IN the following summer, about the time when the corn comes into ear, ten Syracusan and ten Locrian ships took possession of Messenè in Sicily, whither they had gone by the invitation of the inhabitants. And so Messenè revolted from the Athenians. The Syracusans took part in this affair chiefly because they saw that Messenè was the key to Sicily. They were afraid that the Athenians would one day establish themselves there and come and attack them with a larger force. The Locrians took part because the Rhegians were their enemies, and they wanted to crush them by sea as well as by land. They had already invaded the territory of Rhegium with their whole army, in order to hinder the Rhegians from assisting the Messenians; they were also partly instigated by certain Rhegian exiles who had taken refuge with them. For the Rhegians had been for a long time torn by revolution, and in their present condition could not resist the Locrians, who for this very reason were the more disposed to attack them. After wasting the country, the Locrians withdrew their land forces; but the ships remained to protect Messenè. Another fleet which the allies were manning was intended to lie in the harbour of Messenè, and to carry on the war from thence.
During the spring and about the same time, before the corn was in full ear, the Peloponnesians and their allies invaded Attica, under the command of Agis the son of Archidamus, the Lacedaemonian king. They encamped and ravaged the country.
The Athenians sent to Sicily the forty ships,1 which were now ready, under the command of Eurymedon and Sophocles, the third general, Pythodorus, having gone thither beforehand. Orders were given to them, as they passed Corcyra, to assist the Corcyraeans in the city, who were harassed by the exiles in the mountain.2 The Peloponnesians had already sent sixty ships to the assistance of the exiles, expecting to make themselves masters of the situation with little difficulty; for there was a great famine in the city. Demosthenes, since his return from Acarnania, had been in no command, but now at his own request the Athenians allowed him to make use of the fleet about the Peloponnese according to his judgment.
When they arrived off the coast of Laconia and heard that the Peloponnesian ships were already at Corcyra, Eurymedon and Sophocles wanted to hasten thither, but Demosthenes desired them first to put in at Pylos and not to proceed on their voyage until they had done what he wanted. They objected, but it so happened that a storm came on and drove them into Pylos. Instantly Demosthenes urged them to fortify the place; this being the project which he had in view when he accompanied the fleet.3 He pointed out to them that there was abundance of timber and stone ready to their hand, and that the position was naturally strong, while both the place itself and the country for a long way round was uninhabited. Pylos is distant about forty-six miles from Sparta, and is situated in the territory which once belonged to the Messenians; by the Lacedaemonians it is called Coryphasium. The other generals argued that there were plenty of desolate promontories on the coast of Peloponnesus which he might occupy if he wanted to waste the public money. But Demosthenes thought that this particular spot had exceptional advantages. There was a harbour ready at hand; the Messenians, who were the ancient inhabitants of the country and spoke the same language with the Lacedaemonians, would make descents from the fort and do the greatest mischief: and they would be a trusty garrison.
As neither generals nor soldiers would listen to him, he at last communicated his idea to the officers of divisions; who would not listen to him either. The weather was still unfit for sailing; he was therefore compelled to remain doing nothing; until at length the soldiers, who had nothing to do, were themselves seized with a desire to come round and fortify the place forthwith. So they put their hands to the work; and, being unprovided with iron tools, brought stones which they picked out and put them together as they happened to fit; if they required to use mortar, having no hods, they carried it on their backs, which they bent so as to form a resting-place for it, clasping their hands behind them that it might not fall off. By every means in their power they hurried on the weaker points, wanting to finish them before the Lacedaemonians arrived. The position was in most places so strongly fortified by nature as to have no need of a wall.
The Lacedaemonians, who were just then celebrating a festival,4 made light of the news, being under the impression that they could easily storm the fort whenever they chose to attack it, even if the Athenians did not run away of themselves at their approach. They were also delayed by the absence of their army in Attica. In six days the Athenians finished the wall on the land side, and in places towards the sea where it was most required; they then left Demosthenes with five ships to defend it, and with the rest hastened on their way to Corcyra and Sicily.
The Peloponnesian army in Attica, when they heard that Pylos had been occupied, quickly returned home, Agis and the Lacedaemonians thinking that this matter touched them very nearly. The invasion had been made quite early in the year while the corn was yet green, and they were in want of food for their soldiers; moreover the wet and unseasonable weather had distressed them, so that on many grounds they were inclined to return sooner than they had intended. This was the shortest of all the Peloponnesian invasions; they only remained fifteen days in Attica.
About the same time Simonides, an Athenian general, collecting a few troops from the Athenian garrisons, and a larger force from their allies in that neighbourhood, took Eion in Chalcidicè, a colony of Mendè, which had been hostile to Athens; the place was betrayed to him. But the Chalcidians and Bottiaeans quickly came to the rescue and he was driven out with considerable loss.
On the return of the Peloponnesians from Attica, the Spartans and the Perioeci in the neighbourhood of the city5 went at once to attack Pylos, but the other Lacedaemonians, having only just returned from an expedition, were slower in arriving. A message was sent round the Peloponnesus bidding the allies come without a moment's delay and meet at Pylos; another message summoned the sixty Peloponnesian ships from Corcyra. These were carried over the Leucadian isthmus,6 and, undiscovered by the Athenian ships, which were by this time at Zacynthus, reached Pylos, where their land forces had already assembled. While the Peloponnesian fleet was still on its way, Demosthenes succeeded in despatching unobserved two vessels to let Eurymedon and the Athenian fleet know of his danger, and to bid them come at once.
While the Athenian ships were hastening to the assistance of Demosthenes in accordance with his request, the Lacedaemonians prepared to attack the fort both by sea and by land; they thought that there would be little difficulty in taking a work hastily constructed and defended by a handful of men. But as they expected the speedy arrival of the Athenian fleet they meant to close the entrances to the harbour, and prevent the Athenians from anchoring there should they fail in taking the fort before their arrival.
The island which is called Sphacteria stretches along the land and is quite close to it, making the harbour safe and the entrances narrow; there is only a passage for two ships at the one end, which was opposite Pylos and the Athenian fort, while at the other the strait between the island and the mainland7 is wide enough to admit eight or nine. The length of the island is about a mile and three-quarters; it was wooded, and being uninhabited had no roads. The Lacedaemonians were intending to block up the mouths of the harbour by ships placed close together with their prows outwards; meanwhile, fearing lest the Athenians should use the island for military operations, they conveyed thither some hoplites, and posted others along the shore of the mainland. Thus both the island and the mainland would be hostile to the Athenians; and nowhere on the mainland would there be a possibility of landing. For on the shore of Pylos itself, outside the entrance of the strait, and where the land faced the open sea, there were no harbours, and the Athenians would find no position from which they could assist their countrymen. Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians, avoiding the risk of an engagement at sea, might take the fort, which had been occupied in a hurry and was not provisioned. Acting on this impression they conveyed their hoplites over to the island, selecting them by lot out of each division of the army. One detachment relieved another; those who went over last and were taken in the island were four hundred and twenty men, besides the Helots who attended them; they were under the command of Epitadas the son of Molobrus.
Demosthenes, seeing that the Lacedaemonians were about to attack him both by sea and by land, made his own preparations. He drew up on shore under the fort the three triremes remaining8 to him out of the five which had not gone on to Corcyra, and protected them by a stockade; their crews he armed with shields, but of a poor sort, most of them made of wicker-work. In an uninhabited country there was no possibility of procuring arms, and these were only obtained from a thirty-oared privateer and a light boat belonging to some Messenians who had just arrived. Of these Messenians about forty were hoplites, whom Demosthenes used with the others. He placed the greater part of his forces, armed and unarmed, upon the side of the place which looks towards the mainland and was stronger and better fortified; these he ordered, if they should be attacked, to repel the land forces, while he himself selected out of the whole body of his troops sixty hoplites and a few archers, and marched out of the fort to the sea-shore at the point where the Lacedaemonians seemed most likely to attempt a landing. The spot which he chose lay towards the open sea, and was rocky and dangerous; but he thought that the enemy would be attracted thither and would be sure to make a dash at that point because the fortifications were weaker. For the Athenians, not expecting to be defeated at sea, had left the wall just there less strong, while if the enemy could once force a landing, the place would easily be taken. Accordingly, marching down to the very edge of the sea, he there posted his hoplites; he was determined to keep the enemy off if he could, and in this spirit he addressed his men:
'My companions in danger, let none of you now on the eve of battle desire to display his wits by reckoning up the sum of the perils which surround us; let him rather resolve to meet the enemy without much thought, but with a lively hope that he will survive them all. In cases like these, when there is no choice, reflection is useless, and the sooner danger comes the better. I am sure that our chances are more than equal if we will only stand firm, and, having so many advantages, do not take fright at the numbers of the enemy and throw them all away. The inaccessibility of the place is one of them; this, however, will only aid us if we maintain our position; when we have once retreated, the ground, though difficult in itself, will be easy enough to the enemy, for there will be no one to oppose him. And if we turn and press upon him he will be more obstinate than ever; for his retreat will be next to impossible. On ship-board the Peloponnesians are easily repelled, but once landed they are as good as we are. Of their numbers again we need not be so much afraid; for, numerous as they are, few only can fight at a time, owing to the difficulty of bringing their ships to shore. We are contending against an army superior indeed in numbers, but they are not our equals in other respects; for they are not on land but on water, and ships require many favourable accidents before they can act with advantage. So that I consider their embarrassments to counterbalance our want of numbers. You are Athenians, who know by experience the difficulty of disembarking in the presence of an enemy, and that if a man is not frightened out of his wits at the splashing of oars and the threatening look of a ship bearing down upon him, but is determined to hold his ground, no force can move him. It is now your turn to be attacked, and I call on you to stand fast and not to let the enemy touch the beach at all. Thus you will save yourselves and the place.'
The Athenians, inspirited by the words of Demosthenes, went down to the shore and formed a line along the water's edge. The Lacedaernonians now began to move, and assaulted the fort with their army by land, and with their fleet, consisting of forty-three ships, by sea. The admiral in command was Thrasymelidas, son of Cratesicles, a Spartan; he made his attack just where Demosthenes expected. The Athenians defended themselves both by sea and land. The Peloponnesians had divided their fleet into relays of a few ships--the space would not allow of more--and so resting and fighting by turns they made their attack with great spirit, loudly exhorting one another to force back the enemy and take the fort. Brasidas distinguished himself above all other men in the engagement; he was captain of a ship, and seeing his fellow-captains and the pilots, even if they could touch anywhere, hesitating and afraid of running their ships on the rocks, he called out to them: 'Not to be sparing of timber when the enemy had built a fort in their country; let them wreck their ships to force a landing': this he said to his own countrymen, and to the allies that 'they should not hesitate at such a moment to make a present of their ships to the Lacedaemonians, who had done so much for them; they must run aground, and somehow or other get to land and take the fort and the men in it.'
While thus upbraiding the others he compelled his own pilot to run his ship aground, and made for the gangway. But in attempting to disembark he was struck by the Athenians, and, after receiving many wounds, he swooned away and fell into the fore part of the ship; his shield slipped off his arm into the sea, and, being washed ashore, was taken up by the Athenians and used for the trophy which they raised in commemoration of this attack. The Peloponnesians in the other ships made great efforts to disembark, but were unable on account of the roughness of the ground and the tenacity with which the Athenians held their position. It was a singular turn of fortune which drove the Athenians to repel the Lacedaemonians, who were attacking them by sea, from the Lacedaemonian coast, and the Lacedaemonians to fight for a landing on their own soil, now hostile to them, in the face of the Athenians. For in those days it was the great glory of the Lacedaemonians to be a land power distinguished for their military prowess, and of the Athenians to be a nation of sailors and the first sea power in Hellas.
The Peloponnesians, having continued their efforts during this day and a part of the next, at length desisted; on the third day they sent some of their ships to Asinè for timber with which to make engines, hoping by their help to take the part of the fort looking towards the harbour where the landing was easier, although it was built higher. Meanwhile the Athenian ships arrived from Zacynthus; they had been increased in number to fifty by the arrival of some guard-ships from Naupactus and of four Chian vessels. Their commanders saw that both the mainland and the island were full of hoplites, and that the ships were in the harbour and were not coming out: so, not knowing where to find anchorage, they sailed away for the present to the island of Protè, which is close at hand and uninhabited, and there passed the night. Next day, having made ready for action, they put off to sea, intending, if, as they hoped, the Peloponnesians were willing to come out against them, to give battle in the open; if not, to sail into the harbour. The Peloponnesians did not come out, and had somehow neglected to close the mouths as they had intended. They showed no sign of moving, but were on shore, manning their ships and preparing to fight, if any one entered the harbour, which was of considerable size.
The Athenians, seeing how matters stood, rushed in upon them at both mouths of the harbour. Most of the enemies' ships had by this time got into deep water and were facing them. These they put to flight and pursued them as well as they could in such a narrow space; damaging many and taking five, one of them with the crew. They charged the remaining vessels even after they had reached the land, and there were some which they disabled while the crews were getting into them and before they put out at all. Others they succeeded in tying to their own ships and began to drag them away empty, the sailors having taken flight. At this sight the Lacedaemonians were in an agony, for their friends were being cut off in the island; they hurried to the rescue, and dashing armed as they were into the sea, took hold of the ships and pulled them back; that was a time when every one thought that the action was at a stand where he himself was not engaged.9 The confusion was tremendous; the two combatants in this battle for the ships interchanging their usual manner of fighting; for the Lacedaemonians in their excitement and desperation did, as one may say, carry on a sea-fight from the land, and the Athenians, who were victorious and eager to push their good fortune to the utmost, waged a land-fight from their ships. At length, after giving each other much trouble and inflicting great damage, they parted. The Lacedaemonians saved their empty ships, with the exception of those which were first taken. Both sides retired to their encampments; the Athenians then raised a trophy, gave up the dead, and took possession of the wrecks. They lost no time in sailing round the island and establishing a guard over the men who were cut off there. The Peloponnesians on the mainland, who had now been joined by all their contingents, remained in their position before Pylos.
At Sparta, when the news arrived, there was great consternation; it was resolved that the magistrates should go down to the camp and see for themselves; they could then take on the spot any measures which they thought necessary. Finding on their arrival that nothing could be done for their soldiers in the island, and not liking to run the risk of their being starved to death or overcome by force of numbers,10 they decided that with the consent of the Athenian generals they would suspend hostilities at Pylos, and sending ambassadors to ask for peace at Athens, would endeavour to recover their men as soon as possible.
The Athenian commanders accepted their proposals, and a truce was made on the following conditions:
'The Lacedaemonians shall deliver into the hands of the Athenians at Pylos the ships in which they fought, and shall also bring thither and deliver over any other ships of war which are in Laconia; and they shall make no assault upon the fort either by sea or land. The Athenians shall permit the Lacedaemonians on the mainland to send to those on the island a fixed quantity of kneaded flour, viz. two Attic quarts11 of barley-meal for each man, and a pint of wine, and also a piece of meat; for an attendant, half these quantities; they shall send them into the island under the inspection of the Athenians, and no vessel shall sail in by stealth. The Athenians shall guard the island as before, but not land, and shall not attack the Peloponnesian forces by land or by sea. If either party violate this agreement in any particular, however slight, the truce is to be at an end. The agreement is to last until the Lacedaemonian ambassadors return from Athens, and the Athenians are to convey them thither and bring them back in a trireme. When they return the truce is to be at an end, and the Athenians are to restore the ships in the same condition in which they received them.' Such were the terms of the truce. The ships, which were about sixty in number, were given up to the Athenians. The ambassadors went on their way, and arriving at Athens spoke as follows:
'Men of Athens, the Lacedaemonians have sent us to negotiate for the recovery of our countrymen in the island, in the hope that you may be induced to grant us terms such as will be at once advantageous to you and not inglorious to us in our present misfortune. If we speak at length, this will be no departure from the custom of our country. On the contrary, it is our manner not to say much where few words will suffice, but to be more liberal of speech when something important has to be said and words are the ministers of action.12 Do not receive what we say in a hostile spirit, or imagine that we deem you ignorant and are instructing you, but regard us simply as putting you in mind13 of what you already know to be good policy. For you may turn your present advantage to excellent account, not only keeping what you have won, but gaining honour and glory as well. You will then escape the reverse which is apt to be experienced by men who attain any unusual good fortune; for, having already succeeded beyond all expectation, they see no reason why they should set any limit to their hopes and desires. Whereas they who have oftenest known the extremes of either kind of fortune ought to be most suspicious of prosperity; and this may naturally be expected to be the lesson which experience has taught both us and you.
'Look only at the calamity which has just overtaken us, who formerly enjoyed the greatest prestige of any Hellenic state, but are now come hither to ask of you the boon which at one time we should have thought ourselves better able to confer. You cannot attribute our mishap to any want of power; nor to the pride which an increase of power fosters. We were neither stronger nor weaker than before, but we erred in judgment, and to such errors all men are liable. Therefore you should not suppose that, because your city and your empire are powerful at this moment, you will always have fortune on your side. The wise ensure their own safety by not making too sure of their gains, and when disasters come they can meet them more intelligently; they know that war will go on its way whithersoever chance may lead, and will not restrict itself to the limits which he who begins to meddle with it would fain prescribe. They of all men will be least likely to meet with reverses, because they are not puffed up with military success, and they will be most inclined to end the struggle in the hour of victory. It will be for your honour, Athenians, to act thus towards us. And then the victories which you have gained already cannot be attributed to mere luck; as they certainly will be if, rejecting our prayer, you should hereafter encounter disasters, a thing which is not unlikely to happen. Whereas you may if you will leave to posterity a reputation for power and wisdom which no danger can affect.
