THUCYDIDES, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war in which the Peloponnesians and the Athenians fought against one another. He began to write when they first took up arms, believing that it would be great and memorable above any previous war. For he argued that both states were then at the full height of their military power, and he saw the rest of the Hellenes either siding or intending to side with one or other of them. No movement ever stirred Hellas more deeply than this; it was shared by many of the Barbarians, and might be said even to affect the world at large. The character of the events which preceded, whether immediately or in more remote antiquity, owing to the lapse of time cannot be made out with certainty. But, judging from the evidence which I am able to trust after most careful enquiry,1 I should imagine that former ages were not great either in their wars or in anything else.
The country which is now called Hellas was not regularly settled in ancient times.2 The people were migratory, and readily left their homes whenever they were overpowered by numbers. There was no commerce, and they could not safely hold intercourse with one another either by land or sea. The several tribes cultivated their own soil just enough to obtain a maintenance from it. But they had no accumulations of wealth and did not plant the ground; for, being without walls, they were never sure that an invader might not come and despoil them. Living in this manner and knowing that they could anywhere obtain a bare subsistence, they were always ready to migrate; so that they had neither great cities nor any considerable resources. The richest districts were most constantly changing their inhabitants; for example, the countries which are now called Thessaly and Boeotia, the greater part of the Peloponnesus with the exception of Arcadia, and all the best parts of Hellas. For the productiveness of the land increased the power of individuals; this in turn was a source of quarrels by which communities3 were ruined, while at the same time they were more exposed to attacks from without. Certainly Attica, of which the soil was poor and thin, enjoyed a long freedom from civil strife, and therefore retained its original inhabitants. And a striking confirmation of my argument is afforded by the fact that Attica through immigration increased in population more than any other region. For the leading men of Hellas,4 when driven out of their own country by war or revolution, sought an asylum at Athens; and from the very earliest times, being admitted to rights of citizenship, so greatly increased the number of inhabitants that Attica became incapable of containing them, and was at last obliged to send out colonies to Ionia.
The feebleness of antiquity is further proved to me by the circumstance that there appears to have been no common action in Hellas before the Trojan War. And I am inclined to think that the very name was not as yet given to the whole country, and in fact did not exist at all before the time of Hellen, the son of Deucalion; the different tribes, of which the Pelasgian was the most widely spread, gave their own names to different districts. But when Hellen and his sons became powerful in Phthiotis, their aid was invoked by other cities, and those who associated with them gradually began to be called Hellenes, though a long time elapsed before the name prevailed over the whole country. Of this Homer affords the best evidence; for he, although he lived long after the Trojan War, nowhere uses this name collectively, but confines it to the followers of Achilles from Phthiotis, who were the original Hellenes; when speaking of the entire host he calls them Danaäns, or Argives, or Achaeans. Neither is there any mention of Barbarians in his poems, clearly because there were as yet no Hellenes opposed to them by a common distinctive name. Thus the several Hellenic tribes (and I mean by the term Hellenes those who, while forming separate communities, had a common language, and were afterwards called by a common name),5 owing to their weakness and isolation, were never united in any great enterprise before the Trojan War. And they only made the expedition against Troy after they had gained considerable experience of the sea.
Minos is the first to whom tradition ascribes the possession of a navy. He made himself master of a great part of what is now termed the Hellenic sea; he conquered the Cyclades, and was the first coloniser of most of them, expelling the Carians and appointing his own sons to govern in them. Lastly, it was he who, from a natural desire to protect his growing revenues, sought, as far as he was able, to clear the sea of pirates.
For in ancient times both the Hellenes, and those Barbarians, whose homes were on the coast of the mainland or in islands, when they began to find their way to one another by sea had recourse to piracy. They were commanded by powerful chiefs, who took this means of increasing their wealth and providing for their poorer followers. They would fall upon the unwalled and straggling towns, or rather villages, which they plundered, and maintained themselves chiefly by the plunder of them; for, as yet, such an occupation was held to be honourable and not disgraceful. This is proved by the practice of certain tribes on the mainland who, to the present day, glory in piratical exploits, and by the witness of the ancient poets, in whose verses the question is invariably asked of newly-arrived voyagers, whether they are pirates;6 which implies that neither those who are questioned disclaim, nor those who are interested in knowing censure the occupation. On land also neighbouring communities plundered each other; and there are many parts of Hellas in which the old practices still continue, as for example among the Ozolian Locrians, Aetolians, Acarnanians, and the adjacent regions of the continent. The fashion of wearing arms among these continental tribes is a relic of their old predatory habits. For in ancient times all Hellenes carried weapons because their homes were undefended and intercourse was unsafe; like the Barbarians they went armed in their every-day life. And the continuance of the custom in certain parts of the country indicates that it once prevailed everywhere.
The Athenians were the first who laid aside arms and adopted an easier and more luxurious way of life. Quite recently the old-fashioned refinement of dress still lingered among the elder men of their richer class, who wore under-garments of linen, and bound back their hair in a knot with golden clasps in the form of grasshoppers; and the same customs long survived among the elders of Ionia, having been derived from their Athenian ancestors. On the other hand, the simple dress which is now common was first worn at Sparta; and there, more than anywhere else, the life of the rich was assimilated to that of the people. The Lacedaemonians too were the first who in their athletic exercises stripped naked and rubbed themselves over with oil. But this was not the ancient custom; athletes formerly, even when they were contending at Olympia, wore girdles about their loins, a practice which lasted until quite lately, and still prevails among Barbarians, especially those of Asia, where the combatants in boxing and wrestling matches wear girdles. And many other customs which are now confined to the Barbarians might be shown to have existed formerly in Hellas.
In later times, when navigation had become general and wealth was beginning to accumulate, cities were built upon the sea-shore and fortified; peninsulas too were occupied and walled-off with a view to commerce and defence against the neighbouring tribes. But the older towns both in the islands and on the continent, in order to protect themselves against the piracy which so long prevailed, were built inland; and there they remain to this day. For the piratical tribes plundered, not only one another, but all those who, without being seamen, lived on the sea-coast.
The islanders were even more addicted to piracy than the inhabitants of the mainland. They were mostly Carian or Phoenician settlers. This is proved by the fact that when the Athenians purified Delos7 during the Peloponnesian War and the tombs of the dead were opened, more than half of them were found to be Carians. They were known by the fashion of their arms which were buried with them, and by their mode of burial, the same which is still practised among them.
After Minos had established his navy, communication by sea became more general. For, he having expelled the marauders8 when he colonised the greater part of the islands, the dwellers on the sea-coast began to grow richer and to live in a more settled manner; and some of them, finding their wealth increase beyond their expectations, surrounded their towns with walls. The love of gain made the weaker willing to serve the stronger, and the command of wealth enabled the more powerful to subjugate the lesser cities.9 This was the state of society which was beginning to prevail at the time of the Trojan War.
I am inclined to think that Agamemnon succeeded in collecting the expedition, not because the suitors of Helen had bound themselves by oath to Tyndareus, but because he was the most powerful king of his time. Those Peloponnesians who possess the most accurate traditions say that10 originally Pelops gained his power by the great wealth which he brought with him from Asia into a poor country, whereby he was enabled, although a stranger, to give his name to the Peloponnesus; and that still greater fortune attended his descendants after the death of Eurystheus, king of Mycenae, who was slain in Attica by the Heraclidae. For Atreus the son of Pelops was the maternal uncle of Eurystheus, who, when he went on the expedition, naturally committed to his charge the kingdom of Mycenae. Now Atreus had been banished by his father on account of the murder of Chrysippus. But Eurystheus never returned; and the Mycenaeans, dreading the Heraclidae, were ready to welcome Atreus, who was considered a powerful man and had ingratiated himself with the multitude. So he succeeded to the throne of Mycenae and the other dominions of Eurystheus. Thus the house of Pelops prevailed over that of Perseus.
And it was, as I believe, because Agamemnon inherited this power and also because he was the greatest naval potentate of his time that he was able to assemble the expedition; and the other princes followed him, not from good-will, but from fear. Of the chiefs who came to Troy, he, if the witness of Homer be accepted, brought the greatest number of ships himself, besides supplying the Arcadians with them. In the 'Handing down of the Sceptre' he is described as 'The king of many islands, and of all Argos.'11 But, living on the mainland, he could not have ruled over any except the adjacent islands (which would not be 'many') unless he had possessed a considerable navy. From this expedition we must form our conjectures about the character of still earlier times.
When it is said that Mycenae was but a small place, or that any other city which existed in those days is inconsiderable in our own, this argument will hardly prove that the expedition was not as great as the poets relate and as is commonly imagined. Suppose the city of Sparta to be deserted, and nothing left but the temples and the ground-plan, distant ages would be very unwilling to believe that the power of the Lacedaemonians was at all equal to their fame. And yet they own two-fifths of the Peloponnesus, and are acknowledged leaders of the whole, as well as of numerous allies in the rest of Hellas. But their city is not built continuously, and has no splendid temples or other edifices; it rather resembles a group of villages like the ancient towns of Hellas, and would therefore make a poor show. Whereas, if the same fate befell the Athenians, the ruins of Athens would strike the eye, and we should infer their power to have been twice as great as it really is. We ought not then to be unduly sceptical. The greatness of cities should be estimated by their real power and not by appearances. And we may fairly suppose the Trojan expedition to have been greater than any which preceded it, although according to Homer, if we may once more appeal to his testimony, not equal to those of our own day. He was a poet, and may therefore be expected to exaggerate; yet, even upon his showing, the expedition was comparatively small. For it numbered, as he tells us, twelve hundred ships, those of the Boeotians12 carrying one hundred and twenty men each, those of Philoctetes 13 fifty; and by these numbers he may be presumed to indicate the largest and the smallest ships; else why in the catalogue is nothing said about the size of any others? That the crews were all fighting men as well as rowers he clearly implies when speaking of the ships of Philoctetes; for he tells us that all the oarsmen were likewise archers. And it is not to be supposed that many who were not sailors would accompany the expedition, except the kings and principal officers; for the troops had to cross the sea, bringing with them the materials of war, in vessels without decks, built after the old piratical fashion. Now if we take a mean between the crews, the invading forces will appear not to have been very numerous when we remember that they were drawn from the whole of Hellas.
The cause of the inferiority was not so much the want of men as the want of money; the invading army was limited, by the difficulty of obtaining supplies, to such a number as might be expected to live on the country in which they were to fight. After their arrival at Troy, when they had won a battle (as they clearly did, for otherwise they could not have fortified their camp), even then they appear not to have used the whole of their force, but to have been driven by want of provisions to the cultivation of the Chersonese and to pillage. And in consequence of this dispersion of their forces, the Trojans were enabled to hold out against them during the whole ten years, being always a match for those who remained on the spot. Whereas if the besieging army had brought abundant supplies, and, instead of betaking themselves to agriculture or pillage, had carried on the war persistently with all their forces, they would easily have been masters of the field and have taken the city; since, even divided as they were, and with only a part of their army available at any one time, they held their ground. Or, again, they might have regularly invested Troy, and the place would have been captured in less time and with less trouble. Poverty was the real reason why the achievements of former ages were insignificant, and why the Trojan War, the most celebrated of them all, when brought to the test of facts, falls short of its fame and of the prevailing traditions to which the poets have given authority.
Even in the age which followed the Trojan War, Hellas was still in process of ferment and settlement, and had no time for peaceful growth. The return of the Hellenes from Troy after their long absence led to many changes: quarrels too arose in nearly every city, and those who were expelled by them went and founded other cities. Thus in the the sixtieth year after the fall of Troy, the Boeotian people, having been expelled from Arnè by the Thessalians, settled in the country formerly called Cadmeis, but now Boeotia: a portion of the tribe already dwelt there, and some of these had joined in the Trojan expedition. In the eightieth year after the war, the Dorians led by the Heraclidae conquered the Peloponnesus. A considerable time elapsed before Hellas became finally settled; after a while, however, she recovered tranquillity and began to send out colonies. The Athenians colonised Ionia and most of the islands; the Peloponnesians the greater part of Italy and Sicily, and various places in Hellas. These colonies were all founded after the Trojan War.
As Hellas grew more powerful and the acquisition of wealth became more and more rapid, the revenues of her cities increased, and in most of them tyrannies were established; they had hitherto been ruled by hereditary kings, having fixed prerogatives. The Hellenes likewise began to build navies and to make the sea their element. The Corinthians are said to have first adopted something like the modern style of marine, and the oldest Hellenic triremes to have been constructed at Corinth. A Corinthian ship-builder, Ameinocles, appears to have built four ships for the Samians; he went to Samos about three hundred years before the end of the Peloponnesian War. And the earliest naval engagement on record is that between the Corinthians and Corcyraeans which occurred about forty years later. Corinth, being seated on an isthmus, was naturally from the first a centre of commerce; for the Hellenes within and without the Peloponnese in the old days, when they communicated chiefly by land, had to pass through her territory in order to reach one another. Her wealth too was a source of power, as the ancient poets testify, who speak of 'Corinth the rich.'14 When navigation grew more common, the Corinthians, having already acquired a fleet, were able to put down piracy; they offered a market both by sea and land, and with the increase of riches the power of their city increased yet more. Later, in the time of Cyrus, the first Persian king, and of Cambyses his son, the Ionians had a large navy; they fought with Cyrus, and were for a time masters of the sea around their own coasts. Polycrates, too, who was a tyrant of Samos in the reign of Cambyses, had a powerful navy and subdued several of the islands, among them Rhenea, which he dedicated to the Delian Apollo.15 And the Phocaeans, when they were colonising Massalia, defeated the Carthaginians on the sea.
These were the most powerful navies, and even these, which came into existence many generations after the Trojan Warr, appear to have consisted chiefly of fifty-oared vessels and galleys of war, as in the days of Troy; as yet triremes were not common. But a little before the Persian War and the death of Darius, who succeeded Cambyses, the Sicilian tyrants and the Corcyraeans had them in considerable numbers. No other maritime powers of any consequence arose in Hellas before the expedition of Xerxes. The Aeginetans, Athenians, and a few more had small fleets, and these mostly consisted of fifty-oared vessels. Even the ships which the Athenians built quite recently at the instigation of Themistocles, when they were at war with the Aeginetans and in expectation of the Barbarian, even these ships with which they fought at Salamis were not completely decked.16
So inconsiderable were the Hellenic navies in recent as well as in more ancient times. And yet those who applied their energies to the sea obtained a great accession of strength by the increase of their revenues and the extension of their dominion. For they attacked and subjugated the islands, especially when the pressure of population was felt by them. Whereas by land, no conflict of any kind which brought increase of power ever occurred; what wars they had were mere border feuds. Foreign and distant expeditions of conquest the Hellenes never undertook; for they were not as yet ranged under the command of the great states, nor did they form voluntary leagues or make expeditions on an equal footing. Their wars were only the wars of the several neighbouring tribes with one another. The conflict in which the rest of Hellas was most divided, allying itself with one side or the other, was the ancient war between the Chalcidians and Eretrians.17There were different impediments to the progress of the different states. The Ionians had attained great prosperity when Cyrus and the Persians, having overthrown Croesus and subdued the countries between the river Halys and the sea, made war against them and enslaved the cities on the mainland. Some time afterwards, Darius, strong in the possession of the Phoenician fleet, conquered the islands also.
Nor again did the tyrants of the Hellenic cities extend their thoughts beyond their own interest, that is, the security of their persons, and the aggrandisement of themselves and their families. They were extremely cautious in the administration of their government, and nothing considerable was ever effected by them; except in wars with their neighbours, as in Sicily, where their power attained its greatest height. Thus for a long time everything conspired to prevent Hellas from uniting in any great action and to paralyse enterprise in the individual states.
At length the tyrants both at Athens and in the rest of Hellas (which had been under their dominion long before Athens), at least the greater number of them, and with the exception of the Sicilian the last who ever ruled, were put down by the Lacedaemonians. For although Lacedaemon, after the conquest18 of the country by the Dorians who now inhabit it, remained long unsettled, and indeed longer than any country which we know, nevertheless she obtained good laws at an earlier period than any other, and has never been subject to tyrants; she has preserved the same form of government for rather more than four hundred years, reckoning to the end of the Peloponnesian War. It was the excellence of her constitution which gave her power, and thus enabled her to regulate the affairs of other states. Not long after the overthrow of the tyrants by the Lacedaemonians, the battle of Marathon was fought between the Athenians and the Persians; ten years later, the Barbarian returned with the vast armament which was to enslave Hellas. In the greatness of the impending danger, the Lacedaemonians, who were the most powerful state in Hellas, assumed the lead of the confederates, while the Athenians, as the Persian host advanced, resolved to forsake their city, broke up their homes, and, taking to their ships, became seamen. The Barbarian was repelled by a common effort; but soon the Hellenes, as well those who had revolted from the King as those who formed the original confederacy,19 took different sides and became the allies either of the Athenians or of the Lacedaemonians; for these were now the two leading powers, the one strong by land and the other by sea. The league between them was of short duration; they speedily quarrelled and, with their respective allies, went to war. Any of the other Hellenes who had differences of their own now resorted to one or other of them. So that from the Persian to the Peloponnesian War, the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians were perpetually fighting or making peace, either with one another or with their own revolted allies; thus they attained military efficiency, and learned experience in the school of danger.
The Lacedaemonians did not make tributaries of those who acknowledged their leadership, but took care that they should be governed by oligarchies in the exclusive interest of Sparta. The Athenians, on the other hand, after a time deprived the subject cities of their ships and made all of them pay a fixed tribute, except Chios and Lesbos.20 And the single power of Athens21 at the beginning of this war was greater than that of Athens and Sparta together at their greatest, while the confederacy remained intact.
