. ib., and also v. 3; (5) for the expulsion of the Aeginetans in 431 B.C. see Thuc. ii. 27.

73 Lit. “the Thraceward districts.” See above, p. 16.

74 Or, “since they had slain their notables, held the state under popular control.” See Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. viii. p. 303 note 3 (2d ed.), who thinks that the incident referred to is the violent democratic revolution in Samos described in Thuc. viii. 21, B.C. 412.

75 For this most illustrious of Athenian gymnasia, which still retains its name, see Leake, “Topography of Athens,” i. 195 foll.

76 Or, “they refused to treat for peace.”

77 Sellasia, the bulwark of Sparta in the valley of the Oenus.

78 The MSS. have “in the neighbourhood of,” which words are inappropriate at this date, though they may well have been added by some annotator after the Cleomenic war and the battle of Sellasia, B.C. 222, when Antigonus of Macedon destroyed the place in the interests of the Achaean League.

79 For the puzzling chronology of this paragraph see Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. x. p 619 (2d ed.) If genuine, the words may perhaps have slipt out of their natural place in chapter i. above, in front of the words “in the following year Lysander arrived,” etc. L. Dindorf brackets them as spurious. Xen., “Hist. Gr.” ed. tertia, Lipsiae, MDCCCLXXII. For the incidents referred to see above; Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. x. pp. 582, 598 (2d ed.)

III

B.C. 404. In the following year80 the people passed a resolution to choose thirty men who were to draft a constitution based on the ancestral laws of the State. The following were chosen to act on this committee:— Polychares, Critias, Melobius, Hippolochus, Eucleides, Hiero, Mnesilochus, Chremo, Theramenes, Aresias, Diocles, Phaedrias, Chaereleos, Anaetius, Piso, Sophocles, Erastosthenes, Charicles, Onomacles, Theognis, Aeschines, Theogones, Cleomedes, Erasistratus, Pheido, Dracontides, Eumathes, Aristoteles, Hippomachus, Mnesitheides. After these transactions, Lysander set sail for Samos; and Agis withdrew the land force from Deceleia and disbanded the troops, dismissing the contingents to their several cities.

In was at this date, about the time of the solar eclipse,81 that Lycophron of Pherae, who was ambitious of ruling over the whole of Thessaly, defeated those sections of the Thessalians who opposed him, such as the men of Larissa and others, and slew many of them. It was also about this date that Dionysius, now tyrant of Syracuse, was defeated by the Carthaginians and lost Gela and Camarina. And again, a little later, the men of Leontini, who previously had been amalgamated with the Syracusans, separated themselves from Syracuse and Dionysius, and asserted their independence, and returned to their native city. Another incident of this period was the sudden despatch and introduction of Syracusan horse into Catana by Dionysius.

Now the Samians, though besieged by Lysander on all sides, were at first unwilling to come to terms. But at the last moment, when Lysander was on the point of assaulting the town, they accepted the terms, which allowed every free man to leave the island, but not to carry away any part of his property, except the clothes on his back. On these conditions they marched out. The city and all it contained was then delivered over to its ancient citizens by Lysander, who finally appointed ten governors to garrison the island.82 After which, he disbanded the allied fleet, dismissing them to their respective cities, while he himself, with the Lacedaemonian squadron, set sail for Laconia, bringing with him the prows of the conquered vessels and the whole navy of Piraeus, with the exception of twelve ships. He also brought the crowns which he had received from the cities as private gifts, and a sum of four hundred and seventy talents83 in silver (the surplus of the tribute money which Cyrus had assigned to him for the prosecution of the war), besides other property, the fruit of his military exploits. All these things Lysander delivered to the Lacedaemonians in the latter end of summer.84

The Thirty had been chosen almost immediately after the long walls and the fortifications round Piraeus had been razed. They were chosen for the express purpose of compiling a code of laws for the future constitution of the State. The laws were always on the point of being published, yet they were never forthcoming; and the thirty compilers contented themselves meanwhile with appointing a senate and the other magistracies as suited their fancy best. That done, they turned their attention, in the first instance, to such persons as were well known to have made their living as informers85 under the democracy, and to be thorns in the side of all respectable people. These they laid hold on and prosecuted on the capital charge. The new senate gladly recorded its vote of condemnation against them; and the rest of the world, conscious of bearing no resemblance to them, seemed scarcely vexed. But the Thirty did not stop there. Presently they began to deliberate by what means they could get the city under their absolute control, in order that they might work their will upon it. Here again they proceeded tentatively; in the first instance, they sent (two of their number), Aeschines and Aristoteles, to Lacedaemon, and persuaded Lysander to support them in getting a Lacedaemonian garrison despatched to Athens. They only needed it until they had got the “malignants” out of the way, and had established the constitution; and they would undertake to maintain these troops at their own cost. Lysander was not deaf to their persuasions, and by his co-operation their request was granted. A bodyguard, with Callibius as governor, was sent.

And now that they had got the garrison, they fell to flattering Callibius with all servile flattery, in order that he might give countenance to their doings. Thus they prevailed on him to allow some of the guards, whom they selected, to accompany them, while they proceeded to lay hands on whom they would; no longer confining themselves to base folk and people of no account, but boldly laying hands on those who they felt sure would least easily brook being thrust aside, or, if a spirit of opposition seized them, could command the largest number of partisans.

These were early days; as yet Critias was of one mind with Theramenes, and the two were friends. But the time came when, in proportion as Critias was ready to rush headlong into wholesale carnage, like one who thirsted for the blood of the democracy, which had banished him, Theramenes balked and thwarted him. It was barely reasonable, he argued, to put people to death, who had never done a thing wrong to respectable people in their lives, simply because they had enjoyed influence and honour under the democracy. “Why, you and I, Critias,” he would add, “have said and done many things ere now for the sake of popularity.” To which the other (for the terms of friendly intimacy still subsisted) would retort, “There is no choice left to us, since we intend to take the lion’s share, but to get rid of those who are best able to hinder us. If you imagine, because we are thirty instead of one, our government requires one whit the less careful guarding than an actual tyranny, you must be very innocent.”