'The Lacedaemonians invite you to make terms with them and to finish the war. They offer peace and alliance and a general friendly and happy relation, and they ask in return their countrymen who are cut off in the island. They think it better that neither city should run any further risk, you of the escape of the besieged, who may find some means of forcing their way out, we of their being compelled to surrender and passing absolutely into your hands. We think that great enmities are most effectually reconciled, not when one party seeks revenge and, getting a decided superiority, binds his adversary by enforced oaths and makes a treaty with him on unequal terms, but when, having it in his power to do all this, he from a generous and equitable feeling overcomes his resentment, and by the moderation of his terms surprises his adversary, who, having sufered no violence at his hands, is bound to recompense his generosity not with evil but with good, and who therefore, from a sense of honour, is more likely to keep his word. And mankind are more ready to make such a concession to their greater enemies than to those with whom they have only a slight difference.14 Again, they joyfully give way to those who first give way themselves, although against overbearing power they will risk a conflict even contrary to their own better judgment.
'Now, if ever, is the time of reconciliation for us both, before either has suffered any irremediable calamity, which must cause, besides the ordinary antagonism of contending states, a personal and inveterate hatred, and will deprive you of the advantages which we now offer. While the contest is still undecided, while you may acquire reputation and our friendship, and while our disaster can be repaired on tolerable terms, and disgrace averted, let us be reconciled, and choosing peace instead of war ourselves, let us give relief and rest to all the Hellenes. The chief credit of the peace will be yours. Whether we or you drove them into war is uncertain; but to give them peace lies with you, and to you they will be grateful. If you decide for peace, you may assure to yourselves the lasting friendship of the Lacedaemonians freely offered by them, you on your part employing no force but kindness only. Consider the great advantages which such a friendship will yield. If you and we are at one, you may be certain that the rest of Hellas, which is less powerful than we, will pay to both of us the greatest deference.'
Thus spoke the Lacedaemonians, thinking that the Athenians, who had formerly been desirous of making terms with them, and had only been prevented by their refusal,15 would now, when peace was offered to them, joyfully agree and would restore their men. But the Athenians reflected that, since they had the Lacedaemonians shut up in the island, it was at any time in their power to make peace, and they wanted more. These feelings were chiefly encouraged by Cleon the son of Cleaenetus, a popular leader of the day who had the greatest influence over the multitude.16 He persuaded them to reply that the men in the island must first of all give up themselves and their arms and be sent to Athens; the Lacedaemonians were then to restore Nisaea, Pegae, Troezen, and Achaia--places which had not been taken in war, but had been surrendered under a former treaty17 in a time of reverse, when the Athenians were more anxious to obtain peace than they now were.18 On these conditions they might recover the men and make a treaty of such duration as both parties should approve.
To this reply the Lacedaemonians said nothing, but only requested that the Athenians would appoint commissioners to discuss with them the details of the agreement and quietly arrive at an understanding about them if they could. This proposal was assailed by Cleon in unmeasured language: he had always known, he said, that they meant no good, and now their designs were unveiled; for they were unwilling to speak a word before the people, but wanted to be closeted with a select few;19if they had any honesty in them, let them say what they wanted to the whole city. But the Lacedaemonians knew that, although they might be willing to make concessions under the pressure of their calamities, they could not speak openly before the assembly (for if they spoke and did not succeed, the terms which they offered might injure them in the opinion of their allies); they saw too that the Athenians would not grant what was asked of them on any tolerable conditions. So, after a fruitless negotiation, they returned home.
Upon their return the truce at Pylos instantly came to an end, and the Lacedaemonians demanded back their ships according to the agreement. But the Athenians accused them of making an assault upon the fort, and of some other petty infractions of the treaty which seemed hardly worth mentioning. Accordingly they refused to restore them, insisting upon the clause which said that if 'in any particular, however slight,' the agreement were violated, the treaty was to be at an end. The Lacedaemonians remonstrated, and went away protesting against the injustice of detaining their ships. Both parties then renewed the war at Pylos with the utmost vigour. The Athenians had two triremes sailing round Sphacteria in opposite directions throughout the day, and at night their whole fleet was moored about the island, except on the side towards the sea when the wind was high. Twenty additional ships had come from Athens to assist in the blockade, so that the entire number was seventy. The Peloponnesians lay encamped on the mainland and made assaults upon the fort, watching for any opportunity which might present itself of rescuing their men.
Meanwhile in Sicily the Syracusans and the allies brought up the fleet which they had been equipping20 to Messenè, and joining the other fleet which was keeping guard there, carried on the war from thence. They were instigated chiefly by the Locrians, who hated the Rhegians, and had already invaded their territory with their whole force. They were eager to try their fortune in a naval engagement, for they saw that the Athenians had only a few ships actually on the spot; the larger portion of the fleet which had been despatched to Sicily being, as they heard, engaged in the siege of Sphacteria. If they conquered at sea they hoped to blockade Rhegium both by sea and land; they would easily master the place, and their affairs would then be really gaining strength. Rhegium, the extreme point of Italy, and Messenè, of Sicily, are close to one another; and if Rhegium were taken the Athenians would not be able to lie there and command the strait. Now the strait is that portion of sea between Rhegium and Messenè where Sicily is nearest to the continent; it is the so-called Charybdis by which Odysseus is said to have passed. The channel was naturally considered dangerous; for the strait is narrow; and the sea flowing into it from two great oceans, the Tyrrhenian and Sicilian, is full of currents.
In this strait the Syracusans and their allies, who had somewhat more than thirty ships, were compelled to fight late in the day for a vessel which was sailing through. They put out against sixteen Athenian and eight Rhegian ships; but, being defeated by the Athenians, they made a hasty retreat, each ship as it best could, to their stations at Messenè and near Rhegium; one ship was lost. Night closed the engagement. After this the Locrians quitted the Rhegian territory, and the Syracusans and their confederates united their fleet and anchored at the promontory of Pelorus near Messenè, where their land-forces were also stationed. The Athenians and Rhegians, sailing up to them, and seeing that the crews were not there, fell upon the empty vessels, but an iron grapnel was thrown out at them, and they in their turn lost a ship, from which the crew escaped by swimming. Then the Syracusans embarked, and, as they were being towed along the shore towards Messenè, the Athenians again attacked them. Making a sudden twist outwards they struck the first blow at the Athenians, who lost another ship. Thus both in the movement along the coast and in the naval engagement which ensued, the Syracusans proved themselves quite a match for the Athenians, and at length made their way into the harbour at Messenè.
The Athenians, hearing that Camarina was to be betrayed to the Syracusans by a certain Archias and his confederates, sailed thither. Meanwhile the Messenians, with their whole power by land and with the allied fleet, made war upon Naxos, a Chalcidian city which was their neighbour. On the first day they forced the Naxians to retire within their walls and ravaged the country; on the morrow they sailed round to the mouth of the river Acesines, again ravaged the country, and with their land-forces made incursions right up to the city. But in the meantime a large body of Sicels came down over the heights to assist the Naxians against the Messenians. Perceiving this the besieged took heart, and shouting to one another that the Leontines and their other Hellenic allies were coming to succour them, they sallied out of the city, charged the Messenians, and put them to flight with a loss of more than a thousand men; the rest with difficulty escaped, for the barbarians fell upon them in the roads and destroyed most of them. The allied fleet, putting into Messenè, broke up and returned home. Whereupon the Leontines and their allies, in concert with the Athenians, marched against the now enfeebled Messenè. The Athenian fleet attempted an assault of the harbour while the army attacked the city. But the Messenians and a Locrian garrison under Demoteles, which after their disaster at Naxos had been left to protect the place, suddenly falling upon them put to flight the main body of the Leontines with great loss; whereupon the Athenians disembarked, came to their aid, and, falling on the Messenians while they were still in confusion, chased them back to the city. They then erected a trophy and retired to Rhegium. After this the Hellenes in Sicily went on fighting against one another by land; but the Athenians took no part in their operations.
At Pylos meanwhile the Athenians continued to blockade the Lacedaemonians in the island, and the Peloponnesian forces on the mainland remained in their old position. The watch was harassing to the Athenians, for they were in want both of food and water; there was only one small well, which was in the acropolis, and the soldiers were commonly in the habit of scraping away the shingle on the sea-shore, and drinking such water as they could get. The Athenian garrison was crowded into a narrow space, and, their ships having no regular anchorage, the crews took their meats on land by turns; one half of the army eating while the other lay at anchor in the open sea. The unexpected length of the siege was a great discouragement to them; they had hoped to starve their enemies out in a few days, for they were on a desert island, and had only brackish water to drink. The secret of this protracted resistance was a proclamation issued by the Lacedaemonians offering large fixed prices, and freedom if he were a Helot, to any one who would convey into the island meal, wine, cheese or any other provision suitable for a besieged place. Many braved the danger, especially the Helots; they started from all points of Peloponnesus, and before daybreak bore down upon the shore of the island looking towards the open sea. They took especial care to have a strong wind in their favour, since they were less likely to be discovered by the triremes when it blew hard from the sea. The blockade was then impracticable, and the crews of the boats were perfectly reckless in running them aground; for a value had been set upon them, and Lacedaemonian hoplites were waiting to receive them about the landing-places of the island. All however who ventured when the sea was calm were captured. Some too dived and swam by way of the harbour, drawing after them by a cord skins containing pounded linseed and poppy-seeds mixed with honey. At first they were not found out, but afterwards watches were posted. The two parties had all sorts of devices, the one determined to send in food, the other to detect them.
When the Athenians heard that their own army was suffering and that supplies were introduced into the island, they began to be anxious and were apprehensive that the blockade might extend into the winter. They reflected that the conveyance of necessaries round the Peloponnese would then be impracticable. Their troops were in a desert place, to which, even in summer, they were not able to send a sufficient supply. The coast was without harbours; and therefore it would be impossible to maintain the blockade. Either the watch would be relaxed and the men would escape; or, taking advantage of a storm, they might sail away in the ships which brought them food. Above all they feared that the Lacedaemonians, who no longer made overtures to them, must now be reassured of the strength of their own position, and they regretted having rejected their advances. Cleon, knowing that he was an object of general mistrust because he had stood in the way of peace, challenged the reports of the messengers from Pylos; who rejoined that, if their words were not believed, the Athenians should send commissioners of their own. And so Theogenes and Cleon himself were chosen commissioners. As he knew that he could only confirm the report of the messengers whom he was calumniating, or would be convicted of falsehood if he contradicted them, observing too that the Athenians were now more disposed to take active measures, he advised them not to send commissioners, which would only be a loss of valuable time, but, if they were themselves satisfied with the report, to send a fleet against the island. Pointedly alluding to Nicias the son of Niceratus, who was one of the generals and an enemy of his, he declared sarcastically that, if the generals were men, they might easily sail with an expedition to the island and take the garrison, and that this was what he would certainly have done, had he been general.
Nicias perceived that the multitude were murmuring at Cleon, and asking 'why21 he did not sail in any case--now was his time if he thought the capture of Sphacteria to be such an easy matter'; and hearing him find fault, he told him that, as far as they, the generals, were concerned, he might take any force which he required and try. Cleon at first imagined that the offer of Nicias was only a pretence, and was willing to go; but finding that he was in earnest, he tried to back out; and said that not he but Nicias was general. He was now alarmed, for he never imagined that Nicias would go so far as to give up his place to him Again Nicias bade him take the command of the expedition against Pylos, which he formally gave up to him in the presence of the assembly. And the more Cleon declined the proffered command and tried to retract what he had said, so much the more the multitude, as their manner is, urged Nicias to resign and shouted to Cleon that he should sail. At length, not knowing how to escape from his own words, he undertook the expedition, and, coming forward, said that he was not afraid of the Lacedaemonians, and that he would sail without taking a single man from the city if he were allowed to have the Lemnian and Imbrian forces now at Athens, the auxiliaries from Aenus, who were targeteers, and four hundred archers from other places. With these and with the troops already at Pylos he gave his word that within twenty days he would either bring the Lacedaemonians alive or kill them on the spot. His vain words moved the Athenians to laughter; nevertheless; the wiser sort of men were pleased when they reflected that of two good things they could not fail to obtain one--either there would be no more trouble with Cleon, which they would have greatly preferred, or, if they were disappointed, he would put the Lacedaemonians into their hands.
When he had concluded the affair in the assembly, and the Athenians had passed the necessary vote for his expedition, he made choice of Demosthenes, one of the generals at Pylos, to be his colleague, and proceeded to sail with all speed. He selected Demosthenes because he heard that he was already intending to make an attack upon the island; for the soldiers, who were suffering much from the discomfort of the place, in which they were rather besieged than besiegers,22 were eager to strike a decisive blow. He had been much encouraged by a fire which had taken place in the island. It had previously been nearly covered with wood and was pathless, having never been inhabited; and he had feared that the nature of the country would give the enemy an advantage. For, however large the force with which he landed, the Lacedaemonians might attack him from some place of ambush and do him much injury. Their mistakes and the character of their forces would be concealed by the wood; whereas all the errors made by his own army would be palpable, and so the enemy, with whom the power of attack would rest, might come upon them suddenly wherever they liked. And if they were compelled to go into the wood and there engage, a smaller force which knew the ground would be more than a match for the larger number who were unacquainted with it. Their own army, however numerous, would be destroyed without knowing it, for they would not be able to see where they needed one another's assistance.
Demosthenes was led to make these reflections from his experience in Aetolia,23 where his defeat had been in a great measure owing to the forest. However, while the Athenian soldiers were taking their midday meal, with a guard posted in advance, at the extremity of the island, compelled as they were by want of room to land on the edge of the shore at meal-times, some one unintentionally set fire to a portion of the wood; a wind came on; and from this accident, before they knew what was happening, the greater part of it was burnt. Demosthenes, who had previously suspected that the Lacedaemonians when they sent in provisions to the besieged had exaggerated their number, saw that the men were more numerous than he had imagined. He saw too24 the increased zeal of the Athenians, who were now convinced that the attempt was worth making; and the island seemed to him more accessible. So he prepared for the descent, despatching messengers to the allies in the neighbourhood for additional forces and putting all in readiness. Cleon sent and announced to Demosthenes his approach, and soon afterwards, bringing with him the army which he had requested, himself arrived at Pylos. On the meeting of the two generals they first of all sent a herald to the Lacedaemonian force on the mainland, proposing that they should avoid any further risk by ordering the men in the island to surrender with their arms; they were to be placed under surveillance but well treated until a general peace was concluded.
Finding that their proposal was rejected, the Athenians waited for a day, and on the night of the day following put off, taking with them all their heavy-armed troops, whom they had embarked in a few ships. A little before dawn they landed on both sides of the island, towards the sea and towards the harbour, a force amounting in all to about eight hundred men. They then ran as fast as they could to the first station on the island. Now the disposition of the enemy was as follows: This first station was garrisoned by about thirty hoplites, while the main body under the command of Epitadas was posted near the spring in the centre of the island, where the ground was most level. A small force guarded25 the furthest extremity of the island opposite Pylos, which was precipitous towards the sea, and on the land side the strongest point of all, being protected to some extent by an ancient wall made of rough stones, which the Spartans thought would be of use to them if they were overpowered and compelled to retreat. Such was the disposition of the Lacedaemonian troops.
The Athenians rushed upon the first garrison and cut them down, half asleep as they were and just snatching up their arms. Their landing had been unobserved, the enemy supposing that the ships were only gone to keep the customary watch for the night. When the dawn appeared, the rest of the army began to disembark. They were the crews of rather more than seventy ships, including all but the lowest rank of rowers, variously equipped. There were also archers to the number of eight hundred, and as many targeteers, besides the Messenian auxiliaries and all who were on duty about Pylos, except the guards who could not be spared from the walls of the fortress. Demosthenes divided them into parties of two hundred more or less, who seized the highest points of the island in order that the enemy, being completely surrounded and distracted by the number of their opponents, might not know whom they should face first, but might be exposed to missiles on every side. For if they attacked those who were in front, they would be assailed by those behind; and if those on one flank, by those posted on the other; and whichever way they moved, the light-armed troops of the enemy were sure to be in their rear. These were their most embarrassing opponents, because they were armed with bows and javelins and slings and stones, which could be used with effect at a distance. Even to approach them was impossible, for they conquered in their very flight, and when an enemy retreated, pressed close at his heels. Such was the plan of the descent which Demosthenes had in his mind, and which he now carried into execution.
The main body of the Lacedaemonians on the island under Epitadas, when they saw the first garrison cut to pieces and an army approaching them, drew up in battle array. The Athenian hoplites were right in front, and the Lacedaemonians advanced against them, wanting to come to close quarters; but having light-armed adversaries both on their flank and rear, they could not get at them or profit by their own military skill, for they were impeded by a shower of missiles from both sides. Meanwhile the Athenians instead of going to meet them remained in position, while the light-armed again and again ran up and attacked the Lacedaemonians, who drove them back where they pressed closest. But though compelled to retreat they still continued fighting, being lightly equipped and easily getting the start of their enemies. The ground was difficult and rough, the island having been uninhabited; and the Lacedaemonians, who were incumbered by their arms, could not pursue them in such a place.
For some little time these skirmishes continued. But soon the Lacedaemonians became too weary to rush out upon their assailants, who began to be sensible that their resistance grew feebler. The sight of their own number, which was many times that of the enemy, encouraged them more than anything; they soon found that their losses were trifling compared with what they had expected; and familiarity made them think their opponents much less formidable than when they first landed cowed by the fear of facing Lacedaemonians. They now despised them and with a loud cry rushed upon them in a body, hurling at them stones, arrows, javelins, whichever came first to hand. The shout with which they accompanied the attack dismayed the Lacedaemonians, who were unaccustomed to this kind of warfare. Clouds of dust arose from the newly-burnt wood, and there was no possibility of a man's seeing what was before him, owing to the showers of arrows and stones hurled by their assailants which were flying amid the dust. And now the Lacedaemonians began to be sorely distressed, for their felt cuirasses did not protect them against the arrows, and the points of the javelins broke off where they struck them. They were at their wits' end, not being able to see out of their eyes or to hear the word of command, which was drowned by the cries of the enemy. Destruction was staring them in the face, and they had no means or hope of deliverance.