Such are the results of my enquiries, though the early history of Hellas is of a kind which forbids implicit reliance on every particular of the evidence.22 Men do not discriminate, and are too ready to receive ancient traditions about their own as well as about other countries. For example, most Athenians think that Hipparchus was actually tyrant when he was slain by Harmodius and Aristogeiton; they are not aware that Hippias was the eldest of the sons of Peisistratus, and succeeded him, and that Hipparchus and Thessalus were only his brothers.23 At the last moment, Harmodius and Aristogeiton suddenly suspected that Hippias had been forewarned by some of their accomplices. They therefore abstained from attacking him, but, wishing to do something before they were seized, and not to risk their lives in vain, they slew Hipparchus, with whom they fell in near the temple called Leocorium as he was marshalling the Panathenaic procession. There are many other matters, not obscured by time, but contemporary, about which the other Hellenes are equally mistaken. For example, they imagine that the kings of Lacedaemon in their council have not one but two votes each,24 and that in the army of the Lacedaemonians there is a division called the Pitanate division;25 whereas they never had anything of the sort. So little trouble do men take in the search after truth; so readily do they accept whatever comes first to hand.
Yet any one who upon the grounds which I have given arrives at some such conclusion as my own about those ancient times, would not be far wrong. He must not be misled by the exaggerated fancies of the poets, or by the tales of chroniclers who seek to please the ear rather than to speak the truth. Their accounts cannot be tested by him; and most of the facts in the lapse of ages have passed into the region of romance. At such a distance of time he must make up his mind to be satisfied with conclusions resting upon the clearest evidence which can be had. And, though men will always judge any war in which they are actually fighting to be the greatest at the time, but, after it is over, revert to their admiration of some other which has preceded, still the Peloponnesian, if estimated by the actual facts, will certainly prove to have been the greatest ever known.
As to the speeches which were made either before or during the war, it was hard for me, and for others who reported them to me, to recollect the exact words. I have therefore put into the mouth of each speaker the sentiments proper to the occasion, expressed as I thought he would be likely to express them, while at the same time I endeavoured, as nearly as I could, to give the general purport of what was actually said. Of the events of the war I have not ventured to speak from any chance information, nor according to any notion of my own; I have described nothing but what I either saw myself, or learned from others of whom I made the most careful and particular enquiry. The task was a laborious one, because eye-witnesses of the same occurrences gave different accounts of them, as they remembered or were interested in the actions of one side or the other. And very likely the strictly historical character of my narrative may be disappointing to the ear. But if he who desires to have before his eyes a true picture of the events which have happened, and of the like events which may be expected to happen hereafter in the order of human things, shall pronounce what I have written to be useful, then I shall be satisfied. My history is an everlasting possession, not a prize composition which is heard and forgotten.
The greatest achievement of former times was the Persian War; yet even this was speedily decided in two battles by sea and two by land. But the Peloponnesian War was a protracted struggle, and attended by calamities such as Hellas had never known within a like period of time. Never were so many cities captured and depopulated--some by Barbarians, others by Hellenes themselves fighting against one another; and several of them after their capture were repeopled by strangers. Never were exile and slaughter more frequent, whether in the war or brought about by civil strife. And traditions which had often been current before, but rarely verified by fact, were now no longer doubted. For there were earthquakes unparalleled in their extent and fury, and eclipses of the sun more numerous than are recorded to have happened in any former age; there were also in some places great droughts causing famines, and lastly the plague which did immense harm and destroyed numbers of the people. All these calamities fell upon Hellas simultaneously with the war, which began when the Athenians and Peloponnesians violated the thirty years' truce concluded by them after the recapture of Euboea.26 Why they broke it and what were the grounds of quarrel I will first set forth, that in time to come no man may be at a loss to know what was the origin of this great war. The real though unavowed cause I believe to have been the growth of the Athenian power, which terrified the Lacedaemonians and forced them into war; but the reasons publicly alleged on either side were as follows.
The city of Epidamnus is situated on the right hand as you sail up the Ionian Gulf. The neighbouring inhabitants are the Taulantians, a barbarian tribe of the Illyrian race. The place was colonised by Corcyraeans, but under the leadership of a Corinthian, Phalius, son of Eratocleides, who was of the lineage of Heracles; he was invited, according to ancient custom, from the mother city, and Corinthians and other Dorians joined in the colony. In process of time Epidamnus became great and populous, but there followed a long period of civil commotion, and the city is said to have been brought low in a war against the neighbouring barbarians, and to have lost her ancient power. At last, shortly before the Peloponnesian War, the notables were overthrown and driven out by the people; the exiles went over to the barbarians, and, uniting with them, plundered the remaining inhabitants both by sea and land. These, finding themselves hard pressed, sent an embassy to the mother-city Corcyra, begging the Corcyraeans not to leave them to their fate, but to reconcile them to the exiles and settle the war with the barbarians. The ambassadors came, and sitting as suppliants in the temple of Herè preferred their request; but the Corcyraeans would not listen to them, and they returned without success. The Epidamnians, finding that they had no hope of assistance from Corcyra, knew not what to do, and sending to Delphi enquired of the God whether they should deliver up the city to their original founders, the Corinthians, and endeavour to obtain aid from them. The God replied that they should, and bade them place themselves under the leadership of the Corinthians. So the Epidamnians went to Corinth, and informing the Corinthians of the answer which the oracle had given, delivered up the city to them. They reminded them that the original leader of the colony was a citizen of Corinth; and implored the Corinthians to come and help them, and not leave them to their fate. The Corinthians took up their cause, partly in vindication of their own rights (for they considered that Epidamnus belonged to them quite as much as to the Corcyraeans), partly too because they hated the Corcyraeans, who were their own colony but slighted them. In their common festivals they would not allow them the customary privileges of founders, and at their sacrifices denied to a Corinthian the right of receiving first the lock of hair cut from the head of the victim, an honour usually granted by colonies to a representative of the mother-country. In fact they despised the Corinthians, for they were more than a match for them in military strength, and as rich as any state then existing in Hellas. They would often boast that on the sea they were very far superior to them, and would appropriate to themselves the naval renown of the Phaeacians, who were the ancient inhabitants of the island. Such feelings led them more and more to strengthen their navy, which was by no means despicable; for they had a hundred and twenty triremes when the war broke out.
Irritated by these causes of offence, the Corinthians were too happy to assist Epidamnus; accordingly they invited any one who was willing to settle there, and for the protection of the colonists despatched with them Ambracian and Leucadian troops and a force of their own. All these they sent by land as far as Apollonia, which is a colony of theirs, fearing that if they went by sea the Corcyraeans might oppose their passage. Great was the rage of the Corcyraeans when they discovered that the settlers and the troops had entered Epidamnus and that the colony had been given up to the Corinthians. They immediately set sail with five and twenty ships, followed by a second fleet, and in insulting terms bade the Epidamnians receive the exiled oligarchs, who had gone to Corcyra and implored the Corcyraeans to restore them, appealing to the tie of kindred and pointing to the sepulchres of their common ancestors.27 They also bade them send away the troops and the new settlers. But the Epidamnians would not listen to their demands. Whereupon the Corcyraeans attacked them with forty ships. They were accompanied by the exiles whom they were to restore, and had the assistance of the native Illyrian troops. They sat down before the city, and made proclamation that any Epidamnian who chose, and the foreigners, might depart in safety, but that all who remained would be treated as enemies. This had no effect, and the Corcyraeans proceeded to invest the city, which is built upon an isthmus.
When the news reached the Corinthians that Epidamnus was besieged, they equipped an army and proclaimed that a colony was to be sent thither; all who wished might go and enjoy equal rights of citizenship; but any one who was unwilling to sail at once might remain at Corinth, and, if he made a deposit of fifty Corinthian drachmae, might still have a share in the colony.28
Many sailed, and many deposited the money. The Corinthians also sent and requested the Megarians to assist them with a convoy in case the Corcyraeans should intercept the colonists on their voyage. The Megarians accordingly provided eight ships, and the Cephallenians of Palè four; the Epidaurians, of whom they made a similar request, five; the Hermionians one; the Troezenians two; the Leucadians ten; and the Ambraciots eight. Of the Thebans and Phliasians they begged money, and of the Eleans money, and ships without crews. On their own account they equipped thirty ships and three thousand hoplites.
When the Corcyraeans heard of their preparations they came to Corinth, taking with them Lacdaemonian and Sicyonian envoys, and summoned the Corinthians to withdraw the troops and the colonists, telling them that they had nothing to do with Epidamnus. If they made any claim to it, the Corcyraeans expressed themselves willing to refer the cause for arbitration to such Peloponnesian states as both parties should agree upon, and their decision was to be final; or, they were willing to leave the matter in the hands of the Delphian oracle. But they deprecated war, and declared that, if war there must be, they would be compelled by the Corinthians in self-defence to discard their present friends and seek others whom they would rather not, for help they must have. The Corinthians replied that if the Corcyraeans would withdraw the ships and the barbarian troops they would consider the matter, but that it would not do for them to be litigating while Epidamnus and the colonists were in a state of siege. The Corcyraeans rejoined that they would consent to this proposal if the Corinthians on their part would withdraw their forces from Epidamnus: or again, they were willing that both parties should remain29 on the spot, and that a truce should be made until the decision was given.
The Corinthians turned a deaf ear to all these overtures, and, when their vessels were manned and their allies had arrived, they sent a herald before them to declare war, and set sail for Epidamnus with seventy-five ships and two thousand hoplites, intending to give battle to the Corcyraeans. Their fleet was commanded by Aristeus the son of Pellichus, Callicrates the son of Callias, and Timanor the son of Timanthes; the land forces by Archetimus the son of Eurytimus, and Isarchidas the son of Isarchus. When they arrived at Actium in the territory of Anactorium, at the mouth of the Ambracian gulf, where the temple of Apollo stands, the Corcyraeans sent a herald to meet them in a small boat forbidding them to come on. Meanwhile their crews got on board; they had previously put their fleet in repair, and strengthened the old ships with cross-timbers, so as to make them serviceable. The herald brought back no message of peace from the Corinthians. The Corcyraean ships, numbering eighty (for forty out of the hundred and twenty were engaged in the blockade of Epidamnus), were now fully manned; these sailed out against the Corinthians and, forming line, fought and won a complete victory over them, and destroyed fifteen of their ships. On the very same day the forces besieging Epidamnus succeeded in compelling the city to capitulate, the terms being that the Corinthians until their fate was determined should be imprisoned and the strangers sold.
After the sea-fight the Corcyraeans raised a trophy on Leucimnè, a promontory of Corcyra, and put to death all their prisoners with the exception of the Corinthians, whom they kept in chains. The defeated Corinthians and their allies then returned home, and the Corcyraeans (who were now masters of the Ionian sea), sailing to Leucas, a Corinthian colony, devastated the country. They also burnt Cyllenè, where the Eleans had their docks, because they had supplied the Corinthians with money and ships. And, during the greater part of the summer after the battle, they retained the command of the sea and sailed about plundering the allies of the Corinthians. But, before the season was over, the Corinthians, perceiving that their allies were suffering, sent out a fleet and took up a position at Actium and near the promontory of Cheimerium in Thesprotia, that they might protect Leucas and other friendly places. The Corcyraeans with their fleet and army stationed themselves on the opposite coast at Leucimnè. Neither party attacked the other, but during the remainder of the summer they maintained their respective stations, and at the approach of winter returned home.
For the whole year after the battle and for a year after that, the Corinthians, exasperated by the war with Corcyra, were busy in building ships. They took the utmost pains to create a great navy: rowers were collected from the Peloponnesus and from the rest of Hellas by the attraction of pay. The Corcyraeans were alarmed at the report of their preparations. They reflected that they had not enrolled themselves in the league either of the Athenians or of the Lacedaemonians, and that allies in Hellas they had none. They determined to go to Athens, join the Athenian alliance, and get what help they could from them. The Corinthians, hearing of their intentions, also sent ambassadors to Athens, fearing lest the combination of the Athenian and Corcyraean navies might prevent them from bringing the war to a satisfactory termination. Accordingly an assembly was held at which both parties came forward to plead their respective causes; and first the Corcyraeans spoke as follows:
'Men of Athens, those who, like ourselves, come to others who are not their allies and to whom they have never rendered any considerable service and ask help of them, are bound to show, in the first place, that the granting of their request is expedient, or at any rate not inexpedient, and, secondly, that their gratitude will be lasting. If they fulfil neither requirement they have no right to complain of a refusal. Now the Corcyraeans, when they sent us hither to ask for an alliance, were confident that they could establish to your satisfaction both these points. But, unfortunately, we have had a practice alike inconsistent with the request which we are about to make and contrary to our own interest at the present moment:--Inconsistent; for hitherto we have never, if we could avoid it, been the allies of others, and now we come and ask you to enter into an alliance with us;--Contrary to our interest; for through this practice we find ourselves isolated in our war with the Corinthians. The policy of not making alliances lest they should endanger us at another's bidding, instead of being wisdom, as we once fancied, has now unmistakably proved to be weakness and folly. True, in the last naval engagement we repelled the Corinthians single-handed. But now they are on the point of attacking us with a much greater force which they have drawn together from the Peloponnesus and from all Hellas. We know that we are too weak to resist them unaided, and may expect the worst if we fall into their hands. We are therefore compelled to ask assistance of you and of all the world; and you must not be hard upon us if now, renouncing our indolent neutrality which was an error but not a crime, we dare to be inconsistent.
'To you at this moment the request which we are making offers a glorious opportunity. In the first place, you will assist the oppressed and not the oppressors; secondly, you will admit us to your alliance at a time when our dearest interests are at stake, and will lay up a treasure of gratitude in our memories which will have the most abiding of all records. Lastly, we have a navy greater than any but your own. Reflect; what good fortune can be more extraordinary, what more annoying to your enemies than the voluntary accession of a power for whose alliance you would have given any amount of money and could never have been too thankful? This power now places herself at your disposal; you are to incur no danger and no expense, and she brings you a good name in the world, gratitude from those who seek your aid, and an increase of your own strength. Few have ever had all these advantages offered them at once; equally few when they come asking an alliance are able to give in the way of security and honour as much as they hope to receive.
'And if any one thinks that the war in which our services may be needed will never arrive, he is mistaken. He does not see that the Lacedaemonians, fearing the growth of your empire, are eager to take up arms, and that the Corinthians, who are your enemies, are all-powerful with them. They begin with us, but they will go on to you, that we may not stand united against them in the bond of a common enmity; they will not miss the chance of weakening us or strengthening themselves. And it is our business to strike first, we offering and you accepting our alliance, and to forestall their designs instead of waiting to counteract them.
'If they say that we are their colony and that therefore you have no right to receive us, they should be made to understand that all colonies honour their mother-city when she treats them well, but are estranged from her by injustice. For colonists are not meant to be the servants but the equals of those who remain at home. And the injustice of their conduct to us is manifest: for we proposed an arbitration in the matter of Epidamnus, but they insisted on prosecuting their quarrel by arms and would not hear of a legal trial.30. When you see how they treat us who are their own kinsmen, take warning: if they try deception, do not be misled by them; and if they make a direct request of you, refuse. For he passes through life most securely who has least reason to reproach himself with complaisance to his enemies.
'But again, you will not break the treaty with the Lacedaemonians31 by receiving us: for we are not allies either of you or of them. What says the treaty?--"Any Hellenic city which is the ally of no one may join whichever league it pleases." And how monstrous, that they should man their ships, not only from their own confederacy, but from Hellas in general, nay, even from your subjects, while they would debar us from the alliance which naturally offers and from every other, and will denounce it as a crime if you accede to our request. With far better reason shall we complain of you if you refuse. For you will be thrusting away us who are not your enemies and are in peril; and, far from restraining the enemy and the aggressor, you will be allowing him to gather fresh forces out of your own dominions. How unjust is this! Surely if you would be impartial you should either prevent the Corinthians from hiring soldiers in your dominions, or send to us also such help as you can be induced to send; but it would be best of all if you would openly receive and assist us. Many, as we have already intimated, are the advantages which we offer. Above all, our enemies are your enemies, which is the best guarantee of fidelity in an ally; and they are not weak but well able to injure those who secede from them. Again, when the proffered alliance is that of a maritime and not of an inland power, it is a far more serious matter to refuse. You should, if possible, allow no one to have a fleet but yourselves; or, if this is impossible, whoever is strongest at sea; make him your friend.
'Some one may think that the course which we recommend is expedient, but he may be afraid that if he is convinced by our arguments he will break the treaty. To him we reply, that as long as he is strong he may make a present of his fears to the enemy, but that if he reject the alliance he will be weak, and then his confidence, however reassuring to himself, will be anything but terrifying to enemies who are strong. It is Athens about which he is advising, and not Corcyra: will he be providing for her best interests if, when war is imminent and almost at the door, he is so anxious about the chances of the hour that he hesitates to attach to him a state which cannot be made a friend or enemy without momentous consequences? Corcyra, besides offering many other advantages, is conveniently situated for the coast voyage to Italy and Sicily; it stands in the way of any fleet coming from thence to the Peloponnesus, and can also protect a fleet on its way to Sicily. One word more, which is the sum of all and everything we have to say, and should convince you that you must not abandon us. Hellas has only three considerable navies:--there is ours, and there is yours, and there is the Corinthian. Now, if the Corinthians get hold of ours, and you allow the two to become one, you will have to fight against the united navies of Corcyra and the Peloponnesus. But, if you make us your allies, you will have our navy in addition to your own ranged at your side in the impending conflict.'
Thus spoke the Corcyraeans: the Corinthians replied as follows:
'Since these Corcyraeans have chosen to speak, not only of their reception into your alliance, but of our misdoings and of the unjust war which has been forced upon them by us, we too must touch on these two points before we proceed to our main argument, that you may be better prepared to appreciate our claim upon you, and may have a good reason for rejecting their petition. They pretend that they have hitherto refused to make alliances from a wise moderation, but they really adopted this policy from a mean and not from a high motive. They did not want to have an ally who might go and tell of their crimes, and who would put them to the blush whenever they called him in. Their insular position makes them judges of their own offences against others, and they can therefore afford to dispense with judges appointed under treaties; for they hardly ever visit their neighbours, but foreign ships are constantly driven to their shores by stress of weather. And all the time they screen themselves under the specious name of neutrality, making believe that they are unwilling to be the accomplices of other men's crimes. But the truth is that they wish to keep their own criminal courses to themselves: where they are strong, to oppress; where they cannot be found out, to defraud; and whatever they may contrive to appropriate, never to be ashamed. If they were really upright men, as they profess to be, the greater their immunity from attack the more clearly they might have made their honesty appear by a willingness to submit differences to arbitration.
