The Fourth Book

Chapter XII

Seventh Year of the War – Occupation of Pylos – Surrender of the Spartan

Army in Sphacteria


Next summer, about the time of the corn’s coming into ear, ten Syracusan

and as many Locrian vessels sailed to Messina, in Sicily, and occupied

the town upon the invitation of the inhabitants; and Messina revolted

from the Athenians. The Syracusans contrived this chiefly because

they saw that the place afforded an approach to Sicily, and feared

that the Athenians might hereafter use it as a base for attacking

them with a larger force; the Locrians because they wished to carry

on hostilities from both sides of the strait and to reduce their enemies,

the people of Rhegium. Meanwhile, the Locrians had invaded the Rhegian

territory with all their forces, to prevent their succouring Messina,

and also at the instance of some exiles from Rhegium who were with

them; the long factions by which that town had been torn rendering

it for the moment incapable of resistance, and thus furnishing an

additional temptation to the invaders. After devastating the country

the Locrian land forces retired, their ships remaining to guard Messina,

while others were being manned for the same destination to carry on

the war from thence.


About the same time in the spring, before the corn was ripe, the Peloponnesians

and their allies invaded Attica under Agis, the son of Archidamus,

king of the Lacedaemonians, and sat down and laid waste the country.

Meanwhile the Athenians sent off the forty ships which they had been

preparing to Sicily, with the remaining generals Eurymedon and Sophocles;

their colleague Pythodorus having already preceded them thither. These

had also instructions as they sailed by to look to the Corcyraeans

in the town, who were being plundered by the exiles in the mountain.

To support these exiles sixty Peloponnesian vessels had lately sailed,

it being thought that the famine raging in the city would make it

easy for them to reduce it. Demosthenes also, who had remained without

employment since his return from Acarnania, applied and obtained permission

to use the fleet, if he wished it, upon the coast of Peloponnese.


Off Laconia they heard that the Peloponnesian ships were already at

Corcyra, upon which Eurymedon and Sophocles wished to hasten to the

island, but Demosthenes required them first to touch at Pylos and

do what was wanted there, before continuing their voyage. While they

were making objections, a squall chanced to come on and carried the

fleet into Pylos. Demosthenes at once urged them to fortify the place,

it being for this that he had come on the voyage, and made them observe

there was plenty of stone and timber on the spot, and that the place

was strong by nature, and together with much of the country round

unoccupied; Pylos, or Coryphasium, as the Lacedaemonians call it,

being about forty-five miles distant from Sparta, and situated in

the old country of the Messenians. The commanders told him that there

was no lack of desert headlands in Peloponnese if he wished to put

the city to expense by occupying them. He, however, thought that this

place was distinguished from others of the kind by having a harbour

close by; while the Messenians, the old natives of the country, speaking

the same dialect as the Lacedaemonians, could do them the greatest

mischief by their incursions from it, and would at the same time be

a trusty garrison.


After speaking to the captains of companies on the subject, and failing

to persuade either the generals or the soldiers, he remained inactive

with the rest from stress of weather; until the soldiers themselves

wanting occupation were seized with a sudden impulse to go round and

fortify the place. Accordingly they set to work in earnest, and having

no iron tools, picked up stones, and put them together as they happened

to fit, and where mortar was needed, carried it on their backs for

want of hods, stooping down to make it stay on, and clasping their

hands together behind to prevent it falling off; sparing no effort

to be able to complete the most vulnerable points before the arrival

of the Lacedaemonians, most of the place being sufficiently strong

by nature without further fortifications.


Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians were celebrating a festival, and also

at first made light of the news, in the idea that whenever they chose

to take the field the place would be immediately evacuated by the

enemy or easily taken by force; the absence of their army before Athens

having also something to do with their delay. The Athenians fortified

the place on the land side, and where it most required it, in six

days, and leaving Demosthenes with five ships to garrison it, with

the main body of the fleet hastened on their voyage to Corcyra and



As soon as the Peloponnesians in Attica heard of the occupation of

Pylos, they hurried back home; the Lacedaemonians and their king Agis

thinking that the matter touched them nearly. Besides having made

their invasion early in the season, and while the corn was still green,

most of their troops were short of provisions: the weather also was

unusually bad for the time of year, and greatly distressed their army.

Many reasons thus combined to hasten their departure and to make this

invasion a very short one; indeed they only stayed fifteen days in



About the same time the Athenian general Simonides getting together

a few Athenians from the garrisons, and a number of the allies in

those parts, took Eion in Thrace, a Mendaean colony and hostile to

Athens, by treachery, but had no sooner done so than the Chalcidians

and Bottiaeans came up and beat him out of it, with the loss of many

of his soldiers.


On the return of the Peloponnesians from Attica, the Spartans themselves

and the nearest of the Perioeci at once set out for Pylos, the other

Lacedaemonians following more slowly, as they had just come in from

another campaign. Word was also sent round Peloponnese to come up

as quickly as possible to Pylos; while the sixty Peloponnesian ships

were sent for from Corcyra, and being dragged by their crews across

the isthmus of Leucas, passed unperceived by the Athenian squadron

at Zacynthus, and reached Pylos, where the land forces had arrived

before them. Before the Peloponnesian fleet sailed in, Demosthenes

found time to send out unobserved two ships to inform Eurymedon and

the Athenians on board the fleet at Zacynthus of the danger of Pylos

and to summon them to his assistance. While the ships hastened on

their voyage in obedience to the orders of Demosthenes, the Lacedaemonians

prepared to assault the fort by land and sea, hoping to capture with

ease a work constructed in haste, and held by a feeble garrison. Meanwhile,

as they expected the Athenian ships to arrive from Zacynthus, they

intended, if they failed to take the place before, to block up the

entrances of the harbour to prevent their being able to anchor inside

  1. For the island of Sphacteria, stretching along in a line close

in front of the harbour, at once makes it safe and narrows its entrances,

leaving a passage for two ships on the side nearest Pylos and the

Athenian fortifications, and for eight or nine on that next the rest

of the mainland: for the rest, the island was entirely covered with

wood, and without paths through not being inhabited, and about one

mile and five furlongs in length. The inlets the Lacedaemonians meant

to close with a line of ships placed close together, with their prows

turned towards the sea, and, meanwhile, fearing that the enemy might

make use of the island to operate against them, carried over some

heavy infantry thither, stationing others along the coast. By this

means the island and the continent would be alike hostile to the Athenians,

as they would be unable to land on either; and the shore of Pylos

itself outside the inlet towards the open sea having no harbour, and,

therefore, presenting no point which they could use as a base to relieve

their countrymen, they, the Lacedaemonians, without sea-fight or risk

would in all probability become masters of the place, occupied as

it had been on the spur of the moment, and unfurnished with provisions.

This being determined, they carried over to the island the heavy infantry,

drafted by lot from all the companies. Some others had crossed over

before in relief parties, but these last who were left there were

four hundred and twenty in number, with their Helot attendants, commanded

by Epitadas, son of Molobrus.


Meanwhile Demosthenes, seeing the Lacedaemonians about to attack him

by sea and land at once, himself was not idle. He drew up under the

fortification and enclosed in a stockade the galleys remaining to

him of those which had been left him, arming the sailors taken out

of them with poor shields made most of them of osier, it being impossible

to procure arms in such a desert place, and even these having been

obtained from a thirty-oared Messenian privateer and a boat belonging

to some Messenians who happened to have come to them. Among these

Messenians were forty heavy infantry, whom he made use of with the

rest. Posting most of his men, unarmed and armed, upon the best fortified

and strong points of the place towards the interior, with orders to

repel any attack of the land forces, he picked sixty heavy infantry

and a few archers from his whole force, and with these went outside

the wall down to the sea, where he thought that the enemy would most

likely attempt to land. Although the ground was difficult and rocky,

looking towards the open sea, the fact that this was the weakest part

of the wall would, he thought, encourage their ardour, as the Athenians,

confident in their naval superiority, had here paid little attention

to their defences, and the enemy if he could force a landing might

feel secure of taking the place. At this point, accordingly, going

down to the water’s edge, he posted his heavy infantry to prevent,

if possible, a landing, and encouraged them in the following terms:


«Soldiers and comrades in this adventure, I hope that none of you

in our present strait will think to show his wit by exactly calculating

all the perils that encompass us, but that you will rather hasten

to close with the enemy, without staying to count the odds, seeing

in this your best chance of safety. In emergencies like ours calculation

is out of place; the sooner the danger is faced the better. To my

mind also most of the chances are for us, if we will only stand fast

and not throw away our advantages, overawed by the numbers of the

enemy. One of the points in our favour is the awkwardness of the landing.