At length, finding that so long as they fought in the same narrow spot more and more of their men were wounded, they closed their ranks and fell back on the last fortification of the island, which was not far off, and where their other garrison was stationed. Instantly the light-armed troops of the Athenians pressed upon them with fresh confidence, redoubling their cries. Those of the Lacedaemonians who were caught by them on the way were killed, but the greater number escaped to the fort and ranged themselves with the garrison, resolved to defend the heights wherever they were assailable. The Athenians followed, but the strength of the position made it impossible to surround and cut them off, and so they attacked them in face and tried to force them back. For a long time, and indeed during the greater part of the day, both armies, although suffering from the battle and thirst and the heat of the sun, held their own; the one endeavouring to thrust their opponents from the high ground, the other determined not to give way. But the Lacedaemonians now defended themselves with greater ease, because they were not liable to be taken in flank.
There was no sign of the end. At length the general of the Messenian contingent came to Cleon and Demosthenes and told them that the army was throwing away its pains, but if they would give him some archers and light-armed troops and let him find a path by which he might get round in the rear of the Lacedaemonians, he thought that he could force the approach. Having obtained his request he started from a point out of sight of the enemy, and making his way wherever the broken ground afforded a footing and where the cliff was so steep that no guards had been set, he and his men with great difficulty got round unseen and suddenly appeared on the summit in their rear, striking panic into the astonished enemy and redoubling the courage of his own friends who were watching for his reappearance. The Lacedaemonians were now assailed on both sides, and to compare a smaller thing to a greater, were in the same case with their own countrymen at Thermopylae. For as they perished when the Persians found a way round by the path, so now the besieged garrison were attacked on both sides, and no longer resisted. The disparity of numbers, and the failure of bodily strength arising from want of food, compelled them to fall back; and the Athenians were at length masters of the approaches.
Cleon and Demosthenes saw that if the Lacedaemonians gave way one step more they would be destroyed by the Athenians; so they stopped the engagement and held back their own army, for they wanted, if possible, to bring them alive to Athens. They were in hopes that when they heard the offer of terms their courage might be broken, and that they might be induced by their desperate situation to yield up their arms. Accordingly they proclaimed to them that they might, if they would, surrender at discretion to the Athenians themselves and their arms.
Upon hearing the proclamation most of them lowered their shields and waved their hands in token of their willingness to yield. A truce was made, and then Cleon and Demosthenes on the part of the Athenians, and Styphon the son of Pharax on the part of the Lacedaemonians, held a parley. Epitadas, who was the first in command, had been already slain; Hippagretas, who was next in succession, lay among the slain for dead; and Styphon had taken the place of the two others, having been appointed, as the law prescribed, in case anything should happen to them. He and his companions expressed their wish to communicate with the Lacedaemonians on the mainland as to the course which they should pursue. The Athenians allowed none of them to stir, but themselves invited heralds from the shore; and after two or three communications, the herald who came over last from the body of the army brought back word, 'The Lacedaemonians bid you act as you think best, but you are not to dishonour yourselves.' Whereupon they consulted together, and then gave up themselves and their arms. During that day and the following night the Athenians kept guard over them; on the next day they set up a trophy on the island and made preparations to sail, distributing the prisoners among the trierarchs. The Lacedaemonians sent a herald and conveyed away their own dead. The number of the dead and the prisoners was as follows:--Four hundred and twenty hoplites in all passed over into the island; of these, two hundred and ninety-two were brought to Athens alive, the remainder had perished. Of the survivors the Spartans numbered about a hundred and twenty. But few Athenians fell, for there was no regular engagement.
Reckoned from the sea-fight to the final battle in the island, the time during which the blockade lasted was ten weeks and two days. For about three weeks the Lacedaemonians were supplied with food while the Spartan ambassadors were gone to solicit peace, but during the rest of this time they lived on what was brought in by stealth. A store of corn and other provisions was found in the island at the time of the capture; for the commander Epitadas had not served out full rations. The Athenians and Peloponnesians now withdrew their armies from Pylos and returned home. And the mad promise of Cleon was fulfilled; for he did bring back the prisoners within twenty days, as he had said.
Nothing which happened during the war caused greater amazement in Hellas; for it was universally imagined that the Lacedaemonians would never give up their arms, either under the pressure of famine or in any other extremity, but would fight to the last and die sword in hand. No one would believe that those who surrendered were men of the same quality with those who perished. There is a story of a reply made by a captive taken in the island to one of the Athenian allies who had sneeringly asked 'Where were their brave men all killed?'26 He answered that 'The spindle' (meaning the arrow) `would be indeed a valuable weapon if it picked out the brave.' He meant to say that the destruction caused by the arrows and stones was indiscriminate.
On the arrival of the captives the Athenians resolved to put them in chains until peace was concluded, but if in the meantime the Lacedaemonians invaded Attica, to bring them out and put them to death. They placed a garrison in Pylos; and the Messenians of Naupactus, regarding the place as their native land (for Pylos is situated in the territory which was once Messenia), sent thither some of themselves, being such troops as were best suited for the service, who ravaged Laconia and did great harm, because they spoke the same language with the inhabitants. The Lacedaemonians had never before experienced this irregular and predatory warfare; and finding the Helots desert, and dreading some serious domestic calamity, they were in great trouble. Although reluctant to expose their condition before the Athenians, they sent envoys to them and endeavoured to recover Pylos and the prisoners. But the Athenians only raised their terms, and at last, after they had made many fruitless journeys, dismissed them. Thus ended the affair of Pylos.
During the same summer and immediately afterwards the Athenians attacked the Corinthian territory with eighty ships, two thousand heavy-armed, and cavalry to the number of two hundred conveyed in horse transports. They were accompanied by allies from Miletus, Andros, and Carystus. Nicias the son of Niceratus, and two others, were in command. Very early in the morning they put in between the promontory Chersonesus and the stream Rhetus, to that part of the coast which is overhung by the Solygean ridge; there in ancient times Dorian invaders had taken up their position and fought against their Aeolian enemies in Corinth, and to this day there is a village, called Solygea, on the hill which they occupied. From the beach where the crews landed this village is distant nearly a mile and a half, the city of Corinth about seven miles, and the isthmus about two miles and a quarter. The Corinthians, having had early intimation from Argos of the intended invasion, came in good time to the isthmus. The whole population, with the exception of those who dwelt to the north of the isthmus and five hundred troops who were employed in protecting Ambracia and Leucadia,27 was on the watch to see where the Athenians would land. But, having sailed in before daylight, they were not discovered; the Corinthians however were soon informed by signals of their landing; and so, leaving half their troops at Cenchreae in case the Athenians should attack Crommyon, they came to the rescue with all speed.
Battus, one of the two generals who were present in the engagement, taking a single division of the force, went to Solygea, intending to protect the village, which was not fortified; Lycophron with the remainder of the army attacked the enemy. The Corinthians first of all assailed the right wing of the Athenians, which had only just landed in front of the Chersonesus, and then engaged with the rest. The conflict was stubborn, and all hand to hand. The Athenians, who were on the right wing, and the Carystians, who were on the extreme right, received the Corinthians, and with some difficulty drove them back. They retired behind a loose stone wall, and the whole place being a steep hill-side, threw the stones down from above; but soon they raised the paean and again came on. Again the Athenians received them, and another hand-to-hand fight ensued, when a division of the Corinthians coming to the aid of their left wing, forced back the right wing of the Athenians and pursued them to the sea; but the Athenians and Carystians in their turn again drove them back from the ships. Meanwhile the rest of the two armies had been fighting steadily. On the right wing of the Corinthians, where Lycophron was opposed to the Athenian left, the defence was most energetic; for he and his troops were apprehensive that the Athenians would move on the village of Solygea. For a long time neither would give way, but at length the Athenians, having an advantage in cavalry, with which the Corinthians were unprovided, drove them back, and they retired to the summit of the ridge; where they grounded their arms and remained inactive, refusing to come down. In this defeat of their right wing the Corinthians incurred the heaviest loss, and Lycophron their general was slain. The whole army was now forced back upon the high ground, where they remained in position; they were not pursued far, and made a leisurely retreat. The Athenians seeing that they did not return to the attack, at once erected a trophy and began to spoil the enemies' dead and take up their own. The other half of the Corinthians who were keeping guard at Cenchreae, lest the Athenians should sail against Crommyon, had their view of the battle intercepted by Mount Oneum. But when they saw the dust and knew what was going on, they instantly came to the rescue. The elder men of Corinth hearing of the defeat likewise hastened to the spot. The united army then advanced against the Athenians, who fancying that a reinforcement had come from the neighbouring states of Peloponnesus, quickly retreated to their ships, taking their spoils and their own dead, with the exception of two whom they could not find; they then embarked and sailed to the neighbouring islands. Thence they sent a herald asking for a truce, and recovered the two dead bodies which were missing. The Corinthians lost two hundred and twelve men; the Athenians hardly so many as fifty.
On the same day the Athenians sailed from the islands to Crommyon, which is in the territory of Corinth, nearly fourteen miles from the city, and, there anchoring, they ravaged the country and encamped for the night. On the following day they sailed along the coast to Epidaurus, where they made a descent, and then passed onward and came to Methonè, which is situated between Epidaurus and Troezen. They built a wall across the isthmus, and so cut off the peninsula on which Methonè stands. There they established a garrison, which continued for some time to ravage the country of Troezen, Halieis, and Epidaurus. The fleet, when the fortification was completed, returned home.
Just about this time Eurymedon and Sophocles, who had started from Pylos on their voyage to Sicily with the Athenian fleet, arrived at Corcyra, and in concert with the popular party attacked the Corcyraean oligarchs, who after the revolution had crossed over into the island and settled in Mount Istonè. Here they had become masters of the country again, and were doing great mischief.28 The Athenians assaulted and took their fortress; the garrison, who had fled in a body to a peak of the hill, came to terms, agreeing to give up their auxiliaries and surrender their arms, but stipulating that their own fate should be decided by the Athenian people. The garrison themselves were conveyed by the generals to the island of Ptychia and kept there under a promise of safety until they could be sent to Athens; on condition however that if any of them were caught attempting to escape, they should all lose the benefit of the agreement. Now the leaders of the Corcyraean democracy feared that when the captives arrived at Athens they would not be put to death; so they devised the following trick:--They sent to the island friends of the captives, whom with seeming good-will they instructed to tell them that they had better escape as fast as they could, for the fact was that the Athenian generals were about to hand them over to the Corcyraean democracy; they would themselves provide a vessel.
The friends of the captives persuaded a few of them, and the vessel was provided. The prisoners were taken sailing out; the truce was at an end, and they were all instantly delivered up to the Corcyraeans. The feeling which the Athenian generals displayed greatly contributed to the result; for, being compelled to proceed to Sicily themselves, they were well known to wish that no one else should gain the credit of bringing the prisoners to Athens; and therefore the agreement was interpreted to the letter,29 and the contrivers of the trick thought that they could execute it with impunity. The Corcyraeans took the prisoners and shut them up in a large building; then, leading them out in bands of twenty at a time, they made them pass between two files of armed men; they were bound to one another and struck and pierced by the men on each side, whenever any one saw among them an enemy of his own; and there were men with whips, who accompanied them to the place of execution and quickened the steps of those who lingered.
In this manner they brought the prisoners out of the building, and slew them to the number of sixty undiscovered by the rest, who thought that they were taking them away to some other place. But soon they found out what was happening, for some one told them, and then they called upon the Athenians, if they wanted them to die, to take their lives themselves. Out of the building they refused to stir, and threatened that into it, if they could help, no one should enter. The Corcyraean populace had not the least intention of forcing a way in by the door, but they got upon the roof and, making an opening, threw tiles and shot arrows down from above. The prisoners sought to shelter themselves as they best could. Most of them at the same time put an end to their own lives; some thrust into their throats arrows which were shot at them, others strangled themselves with cords taken from beds which they found in the place, or with strips which they tore from their own garments. This went on during the greater part of the night, which had closed upon their sufferings, until in one way or another, either by their own hand or by missiles hurled from above, they all perished. At daybreak the Corcyraeans flung the dead bodies cross-wise on waggons and carried them out of the city. The women who were taken in the fortress on Mount Istonè were reduced to slavery. Thus the Corcyraeans in the mountain were destroyed by the people, and, at least while the Peloponnesian war lasted, there was an end of the great sedition; for there was nothing left of the other party worth mentioning. The Athenians then sailed for Sicily, their original destination,30 and there fought in concert with their allies.
At the end of the summer the Athenian forces in Naupactus and some Acarnanians made an expedition against Anactorium, a Corinthian town at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf, which was betrayed to them. The Acarnanians expelled the Corinthians, and sent a colony of their own, taken from the whole nation, to occupy the place. So the summer ended.
During the ensuing winter Aristides the son of Archippus, one of the commanders of the Athenian vessels which collected tribute from the allies, captured, at Eion upon the Strymon, Artaphernes a Persian, who was on his way from the King to Sparta. He was brought to Athens, and the Athenians had the despatches which he was carrying and which were written in the Assyrian character translated, and read them; there were many matters contained in them, but the chief point was a remonstrance addressed to the Lacedaemonians by the King, who said that he could not understand what they wanted; for, although many envoys had come to him, no two of them agreed. If they meant to make themselves intelligible, he desired them to send to him another embassy with the Persian envoy. Shortly afterwards the Athenians sent Artaphernes in a trireme to Ephesus, and with him an embassy of their own, but they found that Artaxerxes the son of Xerxes had recently died; for the embassy arrived just at that time. Whereupon they returned home.
During the same winter the Chians dismantled their new walls by order of the Athenians, who suspected that they meant to rebel, not however without obtaining from the Athenians such pledges and assurances as they could, that no violent change should be made in their condition. So the winter came to an end; and with it the seventh year in the Peloponnesian War of which Thucydides wrote the history.
Early in the ensuing summer there was a partial eclipse of the sun at the time of the new moon, and within the first ten days of the same month an earthquake.
The main body of the refugees who had escaped from Mitylenè and the rest of Lesbos had established themselves on the continent. They hired mercenaries from Peloponnesus or collected them on the spot, and took Rhoeteum, but on receiving a payment of two thousand Phocaean staters,31 they restored the town uninjured. They then made an expedition against Antandrus and took the city, which was betrayed into their hands. They hoped to liberate the other so-called 'cities of the coast,' which had been formerly in the possession of the Mytilenaeans and were now held by the Athenians,32 but their principal object was Antandrus itself, which they intended to strengthen and make their head-quarters. Mount Ida was near and would furnish timber for shipbuilding, and by the help of a fleet and by other means they could easily harass Lesbos which was close at hand, and reduce the Aeolian towns on the continent. Such were their designs.
During the same summer the Athenians with sixty ships, two thousand hoplites, and a few cavalry, taking also certain Milesian and other allied forces, made an expedition against Cythera, under the command of Nicias the son of Niceratus, Nicostratus the son of Diotrephes, and Autocles the son of Tolmaeus. Cythera is an island which lies close to Laconia off Cape Malea; it is inhabited by Lacedaemonian Perioeci, and a Spartan officer called the judge of Cythera was sent thither every year. The Lacedaemonians kept there a garrison of hoplites, which was continually relieved, and took great care of the place. There the merchant vessels coming from Egypt and Libya commonly put in; the island was a great protection to the Lacedaemonians against depredation by sea, on which element, though secure by land, they were exposed to attack, for the whole of Laconia runs out towards the Sicilian and Cretan seas.33
The Athenian fleet appeared off Cythera, and with a detachment of ten ships and two thousand Milesian hoplites took Scandea, one of the cities on the sea-shore. The rest of their army disembarked on the side of the island looking towards Malea, and moved on to the lower city of the Cytherians, which is also on the sea-coast; there they found all the inhabitants encamped in force. A battle was fought in which the Cytherians held their ground for some little time, and then, betaking themselves to flight, retired to the upper city. They at length surrendered to Nicias and his colleagues, placing themselves at the disposal of the Athenians, but stipulating that their lives should be spared. Nicias had already contrived to enter into communication with some of them, and in consequence the negotiations were speedier, and lighter terms were imposed upon them both at the time and afterwards.34 Else the Athenians would have expelled them, because they were Lacedaemonians and their island was close to Laconia. After the capitulation they took into their own hands Scandea, the city near the harbour, and secured the island by a garrison. They then sailed away, made descents upon Asinè, Helos, and most of the other maritime towns of Laconia, and, encamping wherever they found convenient, ravaged the country for about seven days.
The Lacedaemonians seeing that the Athenians had got possession of Cythera, and anticipating similar descents on their own shores, nowhere opposed them with their united forces, but distributed a body of hoplites in garrisons through the country where their presence seemed to be needed. They kept strict watch, fearing lest some domestic revolution should break out. Already a great and unexpected blow had fallen upon them at Sphacteria; Pylos and Cythera were in the hands of the Athenians, and they were beset on every side by an enemy against whose swift attacks precaution was vain. Contrary to their usual custom they raised a force of four hundred cavalry and archers. Never in their history had they shown so much hesitation in their military movements. They were involved in a war at sea, an element to which they were strange, against a power like the Athenians, in whose eyes to miss an opportunity was to lose a victory.35 Fortune too was against them, and they were panic-stricken by the many startling reverses which had befallen them within so short a time. They feared lest some new calamity like that of the island might overtake them; and therefore they dared not venture on an engagement, but expected all their undertakings to fail; they had never hitherto known misfortune, and now they lost all confidence in their own powers.