'But such they have not shown themselves either towards us or towards others. Although they are our colony they have always stood aloof from us, and now they are fighting against us on the plea that they were not sent out to be ill used. To which we rejoin that we did not send them out to be insulted by them, but that we might be recognised as their leaders and receive proper respect. Our other colonies at any rate honour us; no city is more beloved by her colonies than Corinth. That we are popular with the majority proves that the Corcyraeans have no reason to dislike us; and, if it seems extraordinary that we should go to war with them, our defence is that the injury which they are doing us is unexampled.32 Even if we had been misled by passion, it would have been honourable in them to make allowance for us, and dishonourable in us to use violence when they showed moderation. But they have wronged us over and over again in their insolence and pride of wealth; and now there is our colony of Epidamnus which they would not acknowledge in her distress, but, when we came to her rescue, they seized and are now holding by force.
'They pretend that they first offered to have the matter decided by arbitration. The appeal to justice might have some meaning in the mouth of one who before he had recourse to arms acted honourably, as he now talks fairly,33 but not when it is made from a position of security and advantage. Whereas these men began by laying siege to Epidamnus, and not until they feared our vengeance did they put forward their specious offer of arbitration. And as if the wrong which they have themselves done at Epidamnus were not enough, they now come hither and ask you to be, not their allies, but their accomplices in crime, and would have you receive them when they are at enmity with us. But they ought to have come when they were out of all danger, not at a time when we are smarting under an injury and they have good reason to be afraid. You have never derived any benefit from their power, but they will now be benefited by yours, and, although innocent of their crimes, you will equally be held responsible by us. If you were to have shared the consequences with them, they ought long ago to have shared the power with you.34
'We have proved that our complaints are justified and that our adversaries are tyrannical and dishonest; we will now show you that you have no right to receive them. Admitting that the treaty allows any unenrolled cities to join either league, this provision does not apply to those who have in view the injury of others, but only to him who is in need of protection,--certainly not to one who forsakes his allegiance and who will bring war instead of peace to those who receive him, or rather, if they are wise, will not receive him on such terms. And war the Corcyraeans will bring to you if you listen to them and not to us. For if you become the allies of the Corcyraeans you will be no longer at peace with us, but will be converted into enemies; and we must, if you take their part, in defending ourselves against them, defend ourselves against you. But you ought in common justice to stand aloof from both; or, if you must join either, you should join us and go to war with them; to Corinth you are at all events bound by treaty, but with Corcyra you never even entered into a temporary negotiation. And do not set the precedent of receiving the rebellious subjects of others. At the revolt of Samos,35 when the other Peloponnesians were divided upon the question of giving aid to the rebels, we voted in your favour and expressly maintained "that every one should be allowed to chastise his own allies." If you mean to receive and assist evil-doers, we shall assuredly gain as many allies of yours as you will of ours; and you will establish a principle which will tell against yourselves more than against us.
'Such are the grounds of right which we urge; and they are sufficient according to Hellenic law. And may we venture to recall to your minds an obligation of which we claim the repayment in our present need, we and you being not enemies who seek one another's hurt, nor yet friends who freely give and take? There was a time before the Persian invasion when you were in want of ships for the Aeginetan war, and we Corinthians lent you twenty: the service which we then rendered to you gave you the victory over the Aeginetans,36 as the other, which prevented the Peloponnesians from aiding the Samians, enabled you to punish Samos. Both benefits were conferred on one of those critical occasions when men in the act of attacking their enemies are utterly regardless of everything but victory, and deem him who assists them a friend though he may have previously been a foe, him who opposes them a foe, even though he may happen to be a friend; nay, they will often neglect their own interests in the excitement of the struggle.
'Think of these things; let the younger be informed of them by their elders, and resolve all of you to render like for like. Do not say to yourselves that this is just, but that in the event of war something else is expedient; for the true path of expediency is the path of right. The war with which the Corcyraeans would frighten you into doing wrong is distant, and may never come; is it worth while to be so carried away by the prospect of it, that you bring upon yourselves the hatred of the Corinthians which is both near and certain? Would you not be wiser in seeking to mitigate the ill-feeling which your treatment of the Megarians has already inspired?37 The later kindness done in season, though small in comparison, may cancel a greater previous offence. And do not be attracted by their offer of a great naval alliance; for to do no wrong to a neighbour is a surer source of strength than to gain a perilous advantage under the influence of a momentary illusion.
'We are now ourselves in the same situation in which you were, when we declared at Sparta that every one so placed should be allowed to chastise his own allies; and we claim to receive the same measure at your hands. You were profited by our vote, and we ought not to be injured by yours. Pay what you owe, knowing that this is our time of need, in which a man's best friend is he who does him a service, he who opposes him, his worst enemy. Do not receive these Corcyraeans into alliance in despite of us, and do not support them in injustice. In acting thus you will act rightly, and will consult your own true interests.'
Such were the words of the Corinthians.
The Athenians heard both sides, and they held two assemblies; in the first of them they were more influenced by the words of the Corinthians, but in the second they changed their minds and inclined towards the Corcyraeans. They would not go so far as to make an alliance both offensive and defensive with them; for then, if the Corcyraeans had required them to join in an expedition against Corinth, the treaty with the Peloponnesians would have been broken. But they concluded a defensive league, by which the two states promised to aid each other if an attack were made on the territory or on the allies of either. For they knew that in any case the war with Peloponnesus was inevitable, and they had no mind to let Corcyra and her navy fall into the hands of the Corinthians. Their plan was to embroil them more and more with one another, and then, when the war came, the Corinthians and the other naval powers would be weaker. They also considered that Corcyra was conveniently situated for the coast voyage to Italy and Sicily.
Under the influence of these feelings, they received the Corcyraeans into alliance; the Corinthians departed; and the Athenians now despatched to Corcyra ten ships commanded by Lacedaemonius the son of Cimon, Diotimus the son of Strombichus, and Proteas the son of Epicles. The commanders received orders not to engage with the Corinthians unless they sailed against Corcyra or to any place belonging to the Corcyraeans, and attempted to land there, in which case they were to resist them to the utmost. These orders were intended to prevent a breach of the treaty.38
The Corinthians, when their preparations were completed, sailed against Corcyra with a hundred and fifty ships,--ten Elean, twelve Megarian, ten Leucadian, twenty-seven Ambraciot, one from Anactorium, and ninety of their own. The contingents of the several cities were commanded by their own generals. The Corinthian commander was Xenocleides the son of Euthycles, with four others. The fleet sailed from Leucas, and, arriving at the mainland opposite Corcyra, came to anchor at Cheimerium in the country of Thesprotia. Cheimerium is only a harbour;39 above it, at some distance from the sea, in that part of Thesprotia called Eleatis, lies the city of Ephyrè, near which the Acherusian lake finds a way out to the sea; the river Acheron, whence the name is derived, flows through Thesprotia and falls into the lake. Another river, the Thyamis, forms the boundary of Thesprotia and Cestrinè, and the promontory of Cheimerium runs out between these two rivers. Here the Corinthians anchored and formed a camp.
The Corcyraeans, observing their approach, manned a hundred and ten ships. These, which were placed under the command of Meiciades, Aesimides, and Eurybatus, took up a position off one of the islands called Sybota; the ten Athenian ships accompanied them. The land forces occupied the promontory of Leucimnè, whither a thousand Zacynthians had come to the aid of Corcyra. The Corinthians on their part were supported by a large force of barbarians, which collected on the mainland; for the inhabitants of this region have always been well disposed towards them.
The Corinthians had now made their preparations, and, taking with them three days' provisions, put off by night from Cheimerium, intending to give battle: at break of day they descried the Corcyraean fleet, which had also put out to sea and was sailing to meet them. As soon as they saw one another, they ranged themselves in order of battle. On the right Corcyraean wing were the Athenian ships. The Corcyraeans themselves occupied the centre and the left wing, and were drawn up in three divisions, each under the command of one of the generals. On the right wing of the Corinthians were the Megarian and Ambraciot ships, in the centre the contingents of their other allies; they themselves with their swiftest vessels formed the left wing, which was opposed to the Athenians and to the right division of the Corcyraeans.
The standards were now raised on both sides, and the two fleets met and fought. The decks of both were crowded with heavy infantry, with archers and with javelin-men; for their naval arrangements were still of the old clumsy sort. The engagement was obstinate, but more courage than skill was displayed, and it had almost the appearance of a battle by land. When two ships once charged one another it was hardly possible to part company, for the throng of vessels was dense, and the hopes of victory lay chiefly in the heavy-armed, who maintained a steady fight upon the decks, the ships meanwhile remaining motionless. There were no attempts to break the enemy's line. Brute force and rage made up for the want of tactics. Everywhere the battle was a scene of tumult and confusion. At any point where they saw the Corcyraeans distressed, the Athenians appeared and kept the enemy in check; but the generals, who were afraid of disobeying their instructions, would not begin the attack themselves. The Corinthians suffered most on their right wing. For the Corcyraeans with twenty ships routed them, drove them in disorder to the shore, and sailed right up to their encampment; there landing, they plundered and burnt the deserted tents. So in this part of the battle the Corinthians and their allies were worsted, and the Corcyraeans prevailed. But the left wing of the Corinthians, where their own ships were stationed, had greatly the advantage, because the Corcyraeans, whose numbers were originally inferior, had now twenty vessels detached in the pursuit. When the Athenians saw the distress of the Corcyraeans, they began to assist them more openly. At first they had abstained from actual collision, but when the Corcyraeans fled outright and the Corinthians pressed them hard, then every man fell to work; all distinctions were forgotten;-the time had arrived when Corinthian and Athenian were driven to attack one another.
The Corinthians, having put to flight their enemies, never stopped to take in tow the hulls of the vessels which they had disabled, but fell upon the men; they rowed up and down and slew them, giving no quarter, and unintentionally killing their own friends; for they were not aware that their right wing had been defeated. There were so many ships on one side and on the other, and they covered so great an extent of water, that, when the engagement had once begun, it was hard among conquerors and conquered to distinguish friend from foe. For never before had two Hellenic navies so numerous met in battle.
When the Corinthians had chased the Corcyraeans to the shore, they turned their attention to their own wrecks and the bodies of their dead. Most of these were recovered by them and conveyed to Sybota, a desert harbour of Thesprotia, whither their barbarian allies had come to support them. They then formed afresh and once more made a movement towards the Corcyraeans, who, taking such vessels as had not been disabled, and any others which they had in their docks, together with the Athenian ships, put out to meet them, dreading a descent upon Corcyra. It was now late in the day and the Paean had been already sounded for the onset, when the Corinthians suddenly began to row astern. They had descried sailing towards them twenty vessels which the Athenians had sent to reinforce the former ten, fearing what had actually happened, that the Corcyraeans would he defeated, and that the original squadron would be insufficient to protect them.
The Corinthians, who had the first view of these vessels, suspecting that they were Athenian and that there were more of them than they saw, were beginning to retreat. The Corcyraeans, owing to their position, could not see them, and they wondered why the Corinthians rowed astern. At length some of them who spied the advancing fleet exclaimed, 'Yonder are ships coming up;' and then the Corcyraeans, as it was getting dark, likewise retired, and the Corinthians turned about and sailed away. Thus the two fleets separated after a battle which lasted until nightfall. The twenty ships which came from Athens under the command of Glaucon the son of Leagrus, and Andocides the son of Leogoras, made their way through the wrecks and corpses and sailed into the Corcyraean station at Leucimnè almost as soon as they were sighted. At first in the darkness the Corcyraeans feared that they were enemies, but they soon recognised them and the Athenian vessels came to anchor.
On the next day the thirty Athenian and all the Corcyraean ships which were fit for service, wanting to ascertain whether the Corinthians would fight, sailed to the harbour at Sybota where their fleet lay. The Corinthians, putting out into deep water, drew up their ships in line and so remained, but they did not intend to begin the battle. For they saw that fresh ships, which had received no damage in the action, had arrived from Athens, and their own position was one of great difficulty. They had to guard the prisoners in their vessels, and there were no means of refitting in such a desert place. They were more disposed to consider how they should get home than to fight. For they feared that the Athenians, deeming the peace, now that blows had been exchanged, to be already broken, would intercept their return.
They therefore determined to send a few men in a boat without a flag of truce to the Athenians, and so test their intentions. The men were to deliver the following message: 'You do wrong, Athenians, to begin war and violate the treaty. We were only chastising our enemies, and you come with a hostile force and place yourselves between us and them. If it is your intention to hinder us from sailing to Corcyra, or whithersoever we choose, and you are going to break the treaty, take us first and deal with us as enemies.' Whereupon all the Corcyraeans who were within hearing cried out 'Take and kill them.' But the Athenians replied 'Men of Peloponnesus, we are not beginning war, and we are not violating the treaty; we are only aiding the Corcyraeans here, who are our allies. If you mean to sail against Corcyra or any place belonging to the Corcyraeans, we will do our utmost to prevent you, but, if you want to go anywhere else, you may.'
Reassured by this reply, the Corinthians prepared to sail home, first setting up a trophy at the Sybota which is on the mainland. The Corcyraeans took up the wrecks and dead bodies which were carried towards them, the current and the wind which had risen during the night having scattered them in all directions. They then set up a rival trophy on the island of Sybota. Both parties claimed the victory, but on different grounds. The Corinthians had retained the advantage in the seafight until nightfall, and had thus secured a greater number of wrecks and dead bodies; they had taken not less than a thousand prisoners and had disabled about seventy ships. The Corcyraeans, on the other hand, had destroyed some thirty sail, and when reinforced by the Athenians had taken up the wrecks and dead bodies which had drifted in their direction; whereas the enemy on the evening of the battle had rowed astern at sight of the Athenian ships, and after their arrival had not come out against them from Sybota. Upon these grounds both sides raised trophies and claimed the victory. On their homeward voyage the Corinthians took by stratagem Anactorium, a town situated at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf, which they and the Corcyraeans held in common; there they settled colonists of their own, and returned to Corinth. Of their Corcyraean captives eight hundred who were slaves they sold, but two hundred and fifty they detained in prison, treating them with much consideration, in the hope that, when they returned, they would win over Corcyra to the Corinthian interest:40 it so happened that the majority of them were among the most influential men of the state. Thus the war ended to the advantage of Corcyra, and the Athenian fleet returned home. This was the first among the causes of the Peloponnesian War, the Corinthians alleging that the Athenian fleet had taken part with the Corcyraeans and had fought against them in a time of truce.
There soon arose another cause of quarrel between the Athenians and Peloponnesians. Potidaea, which is situated on the isthmus of Pallenè, was originally a Corinthian colony, although at this time the tributary and ally of Athens. Now the Corinthians were forming plans of vengeance, and the Athenians, who suspected their intentions, commanded the Potidaeans to raze their walls on the side of Pallenè and give hostages; also to send away and not to receive for the future the magistrates whom the Corinthians annually sent to them. For they were afraid lest the Potidaeans might be persuaded by the Corinthians and Perdiccas to revolt, and might induce the rest of Chalcidicè to follow their example.
These measures of precaution were taken by the Athenians immediately after the sea-fight off Corcyra. The hostility of the Corinthians was no longer doubtful, and Perdiccas, king of Macedon, the son of Alexander, hitherto the friend and ally of Athens, had now become an enemy. He had quarrelled with the Athenians because they had made an alliance with his brother Philip and with Derdas, who were leagued against him. Alarmed by their attitude, he sent envoys to Sparta and did all he could to stir up a war between Athens and the Peloponnese. He also sought the alliance of Corinth, for he had an eye to the revolt of Potidaea; and he proposed to the Chalcidians and to the Bottiaeans that they should join in the revolt, thinking, that if he had the assistance of the neighbouring peoples, the difficulties of the war would be diminished. The Athenians became aware of his designs and resolved to forestall the revolt of the cities. They were already intending to send against Perdiccas thirty ships and a thousand hoplites under the command of Archestratus the son of Lycomedes, and ten41 others, and they told their admirals to take hostages from the Potidaeans and to demolish their wall. They were also to keep a watch over the towns in the neighbourhood and prevent any attempt at rebellion.
Meanwhile the Potidaeans sent envoys to the Athenians in the hope of persuading them to take no strong measures; but at the same time other envoys of theirs accompanied a Corinthian embassy to Lacedaemon and exerted themselves to procure assistance in case of need. A long negotiation was carried on at Athens which came to no satisfactory result; the ships destined for Macedonia were also sent against Potidaea. But at Lacedaemon they were promised by the magistrates that if the Athenians attacked Potidaea they would invade Attica. So they seized the opportunity and revolted: the Chalcidians and Bottiaeans swore alliance with them and joined in the revolt. Perdiccas persuaded the Chalcidians to abandon and pull down their towns on the sea-coast, and settling at Olynthus inland, there to form one strong city. On their removal he gave them part of his own territory of Mygdonia about the lake Bolbè to cultivate while the contest lasted. So, dismantling their cities, they settled up the country and made preparation for war.
The Athenians, when the thirty ships arrived in Chalcidicè, found that Potidaea and the other cities had already revolted. Whereupon the generals, thinking that they were not able without a stronger force to act against all the rebels as well as against Perdiccas, directed their attention to Macedonia, which was their original destination, and there carried on a regular campaign in concert with Philip and the brothers of Derdas, who had invaded the country from the interior.
Now that Potidaea had revolted and the Athenian ships were on the coast of Macedonia, the Corinthians grew anxious about the town; they felt that the danger came home to them, and despatched thither volunteers of their own and other troops whom they attracted by pay from various parts of the Peloponnese, numbering in all sixteen hundred hoplites and four hundred light-armed. Their commander was Aristeus the son of Adeimantus, who had always been a great friend of the Potidaeans; it was mainly out of regard for him that most of the Corinthian soldiers volunteered on the expedition. They arrived in Chalcidicè forty days after the revolt of Potidaea.