So things went on. Day after day the list of persons put to death for no just reason grew longer. Day after day the signs of resentment were more significant in the groups of citizens banding together and forecasting the character of this future constitution; till at length Theramenes spoke again, protesting:— There was no help for it but to associate with themselves a sufficient number of persons in the conduct of affairs, or the oligarchy would certainly come to an end. Critias and the rest of the Thirty, whose fears had already converted Theramenes into a dangerous popular idol, proceeded at once to draw up a list of three thousand citizens; fit and proper persons to have a share in the conduct of affairs. But Theramenes was not wholly satisfied, “indeed he must say, for himself, he regarded it as ridiculous, that in their effort to associate the better classes with themselves in power, they should fix on just that particular number, three thousand, as if that figure had some necessary connection with the exact number of gentlemen in the State, making it impossible to discover any respectability outside or rascality within the magic number. And in the second place,” he continued, “I see we are trying to do two things, diametrically opposed; we are manufacturing a government, which is based on force, and at the same time inferior in strength to those whom we propose to govern.” That was what he said, but what his colleagues did, was to institute a military inspection or review. The Three Thousand were drawn up in the Agora, and the rest of the citizens, who were not included in the list, elsewhere in various quarters of the city. The order to take arms was given;86 but while the men’s backs were turned, at the bidding of the Thirty, the Laconian guards, with those of the citizens who shared their views, appeared on the scene and took away the arms of all except the Three Thousand, carried them up to the Acropolis, and safely deposited them in the temple.

The ground being thus cleared, as it were, and feeling that they had it in their power to do what they pleased, they embarked on a course of wholesale butchery, to which many were sacrificed to the merest hatred, many to the accident of possessing riches. Presently the question rose, How they were to get money to pay their guards? and to meet this difficulty a resolution was passed empowering each of the committee to seize on one of the resident aliens apiece, to put his victim to death, and to confiscate his property. Theramenes was invited, or rather told to seize some one or other. “Choose whom you will, only let it be done.” To which he made answer, it hardly seemed to him a noble or worthy course on the part of those who claimed to be the elite of society to go beyond the informers87 in injustice. “Yesterday they, today we; with this difference, the victim of the informer must live as a source of income; our innocents must die that we may get their wealth. Surely their method was innocent in comparison with ours.”

The rest of the Thirty, who had come to regard Theramenes as an obstacle to any course they might wish to adopt, proceeded to plot against him. They addressed themselves to the members of the senate in private, here a man and there a man, and denounced him as the marplot of the constitution. Then they issued an order to the young men, picking out the most audacious characters they could find, to be present, each with a dagger hidden in the hollow of the armpit; and so called a meeting of the senate. When Theramenes had taken his place, Critias got up and addressed the meeting:

“If,” said he, “any member of this council, here seated, imagines that an undue amount of blood has been shed, let me remind him that with changes of constitution such things can not be avoided. It is the rule everywhere, but more particularly at Athens it was inevitable there should be found a specially large number of persons sworn foes to any constitutional change in the direction of oligarchy, and this for two reasons. First, because the population of this city, compared with other Hellenic cities, is enormously large; and again, owing to the length of time during which the people has battened upon liberty. Now, as to two points we are clear. The first is that democracy is a form of government detestable to persons like ourselves — to us and to you; the next is that the people of Athens could never be got to be friendly to our friends and saviours, the Lacedaemonians. But on the loyalty of the better classes the Lacedaemonians can count. And that is our reason for establishing an oligarchical constitution with their concurrence. That is why we do our best to rid us of every one whom we perceive to be opposed to the oligarchy; and, in our opinion, if one of ourselves should elect to undermine this constitution of ours, he would deserve punishment. Do you not agree? And the case,” he continued, “is no imaginary one. The offender is here present — Theramenes. And what we say of him is, that he is bent upon destroying yourselves and us by every means in his power. These are not baseless charges; but if you will consider it, you will find them amply established in this unmeasured censure of the present posture of affairs, and his persistent opposition to us, his colleagues, if ever we seek to get rid of any of these demagogues. Had this been his guiding principle of action from the beginning, in spite of hostility, at least he would have escaped all imputation of villainy. Why, this is the very man who originated our friendly and confidential relations with Lacedaemon. This is the very man who authorised the abolition of the democracy, who urged us on to inflict punishment on the earliest batch of prisoners brought before us. But today all is changed; now you and we are out of odour with the people, and he accordingly has ceased to be pleased with our proceedings. The explanation is obvious. In case of a catastrophe, how much pleasanter for him once again to light upon his legs, and leave us to render account for our past performances.

“I contend that this man is fairly entitled to render his account also, not only as an ordinary enemy, but as a traitor to yourselves and us. And let us add, not only is treason more formidable than open war, in proportion as it is harder to guard against a hidden assassin than an open foe, but it bears the impress of a more enduring hostility, inasmuch as men fight their enemies and come to terms with them again and are fast friends; but whoever heard of reconciliation with a traitor? There he stands unmasked; he has forfeited our confidence for evermore. But to show you that these are no new tactics of his, to prove to you that he is a traitor in grain, I will recall to your memories some points in his past history.

“He began by being held in high honour by the democracy; but taking a leaf out of his father’s, Hagnon’s, book, he next showed a most headlong anxiety to transform the democracy into the Four Hundred, and, in fact, for a time held the first place in that body. But presently, detecting the formation of rival power to the oligarchs, round he shifted; and we find him next a ringleader of the popular party in assailing them. It must be admitted, he has well earned his nickname ‘Buskin.’88 Yes, Theramenes! clever you may be, but the man who deserves to live should not show his cleverness in leading on his associates into trouble, and when some obstacle presents itself, at once veer round; but like a pilot on shipboard, he ought then to redouble his efforts, until the wind is fair. Else, how in the name of wonderment are those mariners to reach the haven where they would be, if at the first contrary wind or tide they turn about and sail in the opposite direction? Death and destruction are concomitants of constitutional changes and revolution, no doubt; but you are such an impersonation of change, that, as you twist and turn and double, you deal destruction on all sides. At one swoop you are the ruin of a thousand oligarchs at the hands of the people, and at another of a thousand democrats at the hands of the better classes. Why, sirs, this is the man to whom the orders were given by the generals, in the sea-fight off Lesbos, to pick up the crews of the disabled vessels; and who, neglecting to obey orders, turned round and accused the generals; and to save himself murdered them! What, I ask you, of a man who so openly studied the art of self-seeking, deaf alike to the pleas of honour and to the claims of friendship? Would not leniency towards such a creature be misplaced? Can it be our duty at all to spare him? Ought we not rather, when we know the doublings of his nature, to guard against them, lest we enable him presently to practise on ourselves? The case is clear. We therefore hereby cite this man before you, as a conspirator and traitor against yourselves and us. The reasonableness of our conduct, one further reflection may make clear. No one, I take it, will dispute the splendour, the perfection of the Laconian constitution. Imagine one of the ephors there in Sparta, in lieu of devoted obedience to the majority, taking on himself to find fault with the government and to oppose all measures. Do you not think that the ephors themselves, and the whole commonwealth besides, would hold this renegade worthy of condign punishment? So, too, by the same token, if you are wise, do you spare yourselves, not him. For what does the alternative mean? I will tell you. His preservation will cause the courage of many who hold opposite views to your own to rise; his destruction will cut off the last hopes of all your enemies, whether within or without the city.”