This, however, only helps us if we stand our ground. If we give way

it will be practicable enough, in spite of its natural difficulty,

without a defender; and the enemy will instantly become more formidable

from the difficulty he will have in retreating, supposing that we

succeed in repulsing him, which we shall find it easier to do, while

he is on board his ships, than after he has landed and meets us on

equal terms. As to his numbers, these need not too much alarm you.

Large as they may be he can only engage in small detachments, from

the impossibility of bringing to. Besides, the numerical superiority

that we have to meet is not that of an army on land with everything

else equal, but of troops on board ship, upon an element where many

favourable accidents are required to act with effect. I therefore

consider that his difficulties may be fairly set against our numerical

deficiencies, and at the same time I charge you, as Athenians who

know by experience what landing from ships on a hostile territory

means, and how impossible it is to drive back an enemy determined

enough to stand his ground and not to be frightened away by the surf

and the terrors of the ships sailing in, to stand fast in the present

emergency, beat back the enemy at the water’s edge, and save yourselves

and the place.»


Thus encouraged by Demosthenes, the Athenians felt more confident,

and went down to meet the enemy, posting themselves along the edge

of the sea. The Lacedaemonians now put themselves in movement and

simultaneously assaulted the fortification with their land forces

and with their ships, forty-three in number, under their admiral,

Thrasymelidas, son of Cratesicles, a Spartan, who made his attack

just where Demosthenes expected. The Athenians had thus to defend

themselves on both sides, from the land and from the sea; the enemy

rowing up in small detachments, the one relieving the other- it being

impossible for many to bring to at once- and showing great ardour

and cheering each other on, in the endeavour to force a passage and

to take the fortification. He who most distinguished himself was Brasidas.

Captain of a galley, and seeing that the captains and steersmen, impressed

by the difficulty of the position, hung back even where a landing

might have seemed possible, for fear of wrecking their vessels, he

shouted out to them, that they must never allow the enemy to fortify

himself in their country for the sake of saving timber, but must shiver

their vessels and force a landing; and bade the allies, instead of

hesitating in such a moment to sacrifice their ships for Lacedaemon

in return for her many benefits, to run them boldly aground, land

in one way or another, and make themselves masters of the place and

its garrison.


Not content with this exhortation, he forced his own steersman to

run his ship ashore, and stepping on to the gangway, was endeavouring

to land, when he was cut down by the Athenians, and after receiving

many wounds fainted away. Falling into the bows, his shield slipped

off his arm into the sea, and being thrown ashore was picked up by

the Athenians, and afterwards used for the trophy which they set up

for this attack. The rest also did their best, but were not able to

land, owing to the difficulty of the ground and the unflinching tenacity

of the Athenians. It was a strange reversal of the order of things

for Athenians to be fighting from the land, and from Laconian land

too, against Lacedaemonians coming from the sea; while Lacedaemonians

were trying to land from shipboard in their own country, now become

hostile, to attack Athenians, although the former were chiefly famous

at the time as an inland people and superior by land, the latter as

a maritime people with a navy that had no equal.


After continuing their attacks during that day and most of the next,

the Peloponnesians desisted, and the day after sent some of their

ships to Asine for timber to make engines, hoping to take by their

aid, in spite of its height, the wall opposite the harbour, where

the landing was easiest. At this moment the Athenian fleet from Zacynthus

arrived, now numbering fifty sail, having been reinforced by some

of the ships on guard at Naupactus and by four Chian vessels. Seeing

the coast and the island both crowded with heavy infantry, and the

hostile ships in harbour showing no signs of sailing out, at a loss

where to anchor, they sailed for the moment to the desert island of

Prote, not far off, where they passed the night. The next day they

got under way in readiness to engage in the open sea if the enemy

chose to put out to meet them, being determined in the event of his

not doing so to sail in and attack him. The Lacedaemonians did not

put out to sea, and having omitted to close the inlets as they had

intended, remained quiet on shore, engaged in manning their ships

and getting ready, in the case of any one sailing in, to fight in

the harbour, which is a fairly large one.


Perceiving this, the Athenians advanced against them by each inlet,

and falling on the enemy’s fleet, most of which was by this time afloat

and in line, at once put it to flight, and giving chase as far as

the short distance allowed, disabled a good many vessels and took

five, one with its crew on board; dashing in at the rest that had

taken refuge on shore, and battering some that were still being manned,

before they could put out, and lashing on to their own ships and towing

off empty others whosc crews had fled. At this sight the Lacedaemonians,

maddened by a disaster which cut off their men on the island, rushed

to the rescue, and going into the sea with their heavy armour, laid

hold of the ships and tried to drag them back, each man thinking that

success depended on his individual exertions. Great was the melee,

and quite in contradiction to the naval tactics usual to the two combatants;

the Lacedaemonians in their excitement and dismay being actually engaged

in a sea-fight on land, while the victorious Athenians, in their eagerness

to push their success as far as possible, were carrying on a land-fight

from their ships. After great exertions and numerous wounds on both

sides they separated, the Lacedaemonians saving their empty ships,

except those first taken; and both parties returning to their camp,

the Athenians set up a trophy, gave back the dead, secured the wrecks,

and at once began to cruise round and jealously watch the island,

with its intercepted garrison, while the Peloponnesians on the mainland,

whose contingents had now all come up, stayed where they were before



When the news of what had happened at Pylos reached Sparta, the disaster

was thought so serious that the Lacedaemonians resolved that the authorities

should go down to the camp, and decide on the spot what was best to

be done. There, seeing that it was impossible to help their men, and

not wishing to risk their being reduced by hunger or overpowered by

numbers, they determined, with the consent of the Athenian generals,

to conclude an armistice at Pylos and send envoys to Athens to obtain

a convention, and to endeavour to get back their men as quickly as



The generals accepting their offers, an armistice was concluded upon

the terms following:


That the Lacedaemonians should bring to Pylos and deliver up to the

Athenians the ships that had fought in the late engagement, and all

in Laconia that were vessels of war, and should make no attack on

the fortification either by land or by sea.


That the Athenians should allow the Lacedaemonians on the mainland

to send to the men in the island a certain fixed quantity of corn

ready kneaded, that is to say, two quarts of barley meal, one pint

of wine, and a piece of meat for each man, and half the same quantity

for a servant.


That this allowance should be sent in under the eyes of the Athenians,

and that no boat should sail to the island except openly.


That the Athenians should continue to the island same as before, without

however landing upon it, and should refrain from attacking the Peloponnesian

troops either by land or by sea.


That if either party should infringe any of these terms in the slightest

particular, the armistice should be at once void.


That the armistice should hold good until the return of the Lacedaemonian

envoys from Athens- the Athenians sending them thither in a galley

and bringing them back again- and upon the arrival of the envoys should

be at an end, and the ships be restored by the Athenians in the same

state as they received them.


Such were the terms of the armistice, and the ships were delivered

over to the number of sixty, and the envoys sent off accordingly.

Arrived at Athens they spoke as follows:


«Athenians, the Lacedaemonians sent us to try to find some way of

settling the affair of our men on the island, that shall be at once

satisfactory to our interests, and as consistent with our dignity

in our misfortune as circumstances permit. We can venture to speak

at some length without any departure from the habit of our country.

Men of few words where many are not wanted, we can be less brief when

there is a matter of importance to be illustrated and an end to be

served by its illustration. Meanwhile we beg you to take what we may

say, not in a hostile spirit, nor as if we thought you ignorant and

wished to lecture you, but rather as a suggestion on the best course

to be taken, addressed to intelligent judges. You can now, if you

choose, employ your present success to advantage, so as to keep what

you have got and gain honour and reputation besides, and you can avoid

the mistake of those who meet with an extraordinary piece of good

fortune, and are led on by hope to grasp continually at something

further, through having already succeeded without expecting it. While

those who have known most vicissitudes of good and bad, have also

justly least faith in their prosperity; and to teach your city and

ours this lesson experience has not been wanting.


«To be convinced of this you have only to look at our present misfortune.

What power in Hellas stood higher than we did? and yet we are come

to you, although we formerly thought ourselves more able to grant

what we are now here to ask. Nevertheless, we have not been brought

to this by any decay in our power, or through having our heads turned

by aggrandizement; no, our resources are what they have always been,

and our error has been an error of judgment, to which all are equally

liable. Accordingly, the prosperity which your city now enjoys, and

the accession that it has lately received, must not make you fancy

that fortune will be always with you. Indeed sensible men are prudent

enough to treat their gains as precarious, just as they would also

keep a clear head in adversity, and think that war, so far from staying

within the limit to which a combatant may wish to confine it, will

run the course that its chances prescribe; and thus, not being puffed

up by confidence in military success, they are less likely to come

to grief, and most ready to make peace, if they can, while their fortune

lasts. This, Athenians, you have a good opportunity to do now with

us, and thus to escape the possible disasters which may follow upon

your refusal, and the consequent imputation of having owed to accident

even your present advantages, when you might have left behind you

a reputation for power and wisdom which nothing could endanger.