While the Athenians were ravaging their coasts they hardly ever stirred; for each garrison at the places where they happened to land considered in their depressed state of mind that they were too few to act. One of them however, which was in the neighbourhood of Cotyrta and Aphrodisia, did offer some resistance, and by a sudden rush put to flight the multitude of light-armed troops who had been scattered, but, being encountered by the hoplites, they again retired with the loss of some few men and arms. The Athenians, raising a trophy, sailed back to Cythera. Thence they coasted round to Epidaurus Limera and, after devastating some part of its territory, to Thyrea, which is situated in the country called Cynuria, on the border of Argolis and Laconia. The Lacedaemonians, who at that time held the town, had settled there the Aeginetan exiles,36 whom they wished to requite for services rendered to them at the time of the earthquake and the Helot revolt, and also because they had always been partisans of theirs, although subjects of the Athenians.
Before the Athenian ships had actually touched, the Aeginetans quitted a fort on the sea-shore which they were just building and retired to the upper city, where they lived, a distance of rather more than a mile. One of the country garrisons of the Lacedaemonians which was helping to build the fort was entreated by the Aeginetans to enter the walls, but refused, thinking that to be shut up inside them would be too dangerous. So they ascended to the high ground, and then, considering the enemy to be more than a match for them, would not come down. Meanwhile the Athenians landed, marched straight upon Thyrea with their whole army, and took it. They burnt and plundered the city, and carried away with them to Athens all the Aeginetans who had not fallen in the battle, and the Lacedaemonian governor of the place, Tantalus the son of Patrocles, who had been wounded and taken prisoner. They also had on board a few of the inhabitants of Cythera, whose removal seemed to be required as a measure of precaution. These the Athenians determined to deposit in some of the islands; at the same time they allowed the other Cytherians to live in their own country, paying a tribute of four talents.37 They resolved to kill all the Aeginetans whom they had taken in satisfaction of their long-standing hatred, and to put Tantalus in chains along with the captives from Sphacteria.
During the same summer the people of Camarina and Gela in Sicily made a truce, in the first instance with one another only. But after a while all the other Sicilian states sent envoys to Gela, where they held a conference in the hope of effecting a reconciliation. Many opinions were expressed on both sides; and the representatives of the different cities wrangled and put in claims for the redress of their several grievances. At length Hermocrates the son of Hermon, a Syracusan, whose words chiefly influenced their decision,38 addressed the conference in the following speech:
'Sicilians, the city to which I belong is not the least in Sicily, nor am I about to speak because Syracuse suffers more than other cities in the war, but because I want to lay before you the policy which seems to me best fitted to promote the common good of the whole country. You well know, and therefore I shall not rehearse to you at length, all the misery of war. Nobody is driven into war by ignorance, and no one who thinks that he will gain anything from it is deterred by fear. The truth is that the aggressor deems the advantage to be greater than the suffering; and the side which is attacked would sooner run any risk than suffer the smallest immediate loss. But when such feelings on the part of either operate unseasonably, the time for offering counsels of peace has arrived, and such counsels, if we will only listen to them, will be at this moment invaluable to us. Why did we go to war? Simply from a consideration of our own individual interests, and with a view to our interests we are now trying by means of discussion to obtain peace; and if, after all, we do not before we separate succeed in getting our respective rights, we shall go to war again.
'But at the same time we should have the sense to see that this conference is not solely concerned with our private interests, but with those of the whole country. Sicily is in my opinion at this moment imperilled by the designs of the Athenians, and we must try, if not too late, to save her. The Athenians are a much more convincing argument of peace than any words of mine can be. They are the greatest power in Hellas; they come hither with a few ships to spy out our mistakes; though we are their natural enemies, they assume the honourable name of allies, and under this flimsy pretence turn our enmity to good account. For when we go to war and invite their assistance (and they are fond of coming whether they are invited or not) we are taxing ourselves for our own destruction, and at the same time paving the way for the advance of their empire. And at some future day, when they see that we are exhausted, they are sure to come again with a larger armament, and attempt to bring all Sicily under their yoke.39
'And yet if we must call in allies and involve ourselves in dangers, as men of sense, looking to the interest of our several states, we should set before us the prospect of gaining an increase of dominion, not of losing what we already have. We should consider that internal quarrels more than anything else are the ruin of Sicily and her cities; we Sicilians are fighting against one another at the very time when we are threatened by a common enemy. Knowing this, we should be reconciled man to man, city to city, and make an united effort for the preservation of all Sicily. Let no one say to himself, "The Dorians among us may be enemies to the Athenians, but the Chalcidians, being Ionians, are safe because they are their kinsmen." For the Athenians do not attack us because we are divided into two races, of which one is their enemy and the other their friend, but because they covet the good things of Sicily which we all share alike.40 Is not their reception of the Chalcidian appeal a proof of this?41 They have actually gone out of their way to grant the full privileges of their old treaty to those who up to this hour have never aided them as required by the terms of that treaty. The ambition and craft of the Athenians are pardonable enough. I blame not those who wish to rule, but those who are willing to serve. The same human nature which is always ready to domineer over the subservient, bids us defend ourselves against the aggressor. And if, knowing all these things, we continue to take no thought for the future, and have not, every one of us, made up our minds already that first and foremost we must all deal wisely with the danger which threatens all, we are grievously in error.
'Now a mutual reconciliation would be the speediest way of deliverance from this danger; for the Athenians do not come direct from their own country, but first plant themselves in that of the Sicilians who have invited them. Instead of finishing one war only to begin another, we should then quietly end our differences by peace. And those who came at our call and had so good a reason for doing wrong will have a still better reason for going away and doing nothing.
'Such is the great advantage which we obtain by sound policy as against the Athenians. And why, if peace is acknowledged by all to be the greatest of blessings, should we not make peace among ourselves? Whatever good or evil is the portion of any of us, is not peace more likely than war to preserve the one and to alleviate the other? And has not peace honours and glories of her own unattended by the dangers of war? (But it is unnecessary to dilate on the blessings of peace any more than on the miseries of war.) Consider what I am saying, and instead of despising my words, may every man seek his own safety in them! And should there be some one here present who was hoping to gain a permanent advantage either by right or by force, let him not take his disappointment to heart. For he knows that many a man before now who has sought a righteous revenge, far from obtaining it, has not even escaped himself; and many an one who in the consciousness of power has grasped at what was another's, has ended by losing what was his own. The revenge of a wrong is not always successful merely because it is just; nor is strength most assured of victory when it is most full of hope. The inscrutable future is the controller of events, and, being the most treacherous of all things, is also the most beneficent; for when there is mutual fear, men think twice before they make aggressions upon one another.
'And now, because we know not what this hidden future may bring forth, and because the Athenians, who are dangerous enemies, are already at our gates,--having these two valid reasons for alarm, let us acquiesce in our disappointment, deeming that the obstacles to the fulfilment of our individual hopes42 are really insuperable. Let us send out of the country the enemies who threaten us, and make peace among ourselves, if possible for ever; but if not, for as long as we can, and let our private enmities bide their time. If you take my advice, rest assured that you will maintain the freedom of your several cities; from which you will go forth your own masters, and recompense, like true men, the good or evil which is done to you. But if you will not believe me, and we are enslaved by others, the punishment of our enemies will be out of the question. Even supposing we succeed in obtaining vengeance to our hearts' content, we may perhaps become the friends of our greatest enemies, we certainly become the enemies of our real friends.
'As I said at first, I am the representative of a great city which is more likely to act on the aggressive than on the defensive; and yet with the prospect of these dangers before me I am willing to come to terms, and not to injure my enemies in such a way that I shall doubly injure myself. Nor am I so obstinate and foolish as to imagine that, because I am master of my own will, I can control fortune, of whom I am not master; but I am disposed to make reasonable concessions. And I would ask the other Sicilians to do the same of their own accord, and not to wait until the enemy compels them. There is no disgrace in kinsmen yielding to kinsmen, whether Dorians to Dorians, or Chalcidians to the other Ionians. Let us remember too that we are all neighbours, inhabitants of one island home, and called by the common name of Sicilians. When we see occasion we will fight among ourselves, and will negotiate and come to terms among ourselves. But we shall always, if we are wise, unite as one man against the invader; for when a single state suffers, all are imperilled. We will never again introduce allies from abroad, no, nor pretended mediators. This policy will immediately secure to Sicily two great blessings; she will get rid of the Athenians, and of civil war. And for the future we shall keep the island free and our own, and none will be tempted to attack us.'
Such were the words of Hermocrates. The Sicilians took his advice and agreed among themselves to make peace, on the understanding that they should all retain what they had; only Morgantinè was handed over to the Camarinaeans, who were to pay in return a fixed sum to the Syracusans. The cities in alliance with Athens sent for the Athenian generals and told them that a treaty was about to be made in which they might join if they pleased. They assented; the treaty was concluded; and so the Athenian ships sailed away from Sicily. When the generals returned the Athenians punished two of them, Pythodorus and Sophocles, with exile, and imposed a fine on the third, Eurymedon, believing that they might have conquered Sicily but had been bribed to go away. For in their present prosperity they were indignant at the idea of a reverse; they expected to accomplish everything, possible or impossible, with any force, great or small. The truth was that they were elated by the unexpected success of most of their enterprises, which inspired them with the liveliest hope.
During the same summer the citizens of Megara were hard pressed by the Athenians, who twice every year invaded the country with their whole army,43 as well as by their own exiles in Pegae, who had been driven out by the people in a revolution,44 and were continually harassing and plundering them. So they conferred together upon the advisability of recalling the exiles, lest they should expose the city to destruction from the attacks of two enemies at once. The friends of the exiles became aware of the agitation and ventured to urge the measure more openly than hitherto. But the popular leaders, knowing that their partisans were in great extremity and could not be trusted to hold out in support of them much longer, took alarm and entered into negotiation with the Athenian generals, Hippocrates the son of Ariphron, and Demosthenes the son of Alcisthenes. They thought that they would incur less danger by surrendering the city to them than by the restoration of the exiles whom they had themselves expelled. So they agreed that the Athenians should in the first place seize their Long Walls,45 which were a little less than a mile in length and extended from the city to their harbour Nisaea. They wanted to prevent the Peloponnesians intefering from Nisaea, of which they formed the sole garrison, being stationed there to secure Megara. The conspirators were then to try and place in the hands of the Athenians the upper city, which would be more ready to come over when they once had possession of the Long Walls.
Both parties had now made all necessary preparations, both in word and act. The Athenians sailed at nightfall to Minoa, the island in front of Megara, with six hundred hoplites under the command of Hippocrates. They then took up their position not far from the Long Walls, in a pit out of which the bricks for the walls had been dug. A second division of the Athenian army, consisting of light-armed Plataeans and of a part of the force employed in guarding the frontier, under the command of Demosthenes the other general, lay in ambush at the temple of Ares, which is nearer still. During the night no one knew what they were about, except the men who were immediately concerned. Just before daybreak the conspirators executed their plan. They had long ago provided that the gates should be open when required; for by the permission of the commander, who supposed them to be privateering, they had been in the habit of conveying a sculling-boat out of the town by night. This they placed upon a waggon, and carried it down to the sea through the trench; they then sailed out, and just before day broke the boat was brought back by them on the waggon and taken in at the gates; their object being, as they pretended, to baffle the Athenian watch at Minoa, as no vessel would be seen in the harbour at all. The waggon had just arrived at the gates, which were opened for the boat to enter, when the Athenians, with whom the whole affair had been preconcerted, seeing this movement, rushed out of the ambuscade, wanting to get in before the gates were shut again and while the waggon was still in them, and prevented them from being closed. At the same instant their Megarian confederates cut down the guards stationed at the gates. First of all the Plataeans and the frontier-guard under Demosthenes rushed in where the trophy now stands. No sooner were they within the gates than the Peloponnesians who were nearest and saw what was going on hastened to the rescue; but they were overpowered by the Plataeans, who secured the gates for the entrance of the Athenian hoplites as they came running up.
Then the Athenians entered, and one after another proceeded to mount the wall. A few Peloponnesian guards at first resisted and some of them were killed; but the greater part took to flight; they were terrified at the night attack of the enemy, and fancied, when they saw the Megarians who were in the conspiracy fighting against them, that all the Megarians had betrayed them. It had occurred at the same time to the Athenian herald, without orders, to make proclamation that any Megarian who pleased might join the ranks of the Athenians. When the Lacedaemonians heard the proclamation none of them remained any longer, but thinking that the Megarians were really fighting on the Athenian side they fled, into Nisaea.
When the morning dawned and the Long Walls were already captured, Megara was in a tumult, and those who had negotiated with the Athenians and a large number of others who were in the plot insisted upon opening the gates and going out to battle. Now they had agreed that the Athenians should immediately rush in; and they were themselves to be anointed with oil; this was the mark by which they were to be distinguished, that they might be spared in the attack. There was the less danger in opening the gates, since there had now arrived four thousand Athenian hoplites and six hundred horse, who by a previous arrangement had come from Eleusis during the night. When they were anointed and had collected about the gates some one in the secret acquainted the other party, who instantly came upon them in a compact body and declared that there should be no going out; even when they were stronger than at present they had not ventured to take the field; the danger to the city was too palpable; if any one opposed them the battle would have to be fought first within the walls. They did not betray their knowledge of the plot, but assumed the confident tone of men who were recommending the best course. At the same time they kept watch about the gates; and thus the conspiracy was foiled.
The Athenian generals became aware that some difficulty had arisen, and that they could not carry the city by storm. So they immediately set about the circumvallation of Nisaea, thinking that, if they could take it before any assistance arrived, Megara itself would be more likely to capitulate. Iron and other things needful, as well as masons, were quickly procured from Athens. Beginning from the wall which they already held they intercepted the approach from Megara by a cross wall, and from that drew another on either side of Nisaea down to the sea. The army divided among them the execution of the trench and walls, obtaining stones and bricks from the suburbs of the town. They also cut down timber and fruit-trees and made palisades where they were needed. The houses in the suburbs were of themselves a sufficient fortification, and only required battlements. All that day they continued working; on the following day, towards evening, the wall was nearly finished, and the terrified inhabitants of Nisaea having no food (for they depended for their daily supplies on the upper city), and imagining that Megara had gone over to the enemy, despairing too of any aid soon arriving from Peloponnesus, capitulated to the Athenians. The conditions were as follows: They were to go free, every man paying a fixed ransom and giving up his arms; but the Athenians might deal as they pleased with the Lacedaemonian commander and any Lacedaemonian who was in the place. Upon these terms they came out, and the Athenians, having broken down the Long Walls between Megara and Nisaea, took possession of Nisaea and prepared for further action.
But it so happened that Brasidas, son of Tellis, the Lacedaemonian, who was equipping an expedition intended for Chalcidicè, was in the neighbourhood of Sicyon and Corinth at the time. Hearing of the capture of the Long Walls, and fearing for the safety of the Peloponnesians in Nisaea, and of Megara itself, he sent to the Boeotians, desiring them to bring an army and meet him with all speed at Tripodiscus. The place so called is a village of Megara situated under Mount Geranea. Thither he also came himself, bringing two thousand seven hundred Corinthian, four hundred Phliasian, and six hundred Sicyonian hoplites, as well as the followers whom he had previously collected.46 He had hoped to find Nisaea still untaken; but the news of the capture reached him on his exit from the hills at Tripodiscus, where he did not arrive until night. He immediately took with him a body of three hundred chosen men, and before his arrival in the country was reported reached Megara, undiscovered by the Athenians, who were near the sea. He professed that he wanted, and he really meant if he could, to attempt the recovery of Nisaea; but the great point was to get into Megara and make that safe. So he demanded admission, saying that he had hopes of regaining Nisaea.
The two factions in Megara were both equally afraid to receive him--the one lest he should introduce the exiles and drive them out, the other lest the people, fearing this very thing, should set upon them and ruin the city, which would then be distracted by civil war and at the same time beset by the Athenians. And so both parties determined to wait and see what would happen. For they both expected a battle to ensue between the Athenians and the army which had come to the relief of the city, and when the victory was won the party whose friends had conquered could more safely join them. Brasidas, thus failing in his purpose, returned to the main body of his troops.
At dawn of day the Boeotians appeared. Even before they were summoned by Brasidas they had intended to relieve Megara; for the danger came home to them; and their whole force was already collected at Plataea. When his messenger arrived they were more resolved than ever, and sent forward two thousand two hundred heavy-armed and six hundred horse, allowing the greater number to return. The entire army of Brasidas now amounted to six thousand hoplites. The Athenian hoplites were drawn up near Nisaea and the sea, and their light-armed troops were scattered over the plain, when the Boeotian cavalry came riding up, fell upon the light-armed, and drove them to the shore. The attack was unexpected, for in no former invasion had aid come to the Megarians from any quarter. The Athenian cavalry now rode forward and there was a long engagement, in which both parties claimed to have won a victory. The Athenians drove the general of the Boeotian cavalry and a few other horsemen up47 to the walls of Nisaea, and there slew them and took their arms. As they retained possession of the dead bodies, and only restored them under a flag of truce, they raised a trophy. Still in respect of the whole engagement neither side when they parted had a decided advantage. The Boeotians retired to their main body, and the Athenians to Nisaea.