With these words he sat down, but Theramenes rose and said: “Sirs, with your permission I will first touch upon the charge against me which Critias has mentioned last. The assertion is that as the accuser of the generals I was their murderer. Now I presume it was not I who began the attack upon them, but it was they who asserted that in spite of the orders given me I had neglected to pick up the unfortunates in the sea-fight off Lesbos. All I did was to defend myself. My defence was that the storm was too violent to permit any vessel to ride at sea, much more therefore to pick up the men, and this defence was accepted by my fellow-citizens as highly reasonable, while the generals seemed to be condemned out of their own mouths. For while they kept on asserting that it was possible to save the men, the fact still remained that they abandoned them to their fate, set sail, and were gone.

“However, I am not surprised, I confess, at this grave misconception89 on the part of Critias, for at the date of these occurrences he was not in Athens. He was away in Thessaly, laying the foundations of a democracy with Prometheus, and arming the Penestae90 against their masters. Heaven forbid that any of his transactions there should be re-enacted here. However, I must say, I do heartily concur with him on one point. Whoever desires to exclude you from the government, or to strength the hands of your secret foes, deserves and ought to meet with condign punishment; but who is most capable of so doing? That you will best discover, I think, by looking a little more closely into the past and the present conduct of each of us. Well, then! up to the moment at which you were formed into a senatorial body, when the magistracies were appointed, and certain notorius ‘informers’ were brought to trial, we all held the same views. But later on, when our friends yonder began to hale respectable honest folk to prison and to death, I, on my side, began to differ from them. From the moment when Leon of Salamis,91 a man of high and well-deserved reputation, was put to death, though he had not committed the shadow of a crime, I knew that all his equals must tremble for themselves, and, so trembling, be driven into opposition to the new constitution. In the same way, when Niceratus,92 the son of Nicias, was arrested; a wealthy man, who, no more than his father, had never done anything that could be called popular or democratic in his life; it did not require much insight to discover that his compeers would be converted into our foes. But to go a step further: when it came to Antiphon93 falling at our hands — Antiphon, who during the war contributed two fast-sailing men-of-war out of his own resources, it was then plain to me, that all who had ever been zealous and patriotic must eye us with suspicion. Once more I could not help speaking out in opposition to my colleagues when they suggested that each of us ought to seize some one resident alien.94 For what could be more certain than that their death-warrant would turn the whole resident foreign population into enemies of the constitution. I spoke out again when they insisted on depriving the populace of their arms; it being no part of my creed that we ought to take the strength out of the city; nor, indeed, so far as I could see, had the Lacedaemonians stept between us and destruction merely that we might become a handful of people, powerless to aid them in the day of need. Had that been their object, they might have swept us away to the last man. A few more weeks, or even days, would have sufficed to extinguish us quietly by famine. Nor, again, can I say that the importation of mercenary foreign guards was altogether to my taste, when it would have been so easy for us to add to our own body a sufficient number of fellow-citizens to ensure our supremacy as governors over those we essayed to govern. But when I saw what an army of malcontents this government had raised up within the city walls, besides another daily increasing host of exiles without, I could not but regard the banishment of people like Thrasybulus and Anytus and Alcibiades95 as impolitic. Had our object been to strengthen the rival power, we could hardly have set about it better than by providing the populace with the competent leaders whom they needed, and the would-be leaders themselves with an army of willing adherents.

“I ask then is the man who tenders such advice in the full light of day justly to be regarded as a traitor, and not as a benefactor? Surely Critias, the peacemaker, the man who hinders the creation of many enemies, whose counsels tend to the acquistion of yet more friends,96 cannot be accused of strengthening the hands of the enemy. Much more truly may the imputation be retorted on those who wrongfully appropriate their neighbours’ goods and put to death those who have done no wrong. These are they who cause our adversaries to grow and multiply, and who in very truth are traitors, not to their friends only, but to themselves, spurred on by sordid love of gain.

“I might prove the truth of what I say in many ways, but I beg you to look at the matter thus. With which condition of affairs here in Athens do you think will Thrasybulus and Anytus and the other exiles be the better pleased? That which I have pictured as desirable, or that which my colleagues yonder are producing? For my part I cannot doubt but that, as things now are, they are saying to themselves, ‘Our allies muster thick and fast.’ But were the real strength, the pith and fibre of this city, kindly disposed to us, they would find it an uphill task even to get a foothold anywhere in the country.

“Then, with regard to what he said of me and my propensity to be for ever changing sides, let me draw your attention to the following facts. Was it not the people itself, the democracy, who voted the constitution of the Four Hundred? This they did, because they had learned to think that the Lacedaemonians would trust any other form of government rather than a democracy. But when the efforts of Lacedaemon were not a whit relaxed, when Aristoteles, Melanthius, and Aristarchus,97 and the rest of them acting as generals, were plainly minded to construct an intrenched fortress on the mole for the purpose of admitting the enemy, and so getting the city under the power of themselves and their associates;98 because I got wind of these schemes, and nipped them in the bud, is that to be a traitor to one’s friends?

“Then he threw in my teeth the nickname ‘Buskin,’ as descriptive of an endeavour on my part to fit both parties. But what of the man who pleases neither? What in heaven’s name are we to call him? Yes! you — Critias? Under the democracy you were looked upon as the most arrant hater of the people, and under the aristocracy you have proved yourself the bitterest foe of everything respectable. Yes! Critias, I am, and ever have been, a foe of those who think that a democracy cannot reach perfection until slaves and those who, from poverty, would sell the city for a drachma, can get their drachma a day.99 But not less am I, and ever have been, a pronounced opponent of those who do not think there can possibly exist a perfect oligarchy until the State is subjected to the despotism of a few. On the contrary, my own ambition has been to combine with those who are rich enough to possess a horse and shield, and to use them for the benefit of the State.100 That was my ideal in the old days, and I hold to it without a shadow of turning still. If you can imagine when and where, in conjunction with despots or demagogues, I have set to my hand to deprive honest gentlefolk of their citizenship, pray speak. If you can convict me of such crimes at present, or can prove my perpetration of them in the past, I admit that I deserve to die, and by the worst of deaths.”

With these words he ceased, and the loud murmur of the applause which followed marked the favourable impression produced upon the senate. It was plain to Critias, that if he allowed his adversary’s fate to be decided by formal voting, Theramenes would escape, and life to himself would become intolerable. Accordingly he stepped forward and spoke a word or two in the ears of the Thirty. This done, he went out and gave an order to the attendants with the daggers to stand close to the bar in full view of the senators. Again he entered and addressed the senate thus: “I hold it to be the duty of a good president, when he sees the friends about him being made the dupes of some delusion, to intervene. That at any rate is what I propose to do. Indeed our friends here standing by the bar say that if we propose to acquit a man so openly bent upon the ruin of the oligarchy, they do not mean to let us do so. Now there is a clause in the new code forbidding any of the Three Thousand to be put to death without your vote; but the Thirty have power of life and death over all outside that list. Accordingly,” he proceeded, “I herewith strike this man, Theramenes, off the list; and this with the concurrence of my colleagues. And now,” he continued, “we condemn him to death.”