«The Lacedaemonians accordingly invite you to make a treaty and to

end the war, and offer peace and alliance and the most friendly and

intimate relations in every way and on every occasion between us;

and in return ask for the men on the island, thinking it better for

both parties not to stand out to the end, on the chance of some favourable

accident enabling the men to force their way out, or of their being

compelled to succumb under the pressure of blockade. Indeed if great

enmities are ever to be really settled, we think it will be, not by

the system of revenge and military success, and by forcing an opponent

to swear to a treaty to his disadvantage, but when the more fortunate

combatant waives these his privileges, to be guided by gentler feelings

conquers his rival in generosity, and accords peace on more moderate

conditions than he expected. From that moment, instead of the debt

of revenge which violence must entail, his adversary owes a debt of

generosity to be paid in kind, and is inclined by honour to stand

to his agreement. And men oftener act in this manner towards their

greatest enemies than where the quarrel is of less importance; they

are also by nature as glad to give way to those who first yield to

them, as they are apt to be provoked by arrogance to risks condemned

by their own judgment.


«To apply this to ourselves: if peace was ever desirable for both

parties, it is surely so at the present moment, before anything irremediable

befall us and force us to hate you eternally, personally as well as

politically, and you to miss the advantages that we now offer you.

While the issue is still in doubt, and you have reputation and our

friendship in prospect, and we the compromise of our misfortune before

anything fatal occur, let us be reconciled, and for ourselves choose

peace instead of war, and grant to the rest of the Hellenes a remission

from their sufferings, for which be sure they will think they have

chiefly you to thank. The war that they labour under they know not

which began, but the peace that concludes it, as it depends on your

decision, will by their gratitude be laid to your door. By such a

decision you can become firm friends with the Lacedaemonians at their

own invitation, which you do not force from them, but oblige them

by accepting. And from this friendship consider the advantages that

are likely to follow: when Attica and Sparta are at one, the rest

of Hellas, be sure, will remain in respectful inferiority before its



Such were the words of the Lacedaemonians, their idea being that the

Athenians, already desirous of a truce and only kept back by their

opposition, would joyfully accept a peace freely offered, and give

back the men. The Athenians, however, having the men on the island,

thought that the treaty would be ready for them whenever they chose

to make it, and grasped at something further. Foremost to encourage

them in this policy was Cleon, son of Cleaenetus, a popular leader

of the time and very powerful with the multitude, who persuaded them

to answer as follows: First, the men in the island must surrender

themselves and their arms and be brought to Athens. Next, the Lacedaemonians

must restore Nisaea, Pegae, Troezen, and Achaia, all places acquired

not by arms, but by the previous convention, under which they had

been ceded by Athens herself at a moment of disaster, when a truce

was more necessary to her than at present. This done they might take

back their men, and make a truce for as long as both parties might



To this answer the envoys made no reply, but asked that commissioners

might be chosen with whom they might confer on each point, and quietly

talk the matter over and try to come to some agreement. Hereupon Cleon

violently assailed them, saying that he knew from the first that they

had no right intentions, and that it was clear enough now by their

refusing to speak before the people, and wanting to confer in secret

with a committee of two or three. No, if they meant anything honest

let them say it out before all. The Lacedaemonians, however, seeing

that whatever concessions they might be prepared to make in their

misfortune, it was impossible for them to speak before the multitude

and lose credit with their allies for a negotiation which might after

all miscarry, and on the other hand, that the Athenians would never

grant what they asked upon moderate terms, returned from Athens without

having effected anything.


Their arrival at once put an end to the armistice at Pylos, and the

Lacedaemonians asked back their ships according to the convention.

The Athenians, however, alleged an attack on the fort in contravention

of the truce, and other grievances seemingly not worth mentioning,

and refused to give them back, insisting upon the clause by which

the slightest infringement made the armistice void. The Lacedaemonians,

after denying the contravention and protesting against their bad faith

in the matter of the ships, went away and earnestly addressed themselves

to the war. Hostilities were now carried on at Pylos upon both sides

with vigour. The Athenians cruised round the island all day with two

ships going different ways; and by night, except on the seaward side

in windy weather, anchored round it with their whole fleet, which,

having been reinforced by twenty ships from Athens come to aid in

the blockade, now numbered seventy sail; while the Peloponnesians

remained encamped on the continent, making attacks on the fort, and

on the look-out for any opportunity which might offer itself for the

deliverance of their men.


Meanwhile the Syracusans and their allies in Sicily had brought up

to the squadron guarding Messina the reinforcement which we left them

preparing, and carried on the war from thence, incited chiefly by

the Locrians from hatred of the Rhegians, whose territory they had

invaded with all their forces. The Syracusans also wished to try their

fortune at sea, seeing that the Athenians had only a few ships actually

at Rhegium, and hearing that the main fleet destined to join them

was engaged in blockading the island. A naval victory, they thought,

would enable them to blockade Rhegium by sea and land, and easily

to reduce it; a success which would at once place their affairs upon

a solid basis, the promontory of Rhegium in Italy and Messina in Sicily

being so near each other that it would be impossible for the Athenians

to cruise against them and command the strait. The strait in question

consists of the sea between Rhegium and Messina, at the point where

Sicily approaches nearest to the continent, and is the Charybdis through

which the story makes Ulysses sail; and the narrowness of the passage

and the strength of the current that pours in from the vast Tyrrhenian

and Sicilian mains, have rightly given it a bad reputation.


In this strait the Syracusans and their allies were compelled to fight,

late in the day, about the passage of a boat, putting out with rather

more than thirty ships against sixteen Athenian and eight Rhegian

vessels. Defeated by the Athenians they hastily set off, each for

himself, to their own stations at Messina and Rhegium, with the loss

of one ship; night coming on before the battle was finished. After

this the Locrians retired from the Rhegian territory, and the ships

of the Syracusans and their allies united and came to anchor at Cape

Pelorus, in the territory of Messina, where their land forces joined

them. Here the Athenians and Rhegians sailed up, and seeing the ships

unmanned, made an attack, in which they in their turn lost one vessel,

which was caught by a grappling iron, the crew saving themselves by

swimming. After this the Syracusans got on board their ships, and

while they were being towed alongshore to Messina, were again attacked

by the Athenians, but suddenly got out to sea and became the assailants,

and caused them to lose another vessel. After thus holding their own

in the voyage alongshore and in the engagement as above described,

the Syracusans sailed on into the harbour of Messina.


Meanwhile the Athenians, having received warning that Camarina was

about to be betrayed to the Syracusans by Archias and his party, sailed

thither; and the Messinese took this opportunity to attack by sea

and land with all their forces their Chalcidian neighbour, Naxos.

The first day they forced the Naxians to keep their walls, and laid

waste their country; the next they sailed round with their ships,

and laid waste their land on the river Akesines, while their land

forces menaced the city. Meanwhile the Sicels came down from the high

country in great numbers, to aid against the Messinese; and the Naxians,

elated at the sight, and animated by a belief that the Leontines and

their other Hellenic allies were coming to their support, suddenly

sallied out from the town, and attacked and routed the Messinese,

killing more than a thousand of them; while the remainder suffered

severely in their retreat home, being attacked by the barbarians on

the road, and most of them cut off. The ships put in to Messina, and

afterwards dispersed for their different homes. The Leontines and

their allies, with the Athenians, upon this at once turned their arms

against the now weakened Messina, and attacked, the Athenians with

their ships on the side of the harbour, and the land forces on that

of the town. The Messinese, however, sallying out with Demoteles and

some Locrians who had been left to garrison the city after the disaster,

suddenly attacked and routed most of the Leontine army, killing a

great number; upon seeing which the Athenians landed from their ships,

and falling on the Messinese in disorder chased them back into the

town, and setting up a trophy retired to Rhegium. After this the Hellenes

in Sicily continued to make war on each other by land, without the



Meanwhile the Athenians at Pylos were still besieging the Lacedaemonians

in the island, the Peloponnesian forces on the continent remaining

where they were. The blockade was very laborious for the Athenians

from want of food and water; there was no spring except one in the

citadel of Pylos itself, and that not a large one, and most of them

were obliged to grub up the shingle on the sea beach and drink such

water as they could find. They also suffered from want of room, being

encamped in a narrow space; and as there was no anchorage for the

ships, some took their meals on shore in their turn, while the others

were anchored out at sea. But their greatest discouragement arose

from the unexpectedly long time which it took to reduce a body of

men shut up in a desert island, with only brackish water to drink,

a matter which they had imagined would take them only a few days.