Brasidas and his army then moved nearer to the sea and to the town of Megara, and there, taking up a convenient position and marshalling their forces, they remained without moving. They were expecting the Athenians to attack them, and knew that the Megarians were waiting to see who would be the conquerors. They were very well satisfied, for two reasons. In the first place they were not the assailants, and had not gone out of their way to risk a battle, although they had clearly shown that they were ready to engage; and so they might fairly claim a victory without fighting. Again, the result in regard to Megara was good: for if they had not put in an appearance they would have had no chance at all, but would have been as good as beaten, and beyond a doubt would immediately have lost the city. Whereas now the Athenians themselves might be unwilling to fight; and, if so, they would gain their object without striking a blow. And this turned out to be the fact; for the Megarians did in the end receive Brasidas. At first the Athenians came out and drew up near the Long Walls, but not being attacked they likewise remained inactive. The generals on their side were restrained by similar reflections. They had gained the greater part of what they wanted; they would be offering battle against a superior force; and their own danger would be out of proportion to that of the enemy. They might be victorious and take Megara, but if they failed the loss would fall on the flower of their infantry. Whereas the Peloponnesians were naturally more willing to encounter a risk which would be divided among the several contingents making up the army now in the field; and each of these was but a part of their whole force, present and absent. Both armies waited for a time, and, when neither saw the other moving, the Athenians first of the two retired into Nisaea and the Peloponnesians returned to their previous position. Whereupon the party in Megara friendly to the exiles took courage, opened the gates, and received Brasidas and the generals of the other cities, considering that the Athenians had finally made up their minds not to fight, and that he was the conqueror. They then entered into negotiations with him; for the other faction which had conspired with the Athenians was now paralysed.
After this the allies dispersed to their several cities and Brasidas returned to Corinth, where he made preparations for his expedition into Chalcidicè, his original destination. When the Athenians had also gone home, such of the Megarians as had been chiefly concerned with them, knowing that they were discovered, at once slipped away. The rest of the citizens, after conferring with the friends of the exiles, recalled them from Pegae,48 first binding them by the most solemn oaths to consider the interests of the state and to forget old quarrels. But no sooner had they come into office than, taking the opportunity of a review and drawing up the divisions apart from one another, they selected about a hundred of their enemies, and of those who seemed to have been most deeply implicated with the Athenians, and compelled the people to give sentence upon them by an open vote; having obtained their condemnation, they put them to death. They then established in the city an extreme oligarchy. And no government based on a counter revolution effected by so few ever lasted so long a time.
During the same summer Demodocus and Aristides, two commanders of the Athenian fleet which collected tribute from the allies, happened to be in the neighbourhood of the Hellespont; there were only two of them, the third, Lamachus, having sailed with ten ships into the Pontus. They saw that the Lesbian exiles were going to strengthen Antandrus as they had intended,49 and they feared that it would prove as troublesome an enemy to Lesbos as Anaea had been to Samos;50 for the Samian refugees, who had settled there, aided the Peloponnesian navy by sending them pilots; they likewise took in fugitives from Samos and kept the island in a state of perpetual alarm. So the Athenian generals collected troops from their allies, sailed to Antandrus, and, defeating a force which came out against them, recovered the place. Not long afterwards Lamachus, who had sailed into the Pontus and had anchored in the territory of Heraclea at the mouth of the river Calex, lost his ships by a sudden flood which a fall of rain in the upper country had brought down. He and his army returned by land through the country of the Bithynian Thracians who dwell on the Asiatic coast across the water, and arrived at Chalcedon, the Megarian colony at the mouth of the Pontus.
In the same summer, and immediately after the withdrawal of the Athenians from Megara, the Athenian general Demosthenes arrived at Naupactus with forty ships. A party in the cities of Boeotia, who wanted to overthrow their constitution and set up a democracy like that of Athens, had entered into communications with him and with Hippocrates, and a plan of operations had been concerted, chiefly under the direction of Ptoeodorus, a Theban exile. Some of the democratical party undertook to betray Siphae, which is a seaport on the Crisaean Gulf in the Thespian territory, and certain Orchomenians were to deliver up to the Athenians Chaeronea, which is a dependency of the Boeotian, or as it was formerly called the Minyan, Orchomenus. A body of Orchomenian exiles had a principal hand in this design and were seeking to hire a Peloponnesian force. The town of Chaeronea is at the extremity of Boeotia near the territory of Phanoteus in Phocis, and some Phocians took part in the plot. The Athenians meanwhile were to seize Delium, a temple of Apollo which is in the district of Tanagra and looks towards Euboea. In order to keep the Boeotians occupied with disturbances at home, and prevent them from marching in a body to Delium, the whole movement was to be made on a single day, which was fixed beforehand. If the attempt succeeded and Delium was fortified, even though no revolution should at once break out in the states of Boeotia, they might hold the places which they had taken and plunder the country. The partisans of democracy in the several cities would have a refuge near at hand to which in case of failure they might retreat. Matters could not long remain as they were; and in time, the Athenians acting with the rebels, and the Boeotian forces being divided, they would easily settle Boeotia in their interest. Such was the nature of the proposed attempt.
Hippocrates himself with a force from the city was ready to march into Boeotia when the moment came. He had sent Demosthenes beforehand with the forty ships to Naupactus, intending him to collect an army of Acarnanians and other allies of the Athenians in that region and sail against Siphae, which was to be betrayed to them. These operations were to be carried out simultaneously on the day appointed.
Demosthenes on his arrival found that the confederate Acarnanians had already compelled Oeniadae to enter the Athenian alliance. He then himself raised all the forces of the allies in those parts and proceeded first to make war upon Salynthius and the Agraeans.51 Having subdued them, he took the necessary steps for keeping his appointment at Siphae.
During this summer, and about the same time, Brasidas set out on his way to Chalcidicè with seventeen hundred hoplites. When he arrived at Heraclea in Trachis he despatched a messenger to Pharsalus, where he had friends, with a request that they would conduct him and his army through the country. Accordingly there came to meet him at Melitia, in Achaea Phthiotis, Panaerus, Dorus, Hippolochidas, Torylaus, and Strophacus who was the proxenus of the Chalcidians. Under their guidance he started. Other Thessalians also conducted him; in particular, Niconidas a friend of Perdiccas from Larissa. Under any circumstances it would not have been easy to cross Thessaly without an escort, and certainly for an armed force to go through a neighbour's country without his consent was a proceeding which excited jealousy among all Hellenes. Besides, the common people of Thessaly were always well disposed towards the Athenians. And if the traditions of the country had not been in favour of a close oligarchy, Brasidas could never have gone on; even as it was, some of the opposite party met him on his march at the river Enipeus and would have stopped him, saying that he had no business to proceed without the consent of the whole nation. His escort replied that they would not conduct him if the others objected, but that he had suddenly presented himself and they were doing the duty of hosts in accompanying him. Brasidas himself added that he came as a friend to the Thessalian land and people, and that he was making war upon his enemies the Athenians, and not upon them. He had never heard that there was any ill-feeling between the Thessalians and Lacedaemonians which prevented either of them from passing through the territory of the other; however, if they refused their consent, he would not and indeed could not go on; but such was not the treatment which he had a right to expect from them. Upon this they departed, and he by the advice of his escort, fearing that a large force might collect and stop him, marched on at full speed and without a halt. On the same day on which he started from Melitia he arrived at Pharsalus, and encamped by the river Apidanus. Thence he went on to Phacium, and thence to Perrhaebia. Here his Thessalian escort returned; and the Perrhaebians, who are subjects of the Thessalians, brought him safe to Dium in the territory of Perdiccas, a city of Macedonia which is situated under Mount Olympus on the Thessalian side.
Thus Brasidas succeeded in running through Thessaly before any measures were taken to stop him, and reached Perdiccas and Chalcidicè. He and the revolted tributaries of the Athenians, alarmed at their recent successes, had invited the Peloponnesians. The Chalcidians were expecting that the first efforts of the Athenians would be directed against them: their cities in the neighbourhood also which had not revolted secretly joined in the invitation. Perdiccas was not a declared enemy of Athens, but was afraid that the old differences between himself and the Athenians might revive, and he was especially anxious to subdue Arrhibaeus, king of the Lyncestians.
The Lacedaemonians were the more willing to let the Chalcidians have an army from Peloponnesus owing to the unfortunate state of their affairs. For now that the Athenians were infesting Peloponnesus, and especially Laconia, they thought that a diversion would be best effected if they could retaliate on them by sending troops to help their dissatisfied allies, who moreover were offering to maintain them, and had asked for assistance from Sparta with the intention of revolting. They were also glad of a pretext for sending out of the way some of the Helots, fearing that they would take the opportunity of rising afforded by the occupation of Pylos. Most of the Lacedaemonian institutions were specially intended to secure them against this source of danger. Once, when they were afraid of the number and vigour52 of the Helot youth, this was what they did: They proclaimed that a selection would be made of those Helots who claimed to have rendered the best service to the Lacedaemonians in war, and promised them liberty. The announcement was intended to test them; it was thought that those among them who were foremost in asserting their freedom would be most high-spirited, and most likely to rise against their masters. So they selected about two thousand, who were crowned with garlands and went in procession round the temples; they were supposed to have received their liberty; but not long afterwards the Spartans put them all out of the way, and no man knew how any one of them came by his end. And so they were only too glad to send with Brasidas seven hundred Helots as hoplites. The rest of his army he hired from Peloponnesus.53 He himself was even more willing to go than they were to send him.
The Chalcidians too desired to have him, for at Sparta he had always been considered a man of energy. And on this expedition he proved invaluable to the Lacedaemonians. At the time he gave an impression of justice and moderation in his behaviour to the cities, which induced most of them to revolt, while others were betrayed into his hands. Thus the Lacedaemonians were able to lighten the pressure of war upon Peloponnesus; and when shortly afterwards they desired to negotiate, they had places to give in return for what they sought to recover. And at a later period of the war, after the Sicilian expedition, the honesty and ability of Brasidas which some had experienced, and of which others had heard the fame, mainly attracted the Athenian allies to the Lacedaemonians. For he was the first Spartan who had gone out to them, and he proved himself54 to be in every way a good man. Thus he left in their minds a firm conviction that the others would be like him.
The Athenians, hearing of the arrival of Brasidas in Chalcidicè, and believing that Perdiccas was the instigator of the expedition, declared war against the latter and kept a closer watch over their allies in that region.
Perdiccas, at once uniting the soldiers of Brasidas with his own forces, made war upon Arrhibaeus the son of Bromerus, king of the Lyncestians, a neighbouring people of Macedonia; for he had a quarrel with him and wanted to subdue him. But when he and Brasidas and the army arrived at the pass leading into Lyncus, Brasidas said that before appealing to arms he should like to try in person the effect of negotiations, and see if he could not make Arrhibaeus an ally of the Lacedaemonians. He was partly influenced by messages which came from Arrhibaeus expressing his willingness to submit any matter in dispute to the arbitration of Brasidas: and the Chalcidian ambassadors who accompanied the expedition recommended him not to remove from Perdiccas' path all his difficulties, lest, when they were wanting him for their own affairs, his ardour should cool. Besides, the envoys of Perdiccas when at Sparta had said something to the Lacedaemonians about his making many of the neighbouring tribes their allies, and on this ground Brasidas claimed to act jointly with Perdiccas in the matter of Arrhibaeus. But Perdiccas answered that he had not brought Brasidas there to arbitrate in the quarrels of Macedonia; he had meant him to destroy his enemies when he pointed them out. While he, Perdiccas, was maintaining half the Lacedaemonian army, Brasidas had no business to be holding parley with Arrhibaeus. But in spite of the opposition and resentment of Perdiccas, Brasidas communicated with Arrhibaeus, and was induced by his words to withdraw his army without invading the country. From that time Perdiccas thought himself ill-used, and paid only a third instead of half the expenses of the army.
During the same summer, immediately on his return from Lyncus, and a little before the vintage, Brasidas, reinforced by Chalcidian troops, marched against Acanthus, a colony of Andros. The inhabitants of the city were not agreed about admitting him; those who in concert with the Chalcidians had invited him being opposed to the mass of the people. So he asked them to receive him alone, and hear what he had to say before they decided; and to this request the multitude, partly out of fear for their still ungathered vintage, were induced to consent. Whereupon, coming forward to the people (and for a Lacedaemonian he was not a bad speaker), he addressed them as follows:
'Men of Acanthus, the Lacedaemonians have sent me out at the head of this army to justify the declaration which we made at the beginning of the war--that we were going to fight against the Athenians for the liberties of Hellas. If we have been long in coming, the reason is that we were disappointed in the result of the war nearer home; for we had hoped that, without involving you in danger, we might ourselves have made a speedy end of the Athenians. And therefore let no one blame us; we have come as soon as we could, and with your help will do our best to overthrow them. But how is it that you close your gates against me, and do not greet my arrival? We Lacedaemonians thought that we were coming to those who even before we came in act were our allies in spirit, and would joyfully receive us; having this hope we have braved the greatest dangers, marching for many days through a foreign country, and have shown the utmost zeal in your cause. And now, for you to be of another mind and to set yourselves against the liberties of your own city and of all Hellas would be monstrous! The evil is not only that you resist me yourselves, but wherever I go people will be less likely to join me; they will take it amiss when they hear that you to whom I first came, representing a powerful city and reputed to be men of sense, did not receive me, and I shall not be able to give a satisfactory explanation, but shall have to confess either that I offer a spurious liberty, or that I am weak55 and incapable of protecting you against the threatened attack of the Athenians. And yet when I brought assistance to Nisaea in command of the army which I have led hither, the Athenians, though more numerous, refused to engage with me; and they are not likely now, when their forces must be conveyed by sea, to send an army against you equal to that which they had at Nisaea.56 And I myself, why am I here? I come, not to injure, but to emancipate the Hellenes. And I have bound the government of Lacedaemon by the most solemn oaths to respect the independence of any states which I may bring over to their side. I do not want to gain your alliance by force or fraud, but to give you ours, that we may free you from the Athenian yoke. I think that you ought not to doubt my word when I offer you the most solemn pledges, nor should I be regarded as an inefficient champion; but you should confidently join me.
'If any one among you hangs back because he has a personal fear of anybody else, and is under the impression that I shall hand over the city to a party, him above all I would reassure. For I am not come hither to be the tool of a faction; nor do I conceive that the liberty which I bring you is of an ambiguous character; I should forget the spirit of my country were I to enslave the many to the few, or the minority to the whole people. Such a tyranny would be worse than the dominion of the foreigner, and we Lacedaemonians should receive no thanks in return for our trouble, but, instead of honour and reputation, only reproach. We should lay ourselves open to the charges which are our best weapons against the Athenians, and in a far more detestable form, for they have never been great examples of virtue. For to men of character there is more disgrace in seeking aggrandisement by specious deceit than by open violence;57 the violent have the justification of strength which fortune gives them, but a policy of intrigue is insidious and wicked.
'So careful are we where our highest interests are at stake. And not to speak of our oaths, you cannot have better assurance than they give whose actions, when compared with their professions, afford a convincing proof that it is their interest to keep their word.
'But if you plead that you cannot accept the proposals which I offer, and insist that you ought not to suffer for the rejection of them because you are our friend; if you are of opinion that liberty is perilous and should not in justice be forced upon any one, but gently brought to those who are able to receive it,--I shall first call the Gods and heroes of the country to witness that I have come hither for your good, and that you would not be persuaded by me: I shall then use force and ravage your country without any more scruple. I shall deem myself justified by two overpowering arguments. In the first place, I must not permit the Lacedaemonians to suffer by your friendship, and suffer they will through the revenues which the Athenians will continue to derive from you if you do not join me; and in the second place, the Hellenes must not lose their hope of liberation by your fault. On any other ground we should certainly be wrong in taking such a step; it is only for the sake of the general weal that we Lacedaemonians have any right to be forcing liberty upon those who would rather not have it. For ourselves, we are far from desiring empire, but we want to overthrow the empire of others. And having this end in view, we should do injustice to the majority if, while bringing independence to all, we tolerated opposition in you. Wherefore be well advised. Strive to take the lead in liberating Hellas, and lay up a treasure of undying fame. You will save your own property, and you will crown your city with glory.'
Thus spoke Brasidas. The Acanthians, after much had been said on both sides, partly under the attraction of his words, and partly because they were afraid of losing their vintage, determined by a majority, voting secretly, to revolt from Athens. They pledged Brasidas to stand by the engagement to which the government of Sparta had sworn before they sent him out, to respect the independence of all whom he brought over to the Lacedaemonian alliance. They then admitted his army; and shortly afterwards Stagirus, a colony of the Andrians, revolted also. Such were the events of the summer.
Meanwhile the betrayal of Boeotia into the hands of Hippocrates and Demosthenes, the Athenian generals, was on the eve of accomplishment. At the beginning of the ensuing winter Demosthenes and his fleet were to appear at Siphae, and Hippocrates simultaneously to march upon Delium. But there was a mistake about the day, and Demosthenes, with his Acarnanian and numerous other allies drawn from that neighbourhood, sailed to Siphae too soon. His attempt failed; for the plot was betrayed by Nicomachus a Phocian, of the town of Phanoteus, who told the Lacedaemonians, and they the Boeotians. Whereupon there was a general levy of the Boeotians, for Hippocrates, who was to have been in the country and to have distracted their attention, had not yet arrived; and so they forestalled the Athenians by the occupation of Siphae and Chaeronea. When the conspirators in the Boeotian cities saw that there had been a mistake they made no movement from within.