Hearing these words Theramenes sprang upon the altar of Hestia, exclaiming: “And I, sirs, supplicate you for the barest forms of law and justice. Let it not be in the power of Critias to strike off either me, or any one of you whom he will. But in my case, in what may be your case, if we are tried, let our trial be in accordance with the law they have made concerning those on the list. I know,” he added, “but too well, that this altar will not protect me; but I will make it plain that these men are as impious towards the gods as they are nefarious towards men. Yet I do marvel, good sirs and honest gentlemen, for so you are, that you will not help yourselves, and that too when you must see that the name of every one of you is as easily erased as mine.”

But when he had got so far, the voice of the herald was heard giving the order to the Eleven to seize Theramenes. They at that instant entered with their satellites — at their head Satyrus, the boldest and most shameless of the body — and Critias exclaimed, addressing the Eleven, “We deliver over to you Theramenes yonder, who has been condemned according to the law. Do you take him and lead him away to the proper place, and do there with him what remains to do.” As Critias uttered the words, Satyrus laid hold upon Theramenes to drag him from the altar, and the attendants lent their aid. But he, as was natural, called upon gods and men to witness what was happening. The senators the while kept silence, seeing the companions of Satyrus at the bar, and the whole front of the senate house crowded with the foreign guards, nor did they need to be told that there were daggers in reserve among those present.

And so Theramenes was dragged through the Agora, in vehement and loud tones proclaiming the wrongs that he was suffering. One word, which is said to have fallen from his lips, I cite. It is this: Satyrus, bade him “Be silent, or he would rue the day;” to which he made answer, “And if I be silent, shall I not rue it?” Also, when they brought him the hemlock, and the time was come to drink the fatal draught, they tell how he playfully jerked out the dregs from the bottom of the cup, like one who plays “Cottabos,”101 with the words, “This to the lovely Critias.” These are but “apophthegms”102 too trivial, it may be thought, to find a place in history. Yet I must deem it an admirable trait in this man’s character, if at such a moment, when death confronted him, neither his wits forsook him, nor could the childlike sportiveness vanish from his soul.

80 The MSS. here add “it was that year of the Olympiad cycle in which Crocinas, a Thessalian, won the Stadium; when Endius was ephor at Sparta, and Pythodorus archon at Athens, though the Athenians indeed do not call the year by that archon’s name, since he was elected during the oligarchy, but prefer to speak of the year of ‘anarchy’; the aforesaid oligarchy originated thus,”— which, though correct, probably was not written by Xenophon. The year of anarchy might perhaps be better rendered “the year without archons.”

81 This took place on 2d September B.C. 404.

82 A council of ten, or “decarchy.” See Grote, “H. G.” viii. 323 (1st ed.)

83 About 112,800 pounds.

84 The MSS. add “a summer, the close of which coincided with the termination of a war which had lasted twenty-eight and a half years, as the list of annual ephors, appended in order, serves to show. Aenesias is the first name. The war began during his ephorate, in the fifteenth year of the thirty years’ truce after the capture of Euboea. His successors were Brasidas, Isanor, Sostratidas, Exarchus, Agesistratus, Angenidas, Onomacles, Zeuxippus, Pityas, Pleistolas, Cleinomachus, Harchus, Leon, Chaerilas, Patesiadas, Cleosthenes, Lycarius, Eperatus, Onomantius, Alexippidas, Misgolaidas, Isias, Aracus, Euarchippus, Pantacles, Pityas, Archytas, and lastly, Endius, during whose year of office Lysander sailed home in triumph, after performing the exploits above recorded,”— the interpolation, probably, of some editor or copyist, the words “twenty-eight and a half” being probably a mistake on his part for “twenty-seven and a half.” Cf. Thuc. v. 26; also Buchsenschutz, Einleitung, p. 8 of his school edition of the “Hellenica.”

85 Lit. “by sycophancy,” i.e. calumnious accusation — the sycophant’s trade. For a description of this pest of Athenian life cf. “Dem.” in Arist. 1, S. 52; quoted in Jebb, “Attic Orators,” chap. xxix. 14; cf. Aristoph. “Ach.” 904; Xen. “Mem.” II. ix. 1.

86 Or, “a summons to the ‘place d’armes’ was given; but.” Or, “the order to seize the arms was given, and.” It is clear from Aristoph. “Acharn.” 1050, that the citizens kept their weapons at home. On the other hand, it was a custom not to come to any meeting in arms. See Thuc. vi. 58. It seems probable that while the men were being reviewed in the market-place and elsewhere, the ruling party gave orders to seize their weapons (which they had left at home), and this was done except in the case of the Three Thousand. Cf. Arnold, “Thuc.” II. 2. 5; and IV. 91.

87 See above.

88 An annotator seems to have added here the words, occurring in the MSS., “the buskin which seems to fit both legs equally, but is constant to neither,” unless, indeed, they are an original “marginal note” of the author. For the character of Theramenes, as popularly conceived, cf. Aristoph. “Frogs,” 538, 968 foll., and Thuc. viii. 92; and Prof. Jowett, “Thuc.” vol. ii. pp. 523, 524.

89 Reading with Cobet paranenomikenai.

90 I.e. serfs — Penestae being the local name in Thessaly for the villein class. Like the Eilotes in Laconia, they were originally a conquered tribe, afterwards increased by prisoners of war, and formed a link between the freemen and born slaves.

91 Cf. “Mem.” IV. iv. 3; Plat. “Apol.” 8. 32.

92 Cf. Lysias, “Or.” 18. 6.

93 Probably the son of Lysidonides. See Thirlwall, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. iv. p. 179 (ed. 1847); also Lysias, “Or.” 12. contra Eratosth. According to Lysias, Theramenes, when a member of the first Oligarchy, betrayed his own closest friends, Antiphon and Archeptolemus. See Prof. Jebb, “Attic Orators,” I. x. p. 266.

94 The resident aliens, or metoikoi, “metics,” so technically called.

95 Isocr. “De Bigis,” 355; and Prof. Jebb’s “Attic Orators,” ii. 230. In the defence of his father’s career, which the younger Alcibiades, the defendant in this case (B.C. 397 probably) has occasion to make, he reminds the court, that under the Thirty, others were banished from Athens, but his father was driven out of the civilised world of Hellas itself, and finally murdered. See Plutarch, “Alcibiades,” ad fin.