The fact was that the Lacedaemonians had made advertisement for volunteers

to carry into the island ground corn, wine, cheese, and any other

food useful in a siege; high prices being offered, and freedom promised

to any of the Helots who should succeed in doing so. The Helots accordingly

were most forward to engage in this risky traffic, putting off from

this or that part of Peloponnese, and running in by night on the seaward

side of the island. They were best pleased, however, when they could

catch a wind to carry them in. It was more easy to elude the look-out

of the galleys, when it blew from the seaward, as it became impossible

for them to anchor round the island; while the Helots had their boats

rated at their value in money, and ran them ashore, without caring

how they landed, being sure to find the soldiers waiting for them

at the landing-places. But all who risked it in fair weather were

taken. Divers also swam in under water from the harbour, dragging

by a cord in skins poppyseed mixed with honey, and bruised linseed;

these at first escaped notice, but afterwards a look-out was kept

for them. In short, both sides tried every possible contrivance, the

one to throw in provisions, and the other to prevent their introduction.


At Athens, meanwhile, the news that the army was in great distress,

and that corn found its way in to the men in the island, caused no

small perplexity; and the Athenians began to fear that winter might

come on and find them still engaged in the blockade. They saw that

the convoying of provisions round Peloponnese would be then impossible.

The country offered no resources in itself, and even in summer they

could not send round enough. The blockade of a place without harbours

could no longer be kept up; and the men would either escape by the

siege being abandoned, or would watch for bad weather and sail out

in the boats that brought in their corn. What caused still more alarm

was the attitude of the Lacedaemonians, who must, it was thought by

the Athenians, feel themselves on strong ground not to send them any

more envoys; and they began to repent having rejected the treaty.

Cleon, perceiving the disfavour with which he was regarded for having

stood in the way of the convention, now said that their informants

did not speak the truth; and upon the messengers recommending them,

if they did not believe them, to send some commissioners to see, Cleon

himself and Theagenes were chosen by the Athenians as commissioners.

Aware that he would now be obliged either to say what had been already

said by the men whom he was slandering, or be proved a liar if he

said the contrary, he told the Athenians, whom he saw to be not altogether

disinclined for a fresh expedition, that instead of sending and wasting

their time and opportunities, if they believed what was told them,

they ought to sail against the men. And pointing at Nicias, son of

Niceratus, then general, whom he hated, he tauntingly said that it

would be easy, if they had men for generals, to sail with a force

and take those in the island, and that if he had himself been in command,

he would have done it.


Nicias, seeing the Athenians murmuring against Cleon for not sailing

now if it seemed to him so easy, and further seeing himself the object

of attack, told him that for all that the generals cared, he might

take what force he chose and make the attempt. At first Cleon fancied

that this resignation was merely a figure of speech, and was ready

to go, but finding that it was seriously meant, he drew back, and

said that Nicias, not he, was general, being now frightened, and having

never supposed that Nicias would go so far as to retire in his favour.

Nicias, however, repeated his offer, and resigned the command against

Pylos, and called the Athenians to witness that he did so. And as

the multitude is wont to do, the more Cleon shrank from the expedition

and tried to back out of what he had said, the more they encouraged

Nicias to hand over his command, and clamoured at Cleon to go. At

last, not knowing how to get out of his words, he undertook the expedition,

and came forward and said that he was not afraid of the Lacedaemonians,

but would sail without taking any one from the city with him, except

the Lemnians and Imbrians that were at Athens, with some targeteers

that had come up from Aenus, and four hundred archers from other quarters.

With these and the soldiers at Pylos, he would within twenty days

either bring the Lacedaemonians alive, or kill them on the spot. The

Athenians could not help laughing at his fatuity, while sensible men

comforted themselves with the reflection that they must gain in either

circumstance; either they would be rid of Cleon, which they rather

hoped, or if disappointed in this expectation, would reduce the Lacedaemonians.


After he had settled everything in the assembly, and the Athenians

had voted him the command of the expedition, he chose as his colleague

Demosthenes, one of the generals at Pylos, and pushed forward the

preparations for his voyage. His choice fell upon Demosthenes because

he heard that he was contemplating a descent on the island; the soldiers

distressed by the difficulties of the position, and rather besieged

than besiegers, being eager to fight it out, while the firing of the

island had increased the confidence of the general. He had been at

first afraid, because the island having never been inhabited was almost

entirely covered with wood and without paths, thinking this to be

in the enemy’s favour, as he might land with a large force, and yet

might suffer loss by an attack from an unseen position. The mistakes

and forces of the enemy the wood would in a great measure conceal

from him, while every blunder of his own troops would be at once detected,

and they would be thus able to fall upon him unexpectedly just where

they pleased, the attack being always in their power. If, on the other

hand, he should force them to engage in the thicket, the smaller number

who knew the country would, he thought, have the advantage over the

larger who were ignorant of it, while his own army might be cut off

imperceptibly, in spite of its numbers, as the men would not be able

to see where to succour each other.


The Aetolian disaster, which had been mainly caused by the wood, had

not a little to do with these reflections. Meanwhile, one of the soldiers

who were compelled by want of room to land on the extremities of the

island and take their dinners, with outposts fixed to prevent a surprise,

set fire to a little of the wood without meaning to do so; and as

it came on to blow soon afterwards, almost the whole was consumed

before they were aware of it. Demosthenes was now able for the first

time to see how numerous the Lacedaemonians really were, having up

to this moment been under the impression that they took in provisions

for a smaller number; he also saw that the Athenians thought success

important and were anxious about it, and that it was now easier to

land on the island, and accordingly got ready for the attempt, sent

for troops from the allies in the neighbourhood, and pushed forward

his other preparations. At this moment Cleon arrived at Pylos with

the troops which he had asked for, having sent on word to say that

he was coming. The first step taken by the two generals after their

meeting was to send a herald to the camp on the mainland, to ask if

they were disposed to avoid all risk and to order the men on the island

to surrender themselves and their arms, to be kept in gentle custody

until some general convention should be concluded.


On the rejection of this proposition the generals let one day pass,

and the next, embarking all their heavy infantry on board a few ships,

put out by night, and a little before dawn landed on both sides of

the island from the open sea and from the harbour, being about eight

hundred strong, and advanced with a run against the first post in

the island.


The enemy had distributed his force as follows: In this first post

there were about thirty heavy infantry; the centre and most level

part, where the water was, was held by the main body, and by Epitadas

their commander; while a small party guarded the very end of the island,

towards Pylos, which was precipitous on the sea-side and very difficult

to attack from the land, and where there was also a sort of old fort

of stones rudely put together, which they thought might be useful

to them, in case they should be forced to retreat. Such was their



The advanced post thus attacked by the Athenians was at once put to

the sword, the men being scarcely out of bed and still arming, the

landing having taken them by surprise, as they fancied the ships were

only sailing as usual to their stations for the night. As soon as

day broke, the rest of the army landed, that is to say, all the crews

of rather more than seventy ships, except the lowest rank of oars,

with the arms they carried, eight hundred archers, and as many targeteers,

the Messenian reinforcements, and all the other troops on duty round

Pylos, except the garrison on the fort. The tactics of Demosthenes

had divided them into companies of two hundred, more or less, and

made them occupy the highest points in order to paralyse the enemy

by surrounding him on every side and thus leaving him without any

tangible adversary, exposed to the cross-fire of their host; plied

by those in his rear if he attacked in front, and by those on one

flank if he moved against those on the other. In short, wherever he

went he would have the assailants behind him, and these light-armed

assailants, the most awkward of all; arrows, darts, stones, and slings

making them formidable at a distance, and there being no means of

getting at them at close quarters, as they could conquer flying, and

the moment their pursuer turned they were upon him. Such was the idea

that inspired Demosthenes in his conception of the descent, and presided

over its execution.


Meanwhile the main body of the troops in the island (that under Epitadas),

seeing their outpost cut off and an army advancing against them, serried

their ranks and pressed forward to close with the Athenian heavy infantry

in front of them, the light troops being upon their flanks and rear.