Hippocrates had called out the whole force of Athens, metics as well as citizens, and all the strangers who were then in the city. But he did not arrive at Delium until after the Boeotians had quitted Siphae. He encamped and fortified Delium, which is a temple of Apollo. His army dug a trench around the temple and the sacred precinct, the earth which they threw up out of the trench forming a rampart; along this rampart they drove in a double palisade, and cutting down the vines in the neighbourhood of the temple threw them in between. They made a like use of the stones and bricks of the houses near, which they pulled down, and by every means in their power strove to increase the height of the rampart. Where the temple buildings did not extend they erected wooden towers at convenient places; the cloister which had once existed had fallen down. They began their work on the third day after their departure from Athens, and continued all this day and the next and the following day until the midday meal. When it was nearly finished the army retired from Delium to a distance of a little more than a mile, intending to go home. The greater part of the light-armed troops proceeded on their march, but the hoplites piled their arms and rested. Hippocrates, who had remained behind, was occupied in placing the guards at their posts, and in superintending the completion of that part of the outworks which was still unfinished.
Meanwhile the Boeotians were gathering at Tanagra. All the forces from the different cities had now arrived. They saw that the Athenians were already marching homewards, and most of the Boeotarchs (who are in number eleven) disapproved of giving battle, because the enemy had left the Boeotian territory. For when the Athenians rested in their march they were just on the borders of Oropia. But Pagondas the son of Aeoladas, one of the two Boeotarchs from Thebes, who was in command at the time (the other being Arianthidas the son of Lysimachidas), wanted to fight,58 believing that the risk was worth encountering. So calling the soldiers to him in successive divisions, that they might not all leave their arms at once, he exhorted the Boeotians to march against the Athenians and to hazard battle, in the following words:
'Men of Boeotia, no one among us generals should ever have allowed the thought to enter his mind that we ought not to fight with the Athenians, even although we may not overtake them on Boeotian soil. They have crossed our frontier; it is Boeotia in which they have built a fort, and Boeotia which they intend to lay waste. Our enemies they clearly are wherever we find them, and therefore in that country out of which they came and did us mischief. But perhaps not to fight may appear to some one to be the safer course. Well then, let him who thinks so think again. When a man being in full possession of his own goes out of his way to attack others because he covets more, he cannot reflect too much; but when a man is attacked by another and has to fight for his own, prudence does not allow of reflection. In you the temper has been hereditary which would repel the foreign invader, whether he be in another's country or in your own; the Athenian invader above all others should be thus repelled, because he is your next neighbour. For among neighbours antagonism is ever a condition of independence, and against men like these, who are seeking to enslave not only near but distant countries, shall we not fight to the last? Look at their treatment of Euboea just over the strait, and of the greater part of Hellas. I would have you know, that whereas other men fight with their neighbours about the lines of a frontier, for us, if we are conquered, there will be no more disputing about frontiers, but one fixed boundary, including our whole country, for the Athenians will come in and take by force all that we have. So much more dangerous are they than ordinary neighbours. And men who, like them, wantonly assail others, will not hesitate to attack him who remains quietly at home and only defends himself; but they are not so ready to overbear the adversary who goes out of his own country to meet them, and when there is an opportunity strikes first. We have proved this in our own dealings with the Athenians. Once, owing to our internal dissensions, they took possession of our land, but we overcame them at Coronea, and gave Boeotia that complete security which has lasted to this day.59 Remember the past: let the elder men among us emulate their own earlier deeds, and the younger who are the sons of those valiant fathers do their best not to tarnish the virtues of their race. Confident that the God whose temple they have impiously fortified and now occupy will be our champion, and relying on the sacrifices, which are favourable to us, let us advance to meet them. They may satisfy their greed by attacking those who do not defend themselves; but we will show them that from men whose generous spirit ever impels them to fight for the liberties of their country, and who will not see that of others unjustly enslaved,--from such men they will not part without a battle.'
With this exhortation Pagondas persuaded the Boeotians to march against the Athenians, and quickly moved his army forward (for the day was far advanced). As soon as he approached the enemy he took up a position where a hill intercepted the view, and there drew up his army and prepared for action. Hippocrates, who was still at Delium, heard that the Boeotians were advancing, and sent a message to the army bidding them get into position. He himself came up shortly afterwards, having left three hundred cavalry at Delium, in order that they might protect the place if assailed, and also might watch their opportunity and attack the Boeotians while the battle was going on. To these the Boeotians opposed a separate force. When everything was ready they appeared over the crest of the hill, and halted in the order which they proposed to maintain in the engagement; they numbered about seven thousand hoplites, more than ten thousand light-armed troops, a thousand cavalry, and five hundred targeteers. The Thebans and the Boeotians who served in their ranks occupied the right wing. In the centre were the men of Haliartus, Coronea, and Copae, and the other dwellers about the Lake Copais. On the left wing were the Thespians, Tanagraeans, and Orchomenians; the cavalry and light-armed troops were placed on both wings. The Thebans were formed in ranks of five and twenty deep; the formation of the others varied. Such was the character and array of the Boeotian forces.
All the hoplites of the Athenian army were arranged in ranks eight deep; in numbers they equalled the hoplites of the enemy; the cavalry were stationed on either wing. No regular light-armed troops accompanied them, for Athens had no organised force of this kind. Those who originally joined the expedition were many times over the number of their opponents; but they were to a great extent without proper arms, for the whole force, strangers as well as citizens, had been called out. Having once started homewards, there were but few of them forthcoming in the engagement. When the Athenians were ranged in order of battle and, on the point of advancing, Hippocrates the general, proceeding along the lines, exhorted them as follows:
'Men of Athens, there is not much time for exhortation, but to the brave a few words are as good as many; I am only going to remind, not to admonish you.60 Let no man think that because we are on foreign soil we are running into great danger without cause. Although in Boeotian territory we shall be fighting for our own. If we are victors, the Peloponnesians, deprived of the Boeotian cavalry, will never invade our land again, so that in one battle you win Boeotia and win at the same time for Attica a more complete freedom. Meet them in a spirit worthy of the first city in Hellas-of that Athens which we are all proud to call our country; in a spirit too worthy of our fathers, who in times past under Myronides at Oenophyta overcame these very Boeotians and conquered their land.'
Thus spoke Hippocrates, and had gone over half the army, not having had time for more, when the Boeotians (to whom Pagondas just before engaging had been making a second short exhortation) raised the paean, and came down upon them from the hill. The Athenians hastened forward, and the two armies met at a run. The extreme right and left of either army never engaged, for the same reason; they were both prevented by water-courses. But the rest closed, and there was a fierce struggle and pushing of shield against shield. The left wing of the Boeotians as far as their centre was worsted by the Athenians, who pressed hard upon this part of the army, especially upon the Thespians. For the troops ranged at their side having given way they were surrounded and hemmed in; and so the Thespians who perished were cut down fighting hand to hand. Some of the Athenians themselves in surrounding the enemy were thrown into confusion and unwittingly slew one another. On this side then the Boeotians were overcome, and fled to that part of the army which was still fighting; but the right wing, where the Thebans were stationed, overcame the Athenians, and forcing them back, at first step by step, were following hard upon them, when Pagondas, seeing that his left wing was in distress, sent two squadrons of horse unperceived round the hill. They suddenly appeared over the ridge; the victorious wing of the Athenians, fancying that another army was attacking them, was struck with panic; and so at both points, partly owing to this diversion, and partly to the pressure of the advancing Thebans who broke their line, the rout of the Athenian army became general. Some fled to the sea at Delium, others towards Oropus, others to Mount Parnes, or in any direction which gave hope of safety. The Boeotians, especially their cavalry and that of the Locrians which arrived when the rout had begun, pursued and slaughtered them. Night closed upon the pursuit, and aided the mass of the fugitives in their escape. On the next day those of them who had reached Oropus and Delium, which, though defeated, they still held, were conveyed home by sea. A garrison was left in the place.
The Boeotians, after raising a trophy, took up their own dead, and despoiled those of the enemy. They then left them under the care of a guard, and retiring to Tanagra concerted an attack upon Delium. The herald of the Athenians, as he was on his way to ask for their dead, met a Boeotian herald, who turned him back, declaring that he would get no answer until he had returned himself. He then came before the Athenians and delivered to them the message of the Boeotians, by whom they were accused of transgressing the universally recognised customs of Hellas. Those who invaded the territory of others ever abstained from touching the temples, whereas the Athenians had fortified Delium and were now dwelling there, and doing all that men usually do in an unconsecrated place. They were even drawing, for common use, the water which the Boeotians themselves were forbidden to use except as holy water for the sacrifices. They therefore on behalf both of the God and of themselves, invoking Apollo and all the divinities who had a share in the temple, bade the Athenians depart and carry off what belonged to them.
Upon the delivery of this message the Athenians sent to the Boeotians a herald of their own, who on their behalf declared 'that they had done no wilful injury to the temple, and would not damage it if they could help it; they had not originally entered it with any injurious intent, but in order that from it they might defend themselves against those who were really injuring them. According to Hellenic practice, they who were masters of the land, whether much or little, invariably had possession of the temples, to which they were bound to a show the customary reverence, but in such ways only as were possible.61
There was a time when the Boeotians themselves and most other nations, including all who had driven out the earlier inhabitants of the land which they now occupied, attacked the temples of others, and these had in time become their own. So the Boeotian temples would have become theirs if they had succeeded in conquering more of Boeotia. So much of the country as they did occupy was their own, and they did not mean to leave it until compelled. As to meddling with the water, they could not help themselves; the use of it was a necessity which they had not incurred wantonly; they were resisting the Boeotians who had begun by attacking their territory. When men were constrained by war, or by some other great calamity, there was every reason to think that their offence was forgiven by the God himself. He who has committed an involuntary misdeed finds a refuge at the altar, and men are said to transgress, not when they presume a little in their distress, but when they do evil of their own free will. The Boeotians, who demanded a sacred place as a ransom for the bodies of the dead, were guilty of a far greater impiety than the Athenians who refused to make such an unseemly exchange. They desired the Boeotians to let them take away their dead, not adding the condition "if they would quit Boeotia," for in fact they were in a spot which they had fairly won by arms and not in Boeotia, but simply saying, "if they would make a truce according to ancestral custom."'
The Boeotians replied that if they were in Boeotia they might take what belonged to them, but must depart out of it; if they were in their own land they could do as they pleased. They knew that the territory of Oropus, in which the dead lay (for the battle took place on the border), was actually in the possession of Athens, but that the Athenians could not take them away without their leave, and they were unwilling as they pretended to make a truce respecting a piece of ground which did not belong to them.62 And to say in their reply 'that if they would quit Boeotian ground they might take what they asked for,' sounded plausible. Thereupon the Athenian herald departed, leaving his purpose unaccomplished.
The Boeotians immediately sent for javelin-men and slingers from the Malian Gulf. They had been joined after the battle by the Corinthians with two thousand hoplites, and by the Peloponnesian garrison which had evacuated Nisaea,63 as well as by some Megarians. They now marched against Delium and attacked the rampart, employing among other military devices an engine, with which they succeeded in taking the place; it was of the following description. They sawed in two and hollowed out a great beam, which they joined together again very exactly, like a flute, and suspended a vessel by chains at the end of the beam; the iron mouth of a bellows directed downwards into the vessel was attached to the beam, of which a great part was itself overlaid with iron. This machine they brought up from a distance on carts to various points of the rampart where vine stems and wood had been most extensively used, and when it was quite near the wall they applied a large bellows to their own end of the beam, and blew through it. The blast, prevented from escaping, passed into the vessel which contained burning coals and sulphur and pitch; these made a huge flame, and set fire to the rampart, so that no one could remain upon it. The garrison took flight, and the fort was taken. Some were slain; two hundred were captured; but the greater number got on board their ships and so reached home.
Delium was captured seventeen days after the battle. The Athenian herald came shortly afterwards in ignorance of its fate to ask again for the dead, and now the Boeotians, instead of repeating their former answer, gave them up. In the battle the Boeotians lost somewhat less than five hundred; the Athenians not quite a thousand, and Hippocrates their general; also a great number of light-armed troops and baggage-bearers.
Shortly after the battle of Delium, Demosthenes, on the failure of the attempt to betray Siphae, against which he had sailed with forty ships,64 employed the Agraean and Acarnanian troops together with four hundred Athenian hoplites whom he had on board in a descent on the Sicyonian coast. Before all the fleet had reached the shore the Sicyonians came out against the invaders, put to flight those who had landed, and pursued them to their ships, killing some, and making prisoners of others. They then erected a trophy, and gave back the dead under a flag of truce.
While the affair of Delium was going on, Sitalces the Odrysian king died; he had been engaged in an expedition against the Triballi, by whom he was defeated in battle. Seuthes the son of Sparadocus,65 his nephew, succeeded him in the kingdom of the Odrysians and the rest of his Thracian dominions.
During the same winter, Brasidas and his Chalcidian allies made an expedition against Amphipolis upon the river Strymon, the Athenian colony. The place where the city now stands is the same which Aristagoras of Miletus in days of old, when he was fleeing from King Darius, attempted to colonise; he was driven out by the Edonians.66 Two and thirty years afterwards the Athenians made another attempt; they sent a colony of ten thousand, made up partly of their own citizens, partly of any others who liked to join; but these also were attacked by the Thracians at Drabescus, and perished.67 Twenty-nine years later the Athenians came again, under the leadership of Hagnon the son of Nicias, drove out the Edonians, and built a town on the same spot, which was formerly called `The Nine Ways.' Their base of operations was Eion, a market and seaport which they already possessed, at the mouth of the river, about three miles from the site of the present town. Wanting to enclose the newly-founded city, which on two sides is surrounded by the river Strymon, Hagnon cut it off by a long wall reaching from the upper part of the river to the lower, and called the place Amphipolis, because it strikes the eye both by sea and land.
Against Amphipolis Brasidas now led his army. Starting from Arnae in Chalcidicè, towards evening he reached Aulon and Bromiscus at the point where the lake Bolbè flows into the sea; having there supped, he marched on during the night. The weather was wintry and somewhat snowy; and so he pushed on all the quicker; he was hoping that his approach might be known at Amphipolis only to those who were in the secret. There dwelt in the place settlers from Argilus, a town which was originally colonised from Andros; these and others aided in the attempt, instigated some by Perdiccas, others by the Chalcidians. The town of Argilus is not far off, and the inhabitants were always suspected by the Athenians, and were always conspiring against Amphipolis. For some time past, ever since the arrival of Brasidas had given them an opportunity, they had been concerting measures with their countrymen inside the walls for the surrender of the city. They now revolted from the Athenians on that very night, and received him into their town, and before dawn68 they conducted the army to the bridge over the river, which is at some distance from the town. At that time no walls had been built down to the river, as they have since been; a small guard was posted there. Brasidas easily overcame the guard, owing partly to the plot within the walls, partly to the severity of the weather and the suddenness of his attack; he then crossed the bridge, and at once was master of all the possessions of the Amphipolitans outside the walls. For they lived scattered about in the country.
The passage of the river was a complete surprise to the citizens within the walls. Many who happened to be outside were taken. Others fled into the town. The Amphipolitans were in great consternation, for they suspected one another. It is even said that Brasidas, if, instead of allowing his army to plunder, he had marched direct to the place, would probably69 have captured it. But he merely occupied a position, and overran the country outside the walls; and then, finding that his confederates within failed in accomplishing their part, he took no further step. Meanwhile the opponents of the conspirators, being superior in number, prevented the immediate opening of the gates, and acting with Eucles, the general to whose care the place had been committed by the Athenians, sent for help to the other general in Chalcidicè, Thucydides the son of Olorus, who wrote this history; he was then at Thasos, an island colonised from Paros, and distant from Amphipolis about half a day's sail. As soon as he heard the tidings he sailed quickly to Amphipolis with seven ships which happened to be on the spot; he wanted to get into Amphipolis if possible before it could capitulate, or at any rate to occupy Eion.
Meanwhile Brasidas, fearing the arrival of the ships from Thasos, and hearing that Thucydides had the right of working gold mines in the neighbouring district of Thrace, and was consequently one of the leading men of the country, did his utmost to get possession of the city before his arrival. He was afraid that, if Thucydides once came, the people of Amphipolis would no longer be disposed to surrender. For their hope would be that he would bring in allies from the islands or maritime towns or from the interior of Thrace, and relieve them. He therefore offered moderate terms, proclaiming that any Amphipolitan or Athenian might either remain in the city and have the enjoyment of his property on terms of equality; or, if he preferred, might depart, taking his goods with him, within five days.
When the people heard the proclamation they began to waver; for very few of the citizens were Athenians, the greater number being a mixed multitude. Many within the walls were relatives of those who had been captured outside. In their alarm they thought the terms reasonable; the Athenian population because they were too glad to withdraw, reflecting how much greater their share of the danger was, and not expecting speedy relief; the rest of the people because they retained all their existing rights, and were delivered from a fate which seemed inevitable. The partisans of Brasidas now proceeded to justify his proposals without disguise, for they saw that the mind of the whole people had changed, and that they no longer paid any regard to the Athenian general who was on the spot. So his terms were accepted, and the city was surrendered and delivered up to him. On the evening of the same day Thucydides and his ships sailed into Eion, but not until Brasidas had taken possession of Amphipolis, missing Eion only by a night. For if the ships had not come to the rescue with all speed, the place would have been in his hands on the next morning.
Thucydides now put Eion in a state of defence, desiring to provide not only against any immediate attempt of Brasidas, but also against future danger. He received the fugitives who had chosen to quit Amphipolis according to the agreement and wished to come into Eion. Brasidas suddenly sailed with a number of small craft down the river to Eion, hoping that he might take the point which runs out from the wall, and thereby command the entrance to the harbour; at the same time he made an attack by land. But in both these attempts he was foiled. Whereupon he returned, and took measures for the settlement of Amphipolis. Myrcinus a city in the Edonian country joined him, Pittacus the king of the Edonians having been assassinated by the children of Goaxis and Brauro his wife. Soon afterwards Galepsus and Oesymè (both colonies from Thasos) came over to him. Perdiccas likewise arrived shortly after the taking of Amphipolis, and assisted him in settling the newly-acquired towns.