96 Or, “the peacemaker, the healer of differences, the cementer of new alliances, cannot,” etc.

97 Cf. Thuc. viii. 90-92, for the behaviour of the Lacedaemonian party at Athens and the fortification of Eetioneia in B.C. 411.

98 I.e. of the political clubs.

99 I.e. may enjoy the senatorial stipend of a drachma a day = 9 3/4 pence.

100 See Thuc. viii. 97, for a momentary realisation of that “duly attempered compound of Oligarchy and Democracy” which Thucydides praises, and which Theramenes here refers to. It threw the power into the hands of the wealthier upper classes to the exclusion of the nautikos okhlos. See Prof. Jowett, vol. ii. note, ad loc. cit.

101 “A Sicilian game much in vogue at the drinking parties of young men at Athens. The simplest mode was when each threw the wine left in his cup so as to strike smartly in a metal basin, at the same time invoking his mistress’s name; if all fell into the basin and the sound was clear, it was a sign he stood well with her.”— Liddell and Scott, sub. v. For the origin of the game compare curiously enough the first line of the first Elegy of Critias himself, who was a poet and political philosopher, as well as a politician:—

Kottabos ek Sikeles esti khthonos, euprepes ergon on skopon es latagon toxa kathistametha.” Bergk. “Poetae Lyr. Graec.” Pars II. xxx.

102 Or, “these are sayings too slight, perhaps, to deserve record; yet,” etc. By an “apophthegm” was meant originally a terse (sententious) remark, but the word has somewhat altered in meaning.

IV

So Theramenes met his death; and, now that this obstacle was removed, the Thirty, feeling that they had it in their power to play the tyrant without fear, issued an order forbidding all, whose names were not on the list, to set foot within the city. Retirement in the country districts was no protection, thither the prosecutor followed them, and thence dragged them, that their farms and properties might fall to the possession of the Thirty and their friends. Even Piraeus was not safe; of those who sought refuge there, many were driven forth in similar fashion, until Megara and Thebes overflowed with the crowd of refugees.

Presently Thrasybulus, with about seventy followers, sallied out from Thebes, and made himself master of the fortress of Phyle.103 The weather was brilliant, and the Thirty marched out of the city to repel the invader; with them were the Three Thousand and the Knights. When they reached the place, some of the young men, in the foolhardiness of youth, made a dash at the fortress, but without effect; all they got was wounds, and so retired. The intention of the Thirty now was to blockade the place; by shutting off all the avenues of supplies, they thought to force the garrison to capitulate. But this project was interrupted by a steady downfall of snow that night and the following day. Baffled by this all-pervading enemy they beat a retreat to the city, but not without the sacrifice of many of their camp-followers, who fell a prey to the men in Phyle. The next anxiety of the government in Athens was to secure the farms and country houses against the plunderings and forays to which they would be exposed, if there were no armed force to protect them. With this object a protecting force was despatched to the “boundary estates,”104 about two miles south of Phyle. This corps consisted of the Lacedaemonian guards, or nearly all of them, and two divisions of horse.105 They encamped in a wild and broken district, and the round of their duties commenced.

But by this time the small garrison above them had increased tenfold, until there were now something like seven hundred men collected in Phyle; and with these Thrasybulus one night descended. When he was not quite half a mile from the enemy’s encampment he grounded arms, and a deep silence was maintained until it drew towards day. In a little while the men opposite, one by one, were getting to their legs or leaving the camp for necessary purposes, while a suppressed din and murmur arose, caused by the grooms currying and combing their horses. This was the moment for Thrasybulus and his men to snatch up their arms and make a dash at the enemy’s position. Some they felled on the spot; and routing the whole body, pursued them six or seven furlongs, killing one hundred and twenty hoplites and more. Of the cavalry, Nicostratus, “the beautiful,” as men called him, and two others besides were slain; they were caught while still in their beds. Returning from the pursuit, the victors set up a trophy, got together all the arms they had taken, besides baggage, and retired again to Phyle. A reinforcement of horse sent from the city could not discover the vestige of a foe; but waited on the scene of battle until the bodies of the slain had been picked up by their relatives, when they withdrew again to the city.

After this the Thirty, who had begun to realise the insecurity of their position, were anxious to appropriate Eleusis, so that an asylum might be ready for them against the day of need. With this view an order was issued to the Knights; and Critias, with the rest of the Thirty, visited Eleusis. There they held a review of the Eleusians in the presence of the Knights;106 and, on the pretext of wishing to discover how many they were, and how large a garrison they would further require, they ordered the townsfolk to enter their names. As each man did so he had to retire by a postern leading to the sea. But on the sea-beach this side there were lines of cavalry drawn up in waiting, and as each man appeared he was handcuffed by the satellites of the Thirty. When all had so been seized and secured, they gave orders to Lysimachus, the commander of the cavalry, to take them off to the city and deliver them over to the Eleven. Next day they summoned the heavy armed who were on the list, and the rest of the Knights107 to the Odeum, and Critias rose and addressed them. He said: “Sirs, the constitution, the lines of which we are laying down, is a work undertaken in your interests no less than ours; it is incumbent on you therefore to participate in its dangers, even as you will partake of its honours. We expect you therefore, in reference to these Eleusians here, who have been seized and secured, to vote their condemnation, so that our hopes and fears may be identical.” Then, pointing to a particular spot, he said peremptorily, “You will please deposit your votes there within sight of all.” It must be understood that the Laconian guards were present at the time, and armed to the teeth, and filling one-half of the Odeum. As to the proceedings themselves, they found acceptance with those members of the State, besides the Thirty, who could be satisfied with a simple policy of self-aggrandisement.