However, they were not able to engage or to profit by their superior

skill, the light troops keeping them in check on either side with

their missiles, and the heavy infantry remaining stationary instead

of advancing to meet them; and although they routed the light troops

wherever they ran up and approached too closely, yet they retreated

fighting, being lightly equipped, and easily getting the start in

their flight, from the difficult and rugged nature of the ground,

in an island hitherto desert, over which the Lacedaemonians could

not pursue them with their heavy armour.


After this skirmishing had lasted some little while, the Lacedaemonians

became unable to dash out with the same rapidity as before upon the

points attacked, and the light troops finding that they now fought

with less vigour, became more confident. They could see with their

own eyes that they were many times more numerous than the enemy; they

were now more familiar with his aspect and found him less terrible,

the result not having justified the apprehensions which they had suffered,

when they first landed in slavish dismay at the idea of attacking

Lacedaemonians; and accordingly their fear changing to disdain, they

now rushed all together with loud shouts upon them, and pelted them

with stones, darts, and arrows, whichever came first to hand. The

shouting accompanying their onset confounded the Lacedaemonians, unaccustomed

to this mode of fighting; dust rose from the newly burnt wood, and

it was impossible to see in front of one with the arrows and stones

flying through clouds of dust from the hands of numerous assailants.

The Lacedaemonians had now to sustain a rude conflict; their caps

would not keep out the arrows, darts had broken off in the armour

of the wounded, while they themselves were helpless for offence, being

prevented from using their eyes to see what was before them, and unable

to hear the words of command for the hubbub raised by the enemy; danger

encompassed them on every side, and there was no hope of any means

of defence or safety.


At last, after many had been already wounded in the confined space

in which they were fighting, they formed in close order and retired

on the fort at the end of the island, which was not far off, and to

their friends who held it. The moment they gave way, the light troops

became bolder and pressed upon them, shouting louder than ever, and

killed as many as they came up with in their retreat, but most of

the Lacedaemonians made good their escape to the fort, and with the

garrison in it ranged themselves all along its whole extent to repulse

the enemy wherever it was assailable. The Athenians pursuing, unable

to surround and hem them in, owing to the strength of the ground,

attacked them in front and tried to storm the position. For a long

time, indeed for most of the day, both sides held out against all

the torments of the battle, thirst, and sun, the one endeavouring

to drive the enemy from the high ground, the other to maintain himself

upon it, it being now more easy for the Lacedaemonians to defend themselves

than before, as they could not be surrounded on the flanks.


The struggle began to seem endless, when the commander of the Messenians

came to Cleon and Demosthenes, and told them that they were losing

their labour: but if they would give him some archers and light troops

to go round on the enemy’s rear by a way he would undertake to find,

he thought he could force the approach. Upon receiving what he asked

for, he started from a point out of sight in order not to be seen

by the enemy, and creeping on wherever the precipices of the island

permitted, and where the Lacedaemonians, trusting to the strength

of the ground, kept no guard, succeeded after the greatest difficulty

in getting round without their seeing him, and suddenly appeared on

the high ground in their rear, to the dismay of the surprised enemy

and the still greater joy of his expectant friends. The Lacedaemonians

thus placed between two fires, and in the same dilemma, to compare

small things with great, as at Thermopylae, where the defenders were

cut off through the Persians getting round by the path, being now

attacked in front and behind, began to give way, and overcome by the

odds against them and exhausted from want of food, retreated.


The Athenians were already masters of the approaches when Cleon and

Demosthenes perceiving that, if the enemy gave way a single step further,

they would be destroyed by their soldiery, put a stop to the battle

and held their men back; wishing to take the Lacedaemonians alive

to Athens, and hoping that their stubbornness might relax on hearing

the offer of terms, and that they might surrender and yield to the

present overwhelming danger. Proclamation was accordingly made, to

know if they would surrender themselves and their arms to the Athenians

to be dealt at their discretion.


The Lacedaemonians hearing this offer, most of them lowered their

shields and waved their hands to show that they accepted it. Hostilities

now ceased, and a parley was held between Cleon and Demosthenes and

Styphon, son of Pharax, on the other side; since Epitadas, the first

of the previous commanders, had been killed, and Hippagretas, the

next in command, left for dead among the slain, though still alive,

and thus the command had devolved upon Styphon according to the law,

in case of anything happening to his superiors. Styphon and his companions

said they wished to send a herald to the Lacedaemonians on the mainland,

to know what they were to do. The Athenians would not let any of them

go, but themselves called for heralds from the mainland, and after

questions had been carried backwards and forwards two or three times,

the last man that passed over from the Lacedaemonians on the continent

brought this message: «The Lacedaemonians bid you to decide for yourselves

so long as you do nothing dishonourable»; upon which after consulting

together they surrendered themselves and their arms. The Athenians,

after guarding them that day and night, the next morning set up a

trophy in the island, and got ready to sail, giving their prisoners

in batches to be guarded by the captains of the galleys; and the Lacedaemonians

sent a herald and took up their dead. The number of the killed and

prisoners taken in the island was as follows: four hundred and twenty

heavy infantry had passed over; three hundred all but eight were taken

alive to Athens; the rest were killed. About a hundred and twenty

of the prisoners were Spartans. The Athenian loss was small, the battle

not having been fought at close quarters.


The blockade in all, counting from the fight at sea to the battle

in the island, had lasted seventy-two days. For twenty of these, during

the absence of the envoys sent to treat for peace, the men had provisions

given them, for the rest they were fed by the smugglers. Corn and

other victual was found in the island; the commander Epitadas having

kept the men upon half rations. The Athenians and Peloponnesians now

each withdrew their forces from Pylos, and went home, and crazy as

Cleon’s promise was, he fulfilled it, by bringing the men to Athens

within the twenty days as he had pledged himself to do.


Nothing that happened in the war surprised the Hellenes so much as

this. It was the opinion that no force or famine could make the Lacedaemonians

give up their arms, but that they would fight on as they could, and

die with them in their hands: indeed people could scarcely believe

that those who had surrendered were of the same stuff as the fallen;

and an Athenian ally, who some time after insultingly asked one of

the prisoners from the island if those that had fallen were men of

honour, received for answer that the atraktos- that is, the arrow-

would be worth a great deal if it could tell men of honour from the

rest; in allusion to the fact that the killed were those whom the

stones and the arrows happened to hit.


Upon the arrival of the men the Athenians determined to keep them

in prison until the peace, and if the Peloponnesians invaded their

country in the interval, to bring them out and put them to death.

Meanwhile the defence of Pylos was not forgotten; the Messenians from

Naupactus sent to their old country, to which Pylos formerly belonged,

some of the likeliest of their number, and began a series of incursions

into Laconia, which their common dialect rendered most destructive.

The Lacedaemonians, hitherto without experience of incursions or a

warfare of the kind, finding the Helots deserting, and fearing the

march of revolution in their country, began to be seriously uneasy,

and in spite of their unwillingness to betray this to the Athenians

began to send envoys to Athens, and tried to recover Pylos and the

prisoners. The Athenians, however, kept grasping at more, and dismissed

envoy after envoy without their having effected anything. Such was

the history of the affair of Pylos.


Chapter XIII


Seventh and Eighth Years of the War – End of Corcyraean Revolution

– Peace of Gela – Capture of Nisaea


The same summer, directly after these events, the Athenians made an

expedition against the territory of Corinth with eighty ships and

two thousand Athenian heavy infantry, and two hundred cavalry on board

horse transports, accompanied by the Milesians, Andrians, and Carystians

from the allies, under the command of Nicias, son of Niceratus, with

two colleagues. Putting out to sea they made land at daybreak between

Chersonese and Rheitus, at the beach of the country underneath the

Solygian hill, upon which the Dorians in old times established themselves

and carried on war against the Aeolian inhabitants of Corinth, and

where a village now stands called Solygia. The beach where the fleet

came to is about a mile and a half from the village, seven miles from

Corinth, and two and a quarter from the Isthmus. The Corinthians had

heard from Argos of the coming of the Athenian armament, and had all

come up to the Isthmus long before, with the exception of those who

lived beyond it, and also of five hundred who were away in garrison

in Ambracia and Leucadia; and they were there in full force watching

for the Athenians to land. These last, however, gave them the slip

by coming in the dark; and being informed by signals of the fact the

Corinthians left half their number at Cenchreae, in case the Athenians

should go against Crommyon, and marched in all haste to the rescue.