The Athenians were seriously alarmed at the loss of Amphipolis; the place was very useful to them, and supplied them with a revenue, and with timber which they imported for shipbuilding. As far as the Strymon the Lacedaemonians could always have found a way to the allies of Athens, if the Thessalians allowed them to pass; but until they gained possession of the bridge they could proceed no further, because, for a long way above, the river forms a large lake, and below, towards Eion, there were triremes on guard. All difficulty seemed now to be removed, and the Athenians feared that more of their allies would revolt. For Brasidas in all his actions showed himself reasonable, and whenever he made a speech lost no opportunity of declaring that he was sent to emancipate Hellas. The cities which were subject to Athens, when they heard of the taking of Amphipolis and of his promises and of his gentleness, were more impatient than ever to rise, and privately sent embassies to him, asking him to come and help them, every one of them wanting to be first. They thought that there was no danger, for they had under-estimated the Athenian power, which afterwards proved its greatness and the magnitude of their mistake; they judged rather by their own illusive wishes than by the safe rule of prudence. For such is the manner of men; what they like is always seen by them in the light of unreflecting hope, what they dislike they peremptorily set aside by an arbitrary conclusion. Moreover, the Athenians had lately received a blow in Boeotia, and Brasidas told the allies what was likely to attract them, but untrue, that at Nisaea the Athenians had refused to fight with his unassisted forces.70 And so they grew bold, and were quite confident that no army would ever reach them. Above all, they were influenced by the pleasurable excitement of the moment; they were now for the first time going to find out of what the Lacedaemonians were capable when in real earnest, and therefore they were willing to risk anything. The Athenians were aware of their disaffection, and as far as they could, at short notice and in winter time, sent garrisons to the different cities. Brasidas also despatched a message to the Lacedaemonians requesting them to let him have additional forces, and he himself began to build triremes on the Strymon. But they would not second his efforts because their leading men were jealous of him, and also because they preferred to recover the prisoners taken in the island and bring the war to an end.
In the same winter the Megarians recovered their Long Walls which had been in the hands of the Athenians,71 and razed them to the ground.
After the taking of Amphipolis, Brasidas and his allies marched to the so-called Actè, or coastland, which runs out from the canal made by the Persian King and extends into the peninsula; it ends in Athos, a high mountain projecting into the Aegean sea.72 There are cities in the peninsula, of which one is Sanè, an Andrian colony on the edge of the canal looking towards the sea in the direction of Euboea; the others are Thyssus, Cleonae, Acrothoi, Olophyxus, and Dium; their inhabitants are a mixed multitude of barbarians, speaking Greek as well as their native tongue. A few indeed are Chalcidian; but the greater part are Pelasgians (sprung from the Tyrrhenians who once inhabited Lemnos and Athens), or Bisaltians, Crestonians, Edonians. They all dwell in small cities. Most of them joined Brasidas, but Sanè and Dium held out; whereupon he remained there for a time and wasted their territory.
Finding that they would not yield, he promptly made an expedition against Toronè in Chalcidicè, which was held by the Athenians. He was invited by a few of the inhabitants, who were ready to deliver the city into his hands. Arriving at night, or about daybreak, he took up a position at the temple of the Dioscuri, which is distant about three furlongs from the city. The great body of the inhabitants and the Athenian garrison never discovered him; but those Toronaeans who were in his interest, and knew that he was coming, were awaiting his approach; some few of them had privately gone to meet him. When his confederates found that he had arrived, they introduced into the city, under the command of Lysistratus an Olynthian, seven light-armed soldiers carrying daggers (for of twenty who had been originally appointed to that service, only seven had the courage to enter). These men slipped in undiscovered by way of the wall where it looks towards the sea. They ascended the side of the hill on the slope of which the city is built, and slew the sentinels posted on the summit; they then began to break down the postern-gate towards the promontory of Canastraeum.
Meanwhile Brasidas advanced a little with the rest of his army, and then halting, sent forward a hundred targeteers, that as soon as any of the gates were opened, and the signal agreed upon displayed, they might rush in first. There was a delay, and they, wondering what had happened, drew by degrees nearer and nearer to the city. Their partisans in Toronè, acting with the soldiers who had already got inside, had now broken through the postern-gate, and proceeded to cut the bar which fastened the gates near the market-place. They then brought round some of the targeteers by way of the postern-gate, and introduced them into the city, hoping to strike panic into the unconscious citizens by the sudden appearance of an armed force in their rear and on both sides of them at once. Their next step was to raise the fire-signal according to agreement; they then received the rest of the targeteers through the gates by the market-place.
Brasidas, when he saw the signal, gave his army the word to advance, and ran forward. Raising with one voice a shout which struck great terror into the inhabitants, they followed him. Some of them dashed in by the gates; others found a way in at a place where the wall had fallen down and was being repaired, getting up by some planks which were placed against it, intended for drawing up stones. He himself with the main body of his army ascended to the upper part of the city, wanting to make the capture thorough and secure; the rest of his soldiers overran the town.
While the capture was proceeding the Toronaeans generally, who knew nothing about the plot, were in confusion. The conspirators and their party at once joined the assailants. Of the Athenian hoplites, who to the number of fifty chanced to be sleeping in the Agora, a few were cut down at once, but the greater number, when they saw what had happened, fled, some by land, others to the Athenian guard-ships, of which two were on the spot, and reached safely the fort of Lecythus, a high point of the city which the Athenians had occupied and retained in their own hands; it runs out into the sea, and is only joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus; thither fled also such Toronaeans as were friendly to the Athenians.
It was now daylight, and the city being completely in his power, Brasidas made proclamation to the Toronaeans who had taken refuge with the Athenians, that if they liked they might come out and return to their homes; they would suffer no harm in the city. He also sent a herald to the Athenians, bidding them take what was their own and depart under a flag of truce out of Lecythus. The place, he said, belonged to the Chalcidians, and not to them. They refused to go, but asked him to make a truce with them for a day, that they might take up their dead, and he granted them two days. During these two days he fortified the buildings which were near Lecythus, and the Athenians strengthened the fort itself. He then called a meeting of the Toronaeans, and addressed them much in the same terms which he had used at Acanthus.73 He told them that they ought not to think badly of those citizens who had aided him, much less to deem them traitors; for they were not bribed and had not acted with any view of enslaving the city, but in the interest of her freedom and welfare. Those of the inhabitants who had not joined in the plot were not to suppose that they would fare worse than the rest; for he had not come thither to destroy either the city or any of her citizens. In this spirit he had made the proclamation to those who had taken refuge with the Athenians, and he thought none the worse of them for being their friends; when they had a similar experience of the Lacedaemonians their attachment to them would be still greater, for they would recognise their superior honesty; they were only afraid of them now because they did not know them. They must all make up their minds to be faithful allies, and expect henceforward to be held responsible if they offended; but in the past the Lacedaemonians had not been wronged by them; on the contrary, it was they who had been wronged by a power too great for them, and were to be excused if they had opposed him.
With these words he encouraged the citizens. On the expiration of the truce he made his intended attack upon Lecythus. The Athenians defended themselves from the fortress, which was weak, and from some houses which had battlements. For a whole day they repulsed the assault; but on the morrow an engine was brought against them, from which the Lacedaemonians proposed to throw fire upon the wooden breastwork. Just as the army was drawing near the wall, the Athenians raised a wooden tower upon the top of a building at a point where the approach was easiest and where they thought that the enemy would be most likely to apply the engine. To this tower they carried up numerous jars and,casks of water and great stones; and many men mounted upon it. Suddenly the building, being too heavily weighted, fell in with a loud crash. This only annoyed and did not much alarm the Athenians who were near and saw what had happened, but the rest were terrified, and their fright was the greater in proportion as they were further off. They thought that the place had been taken at that spot, and fled as fast as they could to the sea where their ships lay.
Brasidas witnessed the accident and observed that they were abandoning the battlements. He at once rushed forward with his army, captured the fort, and put to death all whom he found in it. Thus the Athenians were driven out; and in their ships of war and other vessels crossed over to Pallenè. There happened to be in Lecythus a temple of Athenè; and when Brasidas was about to storm the place he had made a proclamation that he who first mounted the wall should receive thirty minae;74 but now, believing that the capture had been effected by some more than human power, he gave the thirty minae to the Goddess for the service of the temple, and then pulling down Lecythus and clearing the ground, he consecrated the whole place. The rest of this winter he spent in settling the administration of the towns which he already held, and in concerting measures against the rest. At the end of the winter ended the eighth year of the war.
Early in the following spring the Lacedaemonians and Athenians made a truce for a year. The Athenians hoped to prevent Brasidas from gaining over any more of their allies for the present; the interval would give them leisure for preparation; and hereafter, if it was for their interest, they might come to a general understanding. The Lacedaemonians had truly divined the fears of the Athenians, and thought that, having enjoyed an intermission of trouble and hardship, they would be more anxious to make terms, restore the captives taken in the island, and conclude a durable peace. Their main object was to recover their men while the good fortune of Brasidas lasted; when, owing to his successful career and the balance which he had established between the contending powers, they did not feel the loss of them, and yet by retaliating on equal terms with the remainder of their forces might have a fair prospect of victory.75 So they made a truce for themselves and their allies in the following terms:
'I. Concerning the temple and oracle of the Pythian Apollo, it seems good to us that any one who will shall ask counsel thereat without fraud and without fear, according to his ancestral customs. To this we, the Lacedaemonians and their allies here present, agree, and we will send heralds to the Boeotians and Phocians, and do our best to gain their assent likewise.
'II. Concerning the treasures of the God, we will take measures for the detection of evil-doers, both you and we, according to our ancestral customs, and any one else who will, according to his ancestral customs, proceeding always with right and equity. Thus it seems good to the Lacedaemonians and their allies in respect of these matters.
'III. It further seems good to the Lacedaemonians and their allies that, if the Athenians consent to a truce, either party shall remain within his own territory, retaining what he has. The Athenians at Coryphasium shall keep between Buphras and Tomeus. They shall remain at Cythera,76 but shall not communicate with the Lacedaemonian confederacy, neither we with them nor they with us. The Athenians who are in Nisaea77 and Minoa78 shall not cross the road which leads from the gates of the shrine of Nisus to the temple of Poseidon, and from the temple of Poseidon goes direct to the bridge leading to Minoa; neither shall the Megarians and their allies cross this road; the Athenians shall hold the island which they have taken, neither party communicating with the other. They shall also hold what they now hold near Troezen,79 according to the agreement concluded between the Athenians and Troezenians.
'IV. At sea the Lacedaemonians and their allies may sail along their own coasts and the coasts of the confederacy, not in ships of war, but in any other rowing vessel whose burden does not exceed five hundred talents.80
'V. There shall be a safe-conduct both by sea and land for a herald, with envoys and any number of attendants which may be agreed upon, passing to and fro between Peloponnesus and Athens, to make arrangements about the termination of the war and about the arbitration of disputed points.
' VI. While the truce lasts, neither party, neither we nor you, shall receive deserters, either bond or free.
'VII. And we will give satisfaction to you and you shall give satisfaction to us according to our ancestral customs, and determine disputed points by arbitration and not by arms.
'These things seem good to us, the Lacedaemonians, and to our allies. But if you deem any other condition more just or honourable, go to Lacedaemon and explain your views; neither the Lacedaemonians nor their allies will reject any just claim which you may prefer.
'And we desire you, as you desire us, to send envoys invested with full powers.
' This truce shall be for a year.'
'The Athenian people passed the following decree. The prytanes were of the tribe Acamantis, Phaenippus was the registrar, Niciades was the president. Laches moved that a truce be concluded on the terms to which the Lacedaemonians and their allies had consented; and might it be for the best interests of the Athenian people! Accordingly the assembly agreed that the truce shall last for a year, beginning from this day, being the fourteenth day of the month Elaphebolion.81 During the year of truce ambassadors and heralds are to go from one state to another and discuss proposals for the termination of the war. The generals and prytanes shall proceed to hold another assembly, at which the people shall discuss, first of all, the question of peace, whatever proposal the Lacedaemonian embassy may offer about the termination of the war. The embassies now present shall bind themselves on the spot, in the presence of the assembly, to abide for a year by the truce just made.'
To these terms the Lacedaemonians assented, and they and their allies took oath to the Athenians and their allies on the twelfth day of the Spartan month Gerastius. Those who formally ratified the truce were, on behalf of Lacedaemon, Taurus the son of Echetimidas, Athenaeus the son of Periclidas, Philocharidas the son of Eryxidaidas; of Corinth, Aeneas the son of Ocytus, Euphamidas the son of Aristonymus; of Sicyon, Damotimus the son of Naucrates, Onasimus the son of Megacles; of Megara, Nicasus the son of Cecalus, Menecrates the son of Amphidorus; of Epidaurus, Amphias the son of Eupaidas; and on behalf of Athens, Nicostratus the son of Diitrephes, Nicias the son of Niceratus, Autocles the son of Tolmaeus. Such were the terms of the armistice; during its continuance fresh negotiations for a final peace were constantly carried on.
About the time when the envoys engaged in the negotiations were passing to and fro, Scionè, a town of Pallenè, revolted from the Athenians and joined Brasidas. The Scionaeans, according to their own account, sprang originally from Pellenè in Peloponnesus, but their ancestors returning from Troy were carried by the storm which the Achaean fleet encountered to Scionè, where they took up their abode. Brasidas, when he heard of the revolt, sailed thither by night, sending before him a friendly trireme, while he himself followed at some distance in a small boat, thinking that if he met any vessel, not a trireme, larger than the boat, the trireme would protect him,82 while if another trireme of equal strength came up, it would fall, not upon the boat, but upon the larger vessel, and in the meantime he would be able to save himself. He succeeded in crossing, and having summoned a meeting of the Scionaeans, he repeated what he had said at Acanthus and Toronè, adding that their conduct was deserving of the highest praise; for at a time when the Athenians were holding Potidaea and the isthmus of Pallenè, and they, being cut off from the mainland, were as defenceless as if they had been islanders, they had taken the side of liberty unbidden. They were not such cowards as to wait until they were compelled to do what was obviously for their own interest; and this was a sufficient proof that they would endure like men any hardships, however great, if only their aspirations could be realised. He should reckon them the truest and most loyal friends of the Lacedaemonians, and pay them the highest honour.
The Scionaeans were inspirited by his words; and one and all, even those who had previously been against the movement, took courage and determined to bear cheerfully the burdens of the war. They received Brasidas with honour, and in the name of the city crowned him with a golden crown as the liberator of Hellas; many too, in token of their personal admiration, placed garlands on his head, and congratulated him, as if he had been a victor in the games. For the present he left a small garrison with them and returned, but soon afterwards again crossed the sea with a larger army, being desirous, now that he had the help of the Scionaeans, to attempt Mendè and Potidaea; he made sure that the Athenians would follow him with their ships to Pallenè, which they would consider an island; and he wished to anticipate them. Moreover he had entered into negotiations with these cities, and had some hope of their being betrayed to him.
But before he had executed his intentions, a trireme arrived conveying the ambassadors who went round to proclaim the truce, Aristonymus from Athens, and Athenaeus from Lacedaemon. His army then returned to Toronè, and the truce was formally announced to him. All the allies of the Lacedaemonians in Chalcidicè agreed to the terms. Aristonymus the Athenian assented generally, but finding on a calculation of the days that the Scionaeans had revolted after the conclusion of the truce, refused to admit them. Brasidas insisted that they were in time, and would not surrender the city. Whereupon Aristonymus despatched a message to Athens. The Athenians were ready at once to make an expedition against Scionè. The Lacedaemonians, however, sent an embassy to them and protested that such a step would be a breach of the truce. They laid claim to the place, relying on the testimony of Brasidas, and proposed to have the matter decided by arbitration. But the Athenians, instead of risking an arbitration, wanted to send an expedition instantly; for they were exasperated at discovering that even the islanders were now daring to revolt from them, in a futile reliance on the Lacedaemonian power by land. The greater right was on their side; for the truth was that the Scionaeans had revolted two days after the truce was made. They instantly carried a resolution, moved by Cleon, to destroy Scionè and put the citizens to the sword; and, while abstaining from hostilities elsewhere, they prepared to carry out their intentions.
In the meantime Mendè, a city of Pallenè and an Eretrian colony, revolted from them. Brasidas felt justified in receiving the Mendaeans, although, when they came to him, the peace had unmistakably been declared, because there were certain points in which he too charged the Athenians with violating the treaty. His attitude encouraged them to take this bold step; they saw his zeal in the cause, which they likewise inferred from his unwillingness to hand over Scionè to the Athenians. Moreover the persons who negotiated with him were few in number, and having once begun, would not give up their purpose. For they feared the consequences of detection, and therefore compelled the multitude to act contrary to their own wishes. When the Athenians heard of the revolt they were more angry than ever, and made preparations against both cities. Brasidas, in expectation of their attack, conveyed away the wives and children of the Scionaeans83 and Mendaeans to Olynthus in Chalcidice, and sent over five hundred Peloponnesian hoplites and three hundred Chalcidian targeteers, under the sole command of Polydamidas, to their aid. The two cities concerted measures for their defence against the Athenians, who were expected shortly to arrive.