The news of the revolt in Chalcidicè quickly reached Athens, and the Athenians, when they heard that Aristeus had come with reinforcements, sent against the revolted towns forty ships and two thousand of their own hoplites under the command of Callias the son of Calliades, and four others. The expedition, sailing first of all to Macedonia, found that the former thousand had just taken Thermè and were blockading Pydna; they joined in the siege themselves; but before long the Athenian army were constrained to come to an understanding and make an alliance with Perdiccas. For Potidaea, now that Aristeus had arrived, urgently demanded their presence; so they prepared to quit Macedonia. They first marched out of their way to Beroea, which they attempted to take without success. Returning to their route, they moved on by land towards Potidaea with three thousand hoplites of their own and a large force of allies; they had also six hundred Macedonian horse, who fought under Philip and Pausanias; meanwhile their ships, in number seventy, sailed along the coast. Proceeding by slow marches, they arrived on the third day at Gigonus and there encamped.
The Potidaeans and the Peloponnesian force under Aristeus had now taken up a position at the isthmus on the side towards Olynthus,42 where they awaited the coming of the Athenians; they held their market outside the walls of Potidaea. The allies had chosen Aristeus general of all the infantry, and of the cavalry Perdiccas, for he had no sooner joined than he again deserted the Athenians and was now fighting on the side of the Potidaeans, having appointed Iolaus to be his lieutenant at home.43 The plan of Aristeus was as follows:--His own army was to remain on the isthmus and watch for the approach of the Athenians, while the Chalcidians, their allies from beyond the isthmus, and the two hundred horse furnished by Perdiccas were stationed at Olynthus; and as soon as the Athenians attacked Aristeus himself and his army, they were to fall upon them in the rear; thus the enemy would be assailed on both sides. But Callias the Athenian general and his colleagues sent the Macedonian horse and a few of the allied troops towards Olynthus that they might check any movement in that quarter, while they themselves, quitting their position, marched against Potidaea. When they had reached the isthmus and saw the enemy preparing for battle, they did the same. The two armies soon closed. The wing led by Aristeus, which was composed of his Corinthian followers and other picked troops, routed their opponents and chased them far away; but the rest of the army, both Potidaeans and Peloponnesians, were defeated by the Athenians and fled into the city.
Aristeus, when he returned from the pursuit and perceived that the other wing of his army was defeated, hesitated whether he should make for Olynthus or return to Potidaea. Both courses were hazardous; but at last he determined to contract his troops into the smallest compass and force his way at full speed into Potidaea. Harassed by the missiles of the enemy he pushed forward through the water44 along the bank in front of the sea-wall, not without loss; but he contrived to save the greater part of his men. When the battle began, the allies of the Potidaeans in Olynthus, which is only about seven miles45 distant, and is visible from Potidaea, seeing the signals raised, came out a little way to support their friends; and the Macedonian horse drew up in order of battle to oppose them. But victory quickly declared for the Athenians; and when the signals were torn down the Olynthian auxiliaries retired within the walls, and the Macedonians rejoined the Athenians: thus on neither side did the cavalry take any part in the action. The Athenians raised a trophy and granted the Potidaeans a truce for the burial of their dead. Of the Potidaeans and their allies, there fell somewhat less than three hundred; of the Athenians, a hundred and fifty, and their general Callias.
The Athenians instantly blockaded the town on the side towards the isthmus, raising a wall, which they guarded; but the side towards Pallenè was left open. They were conscious that they were too weak both to guard the isthmus and, crossing over to Pallenè, there to build another wall; they feared that their forces if divided would be attacked by the Potidaeans and their allies. Afterwards, when the Athenians at home heard that on the side towards Pallenè Potidaea was not invested, they sent out sixteen hundred hoplites of their own under the command of Phormio the son of Asopius. On his arrival in Pallenè he made Aphytis his head-quarters, and brought his army by slow marches up to Potidaea, wasting the country as he went along. No one came out to meet him, and so he built a wall towards Pallenè. Potidaea was now closely invested on both sides, while the Athenian ships, lying off the city, cut off all communication from the sea.
Aristeus despaired of saving the place unless aid came from Peloponnesus or he was relieved in some unforeseen manner. Being anxious to husband provisions, he proposed to the garrison that they should avail themselves of the first favourable wind and sail away, leaving behind five hundred men, of whom he offered to be one. But they would not listen to him; so, wanting to do the best he could, and to further the Peloponnesian interests beyond the walls, he sailed out undiscovered by the Athenian guard-ships. He did not leave the country, but assisted the Chalcidians in carrying on the war. He succeeded in cutting off a large force of Sermylians by an ambuscade which he laid near their city; he also exerted himself to obtain aid from Peloponnesus. Phormio with his sixteen hundred hoplites, now that Potidaea was invested, ravaged Chalcidicè and Botticè, and captured several places.
Such were the causes of ill-feeling which at this time existed between the Athenians and Peloponnesians: the Corinthians complaining that the Athenians were blockading their colony of Potidaea, and a Corinthian and Peloponnesian garrison in it; the Athenians rejoining that a member of the Peloponnesian confederacy had excited to revolt a state which was an ally and tributary of theirs, and that they had now openly joined the Potidaeans, and were fighting on their side. The Peloponnesian war, however, had not yet broken out; the peace still continued; for thus far the Corinthians had acted alone.
But now, seeing Potidaea besieged, they bestirred themselves in earnest. Corinthian troops were shut up within the walls, and they were afraid of losing the town; so without delay they invited the allies to meet at Sparta. There they inveighed against the Athenians, whom they affirmed to have broken the treaty and to be wronging the Peloponnese. The Aeginetans did not venture to send envoys openly, but secretly they acted with the Corinthians, and were among the chief instigators of the war, declaring that they had been robbed of the independence which the treaty guaranteed them. The Lacedaemonians themselves then proceeded to summon any of the allies who had similar charges46 to bring against the Athenians, and calling their own ordinary assembly told them to speak. Several of them came forward and stated their wrongs: The Megarians alleged, among other grounds of complaint, that they were excluded from all harbours within the Athenian dominion and from the Athenian market, contrary to the treaty. The Corinthians waited until the other allies had stirred up the Lacedaemonians; at length they came forward, and, last of all, spoke as follows:
'The spirit of trust, Lacedaemonians, which animates your own political and social life, makes you distrust others who, like ourselves, have something unpleasant to say,47 and this temper of mind, though favourable to moderation, too often leaves you in ignorance of what is going on outside your own country. Time after time we have warned you of the mischief which the Athenians would do to us, but instead of taking our words to heart, you chose to suspect that we only spoke from interested motives. And this is the reason why you have brought the allies to Sparta too late, not before but after the injury has been inflicted, and when they are smarting under the sense of it. Which of them all has a better right to speak than ourselves, who have the heaviest accusations to make, outraged as we are by the Athenians, and neglected by you? If the crimes which they are committing against Hellas were being done in a corner, then you might be ignorant, and we should have to inform you of them: but now, what need of many words? Some of us, as you see, have been already enslaved; they are at this moment intriguing against others, notably against allies of ours; and long ago they had made all their preparations in the prospect of war. Else why did they seduce from her allegiance Corcyra, which they still hold in defiance of us, and why are they blockading Potidaea, the latter a most advantageous post for the command of the Thracian peninsula, the former a great naval power which might have assisted the Peloponnesians?
'And the blame of all this rests on you; for you who originally allowed them to fortify their city after the Persian War,48 and afterwards to build their Long Walls;49 and to this hour you have gone on defrauding of liberty their unfortunate subjects, and are now beginning to take it away from your own allies. For the true enslaver of a people is he who can put an end to their slavery but has no care about it; and all the more, if he be reputed the champion of liberty in Hellas.--And so we have met at last, but with what difficulty! and even now we have no definite object. By this time we ought to have been considering, not whether we are wronged, but how we are to be revenged. The aggressor is not now threatening, but advancing; he has made up his mind, while we are resolved about nothing. And we know too well how by slow degrees and with stealthy steps the Athenians encroach upon their neighbours. While they think that you are too dull to observe them, they are more careful, but, when they know that you wilfully overlook their aggressions, they will strike and not spare. Of all Hellenes, Lacedaemonians, you are the only people who never do anything: on the approach of an enemy you are content to defend yourselves against him, not by acts, but by intentions, and seek to overthrow him, not in the infancy but in the fulness of his strength. How came you to be considered safe? That reputation of yours was never justified by facts. We all know that the Persian made his way from the ends of the earth against Peloponnesus before you encountered him in a worthy manner; and now you are blind to the doings of the Athenians, who are not at a distance as he was, but close at hand. Instead of attacking your enemy, you wait to be attacked, and take the chances of a struggle which has been deferred until his power is doubled. And you know that the Barbarian miscarried chiefly through his own errors; and that we have oftener been delivered from these very Athenians by blunders of their own, than by any aid from you. Some have already been ruined by the hopes which you inspired in them; for so entirely did they trust you that they took no precautions themselves. These things we say in no accusing or hostile spirit--let that be understood--but by way of expostulation. For men expostulate with erring friends, they bring accusation against enemies who have done them a wrong.
'And surely we have a right to find fault with our neighbours, if any one ever had. There are important interests at stake to which, as far as we can see, you are insensible. And you have never considered what manner of men are these Athenians50 with whom you will have to fight, and how utterly unlike yourselves. They are revolutionary, equally quick in the conception and in the execution of every new plan; while you are conservative--careful only to keep what you have, originating nothing, and not acting even when action is most urgent. They are bold beyond their strength; they run risks which prudence would condemn; and in the midst of misfortune they are full of hope. Whereas it is your nature, though strong, to act feebly; when your plans are most prudent, to distrust them; and when calamities come upon you, to think that you will never be delivered from them. They are impetuous, and you are dilatory; they are always abroad, and you are always at home. For they hope to gain something by leaving their homes; but you are afraid that any new enterprise may imperil what you have already. When conquerors, they pursue their victory to the utmost; when defeated, they fall back the least. Their bodies they devote to their country as though they belonged to other men; their true self is their mind, which is most truly their own when employed in her service. When they do not carry out an intention which they have formed, they seem to themselves to have sustained a personal bereavement; when an enterprise succeeds, they have gained a mere instalment of what is to come; but if they fail, they at once conceive new hopes and so fill up the void. With them alone to hope is to have, for they lose not a moment in the execution of an idea. This is the lifelong task, full of danger and toil, which they are always imposing upon themselves. None enjoy their good things less, because they are always seeking for more. To do their duty is their only holiday, and they deem the quiet of inaction to be as disagreeable as the most tiresome business. If a man should say of them, in a word, that they were born neither to have peace themselves nor to allow peace to other men, he would simply speak the truth.
'In the face of such an enemy, Lacedaemonians, you persist in doing nothing. You do not see that peace is best secured by those who use their strength justly, but whose attitude shows that they have no intention of submitting to wrong. Justice with you seems to consist in giving no annoyance to others and in defending yourselves only against positive injury.51 But this policy would hardly be successful, even if your neighbours were like yourselves; and in the present case, as we pointed out just now, your ways compared with theirs are old-fashioned. And, as in the arts, so also in politics, the new must always prevail over the old. In settled times the traditions of government should be observed: but when circumstances are changing and men are compelled to meet them, much originality is required. The Athenians have had a wider experience, and therefore the administration of their state unlike yours has been greatly reformed. But here let your procrastination end; send an army at once into Attica and assist your allies, especially the Potidaeans, to whom your word is pledged.52 Do not betray friends and kindred into the hands of their worst enemies; or drive us in despair to seek the alliance of others; in taking such a course we should be doing nothing wrong either before the Gods who are the witnesses of our oaths, or before men whose eyes are upon us. For the true breakers of treaties53 are not those who, when forsaken, turn to others, but those who forsake allies whom they have sworn to defend. We will remain your friends if you choose to bestir yourselves; for we should be guilty of an impiety if we deserted you without cause; and we shall not easily find allies equally congenial to us. Take heed then: you have inherited from your fathers the leadership of Peloponnesus; see that her greatness suffers no diminution at your hands.'
Thus spoke the Corinthians. Now there happened to be staying at Lacedaemon an Athenian embassy which had come on other business, and when the envoys heard what the Corinthians had said, they felt bound to go before the Lacedaemonian assembly, not with the view of answering the accusations brought against them by the cities, but they wanted to put the whole question before the Lacedaemonians, and make them understand that they should take time to deliberate and not be rash. They also desired to set forth the greatness of their city, reminding the elder men of what they knew, and informing the younger of what lay beyond their experience. They thought that their words would sway the Lacedaemonians in the direction of peace. So they came and said that, if they might be allowed, they too would like to address the people. The Lacedaemonians invited them to come forward, and they spoke as follows:
'We were not sent here to argue with your allies, but on a special mission; observing, however, that no small outcry has arisen against us, we have come forward, not to answer the accusations which they bring (for you are not judges before whom either we or they have to plead), but to prevent you from lending too ready an ear to their bad advice and so deciding wrongly about a very serious question. We propose also, in reply to the wider charges which are raised against us, to show that what we have acquired we hold rightfully and that our city is not to be despised.
'Of the ancient deeds handed down by tradition and which no eye of any one who hears us ever saw, why should we speak? But of the Persian War, and other events which you yourselves remember, speak we must, although we have brought them forward so often that the repetition of them is disagreeable to us.54 When we faced those perils we did so for the common benefit: in the solid good you shared, and of the glory, whatever good there may be in that, we would not be wholly deprived. Our words are not designed to deprecate hostility, but to set forth in evidence the character of the city with which, unless you are very careful, you will soon be involved in war. We tell you that we, first and alone, dared to engage with the Barbarian at Marathon, and that when he came again, being too weak to defend ourselves by land, we and our whole people embarked on shipboard and shared with the other Hellenes in the victory of Salamis. Thereby he was prevented from sailing to the Peloponnesus and ravaging city after city; for against so mighty a fleet how could you have helped one another? He himself is the best witness of our words; for when he was once defeated at sea, he felt that his power was gone and quickly retreated with the greater part of his army.
'The event proved undeniably that the fate of Hellas depended on her navy. And the three chief elements of success were contributed by us; namely, the greatest number of ships, the ablest general, the most devoted patriotism. The ships in all numbered four hundred,55 and of these, our own contingent amounted to nearly two-thirds. To the influence of Themistocles our general it was chiefly due that we fought in the strait, which was confessedly our salvation; and for this service you yourselves honoured him above any stranger who ever visited you. Thirdly, we displayed the most extraordinary courage and devotion; there was no one to help us by land; for up to our frontier those who lay in the enemy's path were already slaves; so we determined to leave our city and sacrifice our homes. Even in that extremity we did not choose to desert the cause of the allies who still resisted, or by dispersing ourselves to become useless to them; but we embarked and fought, taking no offence at your failure to assist us sooner. We maintain then that we rendered you a service at least as great as you rendered us. The cities from which you came to help us were still inhabited and you might hope to return to them; your concern was for yourselves and not for us; at any rate you remained at a distance while we had anything to lose. But we went forth from a city which was no more, and fought for one of which there was small hope; and yet we saved ourselves, and bore our part in saving you. If, in order to preserve our land, like other states, we had gone over to the Persians at first, or afterwards had not ventured to embark because our ruin was already complete, it would have been useless for you with your weak navy to fight at sea, but everything would have gone quietly just as the Persian desired.
'Considering, Lacedaemonians, the energy and sagacity which we then displayed, do we deserve to be so bitterly hated by the other Hellenes merely because we have an empire? That empire was not acquired by force; but you would not stay and make an end of the Barbarian, and the allies came of their own accord and asked us to be their leaders. The subsequent development of our power was originally forced upon us by circumstances; fear was our first motive; afterwards honour, and then interest stepped in. And when we had incurred the hatred of most of our allies; when some of them had already revolted and been subjugated, and you were no longer the friends to us which you once had been, but suspicious and ill-disposed, how could we without great risk relax our hold? For the cities as fast as they fell away from us would have gone over to you. And no man is to be reproached who seizes every possible advantage when the danger is so great.
'At all events, Lacedaemonians, we may retort that you, in the exercise of your supremacy, manage the cities of Peloponnesus to suit your own views; and that if you, and not we, had persevered in the command of the allies long enough to be hated, you would have been quite as intolerable to them as we are, and would have been compelled, for the sake of your own safety, to rule with a strong hand. An empire was offered to us: can you wonder that, acting as human nature always will, we accepted it and refused to give it up again, constrained by three all-powerful motives, honour, fear, interest? We are not the first who have aspired to rule; the world has ever held that the weaker must be kept down by the stronger. And we think that we are worthy of power; and there was a time when you thought so too; but now, when you mean expediency you talk about justice. Did justice ever deter any one from taking by force whatever he could? Men who indulge the natural ambition of empire deserve credit if they are in any degree more careful of justice than they need be. How moderate we are would speedily appear if others took our place; indeed our very moderation, which should be our glory, has been unjustly converted into a reproach.
'For because in our suits with our allies, regulated by treaty, we do not even stand upon our rights, but have instituted the practice of deciding them at Athens and by Athenian56 law, we are supposed to be litigious. None of our opponents observe why others, who exercise dominion elsewhere and are less moderate than we are in their dealings with their subjects, escape this reproach. Why is it? Because men who practise violence have no longer any need of law. But we are in the habit of meeting our allies on terms of equality, and, therefore, if through some legal decision of ours, or exercise of our imperial power, contrary to their own ideas of right, they suffer ever so little, they are not grateful for our moderation in leaving them so much, but are far more offended at their trifling loss than if we had from the first plundered them in the face of day, laying aside all thought of law. For then they would themselves have admitted that the weaker must give way to the stronger. Mankind resent injustice more than violence, because the one seems to be an unfair advantage taken by an equal, the other is the irresistible force of a superior. They were patient under the yoke of the Persian, who inflicted on them far more grievous wrongs; but now our dominion is odious in their eyes. And no wonder: the ruler of the day is always detested by his subjects. And should your empire supplant ours, may not you lose the good-will which you owe to the fear of us? Lose it you certainly will, if you mean again to exhibit the temper of which you gave a specimen when, for a short time, you led the confederacy against the Persian. For the institutions under which you live are incompatible with those of foreign states; and further, when any of you goes abroad, he respects neither these nor any other Hellenic customs.57
'Do not then be hasty in deciding a question which is serious; and do not, by listening to representations and complaints which concern others, bring trouble upon yourselves. Realise, while there is time, the inscrutable nature of war; and how when protracted it generally ends in becoming a mere matter of chance, over which neither of us can have any control, the event being equally unknown and equally hazardous to both. The misfortune is that in their hurry to go to war, men begin with blows, and when a reverse comes upon them, then have recourse to words. But neither you, nor we, have as yet committed this mistake; and therefore while both of us can still choose the prudent part, we tell you not to break the peace or violate your oaths. Let our differences be determined by arbitration, according to the treaty. If you refuse we call to witness the Gods, by whom your oaths were sworn, that you are the authors of the war; and we will do our best to strike in return.'