Battus, one of the two generals present at the action, went with a

company to defend the village of Solygia, which was unfortified; Lycophron

remaining to give battle with the rest. The Corinthians first attacked

the right wing of the Athenians, which had just landed in front of

Chersonese, and afterwards the rest of the army. The battle was an

obstinate one, and fought throughout hand to hand. The right wing

of the Athenians and Carystians, who had been placed at the end of

the line, received and with some difficulty repulsed the Corinthians,

who thereupon retreated to a wall upon the rising ground behind, and

throwing down the stones upon them, came on again singing the paean,

and being received by the Athenians, were again engaged at close quarters.

At this moment a Corinthian company having come to the relief of the

left wing, routed and pursued the Athenian right to the sea, whence

they were in their turn driven back by the Athenians and Carystians

from the ships. Meanwhile the rest of the army on either side fought

on tenaciously, especially the right wing of the Corinthians, where

Lycophron sustained the attack of the Athenian left, which it was

feared might attempt the village of Solygia.


After holding on for a long while without either giving way, the Athenians

aided by their horse, of which the enemy had none, at length routed

the Corinthians, who retired to the hill and, halting, remained quiet

there, without coming down again. It was in this rout of the right

wing that they had the most killed, Lycophron their general being

among the number. The rest of the army, broken and put to flight in

this way without being seriously pursued or hurried, retired to the

high ground and there took up its position. The Athenians, finding

that the enemy no longer offered to engage them, stripped his dead

and took up their own and immediately set up a trophy. Meanwhile,

the half of the Corinthians left at Cenchreae to guard against the

Athenians sailing on Crommyon, although unable to see the battle for

Mount Oneion, found out what was going on by the dust, and hurried

up to the rescue; as did also the older Corinthians from the town,

upon discovering what had occurred. The Athenians seeing them all

coming against them, and thinking that they were reinforcements arriving

from the neighbouring Peloponnesians, withdrew in haste to their ships

with their spoils and their own dead, except two that they left behind,

not being able to find them, and going on board crossed over to the

islands opposite, and from thence sent a herald, and took up under

truce the bodies which they had left behind. Two hundred and twelve

Corinthians fell in the battle, and rather less than fifty Athenians.


Weighing from the islands, the Athenians sailed the same day to Crommyon

in the Corinthian territory, about thirteen miles from the city, and

coming to anchor laid waste the country, and passed the night there.

The next day, after first coasting along to the territory of Epidaurus

and making a descent there, they came to Methana between Epidaurus

and Troezen, and drew a wall across and fortified the isthmus of the

peninsula, and left a post there from which incursions were henceforth

made upon the country of Troezen, Haliae, and Epidaurus. After walling

off this spot, the fleet sailed off home.


While these events were going on, Eurymedon and Sophocles had put

to sea with the Athenian fleet from Pylos on their way to Sicily and,

arriving at Corcyra, joined the townsmen in an expedition against

the party established on Mount Istone, who had crossed over, as I

have mentioned, after the revolution and become masters of the country,

to the great hurt of the inhabitants. Their stronghold having been

taken by an attack, the garrison took refuge in a body upon some high

ground and there capitulated, agreeing to give up their mercenary

auxiliaries, lay down their arms, and commit themselves to the discretion

of the Athenian people. The generals carried them across under truce

to the island of Ptychia, to be kept in custody until they could be

sent to Athens, upon the understanding that, if any were caught running

away, all would lose the benefit of the treaty. Meanwhile the leaders

of the Corcyraean commons, afraid that the Athenians might spare the

lives of the prisoners, had recourse to the following stratagem. They

gained over some few men on the island by secretly sending friends

with instructions to provide them with a boat, and to tell them, as

if for their own sakes, that they had best escape as quickly as possible,

as the Athenian generals were going to give them up to the Corcyraean



These representations succeeding, it was so arranged that the men

were caught sailing out in the boat that was provided, and the treaty

became void accordingly, and the whole body were given up to the Corcyraeans.

For this result the Athenian generals were in a great measure responsible;

their evident disinclination to sail for Sicily, and thus to leave

to others the honour of conducting the men to Athens, encouraged the

intriguers in their design and seemed to affirm the truth of their

representations. The prisoners thus handed over were shut up by the

Corcyraeans in a large building, and afterwards taken out by twenties

and led past two lines of heavy infantry, one on each side, being

bound together, and beaten and stabbed by the men in the lines whenever

any saw pass a personal enemy; while men carrying whips went by their

side and hastened on the road those that walked too slowly.


As many as sixty men were taken out and killed in this way without

the knowledge of their friends in the building, who fancied they were

merely being moved from one prison to another. At last, however, someone

opened their eyes to the truth, upon which they called upon the Athenians

to kill them themselves, if such was their pleasure, and refused any

longer to go out of the building, and said they would do all they

could to prevent any one coming in. The Corcyraeans, not liking themselves

to force a passage by the doors, got up on the top of the building,

and breaking through the roof, threw down the tiles and let fly arrows

at them, from which the prisoners sheltered themselves as well as

they could. Most of their number, meanwhile, were engaged in dispatching

themselves by thrusting into their throats the arrows shot by the

enemy, and hanging themselves with the cords taken from some beds

that happened to be there, and with strips made from their clothing;

adopting, in short, every possible means of self-destruction, and

also falling victims to the missiles of their enemies on the roof.

Night came on while these horrors were enacting, and most of it had

passed before they were concluded. When it was day the Corcyraeans

threw them in layers upon wagons and carried them out of the city.

All the women taken in the stronghold were sold as slaves. In this

way the Corcyraeans of the mountain were destroyed by the commons;

and so after terrible excesses the party strife came to an end, at

least as far as the period of this war is concerned, for of one party

there was practically nothing left. Meanwhile the Athenians sailed

off to Sicily, their primary destination, and carried on the war with

their allies there.


At the close of the summer, the Athenians at Naupactus and the Acarnanians

made an expedition against Anactorium, the Corinthian town lying at

the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf, and took it by treachery; and the

Acarnanians themselves, sending settlers from all parts of Acarnania,

occupied the place.


Summer was now over. During the winter ensuing, Aristides, son of

Archippus, one of the commanders of the Athenian ships sent to collect

money from the allies, arrested at Eion, on the Strymon, Artaphernes,

a Persian, on his way from the King to Lacedaemon. He was conducted

to Athens, where the Athenians got his dispatches translated from

the Assyrian character and read them. With numerous references to

other subjects, they in substance told the Lacedaemonians that the

King did not know what they wanted, as of the many ambassadors they

had sent him no two ever told the same story; if however they were

prepared to speak plainly they might send him some envoys with this

Persian. The Athenians afterwards sent back Artaphernes in a galley

to Ephesus, and ambassadors with him, who heard there of the death

of King Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes, which took place about that time,

and so returned home.


The same winter the Chians pulled down their new wall at the command

of the Athenians, who suspected them of meditating an insurrection,

after first however obtaining pledges from the Athenians, and security

as far as this was possible for their continuing to treat them as

before. Thus the winter ended, and with it ended the seventh year

of this war of which Thucydides is the historian.


In first days of the next summer there was an eclipse of the sun at

the time of new moon, and in the early part of the same month an earthquake.

Meanwhile, the Mitylenian and other Lesbian exiles set out, for the

most part from the continent, with mercenaries hired in Peloponnese,

and others levied on the spot, and took Rhoeteum, but restored it

without injury on the receipt of two thousand Phocaean staters. After

this they marched against Antandrus and took the town by treachery,

their plan being to free Antandrus and the rest of the Actaean towns,

formerly owned by Mitylene but now held by the Athenians. Once fortified

there, they would have every facility for ship-building from the vicinity

of Ida and the consequent abundance of timber, and plenty of other

supplies, and might from this base easily ravage Lesbos, which was

not far off, and make themselves masters of the Aeolian towns on the



While these were the schemes of the exiles, the Athenians in the same

summer made an expedition with sixty ships, two thousand heavy infantry,

a few cavalry, and some allied troops from Miletus and other parts,

against Cythera, under the command of Nicias, son of Niceratus, Nicostratus,

son of Diotrephes, and Autocles, son of Tolmaeus. Cythera is an island

lying off Laconia, opposite Malea; the inhabitants are Lacedaemonians

of the class of the Perioeci; and an officer called the judge of Cythera

went over to the place annually from Sparta. A garrison of heavy infantry

was also regularly sent there, and great attention paid to the island,

as it was the landing-place for the merchantmen from Egypt and Libya,

and at the same time secured Laconia from the attacks of privateers

from the sea, at the only point where it is assailable, as the whole

coast rises abruptly towards the Sicilian and Cretan seas.