Brasidas and Perdiccas now joined their forces, and made a second expedition to Lyncus against Arrhibaeus. Perdiccas led his own Macedonian army and a force of hoplites supplied by the Hellenic inhabitants of the country. Brasidas, beside the Peloponnesians who remained with him, had under his command a body of Chalcidians from Acanthus and other cities which supplied as many troops as they severally could. The entire heavy-armed Hellenic forces numbered about three thousand; the Chalcidian and Macedonian cavalry nearly a thousand, and there was also a great multitude of barbarians. They entered the territory of Arrhibaeus, and there finding the Lyncestians ready for battle, they took up a position in face of them. The infantry of the two armies was stationed upon two opposite hills, and between them was a plain, into which the cavalry of both first descended and fought. Then the Lyncestian heavy-armed troops began to advance from the hill, and forming a junction with their cavalry, offered battle. Brasidas and Perdiccas now drew out their army and charged; the Lyncestians were put to flight and many slain; the rest escaped to the high ground, and there remained inactive. The conquerors raised a trophy, and waited for two or three days expecting the arrival of some Illyrians whom Perdiccas had hired. Then Perdiccas wanted, instead of sitting idle, to push on against the villages of Arrhibaeus, but Brasidas was anxious about Mendè, and apprehensive that the Athenians might sail thither and do some mischief before he returned. The Illyrians had not appeared; and for both reasons he was more disposed to retreat than to advance.
But while they were disputing, the news arrived that the Illyrians had just betrayed Perdiccas and joined Arrhibaeus, whereupon they both resolved to retreat; for they were afraid of the Illyrians, who are a nation of warriors. Owing to the dispute nothing had been determined respecting the time of their departure. Night came on, and the Macedonians and the mass of the barbarians were instantly seized with one of those unaccountable panics to which great armies are liable.84 They fancied that the Illyrians were many times their real number, and that they were close at their heels; so, suddenly betaking themselves to flight, they hastened homewards. And they compelled Perdiccas, when he understood the state of affairs, which at first he did not, to go away without seeing Brasidas, for the two armies were encamped at a considerable distance from one another. At dawn Brasidas, finding that Arrhibaeus and the Illyrians were coming on and that the Macedonians had already decamped, resolved to follow them. So he formed his hoplites into a compact square, and placed his light-armed troops in the centre. He selected the youngest of his soldiers to run out upon the enemy at whatever point the attack might be made. He himself proposed during the retreat to take his post in the rear with three hundred chosen men, meaning to stop the foremost of his assailants and beat them off. Before the Illyrians came up he exhorted his soldiers, as far as the shortness of the time permitted, in the following words:
'Did I not suspect, men of Peloponnesus, that you may be terrified because you have been deserted by your companions and are assailed by a host of barbarians, I should think only of encouraging and not of instructing you.85 But now that we are left alone in the face of numerous enemies, I shall endeavour in a few words to impress upon you the main points which it concerns you to be informed of and to remember. For you ought to fight like men not merely when you happen to have allies present, but because courage is native to you; nor should you fear any number of foreign troops. Remember that in the cities from which you come, not the many govern the few, but the few govern the many, and have acquired their supremacy simply by successful fighting. Your enemies are barbarians, and you in your inexperience fear them. But you ought to know, from your late conflicts with the Macedonian portion of them86--and any estimate which I can form, or account of them which I receive from others, would lead me to infer--that they will not prove so very formidable. An enemy often has weak points which wear the appearance of strength; and these; when their nature is explained, encourage rather than frighten their opponents. As, on the other hand, where an army has a real advantage, the adversary who is the most ignorant is also the most foolhardy. The Illyrians, to those who have no experience of them, do indeed at first sight present a threatening aspect. The spectacle of their numbers is terrible, their cries are intolerable, and the brandishing of their spears in the air has a menacing effect. But in action they are not the men they look, if their opponents will only stand their ground; for they have no regular order, and therefore are not ashamed of leaving any post in which they are hard pressed; to fly and to advance being alike honourable, no imputation can be thrown on their courage. When every man is his own master in battle he will readily find a decent excuse for saving himself. They clearly think that to frighten us at a safe distance is a better plan than to meet us hand to hand; else why do they shout instead of fighting? You may easily see that all the terrors with which you have invested them are in reality nothing; they do but startle the sense of sight and hearing. If you repel their tumultuous onset, and, when opportunity offers, withdraw again in good order, keeping your ranks, you will sooner arrive at a place of safety, and will also learn the lesson that mobs like these, if an adversary withstand their first attack, do but threaten at a distance and make a flourish of valour, although if he yields to them they are quick enough to show their courage in following at his heels when there is no danger.'
Brasidas, having addressed his army, began to retreat. Whereupon the barbarians with loud noise and in great disorder pressed hard upon him, supposing that he was flying, and that they could overtake and destroy his troops. But, wherever they attacked, the soldiers appointed for the purpose ran out and met them, and Brasidas himself with his chosen men received their charge. Thus the first onset of the barbarians met with a resistance which surprised them, and whenever they renewed the attack the Lacedaemonians received and repelled them again, and when they ceased, proceeded with their march. Thereupon the greater part of the barbarians abstained from attacking Brasidas and his Hellenes in the open country; but leaving a certain number to follow and harass them, they ran on after the fugitive Macedonians and killed any with whom they fell in. They then secured beforehand the narrow pass between two hills which led into the country of Arrhibaeus, knowing that this was the only path by which Brasidas could retreat. And as he was approaching the most dangerous point of the defile they began to surround him in the hope of cutting him off.
Perceiving their intention, he told his three hundred to leave their ranks and run every man as fast as he could to the top of one of the hills, being the one which he thought the barbarians would be most likely to occupy; and before a larger number of them could come up and surround them, to dislodge those who were already there.87 They accordingly attacked and defeated them; and so the main body of his army more easily reached the summit; for the barbarians, seeing their comrades defeated and driven from the high ground, took alarm; they considered too that the enemy were already on the borders of the country, and had got away from them, and therefore followed no further. Brasidas had now gained the high ground and could march unmolested; on the same day he arrived at Arnissa, which is in the dominion of Perdiccas. The soldiers were enraged at the hasty retreat of the Macedonians, and when they came upon carts of theirs drawn by oxen, or any baggage which had been dropped in the flight, as was natural in a retreat made in a panic and by night, they of themselves loosed the oxen and slaughtered them, and appropriated the baggage. From that time forward Perdiccas regarded Brasidas in the light of a foe, and conceived a new hatred of the Peloponnesians, which was not a natural feeling in an enemy of the Athenians. Nevertheless, disregarding his own nearest interests, he took steps to make terms with the one and get rid of the other.
Brasidas returned from Macedonia to Toronè, and when he arrived there found the Athenians already in possession of Mendè. Thinking it now too late to cross over to Pallenè and assist Mendè and Scionè, he remained quiet and guarded Toronè. While he was engaged with the Lyncestians, the Athenians, having completed their preparations, had sailed against Mendè and Scionè with fifty ships, of which ten were Chian, conveying a thousand hoplites of their own, six hundred archers, a thousand Thracian mercenaries, and targeteers furnished by their allies in the neighbourhood. They were under the command of Nicias the son of Niceratus, and Nicostratus the son of Diitrephes. Sailing from Potidaea and putting in near the temple of Poseidon they marched against the Mendaeans. Now they and three hundred Scionaeans who had come to their aid, and their Peloponnesian auxiliaries, seven hundred hoplites in all, with Polydamidas their commander, had just encamped outside the city on a steep hill. Nicias, taking with him for the assault a hundred and twenty Methonaean light-armed troops, sixty select Athenian hoplites and all the archers, made an attempt to ascend the hill by a certain pathway, but he was wounded and failed to carry the position. Nicostratus with the remainder of his troops approaching the hill, which was hard of access, by another and more circuitous route was thrown into utter confusion, and the whole army of the Athenians were nearly defeated. So on this day the Athenians, finding that the Mendaeans and their allies refused to give way, retreated and encamped; and when night came on, the Mendaeans likewise returned to the city.
On the following day the Athenians sailed round to the side of Mendè looking towards Scionè; they took the suburb, and during the whole of that day devastated the country. No one came out to meet them; for a division had arisen in the city, and on the following night the three hundred Scionaeans returned home. On the next day Nicias with half his army went as far as the Scionaean frontier and devastated the country on his march, while Nicostratus with the other half sat down before the upper gates of Mendè, out of which the road leads to Potidaea. In this part of the city within the walls the Mendaeans and their allies chanced to have their arms deposited, and Polydamidas, arraying his forces in order of battle, was just exhorting the Mendaeans to go forth. Some one of the popular faction answered in the heat of party that he would not go out, and that he did not care to fight, but no sooner had he uttered the words than he was seized by the Peloponnesian commander and roughly handled. Whereupon the people lost patience, caught up their arms, and made a furious rush upon the Peloponnesians and the opposite party who were in league with them. They soon put them to flight, partly because the onslaught was sudden, and also because the gates were thrown open to the Athenians, which greatly terrified them. For they thought that the attack upon them was premeditated. All the Peloponnesians who were not killed on the spot fled to the citadel, which they had previously kept in their own hands. Nicias had now returned and was close to the city, and the Athenians rushed into Mendè with their whole force. As the gates had been opened without any previous capitulation they plundered the town as if it had been stormed; and even the lives of the citizens were with difficulty saved by the efforts of the generals. The Mendaeans were then told that they were to retain their former constitution, and bring to trial among themselves any whom they thought guilty of the revolt. At the same time the Athenians blockaded the garrison in the Acropolis by a wall extending to the sea on either side and established a guard. Having thus secured Mendè, they proceeded against Scionè.
The inhabitants of Scionè and the Peloponnesian garrison had come out to meet them and occupied a steep hill in front of the city. The hill had to be taken by the Athenians before they could effect the circumvallation of the place. So they made a furious attack and dislodged those who were stationed there;88 they then encamped, and after raising a trophy, prepared to invest the city. Soon afterwards, while they were engaged in the work, the Peloponnesian auxiliaries who were besieged in the Acropolis of Mendè, forcing their way out by the sea-shore, broke through the watch and came to Scionè by night. Most of them eluded the Athenians who were encamped outside, and got into the town.
While the circumvallation of Scionè was proceeding, Perdiccas, who, after what had occurred in the retreat from Lyncus, hated Brasidas, sent heralds to the Athenian generals, and came to an understanding with them, which without loss of time he took measures to carry out.89 It so happened that Ischagoras the Lacedaemonian was then on the eve of marching with an army to reinforce Brasidas. Perdiccas was told by Nicias that, having now made friends with the Athenians, he should give them some evidence of his sincerity. He himself too no longer wished the Peloponnesians to find their way into his country. And so by his influence over the Thessalian chiefs, with whom he was always on good terms, he put a stop to the whole expedition; indeed, the Lacedaemonians did not even attempt to obtain the consent of the Thessalians. Nevertheless, Ischagoras, Ameinias, and Aristeus, who had been sent by the Lacedaemonian government to report on the state of affairs, found their way to Brasidas. They brought with them, though contrary to law, certain young Spartans, intending to make them governors of the cities, instead of leaving the care of them to chance persons. Accordingly Brasidas appointed Clearidas the son of Cleonymus governor of Amphipolis, and Pasitelidas90 the son of Hegesander governor of Toronè.
During the same summer the Thebans dismantled the wall of the Thespians, charging them with Athenian tendencies. This was an object which they always had in view, and now they had their opportunity, because the flower of the Thespian army had fallen in the battle of Delium.91 During the same summer the temple of Herè near Argos was burnt down; Chrysis the priestess had put a light too near the sacred garlands, and had then gone to sleep, so that the whole place took fire and was consumed. In her fear of the people she fled that very night to Phlius; and the Argives, as the law provided, appointed another priestess named Phaeinis. Chrysis had been priestess during eight years of the war and half of the ninth when she became an exile. Towards the close of the summer Scionè was completely invested, and the Athenians, leaving a guard, retired with the rest of their army.
In the following winter the Athenians and Lacedaemonians remained inactive, in consequence of the armistice; but the Mantineans and the Tegeans with their respective allies fought a battle at Laodicium in the territory of Orestheum; the victory was disputed. For the troops of both cities defeated the allies on the wing opposed to them, and both erected trophies, and sent spoils to Delphi. The truth is that, although there was considerable slaughter on both sides, and the issue was still undecided when night put an end to the conflict, the Tegeans encamped on the field and at once erected a trophy, while the Mantineans retreated to Bucolion and raised a rival trophy, but afterwards.
At the close of the same winter, towards the beginning of spring, Brasidas made an attempt on Potidaea. He approached the place by night and planted a ladder against the walls. Thus far he proceeded undiscovered; for the ladder was fixed at a point which the sentinel who was passing on the bell had just quitted, and before he had returned to his post. But Brasidas had not yet mounted the ladder when he was detected by the garrison: whereupon he withdrew his army in haste without waiting for the dawn. So the winter ended, and with it the ninth year in the Peloponnesian War of which Thucydides wrote the history.
1. Cp. iii. 115 med.
2. Cp. iii. 85 fin.
3. Reading with many good MSS. xunepleuse, and epi touto.
4. Cp. v. 54; v. 82 init.
5. Or, 'in the neighbourhood of Pylos.'
6. Cp. iii. 81 init.
7. It is really very much wider.
8. Reading ai periêsan autô.
9. Or, taking kekôlusthai with ekastos: 'that was a time when every one felt that he was under a restraint because he was unable to be everywhere and to do everything.'
10. Omitting hê after biasthentas.
11. The choenix was about two pints, dry measure; the cotylè about half a pint.
12. Or, taking logos with didaskontas: 'when some weighty communication has to be made by words, if anything is to be really done.'
13. Cp. iv. 95 init.; iv. 126 init.; v. 6o fin.
14. Cp. v. 91 init.
15. Cp. ii. 59.
16. Cp. iii. 36 fin.
17. Cp. i. 115 init.
18. Or, ' were making and not receiving offers of peace.'
19. Cp. v. 85.
20. Cp. iv. 1 fin.
21. Reading ho ti.
22. Cp. vii. 11 fin.
23. Cp. iii. 98.
24. Reading to te.
25. Reading auto to eschaton, or, auto touschaton.
26. Literally, 'Were their dead brave?' implying that the living were not.
27. Cp. iii. 114 fin.
28. Cp. iii. 85.
29. Or, 'and so the pretext turned out to be the exact truth;' or,' and so the pretext seemed to correspond to the facts.'
30. Cp. iv. 4 fin.; iv. 46 init.
31. The value of the Phocaean stater is not precisely known: it was somewhat less than that of the Attic stater (about 16s.).
32. Cp. iii. 50 fin.
33. Cp. Herod. vii. 235.
34. Cp. iv. 57 fin.
35. Cp. i. 70 med.
36. Cp. ii. 27.
38. Or, 'who had been the chief agent in bringing them together.'
39. Cp. iv. 1 med.
40. Cp. vi. 77, 79.
41. Cp. iii. 86.
42. Or, reading ekastos ti: 'to the accomplishment of those things which each of us in whatever degree was hoping to effect.'
43. Cp. ii. 31.
44. Cp. iii. 68 med.
45. Cp. i. 103 fin.
46. Cp. iv. 80 fin.
47. Or, reading proselasantas and omitting kai before apokteinantes, 'who had ridden up to the walls.'
48. Cp iv. 66 init.
49. Cp. iv. 52.
50. Cp. iii. 19; iii. 32 init.
51. Cp. iii. 111 fin.
52. Or, reading skaiotêta, 'obstinacy.'
53. CP. iv. 70 med.
54. Or, taking prôtos closely with doxas: 'For of all the Spartans who had been sent out, he was the first who proved himself,' &c.
55. Or, taking epipherein after aitian exô: 'but shall be deemed either to offer a spurious liberty, or to be weak.'
56. Cp. iv. 108 fin.
57. Cp. i. 77 med.
58. Or, omitting the words 'who was in command at the time': 'wanted to fight while he held the command.'
59. Cp. iii. 62 fin.
60. Cp. iv. 17 med.; iv. 126 init.; v. 69 fin.
61. Or, ' were bound to show reverence in such ways as they could in addition to the customary observances.'
62. Or, taking dêthen with hyper tês ekein ôn: land they were unwilling to make a truce respecting a piece of ground which was claimed by the Athenians.'
63. Cp. iv. 69 fin.
64. Cp. iv. 77 init., 89.
65. Cp, ii. 101 fin.
66. Cp. Herod. v. 124.
67. Cp. i. 100 fin.
68. Reading pro eô.
69. Or, 'It is said to have been the impression that Brasidas' &c., omitting 'probably.'
70. Cp. iv. 73, 85 fin.
71. Cp. iv. 68, 69.
72. Cp. Herod. vii. 22.
73. Cp. iv. 85-87.
74. About £100.
75. See the note on this passage in Barton and Chavasse's edition of Thucydidcs, Book IV.
76. Cp. iv. 53, 54.
77. Cp. iv. 69.
78. Cp. iii. 51.
79. Cp. iv. 45.
80. About 12 tons.
82. Reading autô; or, reading autê, 'the mere presence of the trireme would protect him.'
83. But cp. v. 32 init.
84. Cp. vii. 80 med.
85. Cp. iv. 17 med.; iv. 95 init.; v. 69 fin.
86. Cp. iv. 124 med.
87. Adopting with Poppo the correction epontas.
88. Reading epontas.
89. Or, ' having commenced negotiations immediately after the retreat' (cp. iv. 128 fin.); in which case, however, euthus tote arxamenos and eutunchane tote must refer to different times.
90. Reading, according to Dobree's conjecture, Pasitelidan, not Epitelidan. Pasitelidas is mentioned, v. 3, as governor of Toronè.
91. Cp. iv. 96 med.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00