But now Thrasybulus at the head of his followers, by this time about one thousand strong, descended from Phyle and reached Piraeus in the night. The Thirty, on their side, informed of this new move, were not slow to rally to the rescue, with the Laconian guards, supported by their own cavalry and hoplites. And so they advanced, marching down along the broad carriage road which leads into Piraeus. The men from Phyle seemed at first inclined to dispute their passage, but as the wide circuit of the walls needed a defence beyond the reach of their still scanty numbers, they fell back in a compact body upon Munychia.108 Then the troops from the city poured into the Agora of Hippodmus.109 Here they formed in line, stretching along and filling the street which leads to the temple of Artemis and the Bendideum.110 This line must have been at least fifty shields deep; and in this formation they at once began to march up. As to the men of Phyle, they too blocked the street at the opposite end, and facing the foe. They presented only a thin line, not more than ten deep, though behind these, certainly, were ranged a body of targeteers and light-armed javelin men, who were again supported by an artillery of stone-throwers — a tolerably numerous division drawn from the population of the port and district itself. While his antagonists were still advancing, Thrasybulus gave the order to ground their heavy shields, and having done so himself, whilst retaining the rest of his arms, he stood in the midst, and thus addressed them: “Men and fellow-citizens, I wish to inform some, and to remind others of you, that of the men you see advancing beneath us there, the right division are the very men we routed and pursued only five days ago; while on the extreme left there you see the Thirty. These are the men who have not spared to rob us of our city, though we did no wrong; who have hounded us from our homes; who have set the seal of proscription on our dearest friends. But today the wheel of fortune has revolved; that has come about which least of all they looked for, which most of all we prayed for. Here we stand with our good swords in our hands, face to face with our foes; and the gods themselves are with us, seeing that we were arrested in the midst of our peaceful pursuits; at any moment, whilst we supped, or slept, or marketed, sentence of banishment was passed upon us: we had done no wrong — nay, many of us were not even resident in the country. To-day, therefore, I repeat, the gods do visibly fight upon our side; the great gods, who raise a tempest even in the midst of calm for our benefit, and when we lay to our hand to fight, enable our little company to set up the trophy of victory over the multitude of our foes. On this day they have brought us hither to a place where the steep ascent must needs hinder our foes from reaching with lance or arrow further than our foremost ranks; but we with our volley of spears and arrows and stones cannot fail to reach them with terrible effect. Had we been forced to meet them vanguard to vanguard, on an equal footing, who could have been surprised? But as it is, all I say to you is, let fly your missiles with a will in right brave style. No one can miss his mark when the road is full of them. To avoid our darts they must be for ever ducking and skulking beneath their shields; but we will rain blows upon them in their blindness; we will leap upon them and lay them low. But, O sirs! let me call upon you so to bear yourselves that each shall be conscious to himself that victory was won by him and him alone. Victory — which, God willing, shall this day restore to us the land of our fathers, our homes, our freedom, and the rewards of civic life, our children, if children we have, our darlings, and our wives! Thrice happy those among us who as conquerors shall look upon this gladdest of all days. Nor less fortunate the man who falls today. Not all the wealth in the world shall purchase him a monument so glorious. At the right instant I will strike the keynote of the paean; then, with an invocation to the God of battle,111 and in return for the wanton insults they put upon us, let us with one accord wreak vengeance on yonder men.”

Having so spoken, he turned round, facing the foemen, and kept quiet, for the order passed by the soothsayer enjoined on them, not to charge before one of their side was slain or wounded. “As soon as that happens,” said the seer, “we will lead you onwards, and the victory shall be yours; but for myself, if I err not, death is waiting.” And herein he spoke truly, for they had barely resumed their arms when he himself as though he were driven by some fatal hand, leapt out in front of the ranks, and so springing into the midst of the foe, was slain, and lies now buried at the passage of the Cephisus. But the rest were victorious, and pursued the routed enemy down to the level ground. There fell in this engagement, out of the number of the Thirty, Critias himself and Hippomachus, and with them Charmides,112 the son of Glaucon, one of the ten archons in Piraeus, and of the rest about seventy men. The arms of the slain were taken; but, as fellow-citizens, the conquerors forebore to despoil them of their coats. This being done, they proceeded to give back the dead under cover of a truce, when the men, on either side, in numbers stept forward and conversed with one another. Then Cleocritus (he was the Herald of the Initiated,113 a truly “sweet-voiced herald,” if ever there was), caused a deep silence to reign, and addressed their late combatants as follows: “Fellow-citizens — Why do you drive us forth? why would you slay us? what evil have we wrought you at any time? or is it a crime that we have shared with you in the most solemn rites and sacrifices, and in festivals of the fairest: we have been companions in the chorus, the school, the army. We have braved a thousand dangers with you by land and sea in behalf of our common safety, our common liberty. By the gods of our fathers, by the gods of our mothers, by the hallowed names of kinship, intermarriage, comradeship, those three bonds which knit the hearts of so many of us, bow in reverence before God and man, and cease to sin against the land of our fathers: cease to obey these most unhallowed Thirty, who for the sake of private gain have in eight months slain almost more men than the Peloponnesians together in ten years of warfare. See, we have it in our power to live as citizens in peace; it is only these men, who lay upon us this most foul burthen, this hideous horror of fratricidal war, loathed of God and man. Ah! be well assured, for these men slain by our hands this day, ye are not the sole mourners. There are among them some whose deaths have wrung from us also many a bitter tear.”

So he spoke, but the officers and leaders of the defeated army who were left, unwilling that their troops should listen to such topics at that moment, led them back to the city. But the next day the Thirty, in deep down-heartedness and desolation, sat in the council chamber. The Three Thousand, wherever their several divisions were posted, were everywhere a prey to discord. Those who were implicated in deeds of violence, and whose fears could not sleep, protested hotly that to yield to the party in Piraeus were preposterous. Those on the other hand who had faith in their own innocence, argued in their own minds, and tried to convince their neighbours that they could well dispense with most of their present evils. “Why yield obedience to these Thirty?” they asked, “Why assign to them the privilege of destroying the State?” In the end they voted a resolution to depose the government, and to elect another. This was a board of ten, elected one from each tribe.

B.C. 403. As to the Thirty, they retired to Eleusis; but the Ten, assisted by the cavalry officers, had enough to do to keep watch over the men in the city, whose anarchy and mutual distrust were rampant. The Knights did not return to quarters at night, but slept out in the Odeum, keeping their horses and shields close beside them; indeed the distrust was so great that from evening onwards they patrolled the walls on foot with their shields, and at break of day mounted their horses, at every moment fearing some sudden attack upon them by the men in Piraeus. These latter were now so numerous, and of so mixed a company, that it was difficult to find arms for all. Some had to be content with shields of wood, others of wicker-work, which they spent their time in coating with whitening. Before ten days had elapsed guarantees were given, securing full citizenship, with equality of taxation and tribute to all, even foreigners, who would take part in the fighting. Thus they were presently able to take the field, with large detachments both of heavy infantry and light-armed troops, besides a division of cavalry, about seventy in number. Their system was to push forward foraging parties in quest of wood and fruits, returning at nightfall to Piraeus. Of the city party no one ventured to take the field under arms; only, from time to time, the cavalry would capture stray pillagers from Piraeus or inflict some damage on the main body of their opponents. Once they fell in with a party belonging to the deme Aexone,114 marching to their own farms in search of provisions. These, in spite of many prayers for mercy and the strong disapprobation of many of the knights, were ruthlessly slaughtered by Lysimachus, the general of cavalry. The men of Piraeus retaliated by putting to death a horseman, named Callistratus, of the tribe Leontis, whom they captured in the country. Indeed their courage ran so high at present that they even meditated an assault upon the city walls. And here perhaps the reader will pardon the record of a somewhat ingenious device on the part of the city engineer, who, aware of the enemy’s intention to advance his batteries along the racecourse, which slopes from the Lyceum, had all the carts and waggons which were to be found laden with blocks of stone, each one a cartload in itself, and so sent them to deposit their freights “pele-mele” on the course in question. The annoyance created by these separate blocks of stone was enormous, and quite out of proportion to the simplicity of the contrivance.