Coming to land here with their armament, the Athenians with ten ships

and two thousand Milesian heavy infantry took the town of Scandea,

on the sea; and with the rest of their forces landing on the side

of the island looking towards Malea, went against the lower town of

Cythera, where they found all the inhabitants encamped. A battle ensuing,

the Cytherians held their ground for some little while, and then turned

and fled into the upper town, where they soon afterwards capitulated

to Nicias and his colleagues, agreeing to leave their fate to the

decision of the Athenians, their lives only being safe. A correspondence

had previously been going on between Nicias and certain of the inhabitants,

which caused the surrender to be effected more speedily, and upon

terms more advantageous, present and future, for the Cytherians; who

would otherwise have been expelled by the Athenians on account of

their being Lacedaemonians and their island being so near to Laconia.

After the capitulation, the Athenians occupied the town of Scandea

near the harbour, and appointing a garrison for Cythera, sailed to

Asine, Helus, and most of the places on the sea, and making descents

and passing the night on shore at such spots as were convenient, continued

ravaging the country for about seven days.


The Lacedaemonians seeing the Athenians masters of Cythera, and expecting

descents of the kind upon their coasts, nowhere opposed them in force,

but sent garrisons here and there through the country, consisting

of as many heavy infantry as the points menaced seemed to require,

and generally stood very much upon the defensive. After the severe

and unexpected blow that had befallen them in the island, the occupation

of Pylos and Cythera, and the apparition on every side of a war whose

rapidity defied precaution, they lived in constant fear of internal

revolution, and now took the unusual step of raising four hundred

horse and a force of archers, and became more timid than ever in military

matters, finding themselves involved in a maritime struggle, which

their organization had never contemplated, and that against Athenians,

with whom an enterprise unattempted was always looked upon as a success

sacrificed. Besides this, their late numerous reverses of fortune,

coming close one upon another without any reason, had thoroughly unnerved

them, and they were always afraid of a second disaster like that on

the island, and thus scarcely dared to take the field, but fancied

that they could not stir without a blunder, for being new to the experience

of adversity they had lost all confidence in themselves.


Accordingly they now allowed the Athenians to ravage their seaboard,

without making any movement, the garrisons in whose neighbourhood

the descents were made always thinking their numbers insufficient,

and sharing the general feeling. A single garrison which ventured

to resist, near Cotyrta and Aphrodisia, struck terror by its charge

into the scattered mob of light troops, but retreated, upon being

received by the heavy infantry, with the loss of a few men and some

arms, for which the Athenians set up a trophy, and then sailed off

to Cythera. From thence they sailed round to Epidaurus Limera, ravaged

part of the country, and so came to Thyrea in the Cynurian territory,

upon the Argive and Laconian border. This district had been given

by its Lacedaemonian owners to the expelled Aeginetans to inhabit,

in return for their good offices at the time of the earthquake and

the rising of the Helots; and also because, although subjects of Athens,

they had always sided with Lacedaemon.


While the Athenians were still at sea, the Aeginetans evacuated a

fort which they were building upon the coast, and retreated into the

upper town where they lived, rather more than a mile from the sea.

One of the Lacedaemonian district garrisons which was helping them

in the work, refused to enter here with them at their entreaty, thinking

it dangerous to shut themselves up within the wall, and retiring to

the high ground remained quiet, not considering themselves a match

for the enemy. Meanwhile the Athenians landed, and instantly advanced

with all their forces and took Thyrea. The town they burnt, pillaging

what was in it; the Aeginetans who were not slain in action they took

with them to Athens, with Tantalus, son of Patrocles, their Lacedaemonian

commander, who had been wounded and taken prisoner. They also took

with them a few men from Cythera whom they thought it safest to remove.

These the Athenians determined to lodge in the islands: the rest of

the Cytherians were to retain their lands and pay four talents tribute;

the Aeginetans captured to be all put to death, on account of the

old inveterate feud; and Tantalus to share the imprisonment of the

Lacedaemonians taken on the island.


The same summer, the inhabitants of Camarina and Gela in Sicily first

made an armistice with each other, after which embassies from all

the other Sicilian cities assembled at Gela to try to bring about

a pacification. After many expressions of opinion on one side and

the other, according to the griefs and pretensions of the different

parties complaining, Hermocrates, son of Hermon, a Syracusan, the

most influential man among them, addressed the following words to

the assembly:


«If I now address you, Sicilians, it is not because my city is the

least in Sicily or the greatest sufferer by the war, but in order

to state publicly what appears to me to be the best policy for the

whole island. That war is an evil is a proposition so familiar to

every one that it would be tedious to develop it. No one is forced

to engage in it by ignorance, or kept out of it by fear, if he fancies

there is anything to be gained by it. To the former the gain appears

greater than the danger, while the latter would rather stand the risk

than put up with any immediate sacrifice. But if both should happen

to have chosen the wrong moment for acting in this way, advice to

make peace would not be unserviceable; and this, if we did but see

it, is just what we stand most in need of at the present juncture.


«I suppose that no one will dispute that we went to war at first in

order to serve our own several interests, that we are now, in view

of the same interests, debating how we can make peace; and that if

we separate without having as we think our rights, we shall go to

war again. And yet, as men of sense, we ought to see that our separate

interests are not alone at stake in the present congress: there is

also the question whether we have still time to save Sicily, the whole

of which in my opinion is menaced by Athenian ambition; and we ought

to find in the name of that people more imperious arguments for peace

than any which I can advance, when we see the first power in Hellas

watching our mistakes with the few ships that she has at present in

our waters, and under the fair name of alliance speciously seeking

to turn to account the natural hostility that exists between us. If

we go to war, and call in to help us a people that are ready enough

to carry their arms even where they are not invited; and if we injure

ourselves at our own expense, and at the same time serve as the pioneers

of their dominion, we may expect, when they see us worn out, that

they will one day come with a larger armament, and seek to bring all

of us into subjection.


«And yet as sensible men, if we call in allies and court danger, it

should be in order to enrich our different countries with new acquisitions,

and not to ruin what they possess already; and we should understand

that the intestine discords which are so fatal to communities generally,

will be equally so to Sicily, if we, its inhabitants, absorbed in

our local quarrels, neglect the common enemy. These considerations

should reconcile individual with individual, and city with city, and

unite us in a common effort to save the whole of Sicily. Nor should

any one imagine that the Dorians only are enemies of Athens, while

the Chalcidian race is secured by its Ionian blood; the attack in

question is not inspired by hatred of one of two nationalities, but

by a desire for the good things in Sicily, the common property of

us all. This is proved by the Athenian reception of the Chalcidian

invitation: an ally who has never given them any assistance whatever,

at once receives from them almost more than the treaty entitles him

  1. That the Athenians should cherish this ambition and practise this

policy is very excusable; and I do not blame those who wish to rule,

but those who are over-ready to serve. It is just as much in men’s

nature to rule those who submit to them, as it is to resist those

who molest them; one is not less invariable than the other. Meanwhile

all who see these dangers and refuse to provide for them properly,

or who have come here without having made up their minds that our

first duty is to unite to get rid of the common peril, are mistaken.

The quickest way to be rid of it is to make peace with each other;

since the Athenians menace us not from their own country, but from

that of those who invited them here. In this way instead of war issuing

in war, peace quietly ends our quarrels; and the guests who come hither

under fair pretences for bad ends, will have good reason for going

away without having attained them.


«So far as regards the Athenians, such are the great advantages proved

inherent in a wise policy. Independently of this, in the face of the

universal consent, that peace is the first of blessings, how can we

refuse to make it amongst ourselves; or do you not think that the

good which you have, and the ills that you complain of, would be better

preserved and cured by quiet than by war; that peace has its honours

and splendours of a less perilous kind, not to mention the numerous

other blessings that one might dilate on, with the not less numerous

miseries of war? These considerations should teach you not to disregard

my words, but rather to look in them every one for his own safety.

If there be any here who feels certain either by right or might to

effect his object, let not this surprise be to him too severe a disappointment.

Let him remember that many before now have tried to chastise a wrongdoer,

and failing to punish their enemy have not even saved themselves;

while many who have trusted in force to gain an advantage, instead

of gaining anything more, have been doomed to lose what they had.

Vengeance is not necessarily successful because wrong has been done,

or strength sure because it is confident; but the incalculable element

in the future exercises the widest influence, and is the most treacherous,

and yet in fact the most useful of all things, as it frightens us

all equally, and thus makes us consider before attacking each other.