When the Lacedaemonians had heard the charges brought by the allies against the Athenians, and their rejoinder, they ordered everybody but themselves to withdraw, and deliberated alone. The majority were agreed that there was now a clear case against the Athenians, and that they must fight at once. But Archidamus their king, who was held to be both an able and a prudent man, came forward and spoke as follows:
'At my age, Lacedaemonians, I have had experience of many wars, and I see several of you who are as old as I am, and who will not, as men too often do, desire war because they have never known it, or in the belief that it is either a good or a safe thing. Any one who calmly reflects will find that the war about which you are now deliberating is likely to be a very great one. When we encounter our neighbours in the Peloponnese, their mode of fighting is like ours, and they are all within a short march. But when we have to do with men whose country is a long way off, and who are most skilful seamen and thoroughly provided with the means of war,--having wealth, private and public, ships, horses, infantry, and a population larger than is to be found in any single Hellenic territory, not to speak of the numerous allies who pay them tribute,--is this a people against whom we can lightly take up arms or plunge into a contest unprepared? To what do we trust? To our navy? There we are inferior; and to exercise and train ourselves until we are a match for them, will take time. To our money? Nay, but in that we are weaker still; we have none in a common treasury, and we are never willing to contribute out of our private means.
'Perhaps some one may be encouraged by the superior equipment and numbers of our infantry, which will enable us regularly to invade and ravage their lands. But their empire extends to distant countries, and they will be able to introduce supplies by sea. Or, again, we may try to stir up revolts among their allies. But these are mostly islanders, and we shall have to employ a fleet in their defence, as well as in our own. How then shall we carry on the war? For if we can neither defeat them at sea, nor deprive them of the revenues by which their navy is maintained, we shall get the worst of it. And having gone so far, we shall no longer be able even to make peace with honour, especially if we are believed to have begun the quarrel. We must not for one moment flatter ourselves that if we do but ravage their country the war will be at an end. Nay, I fear that we shall bequeath it to our children; for the Athenians with their high spirit will never barter their liberty to save their land, or be terrified like novices at the sight of war.
'Not that I would have you shut your eyes to their designs and abstain from unmasking them, or tamely suffer them to injure our allies. But do not take up arms yet. Let us first send and remonstrate with them: we need not let them know positively whether we intend to go to war or not. In the meantime our own preparations may be going forward; we may seek for allies wherever we can find them, whether in Hellas or among the Barbarians, who will supply our deficiencies in ships and money. Those who, like ourselves, are exposed to Athenian intrigue cannot be blamed if in self-defence they seek the aid not of Hellenes only, but of Barbarians. And we must develop our own resources to the utmost. If they listen to our ambassadors, well and good; but, if not, in two or three years' time we shall be in a stronger position, should we then determine to attack them. Perhaps too when they begin to see that we are getting ready, and that our words are to be interpreted by our actions,58 they may be more likely to yield; for their fields will be still untouched and their goods undespoiled, and it will be in their power to save them by their decision. Think of their land simply in the light of a hostage, all the more valuable in proportion as it is better cultivated; you should spare it as long as you can, and not by reducing them to despair make their resistance more obstinate. For if we allow ourselves to be stung into premature action by the reproaches of our allies, and waste their country before we are ready, we shall only involve Peloponnesus in more and more difficulty and disgrace. Charges brought by cities or persons against one another can be satisfactorily arranged; but when a great confederacy, in order to satisfy private grudges, undertakes a war of which no man can foresee the issue, it is not easy to terminate it with honour.
'And let no one think that there is any want of courage in cities so numerous hesitating to attack a single one. The allies of the Athenians are not less numerous; they pay them tribute too; and war is not an affair of arms, but of money which gives to arms their use, and which is needed above all things when a continental is fighting against a maritime power: let us find money first, and then we may safely allow our minds to be excited by the speeches of our allies. We, on whom the future responsibility, whether for good or evil, will chiefly fall, should calmly reflect on the consequences which may follow.
'Do not be ashamed of the slowness and procrastination with which they are so fond of charging you; if you begin the war in haste, you will end it at your leisure, because you took up arms without sufficient preparation. Remember that we have always been citizens of a free and most illustrious state, and that for us the policy which they condemn may well be the truest good sense and discretion. It is a policy which has saved us from growing insolent in prosperity or giving way under adversity, like other men. We are not stimulated by the allurements of flattery into dangerous courses of which we disapprove; nor are we goaded by offensive charges into compliance with any man's wishes. Our habits of discipline make us both brave and wise; brave, because the spirit of loyalty quickens the sense of honour, and the sense of honour inspires courage; wise, because we are not so highly educated that we have learned to despise the laws, and are too severely trained and of too loyal a spirit to disobey them. We have not acquired that useless over-intelligence which makes a man an excellent critic of an enemy's plans, but paralyses him in the moment of action. We think that the wits of our enemies are as good as our own, and that the element of fortune cannot be forecast in words. Let us assume that they have common prudence, and let our preparations be, not words, but deeds.59 Our hopes ought not to rest on the probability of their making mistakes, but on our own caution and foresight. We should remember that one man is much the same as another, and that he is best who is trained in the severest school.
'These are principles which our fathers have handed down to us, and we maintain to our lasting benefit; we must not lose sight of them, and when many lives and much wealth, many cities and a great name are at stake, we must not be hasty, or make up our minds in a few short hours; we must take time. We can afford to wait, when others cannot, because we are strong. And now, send to the Athenians and remonstrate with them about Potidaea first, and also about the other wrongs of which your allies complain. They say that they are willing to have the matter tried; and against one who offers to submit to justice you must not proceed as against a criminal until his cause has been heard. In the meantime prepare for war. This decision will be the best for yourselves and the most formidable to your enemies.'
Thus spoke Archidamus. Last of all, Sthenelaidas, at that time one of the Ephors, came forward and addressed the Lacedaemonians as follows:
'I do not know what the long speeches of the Athenians mean. They have been loud in their own praise, but they do not pretend to say that they are dealing honestly with our allies and with the Peloponnesus. If they behaved well in the Persian War and are now behaving badly to us they ought to be punished twice over, because they were once good men and have become bad. But we are the same now as we were then, and we shall not do our duty if we allow our allies to be ill-used, and put off helping them, for they cannot put off their troubles. Others may have money and ships and horses, but we have brave allies and we must not betray them to the Athenians. If they were suffering in word only, by words and legal processes their wrongs might be redressed; but now there is not a moment to be lost, and we must help them with all our might. Let no one tell us that we should take time to think when we are suffering injustice. Nay, we reply, those who mean to do injustice should take a long time to think. Wherefore, Lacedaemonians, prepare for war as the honour of Sparta demands. Withstand the advancing power of Athens. Do not let us betray our allies, but, with the Gods on our side, let us attack the evil-doer.'
When Sthenelaidas had thus spoken he, being Ephor, himself put the question to the Lacedaemonian assembly. Their custom is to signify their decision by cries and not by voting. But he professed himself unable to tell on which side was the louder cry, and wishing to call forth a demonstration which might encourage the warlike spirit, he said, 'Whoever of you, Lacedaemonians, thinks that the treaty has been broken and that the Athenians are in the wrong, let him rise and go yonder' (pointing to a particular spot), 'and those who think otherwise to the other side.' So the assembly rose and divided, and it was determined by a large majority that the treaty had been broken. The Lacedaemonians then recalled the allies and told them that in their judgment the Athenians were guilty, but that they wished to hold a general assembly of the allies and take a vote from them all; then the war, if they approved of it, might be undertaken by common consent. Having accomplished their purpose, the allies returned home; and the Athenian envoys, when their errand was done, returned likewise. Thirteen years of the thirty years' peace which was concluded after the recovery of Euboea had elapsed and the fourteenth year had begun when the Lacedaemonian assembly decided that the treaty had been broken.
In arriving at this decision and resolving to go to war, the Lacedaemonians were influenced, not so much by the speeches of their allies, as by the fear of the Athenians and of their increasing power.60 For they saw the greater part of Hellas already subject to them.
How the Athenians attained the position in which they rose to greatness I will now proceed to describe. When the Persians, defeated by the Hellenes on sea and land, had retreated from Europe, and the remnant of the fleet, which had taken refuge at Mycalè, had there perished, Leotychides, the Lacedaemonian king, who had commanded the Hellenes in the battle, returned home with the allies from Peloponnesus. But the Athenians and their allies from Ionia and the Hellespont, who had now revolted from the king, persevered and besieged Sestos, at that time still in the hands of the Persians. Remaining there through the winter they took the place, which the Barbarians deserted. The allies then sailed back from the Hellespont to their respective homes. Meanwhile the Athenian people, now quit of the Barbarians, fetched their wives, their children, and the remains of their property from the places in which they had been deposited, and set to work, rebuilding the city and the walls. Of the old line of wall but a small part was left standing. Most of the houses were in ruins, a few only remaining in which the chief men of the Persians had lodged.
The Lacedaemonians knew what would happen and sent an embassy to Athens. They would rather themselves have seen neither the Athenians nor any one else protected by a wall; but their main motive was the importunity of their allies, who dreaded not only the Athenian navy, which had until lately been quite small, but also the spirit which had animated them in the Persian War. So the Lacedaemonians requested them not to restore their walls,61 but on the contrary to join with them in razing the fortifications of other towns outside the Peloponnesus which had them standing. They did not reveal their real wishes or the suspicion which they entertained of the Athenians, but argued that the Barbarian, if he again attacked them, would then have no strong place which he could make his head-quarters as he had lately made Thebes. Peloponnesus would be a sufficient retreat for all Hellas and a good base of operations. To this the Athenians, by the advice of Themistocles, replied, that they would send an embassy of their own to discuss the matter, and so got rid of the Spartan envoys. He then proposed that he should himself start at once for Sparta, and that they should give him colleagues who were not to go immediately, but were to wait until the wall reached the lowest height which could possibly be defended. The whole people, who were in the city, men, women, and children, should join in the work, and they must spare no building, private or public, which could be of use, but demolish them all. Having given these instructions and intimated that he would manage affairs at Sparta, he departed. On his arrival he did not at once present himself officially to the magistrates, but delayed and made excuses; and when any of them asked him 'why he did not appear before the assembly,' he said 'that he was waiting for his colleagues, who had been detained by some engagement; he was daily expecting them, and wondered that they had not appeared.'
The friendship of the Lacedaemonian magistrates for Themistocles induced them to believe him; but when everybody who came from Athens declared positively that the wall was building and had already reached a considerable height, they knew not what to think. He, aware of their suspicions, desired them not to be misled by reports, but to send to Athens men whom they could trust out of their own number who would see for themselves and bring back word. They agreed; and he at the same time privately instructed the Athenians to detain the envoys as quietly as they could, and not let them go until he and his colleagues had got safely home. For by this time Habronichus the son of Lysicles, and Aristides the son of Lysimachus, who were joined with him in the embassy, had arrived, bringing the news that the wall was of sufficient height; and he was afraid that the Lacedaemonians, when they heard the truth, might not allow them to return. So the Athenians detained the envoys, and Themistocles, coming before the Lacedaemonians, at length declared in so many words that Athens was now provided with walls and could protect her citizens; henceforward, if the Lacedaemonians or their allies wished at any time to negotiate, they must deal with the Athenians as with men who knew quite well what was for their own and the common good. When they boldly resolved to leave their city and go on board ship, they did not first ask the advice of the Lacedaemonians, and, when the two states met in council, their own judgment had been as good as that of any one. And now they had arrived at an independent opinion that it was better far, and would be more advantageous both for themselves and for the whole body of the allies, that their city should have a wall; when any member of a confederacy had not equal military advantages, his counsel could not be of equal weight or worth. Either all the allies should pull down their walls, or they should acknowledge that the Athenians were in the right.
On hearing these words the Lacedaemonians did not openly quarrel with the Athenians; for they professed that the embassy had been designed, not to interfere with them, but to offer a suggestion for the public good; besides at that time the patriotism which the Athenians had displayed in the Persian War had created a warm feeling of friendliness between the two cities. They were annoyed at the failure of their purpose, but they did not show it. And the envoys on either side returned home without any formal complaint.
In such hurried fashion did the Athenians build the walls of their city. To this day the structure shows evidence of haste. The foundations are made up of all sorts of stones, in some places unwrought, and laid just as each worker brought them; there were many columns too, taken from sepulchres, and many old stones already cut, inserted in the work. The circuit of the city was extended in every direction, and the citizens, in their ardour to complete the design, spared nothing.
Themistocles also persuaded the Athenians to finish the Piraeus, of which he had made a beginning in his year of office as Archon. The situation of the place, which had three natural havens, was excellent; and now that the Athenians had become seamen, he thought that they had great advantage for the attainment of empire. For he first dared to say that 'they must make the sea their domain,' and he lost no time in laying the foundations of their empire. By his advice, they built the wall of such a width that two waggons carrying the stones could meet and pass on the top; this width may still be traced at the Piraeus; inside there was no rubble or mortar, but the whole wall was made up of large stones hewn square, which were clamped on the outer face with iron and lead. The height was not more than half what he had originally intended; he had hoped by the very dimensions of the wall to paralyse the designs of an enemy, and he thought that a handful of the least efficient citizens would suffice for its defence, while the rest might man the fleet. His mind was turned in this direction, as I conceive, from observing that the King's armament had met with fewer obstacles by sea than by land. The Piraeus appeared to him to be of more real consequence than the upper city. He was fond of telling the Athenians that if ever they were hard pressed on land they should go down to the Piraeus and fight the world at sea.
Thus the Athenians built their walls and restored their city immediately after the retreat of the Persians.
Pausanias the son of Cleombrotus was now sent from Peloponnesus with twenty ships in command of the Hellenic forces; thirty Athenian ships and a number of the allies sailed with him. They first made an expedition against Cyprus, of which they subdued the greater part; and afterwards against Byzantium, which was in the hands of the Persians, and was taken while he was still in command.
He had already begun to be oppressive,62 and the allies were offended with him, especially the Ionians and others who had been recently emancipated from the King. So they had recourse to their kinsmen the Athenians and begged them to be their leaders, and to protect them against Pausanias, if he attempted to oppress them. The Athenians took the matter up and prepared to interfere, being fully resolved to manage the confederacy in their own way. In the meantime the Lacedaemonians summoned Pausanias to Sparta, intending to investigate certain reports which had reached them; for he was accused of numerous crimes by Hellenes returning from the Hellespont, and appeared to exercise his command more after the fashion of a tyrant than of a general. His recall occurred at the very time when the hatred which he inspired had induced the allies, with the exception of the Peloponnesians, to transfer themselves to the Athenians. On arriving at Lacedaemon he was punished for the wrongs which he had done to particular persons, but he had been also accused of conspiring with the Persians, and of this, which was the principal charge and was generally believed to be proven, he was acquitted. The government however did not continue him in his command, but sent in his place Dorcis and certain others with a small force. To these the allies refused allegiance, and Dorcis, seeing the state of affairs, returned home. Henceforth the Lacedaemonians sent out no more commanders, for they were afraid that those whom they appointed would be corrupted, as they had found to be the case with Pausanias; they had had enough of the Persian War; and they thought that the Athenians were fully able to lead, and at that time believed them to be their friends.
Thus the Athenians by the good-will of the allies, who detested Pausanias, obtained the leadership. They immediately fixed which of the cities should supply money and which of them ships for the war against the Barbarians, the avowed object being to compensate themselves and the allies for their losses by devastating the King's country. Then was first instituted at Athens the office of Hellenic treasurers (Hellenotamiae), who received the tribute, for so the contributions were termed. The amount was originally fixed at 460 talents.63 The island of Delos was the treasury, and the meetings of the allies were held in the temple.
At first the allies were independent and deliberated in a common assembly under the leadership of Athens. But in the interval between the Persian and the Peloponnesian Wars, by their military success and by policy in dealing with the Barbarian, with their own rebellious allies and with the Peloponnesians who came across their path from time to time, the Athenians made immense strides in power. I have gone out of my way to speak of this period because the writers who have preceded me treat either of Hellenic affairs previous to the Persian invasion or of that invasion itself; the intervening portion of history has been omitted by all of them, with the exception of Hellanicus; and he, where he has touched upon it in his Attic history, is very brief, and inaccurate in his chronology. The narrative will also serve to explain how the Athenian empire grew up.
First of all under the leadership of Cimon, the son of Miltiades, the Athenians besieged and took Eion upon the Strymon, then in the hands of the Persians, and sold the inhabitants into slavery. The same fate befell Scyros, an island in the Aegean inhabited by Dolopes; this they colonised themselves. They also made war on the Carystians of Euboea, who, after a time, capitulated; the other Euboeans took no part in the war. Then the Naxians revolted, and the Athenians made war against them and reduced them by blockade. This was the first of the allied cities which was enslaved contrary to Hellenic right; the turn of the others came later.
The causes which led to the defections of the allies were of different kinds, the principal being their neglect to pay the tribute or to furnish ships, and, in some cases, failure of military service. For the Athenians were exacting and oppressive, using coercive measures towards men who were neither willing nor accustomed to work hard. And for various reasons they soon began to prove less agreeable leaders than at first. They no longer fought upon an equality with the rest of the confederates, and they had no difficulty in reducing them when they revolted. Now the allies brought all this upon themselves; for the majority of them disliked military service and absence from home, and so they agreed to contribute their share of the expense instead of ships. Whereby the Athenian navy was proportionally increased, while they themselves were always untrained and unprepared for war when they revolted.