But it was to Lacedaemon that men’s eyes now turned. The Thirty despatched one set of ambassadors from Eleusis, while another set representing the government of the city, that is to say the men on the list, was despatched to summon the Lacedaemonians to their aid, on the plea that the people had revolted from Sparta. At Sparta, Lysander, taking into account the possibility of speedily reducing the party in Piraeus by blockading them by land and sea, and so cutting them off from all supplies, supported the application, and negotiated the loan of one hundred talents115 to his clients, backed by the appointment of himself as harmost on land, and of his brother, Libys, as admiral of the fleet. And so proceeding to the scene of action at Eleusis, he got together a large body of Peloponnesian hoplites, whilst his brother, the admiral, kept watch and ward by sea to prevent the importation of supplies into Piraeus by water. Thus the men in Piraeus were soon again reduced to their former helplessness, while the ardour of the city folk rose to a proportionally high pitch under the auspices of Lysander.

Things were progressing after this sort when King Pausanias intervened. Touched by a certain envy of Lysander —(who seemed, by a final stroke of achievement, about to reach the pinnacle of popularity, with Athens laid like a pocket dependency at his feet)— the king persuaded three of the ephors to support him, and forthwith called out the ban. With him marched contingents of all the allied States, except the Boeotians and Corinthians. These maintained, that to undertake such an expedition against the Athenians, in whose conduct they saw nothing contrary to the treaty, was inconsistent with their oaths. But if that was the language held by them, the secret of their behaviour lay deeper; they seemed to be aware of a desire on the part of the Lacedaemonians to annex the soil of the Athenians and to reduce the state to vassalage. Pausanias encamped on the Halipedon,116 as the sandy flat is called, with his right wing resting on Piraeus, and Lysander and his mercenaries forming the left. His first act was to send an embassage to the party in Piraeus, calling upon them to retire peacably to their homes; when they refused to obey, he made, as far as mere noise went, the semblance of an attack, with sufficient show of fight to prevent his kindly disposition being too apparent. But gaining nothing by the feint, he was forced to retire. Next day he took two Laconian regiments, with three tribes of Athenian horse, and crossed over to the Mute117 Harbour, examining the lie of the ground to discover how and where it would be easiest to draw lines of circumvallation round Piraeus. As he turned his back to retire, a party of the enemy sallied out and caused him annoyance. Nettled at the liberty, he ordered the cavalry to charge at the gallop, supported by the ten-year-service118 infantry, whilst he himself, with the rest of the troops, followed close, holding quietly back in reserve. They cut down about thirty of the enemy’s light troops and pursued the rest hotly to the theatre in Piraeus. Here, as chance would have it, the whole light and heavy infantry of the Piraeus men were getting under arms; and in an instant their light troops rushed out and dashed at the assailants; thick and fast flew missiles of all sorts — javelins, arrows and sling stones. The Lacedaemonians finding the number of their wounded increasing every minute, and sorely called, slowly fell back step by step, eyeing their opponents. These meanwhile resolutely pressed on. Here fell Chaeron and Thibrachus, both polemarchs, here also Lacrates, an Olympic victor, and other Lacedaemonians, all of whom now lie entombed before the city gates in the Ceramicus.119

Watching how matters went, Thrasybulus began his advance with the whole of his heavy infantry to support his light troops and quickly fell into line eight deep, acting as a screen to the rest of his troops. Pausanias, on his side, had retired, sorely pressed, about half a mile towards a bit of rising ground, where he sent orders to the Lacedaemonians and the other allied troops to bring up reinforcements. Here, on this slope, he reformed his troops, giving his phalanx the full depth, and advanced against the Athenians, who did not hesitate to receive him at close quarters, but presently had to give way; one portion being forced into the mud and clay at Halae,120 while the others wavered and broke their line; one hundred and fifty of them were left dead on the field, whereupon Pausanias set up a trophy and retired. Not even so, were his feelings embittered against his adversary. On the contrary he sent secretly and instructed the men of Piraeus, what sort of terms they should propose to himself and the ephors in attendance. To this advice they listened. He also fostered a division in the party within the city. A deputation, acting on his orders, sought an audience of him and the ephors. It had all the appearance of a mass meeting. In approaching the Spartan authorities, they had no desire or occasion, they stated, to look upon the men of Piraeus as enemies, they would prefer a general reconciliation and the friendship of both sides with Lacedaemon. The propositions were favourably received, and by no less a person than Nauclidas. He was present as ephor, in accordance with the custom which obliges two members of that board to serve on all military expeditions with the king, and with his colleague shared the political views represented by Pausanias, rather than those of Lysander and his party. Thus the authorities were quite ready to despatch to Lacedaemon the representatives of Piraeus, carrying their terms of truce with the Lacedaemonians, as also two private individuals belonging to the city party, whose names were Cephisophon and Meletus. This double deputation, however, had no sooner set out to Lacedaemon than the “de facto” government of the city followed suit, by sending a third set of representatives to state on their behalf: that they were prepared to deliver up themselves and the fortifications in their possession to the Lacedaemonians, to do with them what they liked. “Are the men of Piraeus,” they asked, “prepared to surrender Piraeus and Munychia in the same way? If they are sincere in their profession of friendship to Lacedaemon, they ought to do so.” The ephors and the members of assembly at Sparta121 gave audience to these several parties, and sent out fifteen commissioners to Athens empowered, in conjunction with Pausanias, to discover the best settlement possible. The terms122 arrived at were that a general peace between the rival parties should be established, liberty to return to their own homes being granted to all, with the exception of the Thirty, the Eleven, and the Ten who had been governors in Piraeus; but a proviso was added, enabling any of the city party who feared to remain at Athens to find a home in Eleusis.