A little later the Athenians and their allies fought two battles, one by land and the other by sea, against the Persians, at the river Eurymedon in Pamphylia. The Athenians, under the command of Cimon the son of Miltiades, on the same day conquered in both, and took and destroyed all the Phoenician triremes numbering two hundred. After a while the Thasians revolted; a quarrel had arisen between them and the Athenians about the Thracian markets and the mine on the Thracian coast opposite, of which the Thasians received the profits. The Athenians sailed to Thasos and, gaining a victory at sea, landed upon the island. About the same time they sent ten thousand of their own people and of their allies to the Strymon, intending to colonise the place then called the Nine Ways and now Amphipolis. They gained possession of the Nine Ways, which were inhabited by the Edoni, but, advancing into the interior of Thrace, they were destroyed at Drabescus in Edonia by the united Thracians,64 whose country was threatened by the new settlement.
The Thasians, now blockaded after several defeats, had recourse to the Lacedaemonians and entreated them to invade Attica. Unknown to the Athenians they agreed, and were on the point of setting out when the great earthquake occurred and was immediately followed by the revolt of the Helots and with them the Perioeci of Thuria and Aethaea, who seized Ithomè. These Helots were mostly the descendants of the Messenians who had been enslaved in ancient times, and hence all the insurgents were called Messenians.
While the Lacedaemonians were thus engaged, the Thasians, who had now been blockaded for more than two years, came to terms with the Athenians; they pulled down their walls and surrendered their ships; they also agreed to pay what was required of them whether in the shape of immediate indemnity or of tribute for the future; and they gave up their claim to the mainland and to the mine.
The siege of Ithomè proved tedious, and the Lacedaemonians called in, among other allies, the Athenians, who sent to their aid a considerable force under Cimon. The Athenians were specially invited because they were reputed to be skilful in siege operations, and the length of the blockade proved to the Lacedaemonians their own deficiency in that sort of warfare; else why had they not taken the place by assault? This expedition of the Athenians led to the first open quarrel between them and the Lacedaemonians. For the Lacedaemonians, not succeeding in storming the place, took alarm at the bold and original spirit of the Athenians. They reflected that they were aliens in race, and fearing that, if they were allowed to remain, they might be tempted by the Helots in Ithomè to change sides, they dismissed them, while they retained the other allies. But they concealed their mistrust, and merely said that they no longer needed their services. Now the Athenians saw that their dismissal was due to some suspicion which had arisen and not to the less offensive reason which was openly avowed; they felt keenly that such a slight ought not to have been offered them by the Lacedaemonians; and so, on their return home, they forthwith abandoned the alliance which they had made with them against the Persians and went over to their Argive enemies. At the same time both Argos and Athens bound themselves to Thessaly by a common oath of alliance.
In the tenth65 year of the siege the defenders of Ithomè were unable to hold out any longer, and capitulated to the Lacedaemonians. The terms were as follows: They were to leave Peloponnesus under a safe-conduct, and were never again to return; if any of them were taken on Peloponnesian soil, he was to be the slave of his captor. Now an ancient oracle of Delphi was current among the Lacedaemonians, bidding them let the suppliant of Ithomaean Zeus go free. So the Messenians left Ithomè with their wives and children; and the Athenians, who were now the avowed enemies of Sparta, gave them a home at Naupactus, a place which they had lately taken from the Ozolian Locrians.
The Athenians obtained the alliance of the Megarians, who revolted from the Lacedaemonians because the Corinthians were pressing them hard in a war arising out of a question of frontiers. Thus they gained both Megara and Pegae; and they built for the Megarians the long walls, extending from the city to the port of Nisaea, which they garrisoned themselves. This was the original and the main cause of the intense hatred which the Corinthians entertained towards the Athenians.
Meanwhile Inaros the son of Psammetichus, king of the Libyans who border on Egypt, had induced the greater part of Egypt to revolt from King Artaxerxes. He began the rebellion at Mareia, a city opposite the island of Pharos, and, having made himself ruler of the country, called in the Athenians. They were just then engaged in an expedition against Cyprus with two hundred ships of their own and of their allies; and, quitting the island, they went to his aid. They sailed from the sea into the Nile, and, making themselves masters of the river and of two-thirds of Memphis, proceeded to attack the remaining part called the White Castle, in which some of the Persians and Medes had taken refuge, and with them such Egyptians as had not joined in the revolt.
An Athenian fleet made a descent upon Halieis, where a battle took place against some Corinthian and Epidaurian troops; the Athenians gained the victory. Soon afterwards the Athenians fought at sea off Cecryphaleia with a Peloponnesian fleet, which they defeated. A war next broke out between the Aeginetans and the Athenians, and a great battle was fought off the coast of Aegina, in which the allies of both parties joined; the Athenians were victorious, and captured seventy of the enemy's ships; they then landed on Aegina and, under the command of Leocrates the son of Stroebus, besieged the town. Thereupon the Peloponnesians sent over to the assistance of the Aeginetans three hundred hoplites who had previously been assisting the Corinthians and Epidaurians. The Corinthians seized66 on the heights of Geraneia, and thence made a descent with their allies into the Megarian territory, thinking that the Athenians, who had so large a force absent in Aegina and in Egypt, would be unable to assist the Megarians; or, if they did; would be obliged to raise the siege of Aegina. But the Athenians, without moving their army from Aegina, sent to Megara under the command of Myronides a force consisting of their oldest and youngest men, who had remained at home. A battle was fought, which hung equally in the balance; and when the two armies separated, they both thought that they had gained the victory. The Athenians, who did however get rather the better, on the departure of the Corinthians erected a trophy. And then the Corinthians, irritated by the reproaches of the aged men in the city, after about twelve days' preparation came out again, and, claiming the victory, raised another trophy. Hereupon the Athenians sallied out of Megara, killed those who were erecting the trophy, and charged and defeated the rest of the army.
The Corinthians now retreated, but a considerable number of them were hard pressed, and missing their way got into an enclosure belonging to a private person, which was surrounded by a great ditch and had no exit. The Athenians, perceiving their situation, closed the entrance in front with heavy-armed troops, and, placing their light troops in a circle round, stoned all who had entered the enclosure. This was a great blow to the Corinthians. The main body of their army returned home.
About this time the Athenians began to build their Long Walls extending to the sea, one to the harbour of Phalerum, and the other to the Piraeus. The Phocians made an expedition against the Dorians, who inhabit Boeum, Cytinium, and Erineum, and are the mother people of the Lacedaemonians; one of these towns they took. Thereupon the Lacedaemonians under the command of Nicomedes the son of Cleombrotus, who was general in the place of the king Pleistoanax the son of Pausanias (he being at that time a minor), came to the assistance of the Dorians with fifteen hundred hoplites of their own, and, of their allies, ten thousand, and compelled the Phocians to make terms and to restore the town. They then thought of returning; but there were difficulties. Either they might go by sea across the Crisaean Gulf, in which case the Athenian fleet would be sure to sail round and intercept them, or they might march over Mount Geraneia; but this seemed dangerous when the Athenians were holding Megara and Pegae. The pass was not easy, and was always guarded by the Athenians, who were obviously intending to stop them by that route also. So they determined to remain in Boeotia and consider how they could best get home. They had another motive:--Certain Athenians were privately making overtures to them, in the hope that they would put an end to the democracy and the building of the Long Walls. But the Athenians were aware of their embarrassment, and they also suspected their design against the democracy. So they went out to meet them with their whole force, together with a thousand Argives and contingents from the other allies; they numbered in all fourteen thousand men. Among them were some Thessalian cavalry, who came to their aid in accordance with the treaty,67 but these deserted to the Lacedaemonians during the engagement.
The battle was fought at Tanagra in Boeotia, and the Lacedaemonians and their allies, after great slaughter on both sides, gained the victory. They then marched into the Megarian territory, and, cutting down the fruit-trees; returned home by way of Geraneia and the Isthmus. But on the sixty-second day after the battle, the Athenians made another expedition into Boeotia under the command of Myronides, and there was a battle at Oenophyta, in which they defeated the Boeotians and became masters of Boeotia and Phocis. They pulled down the walls of Tanagra and took as hostages from the Opuntian Locrians a hundred of their richest citizens. They then completed their own Long Walls. Soon afterwards the Aeginetans came to terms with the Athenians, dismantling their walls, surrendering their ships, and agreeing to pay tribute for the future. The Athenians, under the command of Tolmides, the son of Tolmaeus, sailed round Peloponnesus and burnt the Lacedaemonian dockyard.68 They also took the Corinthian town of Chalcis, and, making a descent upon Sicyon, defeated a Sicyonian force.
The Athenians and their allies were still in Egypt, where they carried on the war with varying fortune. At first they were masters of the country. The King sent to Lacedaemon Megabazus a Persian, who was well supplied with money, in the hope that he might persuade the Peloponnesians to invade Attica, and so draw off the Athenians from Egypt. He had no success; the money was being spent and nothing done; so, with what remained of it, he found his way back to Asia. The King then sent into Egypt Megabyzus the son of Zopyrus, a Persian, who marched overland with a large army and defeated the Egyptians and their allies. He drove the Hellenes out of Memphis, and finally shut them up in the island of Prosopitis, where he blockaded them for eighteen months. At length he drained the canal and diverted the water, thus leaving their ships high and dry and joining nearly the whole island to the mainland. He then crossed over with a land force, and took the island.
Thus, after six years' fighting, the cause of the Hellenes in Egypt was lost. A few survivors of their great army found their way through Libya to Cyrenè; by far the larger number perished. Egypt again became subject to the Persians, although Amyrtaeus, the king in the fens, still held out. He escaped capture owing to the extent of the fens and the bravery of their inhabitants, who are the most warlike of all the Egyptians. Inaros, the king of Libya, the chief author of the revolt, was betrayed and impaled. Fifty additional triremes, which had been sent by the Athenians and their allies to relieve their other forces, in ignorance of what had happened, sailed into the Mendesian mouth of the Nile. But they were at once attacked both from the land and from the sea, and the greater part of them destroyed by the Phoenician fleet, a few ships only escaping. Thus ended the great Egyptian expedition of the Athenians and their allies.
About this time Orestes, the exiled son of the Thessalian king Echecratides, persuaded the Athenians to restore him: Taking with them a force of the Boeotians and Phocians, who were now their allies, they marched against Pharsalus in Thessaly. They made themselves masters of the country in the neighbourhood of their camp, but the Thessalian cavalry stopped any further advance. They could not take the place, and none of their plans prospered; so they returned unsuccessful and brought back Orestes.
A short time afterwards a thousand Athenians, under the command of Pericles the son of Xanthippus, embarking on board the fleet which they had at Pegae, now in their possession, coasted along to Sicyon, and there landing, defeated the Sicyonians who came out to meet them. With the least possible delay taking on board Achaean troops and sailing to the opposite coast, they attacked and besieged Oeniadae, a town of Acarnania; but failing to reduce it, they returned home.
After an interval of three years a five years' truce was concluded between the Peloponnesians and Athenians. The Athenians now abstained from war in Hellas itself, but made an expedition to Cyprus with two hundred ships of their own and of their allies, under the command of Cimon. Sixty ships were detached from the armament and sailed to Egypt, at the request of Amyrtaeus the king in the fens; the remainder proceeded to blockade Citium. Here Cimon died, and a famine arose in the country; so the fleet quitted Citium. Arriving off Salamis in Cyprus they fought at sea and also on land with Phoenician and Cilician forces. Gaining a victory in both engagements, they returned home, accompanied by the ships which had gone out with them and had now come back from Egypt. After this the Lacedaemonians engaged in the so-called Sacred War and gained possession of the temple of Delphi, which they handed over to the Delphians. But no sooner had they retired than the Athenians sent an expedition and recovered the temple, which they handed over to the Phocians.
Some time afterwards the Athenians, under the command of Tolmides the son of Tolmaeus, with a thousand hoplites of their own and contingents of their allies, made an expedition against Orchomenus, Chaeronea, and certain other places in Boeotia which were in the hands of oligarchical exiles from different Boeotian towns, and so were hostile to them. They took Chaeronea, and leaving a garrison there, departed. But while they were on their march, the exiles who had occupied Orchomenus, some Locrians, some Euboean exiles and others of the same party, set upon them at Coronea and defeated them, killing many and taking many prisoners. The Athenians then agreed to evacuate the whole of Boeotia upon condition that the prisoners should be restored. And so the Boeotian exiles returned to their homes, and all the Boeotians regained their independence.
Not long afterwards Euboea revolted from Athens. Pericles had just arrived in the island with an Athenian army when the news came that Megara had likewise revolted, that the Peloponnesians were on the point of invading Attica, and that the Megarians had slaughtered the Athenian garrison, of whom a few only had escaped to Nisaea. The Megarians had introduced a force of Corinthians, Sicyonians, and Epidaurians into the city, and by their help had effected the revolt. Pericles in haste withdrew his army from Euboea. The Peloponnesians then invaded Attica under the command of Pleistoanax son of Pausanias, the Lacedaemonian king. They advanced as far as Eleusis and Thria but no further, and after ravaging the country, returned home. Thereupon the Athenians under the command of Pericles again crossed over to Euboea and reduced the whole country; the Hestiaeans they ejected from their homes and appropriated their territory; the rest of the island they settled by agreement.
Soon after their return from Euboea they made a truce for thirty years with the Laeedaemonians and their allies, restoring Nisaea, Pegae, Troezen and Achaia, which were the places held by them in Peloponnesus. Six years later the Samians and Milesians went to war about the possession of Prienè, and the Milesians, who were getting worsted, came to Athens and complained loudly of the Samians. Some private citizens of Samos, who wanted to overthrow the government, supported their complaint. Whereupon the Athenians, sailing to Samos with forty ships, established a democracy, and taking as hostages fifty boys and fifty men whom they deposited at Lemnos, they returned leaving a garrison. But certain of the Samians who had quitted the island and fled to the mainland entered into an alliance with the principal oligarchs who remained in the city, and with Pissuthnes the son of Hystaspes, then governor of Sardis, and collecting troops to the number of seven hundred they crossed over by night to Samos. First of all they attacked the victorious populace and got most of them into their power; then they stole away their hostages from Lemnos, and finally revolted from Athens. The garrison of the Athenians and the officials who were in their power were delivered by them into the hands of Pissuthnes. They at once prepared to make an expedition against Miletus. The Byzantians joined in their revolt.
When the Athenians heard of the insurrection they sailed for Samos with sixty ships. But of this number they sent away sixteen, some towards Caria to keep a look out for the Phoenician fleet, others to summon aid from Chios and Lesbos. With the remaining forty-four ships they fought at sea under the command of Pericles and nine others, near the island of Tragia, against seventy Samian vessels, all sailing from Miletus, of which twenty were transports; the Athenians gained the victory. After receiving a reinforcement of forty ships from Athens and of twenty-five from Chios and Lesbos they disembarked, and their infantry proving superior, invested the city with three walls; they also blockaded it by sea. At the same time Pericles took sixty ships of the blockading force and sailed hastily towards Caunus in Caria, news having arrived that a Phoenician fleet was approaching; Stesagoras and others had already gone with five ships from Samos to fetch it.
Meanwhile the Samians made a sudden sally, and attacking the naval station of the Athenians which was unprotected, destroyed the guard-ships and engaged and defeated the other vessels which put out to meet them. During some fourteen days they were masters of the sea about their own coasts, and carried in and out whatever they pleased. But when Pericles returned, they were again closely blockaded; and there soon arrived from Athens forty additional ships under Thucydides, Hagnon, and Phormio, twenty more under Tlepolemus and Anticles, and thirty from Chios and Lesbos. The Samians made a feeble attempt at a sea-fight, but soon they were unable to resist, and after nine months were forced to surrender. The terms of capitulation were as follows:--They were to raze their walls, give hostages, surrender their ships, and pay a full indemnity by regular instalments. The Byzantians too made terms and became subjects as before.
Not long afterwards occurred the affairs of Corcyra and Potidaea, which have been already narrated, and the various other circumstances which led to the Peloponnesian War. Fifty years elapsed between the retreat of Xerxes and the beginning of the war; during these years took place all those operations of the Hellenes against one another and against the Barbarian which I have been describing. The Athenians acquired a firmer hold over their empire and the city itself became a great power. The Lacedaemonians saw what was going on, but during most of the time they remained inactive and hardly attempted to interfere. They had never been of a temper prompt to take the field unless they were compelled; and they were in some degree embarrassed by wars near home. But the Athenians were growing too great to be ignored and were laying hands on their allies. They could now bear it no longer: they made up their minds that they must put out all their strength and overthrow the Athenian power by force of arms. And therefore they commenced the Peloponnesian War. They had already voted in their own assembly that the treaty had been broken and that the Athenians were guilty;69 they now sent to Delphi and asked the God if it would be for their advantage to make war. He is reported to have answered that, if they did their best, they would be conquerors, and that he himself, invited or uninvited, would take their part.
So they again summoned the allies, intending to put to them the question of war or peace. When their representatives arrived, an assembly was held; and the allies said what they had to say, most of them complaining of the Athenians and demanding that the war should proceed. The Corinthians had already gone the round of the cities and entreated them privately to vote for war; they were afraid that they would be too late to save Potidaea. At the assembly they came forward last of all and spoke as follows:
'Fellow allies, we can no longer find fault with the Lacedaemonians; they have themselves resolved upon war and have brought us hither to confirm their decision. And they have done well; for the leaders of a confederacy, while they do not neglect the interests of their own state, should look to the general weal: as they are first in honour, they should be first in the fulfilment of their duties. Now those among us who have ever had dealings with the Athenians, do not require to be warned against them; but such as live inland and not on any maritime highway should clearly understand that, if they do not protect the sea-board, they will find it more difficult to carry their produce to the sea, or to receive in return the goods which the sea gives to the land. They should not lend a careless ear to our words, for they nearly concern them; they should remember that, if they desert the cities on the sea-shore, the danger may some day reach them, and that they are consulting for their own interests quite as much as for ours. And therefore let no one hesitate to accept war in exchange for peace. Wise men refuse to move until they are wronged, but brave men as soon as they are wronged go to war, and when there is a good opportunity make peace again. They are not intoxicated by military success; but neither will they tolerate injustice from a love of peace and ease. For he whom pleasure makes a coward will quickly lose, if he continues inactive, the delights of ease which he is so unwilling to renounce; and he whose arrogance is stimulated by victory does not see how hollow is the confidence which elates him. Many schemes which were ill-advised have succeeded through the still greater folly which possessed the enemy, and yet more, which seemed to be wisely contrived, have ended in foul disaster. The execution of an enterprise is never equal70 to the conception of it in the confident mind of its promoter; for men are safe while they are forming plans, but, when the time of action comes, then they lose their presence of mind and fail.
'We, however, do not make war upon the Athenians in a spirit of vain-glory, but from a sense of wrong; there is ample justification, and when we obtain redress, we will put up the sword. For every reason we are likely to succeed. First, because we are superior in numbers and in military skill; secondly, because we all obey as one man the orders given to us. They are doubtless strong at sea, but we too will provide a navy, for which the means can be supplied partly by contributions from each state, partly out of the funds at Delphi and Olympia. A loan will be granted to us, and by the offer of higher pay we can draw away their foreign sailors. The Athenian power consists of mercenaries, and not of their own citizens; but our soldiers are not mercenaries, and therefore cannot so be bought, for we are strong in men if poor in money. Let them be beaten in a single naval engagement and they are probably conquered at once; but suppose they hold out, we shall then have more time in which to practise at sea. As soon as we have brought our skill up to the level of theirs our courage will surely give us the victory. For that is a natural gift which they cannot learn, but their superior skill is a thing acquired, which we must attain by practice.71
And the money which is required for the war, we will provide by a contribution. What! shall their allies never fail in paying the tribute which is to enslave them, and shall we refuse to give freely in order to save ourselves and be avenged on our enemies, or rather to prevent the money which we refused to give from being taken from us by them and used to our destruction?
'These are some of the means by which the war may be carried on; but there are others. We may induce their allies to revolt,--a sure mode of cutting off the revenues in which the strength of Athens consists; or we may plant a fort in their country; and there are many expedients which will hereafter suggest themselves. For war, least of all things, conforms to prescribed rules; it strikes out a path for itself when the moment comes. And therefore he who has his temper under control in warfare is safer far, but he who gets into a passion is, through his own fault, liable to the greater fall.
'If this were merely a quarrel between one of us and our neighbours about a boundary line it would not matter; but reflect: the truth is that the Athenians are a match for us all, and much more than a match for any single city. And if we allow ourselves to be divided or are not united against them heart and soul--the whole confederacy and every nation and city in it--they will easily overpower us. It may seem a hard saying, but you may be sure that defeat means nothing but downright slavery, and the bare mention of such a possibility is a disgrace to the Peloponnese:--shall so many states suffer at the hands of one? Men will say, some that we deserve our fate, others that we are too cowardly to resist: and we shall seem a degenerate race. For our fathers were the liberators of Hellas, but we cannot secure even our own liberty; and while we make a point of overthrowing the rule of a single man in this or that city, we allow a city which is a tyrant to be set up in the midst of us. Are we not open to one of three most serious charges -- folly, cowardice, or carelessness? For you certainly do not escape such imputations by wrapping yourselves in that contemptuous wisdom which has so often72 brought men to ruin, as in the end to be pronounced contemptible folly.
'But why should we dwell reproachfully upon the past, except in the interest of the present? We should rather, looking to the future, devote our energies to the task which we have immediately in hand. By labour to win virtue,--that is the lesson which we73 have learnt from our fathers, and which you ought not to unlearn, because you chance to have some trifling advantage over them in wealth and power; for men should not lose in the time of their wealth what was gained by them in their time of want. There are many reasons why you may advance with confidence. The God has spoken and has promised to take our part himself. All Hellas will fight at our side, from motives either of fear or of interest. And you will not break the treaty,--the God in bidding you go to war pronounces it to have been already broken,--but you will avenge the violation of it. For those who attack others, not those who defend themselves, are the real violators of treaties.74
'On every ground you will be right in going to war: it is our united advice; and if you believe community of interests to be the surest ground of strength both to states and individuals, send speedy aid75 to the Potidaeans, who are Dorians and now besieged by Ionians (for times have changed), and recover the liberties which the rest of the allies have lost. We cannot go on as we are: for some of us are already suffering, and if it is known that we have met, but do not dare to defend ourselves, others will soon share their fate. Acknowledging then, allies, that there is no alternative, and that we are advising you for the best, vote for war; and be not afraid of the immediate danger, but fix your thoughts on the durable peace which will follow. For by war peace is assured, but to remain at peace when you should be going to war may be often very dangerous. The tyrant city which has been set up in Hellas is a standing menace to all alike; she rules over some of us already, and would fain rule over others. Let us attack and subdue her, that we may ourselves live safely for the future and deliver the Hellenes whom she has enslaved.'
Such were the words of the Corinthians.
The Lacedaemonians, having heard the opinions of all the allies, put the question to them all, one after the other, great and small alike, and the majority voted for war. But, although they had come to this decision, they were not ready, and could not take up arms at once; so they determined to make the necessary preparations, each for themselves, with the least possible delay. Still nearly a whole year was passed in preparation before they invaded Attica and commenced open hostilities.
During this interval they sent embassies to Athens and made various complaints that their grounds for going to war might be all the stronger in case the Athenians refused to listen. The first ambassadors desired the Athenians to drive out 'the curse of the Goddess.' The curse to which they referred was as follows:--In the days of old there was an Athenian named Cylon, who had been an Olympic victor; he was powerful and of noble birth; and he had married the daughter of Theagenes, a Megarian who was at that time tyrant of Megara. In answer to an enquiry which Cylon made at Delphi, the God told him to seize the Acropolis of Athens at the greatest festival of Zeus. Thereupon he obtained forces from Theagenes, and, persuading his friends to join him, when the time of the Olympic festival in Peloponnesus came round, he took possession of the Acropolis, intending to make himself tyrant. He thought that this was the greatest festival of Zeus, and, having been an Olympic victor, he seemed to have a special interest in it. But whether the greatest festival spoken of was in Attica or in some other part of Hellas was a question which never entered into his mind, and the oracle said nothing about it. (For the Athenians also have a greatest festival of Zeus--the festival of Zeus the Gracious, or Diasia, as it is called76-- this is held outside the city and the whole people sacrifice at it, some, ordinary victims, others, a kind of offering peculiar to the country.) However, Cylon thought that his interpretation was right, and made the attempt at the Olympic festival. The Athenians, when they saw what had happened, came in a body from the fields and invested the Acropolis. After a time they grew tired of the siege and most of them went away, committing the guard to the nine Archons, and giving them full powers to do what they thought best in the whole matter; for in those days public affairs were chiefly administered by the nine Archons.77. Cylon and his companions were in great distress from want of food and water. So he and his brother made their escape; the rest, being hard pressed, and some of them ready to die of hunger, sat as suppliants at the altar which is in the Acropolis. When the Athenians, to whose charge the guard had been committed, saw them dying in the temple, they bade them rise, promising to do them no harm, and then led them away and put them to death. They even slew some of them in the very presence of the awful Goddesses at whose altars, in passing by, they had sought refuge. The murderers and their descendants are held to be accursed, and offenders against the Goddess. These accursed persons were banished by the Athenians; and Cleomenes, the Lacedaemonian king, again banished them from Athens in a time of civil strife by the help of the opposite faction, expelling the living and disinterring and casting forth the bones of the dead.78 Nevertheless they afterwards returned, and to this day their race still survives in the city.
The Lacedaemonians desired the Athenians to drive away this curse, as if the honour of the Gods were their first object, but in reality because they knew that the curse attached to Pericles, the son of Xanthippus, by his mother's side, and they thought that if he were banished they would find the Athenians more manageable. They did not really expect that he would be driven into exile, but they hoped to discredit him with the citizens and make them believe that his misfortune was to a certain extent the cause of the war. For he was the leader of the state and the most powerful man of his day, and his policy was utterly opposed to the Lacedaemonians. He would not suffer the Athenians to give way, but was always urging upon them the necessity of war.
The Athenians retaliated by demanding that the Lacedaemomans should drive away the curse of Taenarus. They referred to the murder of certain Helots who had taken refuge in the temple of Poseidon at Taenarus; these the Lacedaemonians, having first raised by the hand, had then led away and slain. The Lacedaemonians themselves believe this act of theirs to have been the cause of the great earthquake which visited Sparta.79 The Athenians also bade them drive out the curse of Athenè of the Brazen House. The story is as follows:--When Pausanias the Lacedaemonian was originally summoned by the Spartans to give an account of his command at the Hellespont,80 and had been tried and acquitted, he was no longer sent out in a public capacity, but he hired a trireme of Hermionè on his own account and sailed to the Hellespont, pretending that he had gone thither to fight in the cause of the Hellenes. In reality he wanted to prosecute an intrigue with the King, by which he hoped to obtain the empire of Hellas. He had already taken the first steps after the return from Cyprus, when he captured Byzantium81 The city was at that time held by the Persians and by certain relatives and kinsmen of the King, who were taken prisoners. These he restored to the King without the knowledge of the allies, to whom he declared that they had made their escape. This act was the beginning of the whole affair, and thereby he originally placed the King under an obligation to him. His accomplice was Gongylus the Eretrian, to whose care he had entrusted Byzantium and the captives. To this same Gongylus he also gave a letter addressed to the King, of which, as was afterwards discovered, the terms were as follows:
'Pausanias, the Spartan commander, desiring to do you a service, sends you back these captives of his spear. And I propose, if you have no objection, to marry your daughter, and to bring Sparta and the rest of Hellas under your sway. I think that I can accomplish this if you and I take counsel together. Should you approve of my proposal, send a trusty person to the sea and through him we will negotiate.' Thus far the letter.
Xerxes was pleased, and sent Artabazus the son of Pharnaces to the sea, commanding him to assume the government of the satrapy of Dascylium in the room of Megabates. An answer was entrusted to him, which he was to send as quickly as possible to Pausanias at Byzantium; he was to show him at the same time the royal seal. If Pausanias gave him any order about his own affairs, he was to execute it with all diligence and fidelity. Artabazus came down to the sea, as he was desired, and transmitted the letter. The answer of the King was as follows:
'Thus saith Xerxes, the King, to Pausanias. The benefit which thou hast done me in saving the captives who were taken at Byzantium beyond the sea is recorded in my house for ever, and thy words please me. Let neither day nor night hinder thee from fulfilling diligently the promise which thou hast made to me; spare not gold or silver, and take as large an army as thou wilt, wheresoever of it may be required. I have sent to thee Artabazus, a good man; act with him for my honour and welfare, and for thine own, and be of good courage.'
Pausanias received the letter. He had already acquired a high reputation among the Hellenes when in command at Plataea, and now he was so great that he could no longer contain himself or live like other men. Whenever he marched out of Byzantium he wore Persian apparel. On his way through Thrace he was always attended by a body-guard of Medes and Egyptians, and he had his table served after the Persian fashion. He could not conceal his ambition, but indicated by little things the greater designs which he was meditating. He made himself difficult of access, and displayed such a violent temper towards everybody that no one could come near him; and this was one of the chief reasons why the confederacy transferred themselves to the Athenians.
The news of his behaviour soon reached the Lacedaemonians; who had recalled him in the first instance on this ground.82 And now, when he had sailed away in the ship of Hermionè without leave,83 and was evidently carrying on the same practices; when he had been forced out of Byzantium and the gates had been shut against him by the Athenians; and when, instead of returning to Sparta, he settled at Colonae in Troas, and was reported to the Ephors to be negotiating with the Barbarians, and to be staying there for no good purpose, then at last they made up their minds to act. They sent a herald to him with a despatch rolled on a scytalè, commanding him to follow the officer home, and saying that, if he refused, Sparta would declare war against him. He, being desirous as far as he could to avoid suspicion and believing that he could dispose of the accusations by bribery, returned for the second time to Sparta. On his return he was at once thrown into prison by the Ephors, who have the power to imprison the king himself. But after a time he contrived to come out, and challenged any one who asserted his guilt to bring him to trial.
As yet however neither his enemies among the citizens nor the Spartan government had any trustworthy evidence such as would have justified them in inflicting punishment upon a member of the royal family holding royal office at the time. For he was the guardian as well as cousin of the king, Pleistarchus son of Leonidas, who was still a minor. But his disregard of propriety and affectation of Barbarian fashions made them strongly suspect that he was dissatisfied with his position in the state. They examined into any violation of established usage which they could find in his previous life; and they remembered among other things how in past times he had presumed on his own authority to inscribe on the tripod at Delphi, which the Hellenes dedicated as the first fruits of their victory over the Persians, this elegiac couplet:
'Pausanias, captain of the Hellenes, having destroyed the Persian host,
Made this offering to Phoebus for a memorial.'
The Lacedaemonians had at once effaced the lines and inscribed on the tripod the names of the cities which took part in the overthrow of the Barbarian and in the dedication of the offering. But still this act of Pausanias gave offence at the time, and, now that he had again fallen under suspicion, seemed to receive a new light from his present designs. They were also informed that he was intriguing with the Helots; and this was true, for he had promised them emancipation and citizenship if they would join him in an insurrection and help to carry out his whole design. Still the magistrates would not take decided measures; they even refused to believe the distinct testimony which certain Helots brought against him; their habit having always been to be slow in taking an irrevocable decision against a Spartan without incontestable proof. At last a certain man of Argilus, who had been a favourite and was still a confidential servant of Pausanias, turned informer. He had been commissioned by him to carry to Artabazus the last letters for the King, but the thought struck him that no previous messenger had ever returned; he took alarm, and so, having counterfeited the seal of Pausanias in order to avoid discovery if he were mistaken, or if Pausanias, wanting to make some alteration, should ask him for the letter, he opened it, and among the directions given in it found written, as he had partly suspected, an order for his own death.
He showed the letter to the Ephors, who were now more inclined to believe, but still they wanted to hear something from Pausanias' own mouth, and so, according to a plan preconcerted with them, the man went to Taenarus as a suppliant and there put up a hut divided by a partition. In the inner part of the hut he placed some of the Ephors, and when Pausanias came to him and asked him why he was a suppliant, the whole truth was at once revealed to them. There was the man reproaching Pausanias with the directions which he had found in the letter, and going into minute details about the whole affair; he protested that never on any occasion had he brought him into any trouble when sent on his service in this matter to the King: why then should he share the fate of the other messengers, and be rewarded with death? And there was Pausanias, admitting the truth of his words, and telling him not to be angry at what had happened, offering to raise him by the hand that he might safely leave the temple, and bidding him start at once and not make difficulties.
The Ephors, who had heard every word, went away for the present, intending, now that they had certain knowledge, to take Pausanias in the city. It is said that he was on the point of being arrested in the street, when the face of one of them as they approached revealed to him their purpose, and another who was friendly warned him by a hardly perceptible nod. Whereupon he ran and fled to the temple of Athenè of the Brazen House and arrived before them, for the precinct was not far off. There, entering into a small chamber which belonged to the temple, that he might not suffer from exposure to the weather, he remained. His pursuers, failing to overtake him, afterwards unroofed the building, and watching when he was within, and preventing him from getting out, they built up the doors, and, investing the place, starved him to death. He was on the point of expiring in the chamber where he lay, when they; observing his condition, brought him out; he was still breathing, but as soon as he was brought out he died. The Spartans were going to cast his body into the Caeadas, a chasm into which they throw malefactors, but they changed their minds and buried him somewhere in the neighbourhood. The God of Delphi afterwards commanded them to transfer him to the place where he died, and he now lies in the entrance to the precinct, as the inscription on the column testifies. The oracle also told them that they had brought a curse upon themselves, and must offer two bodies for one to Athenè of the Brazen House. Whereupon they made two brazen statues, which they dedicated, intending them to be an expiation for Pausanias.
To this judgment of the God himself the Athenians referred when they retorted on the Lacedaemonians, telling them to banish the curse.
Now the evidence which proved that Pausanias was in league with Persia implicated Themistocles; and the Lacedaemonians sent ambassadors to the Athenians charging him likewise with treason, and demanding that he should receive the same punishment. The Athenians agreed, but having been ostracised he was living at the time in Argos, whence he used to visit other parts of the Peloponnese. The Lacedaemonians were very ready to join in the pursuit; so they and the Athenians sent officers, who were told to arrest him wherever they should find him.
Themistocles received information of their purpose, and fled from the Peloponnesus to the Corcyraeans, who were under an obligation to him. The Corcyraeans said that they were afraid to keep him, lest they should incur the enmity of Athens and Lacedaemon; so they conveyed him to the neighbouring continent, whither he was followed by the officers, who constantly enquired in which direction he had gone and pursued him everywhere. Owing to an accident he was compelled to stop at the house of Admetus, king of the Molossians, who was not his friend.
He chanced to be absent from home, but Themistocles presented himself as a suppliant to his wife, and was instructed by her to take their child and sit at the hearth. Admetus soon returned, and then Themistocles told him who he was, adding that if in past times he had opposed any request which Admetus had made to the Athenians, he ought not to retaliate on an exile. He was now in such extremity that a far weaker adversary than he could do him a mischief; but a noble nature should not be revenged by taking at a disadvantage one as good as himself. Themistocles further argued that he had opposed Admetus in some matter of business, and not when life was at stake; but that, if Admetus delivered him up, he would be consigning him to death. At the same time he told him who his pursuers were and what was the charge against him.