And now that everything was happily concluded, Pausanias disbanded his army, and the men from Piraeus marched up under arms into the acropolis and offered sacrifice to Athena. When they were come down, the generals called a meeting of the Ecclesia,123 and Thrasybulus made a speech in which, addressing the city party, he said: “Men of the city! I have one piece of advice I would tender to you; it is that you should learn to know yourselves, and towards the attainment of that self-knowledge I would have you make a careful computation of your good qualities and satisfy yourselves on the strength of which of these it is that you claim to rule over us. Is it that you are more just than ourselves? Yet the people, who are poorer — have never wronged you for the purposes of plunder; but you, whose wealth would outweight the whole of ours, have wrought many a shameful deed for the sake of gain. If, then, you have no monopoly of justice, can it be on the score of courage that you are warranted to hold your heads so high? If so, what fairer test of courage will you propose than the arbitrament of war — the war just ended? Or do you claim superiority of intelligence? — you, who with all your wealth of arms and walls, money and Peloponnesian allies, have been paralysed by men who had none of these things to aid them! Or is it on these Laconian friends of yours that you pride yourselves? What! when these same friends have dealt by you as men deal by vicious dogs. You know how that is. They put a heavy collar round the neck of the brutes and hand them over muzzled to their masters. So too have the Lacedaemonians handed you over to the people, this very people whom you have injured; and now they have turned their backs and are gone. But” (turning to the mass) “do not misconceive me. It is not for me, sirs, coldly to beg of you, in no respect to violate your solemn undertakings. I go further; I beg you, to crown your list of exploits by one final display of virtue. Show the world that you can be faithful to your oaths, and flawless in your conduct.” By these and other kindred arguments he impressed upon them that there was no need for anarchy or disorder, seeing that there were the ancient laws ready for use. And so he broke up124 the assembly.

At this auspicious moment, then, they reappointed the several magistrates; the constitution began to work afresh, and civic life was recommenced. At a subsequent period, on receiving information that the party at Eleusis were collecting a body of mercenaries, they marched out with their whole force against them, and put to death their generals, who came out to parley. These removed, they introduced to the others their friends and connections, and so persuaded them to come to terms and be reconciled. The oath they bound themselves by consisted of a simple asseveration: “We will remember past offences no more;” and to this day125 the two parties live amicably together as good citizens, and the democracy is steadfast to its oaths.

103 “A strong fortress (the remains of which still exist) commanding the narrow pass across Mount Parnes, through which runs the direct road from Thebes to Athens, past Acharnae. The precipitous rock on which it stands can only be approached by a ridge on the eastern side. The height commands a magnificent view of the whole Athenian plain, of the city itself, of Mount Hymettus, and the Saronic Gulf,”—“Dict. of Geog., The demi of the Diacria and Mount Parnes.”

104 Cf. Boeckh, “P. E. A.” p. 63, Eng. ed.

105 Lit. tribes, each of the ten tribes furnishing about one hundred horse.

106 Or, “in the cavalry quarters,” cf. en tois ikhthusin = in the fish market. Or, “at the review of the horse.”

107 For the various Odeums at Athens vide Prof. Jebb, “Theophr.” xviii. 235, 236. The one here named was near the fountain Callirhoe by the Ilissus.

108 The citadel quarter of Piraeus.

109 Named after the famous architect Hippodamus, who built the town. It was situated near where the two long walls joined the wall of Piraeus; a broad street led from it up to the citadel of Munychia.

110 I.e. the temple of Bendis (the Thracian Artemis). Cf. Plat. “Rep.” 327, 354; and Prof. Jowett, “Plato,” vol. iii. pp. 193, 226.

111 Lit. “Enyalius,” in Homer an epithet of Ares; at another date (cf. Aristoph. “Peace,” 456) looked upon as a distinct divinity.

112 He was cousin to Critias, and uncle by the mother’s side to Plato, who introduces him in the dialogue, which bears his name (and treats of Temperance), as a very young man at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War. We hear more of him also from Xenophon himself in the “Memorabilia,” iii. 6. 7; and as one of the interlocutors in the “Symposium.”

113 I.e. of the Eleusinian mysteries. He had not only a loud voice, but a big body. Cf. Aristoph. “Frogs,” 1237.

114 On the coast south of Phalerum, celebrated for its fisheries. Cf. “Athen.” vii. 325.

115 24,375 pounds, reckoning one tal. = 243 pounds 15 shillings.

116 The Halipedon is the long stretch of flat sandy land between Piraeus Phalerum and the city.

117 Perhaps the landlocked creek just round the promontory of Eetioneia, as Leake conjectures, “Topog. of Athens,” p. 389. See also Prof. Jowett’s note, “Thuc.” v. 2; vol. ii. p. 286.

118 I.e. who had already seen ten years of service, i.e. over twenty-eight, as the Spartan was eligible to serve at eighteen. Cf. Xen. “Hell.” III. iv. 23; VI. iv. 176.

119 The outer Ceramicus, “the most beautiful spot outside the walls.” Cf. Thuc. ii. 34; through it passes the street of the tombs on the sacred road; and here was the place of burial for all persons honoured with a public funeral. Cf. Arist. “Birds,” 395.

120 Halae, the salt marshy ground immediately behind the great harbour of Piraeus, but outside the fortification lines.

121 Cf. “Hell.” VI. iii. 3, oi ekkletoi.

122 Cf. Prof. Jebb, “Orators,” i. 262, note 2.

123 I.e. the Public Assembly, see above; and reading with Sauppe after Cobet ekklesian epoiesan, which words are supposed to have dropt out of the MSS. Or, keeping to the MSS., translate “When the generals were come down, Thrasybulus,” etc. See next note.

124 The Greek words are antestese ten ekklesian (an odd phrase for the more technical eluse or dieluse ten ekklesian). Or, accepting the MSS. reading above (see last note), translate “he set up (i.e. restored) the Assembly.” So Mr. J. G. Philpotts, Mr. Herbert Hailstone, and others.

125 It would be interesting to know the date at which the author penned these words. Was this portion of the “Hellenica” written before the expedition of Cyrus? i.e. in the interval between the formal restoration of the Democracy, September B.C. 403, and March B.C. 401. The remaining books of the “Hellenica” were clearly written after that expedition, since reference is made to it quite early in Bk. III. i. 2. Practically, then, the first volume of Xenophon’s “History of Hellenic Affairs” ends here. This history is resumed in Bk. III. i. 3. after the Cyreian expedition [of which episode we have a detailed account in the “Anabasis” from March B.C. 401 down to March B.C. 399, when the remnant of the Ten Thousand was handed over to the Spartan general Thibron in Asia]. Some incidents belonging to B.C. 402 are referred to in the opening paragraphs of “Hellenica,” III. i. 1, 2, but only as an introduction to the new matter; and with regard to the historian himself, it is clear that “a change has come o’er the spirit of his dream.” This change of view is marked by a change of style in writing. I have thought it legitimate, under the circumstances, to follow the chronological order of events, and instead of continuing the “Hellenica,” at this point to insert the “Anabasis.” My next volume will contain the remaining books of the “Hellenica” and the rest of Xenophon’s “historical” writings.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/x/xenophon/x5he/book2.html

Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 14:12