Admetus, hearing his words, raised him up, together with his own son, from the place where he sat holding the child in his arms, which was the most solemn form of supplication. Not long afterwards the Athenians and Lacedaemonians came and pressed him to give up the fugitive, but he refused; and as Themistocles wanted to go to the King, sent him on foot across the country to the sea at Pydna (which was in the kingdom of Alexander). There he found a merchant vessel sailing to Ionia, in which he embarked; it was driven, however, by a storm to the station of the Athenian fleet which was blockading Naxos. He was unknown to his fellow passengers, but, fearing what might happen, he told the captain who he was and why he fled, threatening if he did not save his life to say that he had been bribed to take him on board. The only hope was that no one should be allowed to leave the ship while they had to remain off Naxos; if he complied with his request, the obligation should be abundantly repaid. The captain agreed, and after anchoring in a rough sea for a day and a night off the Athenian station, he at length arrived at Ephesus. Themistocles rewarded him with a liberal present; for he received soon afterwards from his friends the property which they had in their keeping at Athens, and which he had deposited at Argos. He then went up the country in the company of one of the Persians who dwelt on the coast, and sent a letter to Artaxerxes the son Xerxes, who had just succeeded to the throne. The letter was in the following words:-- 'I, Themistocles, have come to you, I who of all Hellenes did your house the greatest injuries so long as I was compelled to defend myself against your father; but still greater benefits when I was in safety and he in danger during his retreat. And there is a debt of gratitude due to me' (here he noted how he had forewarned Xerxes at Salamis of the resolution of the Hellenes to withdraw,84 and how through his influence, as he pretended, they had refrained from breaking down the bridges).85 'Now I am here, able to do you many other services, and persecuted by the Hellenes for your sake. Let me wait a year, and then I will myself explain why I have come.'
The King is said to have been astonished at the boldness of his character, and told him to wait a year as he proposed. In the interval he made himself acquainted, as far as he could, with the Persian language and the manners of the country. When the year was over, he arrived at the court and became a greater man there than any Hellene had ever been before. This was due partly to his previous reputation, and partly to the hope which he inspired in the King's mind that he would enslave Hellas to him; above all, his ability had been tried and not found wanting. For Themistocles was a man whose natural force was unmistakeable; this was the quality for which he was distinguished above all other men; from his own native acuteness, and without any study either before or at the time, he was the ablest judge of the course to be pursued in a sudden emergency, and could best divine what was likely to happen in the remotest future. Whatever he had in hand he had the power of explaining to others, and even where he had no experience he was quite competent to form a sufficient judgment; no one could foresee with equal clearness the good or evil event which was hidden in the future. In a word, Themistocles, by natural power of mind and with the least preparation, was of all men the best able to extemporise the right thing to be done. A sickness put an end to his life, although some say that he poisoned himself because he felt that he could not accomplish what he had promised to the King. There is a monument of him in the agora of the Asiatic Magnesia, where he was governor--the King assigning to him, for bread, Magnesia, which produced a revenue of fifty talents86 in the year; for wine, Lampsacus, which was considered to be the richest in wine of any district then known; and Myus for meat. His family say that his remains were carried home at his own request and buried in Attica, but secretly; for he had been accused of treason and had fled from his country, and he could not lawfully be interred there. Such was the end of Pausanias the Lacedaemonian, and Themistocles the Athenian, the two most famous Hellenes of their day.
Thus the demand for the banishment of the accursed made by the Lacedaemonians on the occasion of their first embassy was met by a counter demand on the part of Athens. They came again and again, and told the Athenians that they must raise the siege of Potidaea and restore Aegina to independence. Above all, and in the plainest terms, they insisted that if they wanted to avert war, they must rescind the decree which excluded the Megarians from the market of Athens and the harbours in the Athenian dominions. But the Athenians would not listen to them, nor rescind the decree; alleging in reply that the Megarians had tilled the holy ground and the neutral borderland, and had received their runaway slaves. Finally, there came from Sparta an embassy, consisting of Rhamphias, Melesippus, and Hegesander, who said nothing of all this, but only, 'The Lacedaemonians desire to maintain peace; and peace there may be, if you will restore independence to the Hellenes.' Whereupon the Athenians called an assembly and held a discussion; it seemed best to them to make up their minds and to give a complete and final answer. Many came forward to speak, and much was said on both sides, some affirming that they ought to go to war, and others that this decree about the Megarians should be rescinded and not stand in the way of peace. At last Pericles the son of Xanthippus, who was the first man of his day at Athens, and the greatest orator and statesman, came forward and advised as follows:
'Athenians, I say, as I always have said, that we must never yield to the Peloponnesians, although I know that men are persuaded to go to war in one temper of mind, and act when the time comes in another, and that their resolutions change with the changes of fortune. But I see that I must give you the same or nearly the same advice which I gave before, and I call upon those whom my words may convince to maintain our united determination, even if we should not escape disaster; or else, if our sagacity be justified by success, to claim no share of the credit.87 The movement of events is often as wayward and incomprehensible as the course of human thought; and this is why we ascribe to chance whatever belies our calculation.
'For some time past the designs of the Lacedaemonians have been clear enough, and they are still clearer now. Our agreement says that when differences arise, the two parties shall refer them to arbitration, and in the mean time both are to retain what they have. But for arbitration they never ask; and when it is offered by us, they refuse it.88 They want to redress their grievances by arms and not by argument; and now they come to us, using the language, no longer of expostulation, but of command. They tell us to quit Potidaea, to leave Aegina independent, and to rescind the decree respecting the Megarians. These last ambassadors go further still, and announce that we must give the Hellenes independence. I would have none of you imagine that he will be fighting for a small matter if we refuse to annul the Megarian decree, of which they make so much, telling us that its revocation would prevent the war. You should have no lingering uneasiness about this; you are not really going to war for a trifle. For in the seeming trifle is involved the trial and confirmation of your whole purpose. If you yield to them in a small matter, they will think that you are afraid, and will immediately dictate some more oppressive condition; but if you are firm, you will prove to them that they must treat you as their equals.
'Wherefore make up your minds once for all, either to give way while you are still unharmed, or, if we are going to war, as in my judgment is best, then on no plea small or great to give way at all; we will not condescend to possess our own in fear. Any claim, the smallest as well as the greatest, imposed on a neighbour and an equal when there has been no legal award can mean nothing but slavery.
'That our resources are equal to theirs, and that we shall be as strong in the war, I will now prove to you in detail. The Peloponnesians cultivate their own lands, and they have no wealth either public or private. Nor have they any experience of long wars in countries beyond the sea; their poverty prevents them from fighting, except in person against each other, and that for a short time only. Such men cannot be often manning fleets or sending out armies. They would be at a distance from their own properties, upon which they must nevertheless draw, and they will be kept off the sea by us. Now wars are supported out of accumulated wealth, and not out of forced contributions. And men who cultivate their own lands are more ready to serve with their persons than with their property;89 they do not despair of their lives, but they soon grow anxious lest their money should all be spent, especially if the war in which they are engaged is protracted beyond their calculation, as may well be the case. In a single pitched battle the Peloponnesians and their allies are a match for all Hellas, but they are not able to maintain a war against a power different in kind from their own;90 they have no regular general assembly, and therefore cannot execute their plans with speed and decision. The confederacy is made up of many races; all the representatives have equal votes, and press their several interests. There follows the usual result, that nothing is ever done properly. For some are all anxiety to be revenged on an enemy, while others only want to get off with as little loss as possible. The members of such a confederacy are slow to meet, and when they do meet, they give little time to the consideration of any common interest, and a great deal to schemes which further the interest of their particular state. Every one fancies that his own neglect will do no harm, but that it is somebody else's business to keep a look-out for him, and this idea, cherished alike by each, is the secret ruin of all.
'Their greatest difficulty will be want of money, which they can only provide slowly; delay will thus occur, and war waits for no man. Further, no fortified place which they can raise against us91 is to be feared any more than their navy. As to the first, even in time of peace it would be hard for them to build a city able to compete with Athens; and how much more so when they are in an enemy's country, and our walls will be a menace to them quite as much as theirs to us! Or, again, if they simply raise a fort in our territory, they may do mischief to some part of our lands by sallies, and the slaves may desert to them; but that will not prevent us from sailing to the Peloponnese and there raising forts against them, and defending ourselves there by the help of our navy, which is our strong arm. For we have gained more experience of fighting on land from warfare at sea than they of naval affairs from warfare on land. And they will not easily acquire the art of seamanship;92 even you yourselves, who have been practising ever since the Persian War, are not yet perfect. How can they, who are not sailors, but tillers of the soil, do much? They will not even be permitted to practise, because a large fleet will constantly be lying in wait for them. If they were watched by a few ships only, they might run the risk, trusting to their numbers and forgetting their inexperience; but if they are kept off the sea by our superior strength, their want of practice will make them unskilful, and their want of skill timid. Maritime skill is like skill of other kinds, not a thing to be cultivated by the way or at chance times; it is jealous of any other pursuit which distracts the mind for an instant from itself.
'Suppose, again, that they lay hands on the treasures at Olympia and Delphi, and tempt our mercenary sailors with the offer of higher pay,93 there might be serious danger, if we and our metics94 embarking alone were not still a match for them. But we are a match for them: and, best of all, our pilots are taken from our own citizens, while no sailors are to be found so good or so numerous as ours in all the rest of Hellas. None of our mercenaries will choose to fight on their side for the sake of a few days' high pay, when he will not only be an exile, but will incur greater danger, and will have less hope of victory.
'Such I conceive to be the prospects of the Peloponnesians. But we ourselves are free from the defects which I have noted in them; and we have great advantages. If they attack our country by land, we shall attack theirs by sea; and the devastation, even of part of Peloponnesus, will be a very different thing from that of all Attica. For they, if they want fresh territory, must take it by arms, whereas we have abundance of land both in the islands and on the continent; such is the power which the empire of the sea gives. Reflect, if we were islanders, who would be more invulnerable? Let us imagine that we are, and acting in that spirit let us give up land and houses, but keep a watch over the city and the sea. We should not under any irritation at the loss of our property give battle to the Peloponnesians, who far outnumber us. If we conquer, we shall have to fight over again with as many more; and if we fail, besides the defeat, our confederacy, which is our strength, will be lost to us; for our allies will rise in revolt when we are no longer capable of making war upon them. Mourn not for houses and lands, but for men; men may gain these, but these will not gain men. If I thought that you would listen to me, I would say to you, "Go yourselves and destroy them, and thereby prove to the Peloponnesians that none of these things will move you."
'I have many other reasons for believing that you will conquer, but you must not be extending your empire while you are at war, or run into unnecessary dangers. I am more afraid of our own mistakes than of our enemies' designs. But of all this I will speak again when the time of action comes; for the present, let us send the ambassadors away, giving them this answer: "That we will not exclude the Megarians from our markets and harbours, if the Lacedaemonians will cease to expel foreigners, whether ourselves or our allies, from Sparta; for the treaty no more forbids the one than the other. That we will concede independence to the cities, if they were independent when we made the treaty, and as soon as the Lacedaemonians allow their allied states a true independence, not for the interest of Lacedaemon, but everywhere for their own. Also that we are willing to offer arbitration according to the treaty. And that we do not want to begin a war, but intend to defend ourselves if attacked." This answer will be just, and befits the dignity of the city. We must be aware however that war will come; and the more willing we are to accept the situation, the less ready will our enemies be to lay hands upon us. Remember that where dangers are greatest, there the greatest honours are to be won by men and states. Our fathers, when they withstood the Persian, had no such power as we have; what little they had they forsook: not by good fortune but by wisdom, and not by power but by courage, they drove the Barbarian away and raised us to our present height of greatness. We must be worthy of them, and resist our enemies to the utmost, that we may hand down our empire unimpaired to posterity.'
Such were the words of Pericles. The Athenians, approving, voted as he told them, and on his motion answered the Laeedaemonians in detail as he had suggested, and on the whole question to the effect 'that they would do nothing upon compulsion, but were ready to settle their differences by arbitration upon fair terms according to the treaty.' So the ambassadors went home and came no more.
These were the causes of offence alleged on either side before the war began. The quarrel arose immediately out of the affair of Epidamnus and Corcyra. But, although the contest was imminent, the contending parties still kept up intercourse and visited each other, without a herald, but not with entire confidence. For the situation was really an abrogation of the treaty, and might at any time lead to war.
1. Or, connecting hôn with makrotaton: 'But after carrying the enquiry to the furthest point at which any trustworthy evidence can be obtained.'
2. Or, taking hou palai closely together: 'until recent times.'
3. Or, 'gave to some communities greater power; this was a source of quarrels, by which they' etc.
4. Or, taking es ta alla in another sense: 'that Attica through immigration increased in population quite out of proportion to her increase in other respects;' or, supplying tên 'Ellada and taking metoikias in another sense: 'And here is a striking confirmation of my argument that the constant migrations were the cause which prevented the rest of Hellas from increasing equally with Attica. The leading men of Hellas,' etc.
5. Or, supplying klêthentes with both clauses: ' those who successively acquired the Hellenic name, which first spread among the several tribes speaking the same language, and afterwards became universal.'
6. Od. iii. 73 ff.; ix. 252; Hymn to Apoll. 452 ff.
7. Cp. iii. 104 init.
8. Cp. i. 4.
9. Or, 'and incited the more powerful, who now had wealth at their command, to subjugate the lesser cities.'
10. Or, "Those who possess the most accurate traditions respecting the history of Peloponnesus say that' etc.
11. Il. ii. 108.
12. Il. ii. 509, 510.
13. Il. ii. 719, 720.
14. Il. ii. 570.
15. Cp. iii. 104 init.
16. Or, 'It was quite at a recent period, when the Athenians were at war with the Aeginetans and in expectation of the Barbarian, that Themistocles persuaded them to build the ships with which they fought at Salamis; and even these were not completely decked.'
17. Herod. v. 99.
18. Reading ktêsin, not ktisin.
19. Or, 'as well those who had revolted from the King, as those who had joined with him.'
20. Cp. i. 96, 99; iii. 39 init.; vi. 85 med.; vii. 57 init.
21. Or, 'either of Athens or Sparta.
22. Or (i), 'Though they may not obtain entire credit, even when the proofs of them are all set down in order.' Or (2), 'Though they will not readily be believed upon a bare recital of all the proofs of them.' Or (3), ' Though it is difficult to set down all the proofs in order, so as to make the account credible.'
23. Cp. vi. 54 seqq.
24. Herod. vi. 57.
25. Herod. ix. 53.
26. Cp. i. 115, 146.
27. Cp. iii. 58 med., 59 init.
28. The sum would amount to £2 15s. 4d., or to £1 2s. 6d., according to the two systems of reckoning discussed in the note on iii. 70, q.v.
29. Or, 'or again, they would agree to arbitration on the condition that both parties should remain' etc.
30. Cp. i. 29 init.
31. Cp. i. 115 init.
32. Or, 'and there is nothing extraordinary in our going to war with them, for they are doing us an unexampled injury.'
33. Or, 'whose actions corresponded to his professions, before he entered on the struggle.'
34. The last words of the chapter are omitted by Poppo on the authority of several of the best MSS.; they may perhaps be a gloss. If they are retained they may be translated: 'But you ought not to share all the consequences of their crimes, while in the crimes, and in them alone, you have no part.'
35. Cp. i. 115.
36. Cp. Herod. vi. 89.
37. Cp. i. 67 fin.
38. CP. i. 40 init.
39. Or, 'Here there is a harbour.'
40. Cp. iii. 70.
41. Or e conj. 'four.'
42. Reading pros 'Olynthou.
43. Or, 'to take his place with the expedition:' cp. infra, tên para Perdikkou dikosian hippon.
44. Cp. Herod. viii. 129.
45. Sixty stadia, the stadium being reckoned at two hundred and two yards.
46. Or, adopting the inferior reading tôn summachôn te kai ei tis: proceeded to summon any of their own allies, and any one else, who had similar charges,' etc.
47. "Or, I makes you distrustful of us when we bring a charge against others."
48. Cp. i. 90-92.
49. Cp. i. 107.
50. For descriptions of Athenian character, cp. ii. 37 ff:; iii. 38; 42, 43; vi. 76; 87.
51. Or, 'in running no risk even in self-defence.'
52. Cp. i. 58 med.
53. Cp. i. 123 fin.
54. Or, 'although it may be disagreeable to you to hear what we are always bringing forward.'
55. "Reading with the great majority of MSS. tetrakosias."
56. (?) by impartial law.
57. For the misconduct of Spartan officers abroad, cp. i. 95; 130; iii. 32; 93 fin.; viii. 84 init. Contrast Brasidas, iv. 81.
58. Or, 'and that our words too sound a note of war.'
59. Reading paraskeuazômetha.
60. Cp. i. 23 fin.
61. Cp. i. 69 init.
62. Cp. c. 130.
63. About £92,000.
64. Or, reading simpantes [?], as Poppo is inclined to do, 'were destroyed to a man by the Thracians.'
65. Or, accepting tetartô (Krüger's conj.), 'the fourth year.'
66. Omitting the stop after katelabon.
67. Cp. i. 102
68. I. e. Gythium.
69. cp. vii. 18 med.
70. Reading homoia
71. Or, 'which we must overcome by practice.'
72. Or, 'For we cannot suppose that, having avoided these errors, you have wrapped yourselves in that contemptuous wisdom, which has so often' etc.
73. Reading hêmin.
74. Cp. i. 71 fin.
75. Reading tauta: or, with all the MSS. retaining tauta: 'And as it is most certain that the policy which we recommend is for our advantage both as states and individuals, send speedy aid' etc.
76. Placing the comma before instead of after Diasia.
77. Cp. Herod. v. 71.
78. Cp. Herod. v. 70, 72.
79. Cp. i. 101, 102.
81. Cp. i. 94.
82. Cp. i. 93 init.
83. Cp. i. 128.
84. Cp. Herod. viii. 75.
85. Cp. Herod. viii. 108.
86. About £10,000.
87. Cp. ii. 64 init.
88. Cp. i. 78.
89. Cp. i. 121 med.
90. Cp. viii. 96 fin.
91. Cp. i. 122 init.
92. Cp. i. 121 med.
93. Cp. i. 121 init.
94. Cp. iii. 16 init.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00