«Let us therefore now allow the undefined fear of this unknown future,

and the immediate terror of the Athenians’ presence, to produce their

natural impression, and let us consider any failure to carry out the

programmes that we may each have sketched out for ourselves as sufficiently

accounted for by these obstacles, and send away the intruder from

the country; and if everlasting peace be impossible between us, let

us at all events make a treaty for as long a term as possible, and

put off our private differences to another day. In fine, let us recognize

that the adoption of my advice will leave us each citizens of a free

state, and as such arbiters of our own destiny, able to return good

or bad offices with equal effect; while its rejection will make us

dependent on others, and thus not only impotent to repel an insult,

but on the most favourable supposition, friends to our direst enemies,

and at feud with our natural friends.


«For myself, though, as I said at first, the representative of a great

city, and able to think less of defending myself than of attacking

others, I am prepared to concede something in prevision of these dangers.

I am not inclined to ruin myself for the sake of hurting my enemies,

or so blinded by animosity as to think myself equally master of my

own plans and of fortune which I cannot command; but I am ready to

give up anything in reason. I call upon the rest of you to imitate

my conduct of your own free will, without being forced to do so by

the enemy. There is no disgrace in connections giving way to one another,

a Dorian to a Dorian, or a Chalcidian to his brethren; above and beyond

this we are neighbours, live in the same country, are girt by the

same sea, and go by the same name of Sicilians. We shall go to war

again, I suppose, when the time comes, and again make peace among

ourselves by means of future congresses; but the foreign invader,

if we are wise, will always find us united against him, since the

hurt of one is the danger of all; and we shall never, in future, invite

into the island either allies or mediators. By so acting we shall

at the present moment do for Sicily a double service, ridding her

at once of the Athenians, and of civil war, and in future shall live

in freedom at home, and be less menaced from abroad.»


Such were the words of Hermocrates. The Sicilians took his advice,

and came to an understanding among themselves to end the war, each

keeping what they had- the Camarinaeans taking Morgantina at a price

fixed to be paid to the Syracusans- and the allies of the Athenians

called the officers in command, and told them that they were going

to make peace and that they would be included in the treaty. The generals

assenting, the peace was concluded, and the Athenian fleet afterwards

sailed away from Sicily. Upon their arrival at Athens, the Athenians

banished Pythodorus and Sophocles, and fined Eurymedon for having

taken bribes to depart when they might have subdued Sicily. So thoroughly

had the present prosperity persuaded the citizens that nothing could

withstand them, and that they could achieve what was possible and

impracticable alike, with means ample or inadequate it mattered not.

The secret of this was their general extraordinary success, which

made them confuse their strength with their hopes.


The same summer the Megarians in the city, pressed by the hostilities

of the Athenians, who invaded their country twice every year with

all their forces, and harassed by the incursions of their own exiles

at Pegae, who had been expelled in a revolution by the popular party,

began to ask each other whether it would not be better to receive

back their exiles, and free the town from one of its two scourges.

The friends of the emigrants, perceiving the agitation, now more openly

than before demanded the adoption of this proposition; and the leaders

of the commons, seeing that the sufferings of the times had tired

out the constancy of their supporters, entered in their alarm into

correspondence with the Athenian generals, Hippocrates, son of Ariphron,

and Demosthenes, son of Alcisthenes, and resolved to betray the town,

thinking this less dangerous to themselves than the return of the

party which they had banished. It was accordingly arranged that the

Athenians should first take the long walls extending for nearly a

mile from the city to the port of Nisaea, to prevent the Peloponnesians

coming to the rescue from that place, where they formed the sole garrison

to secure the fidelity of Megara; and that after this the attempt

should be made to put into their hands the upper town, which it was

thought would then come over with less difficulty.


The Athenians, after plans had been arranged between themselves and

their correspondents both as to words and actions, sailed by night

to Minoa, the island off Megara, with six hundred heavy infantry under

the command of Hippocrates, and took post in a quarry not far off,

out of which bricks used to be taken for the walls; while Demosthenes,

the other commander, with a detachment of Plataean light troops and

another of Peripoli, placed himself in ambush in the precinct of Enyalius,

which was still nearer. No one knew of it, except those whose business

it was to know that night. A little before daybreak, the traitors

in Megara began to act. Every night for a long time back, under pretence

of marauding, in order to have a means of opening the gates, they

had been used, with the consent of the officer in command, to carry

by night a sculling boat upon a cart along the ditch to the sea, and

so to sail out, bringing it back again before day upon the cart, and

taking it within the wall through the gates, in order, as they pretended,

to baffle the Athenian blockade at Minoa, there being no boat to be

seen in the harbour. On the present occasion the cart was already

at the gates, which had been opened in the usual way for the boat,

when the Athenians, with whom this had been concerted, saw it, and

ran at the top of their speed from the ambush in order to reach the

gates before they were shut again, and while the cart was still there

to prevent their being closed; their Megarian accomplices at the same

moment killing the guard at the gates. The first to run in was Demosthenes

with his Plataeans and Peripoli, just where the trophy now stands;

and he was no sooner within the gates than the Plataeans engaged and

defeated the nearest party of Peloponnesians who had taken the alarm

and come to the rescue, and secured the gates for the approaching

Athenian heavy infantry.


After this, each of the Athenians as fast as they entered went against

the wall. A few of the Peloponnesian garrison stood their ground at

first, and tried to repel the assault, and some of them were killed;

but the main body took fright and fled; the night attack and the sight

of the Megarian traitors in arms against them making them think that

all Megara had gone over to the enemy. It so happened also that the

Athenian herald of his own idea called out and invited any of the

Megarians that wished, to join the Athenian ranks; and this was no

sooner heard by the garrison than they gave way, and, convinced that

they were the victims of a concerted attack, took refuge in Nisaea.

By daybreak, the walls being now taken and the Megarians in the city

in great agitation, the persons who had negotiated with the Athenians,

supported by the rest of the popular party which was privy to the

plot, said that they ought to open the gates and march out to battle.

It had been concerted between them that the Athenians should rush

in, the moment that the gates were opened, while the conspirators

were to be distinguished from the rest by being anointed with oil,

and so to avoid being hurt. They could open the gates with more security,

as four thousand Athenian heavy infantry from Eleusis, and six hundred

horse, had marched all night, according to agreement, and were now

close at hand. The conspirators were all ready anointed and at their

posts by the gates, when one of their accomplices denounced the plot

to the opposite party, who gathered together and came in a body, and

roundly said that they must not march out- a thing they had never

yet ventured on even when in greater force than at present- or wantonly

compromise the safety of the town, and that if what they said was

not attended to, the battle would have to be fought in Megara. For

the rest, they gave no signs of their knowledge of the intrigue, but

stoutly maintained that their advice was the best, and meanwhile kept

close by and watched the gates, making it impossible for the conspirators

to effect their purpose.


The Athenian generals seeing that some obstacle had arisen, and that

the capture of the town by force was no longer practicable, at once

proceeded to invest Nisaea, thinking that, if they could take it before

relief arrived, the surrender of Megara would soon follow. Iron, stone-masons,

and everything else required quickly coming up from Athens, the Athenians

started from the wall which they occupied, and from this point built

a cross wall looking towards Megara down to the sea on either side

of Nisaea; the ditch and the walls being divided among the army, stones

and bricks taken from the suburb, and the fruit-trees and timber cut

down to make a palisade wherever this seemed necessary; the houses

also in the suburb with the addition of battlements sometimes entering

into the fortification. The whole of this day the work continued,

and by the afternoon of the next the wall was all but completed, when

the garrison in Nisaea, alarmed by the absolute want of provisions,

which they used to take in for the day from the upper town, not anticipating

any speedy relief from the Peloponnesians, and supposing Megara to

be hostile, capitulated to the Athenians on condition that they should

give up their arms, and should each be ransomed for a stipulated sum;

their Lacedaemonian commander, and any others of his countrymen in

the place, being left to the discretion of the Athenians. On these

conditions they surrendered and came out, and the Athenians broke

down the long walls at their point of junction with Megara, took possession

of Nisaea, and went on with their other preparations.


Just at this time the Lacedaemonian Brasidas, son of Tellis, happened

to be in the neighbourhood of Sicyon and Corinth, getting ready an

army for Thrace. As soon as he heard of the capture of the walls,

fearing for the Peloponnesians in Nisaea and the safety of Megara,

he sent to the Boeotians to meet him as quickly as possible at Tripodiscus,

a village so called of the Megarid, under Mount Geraneia, and went

himself, with two thousand seven hundred Corinthian heavy infantry,

four hundred Phliasians, six hundred Sicyonians, and such troops of

his own as he had already levied, expecting to find Nisaea not yet

taken. Hearing of its fall (he had marched out by night to Tripodiscus),

he took three hundred picked men from the army, without waiting till

his coming should be known, and came up to Megara unobserved by the

Athenians, who were down by the sea, ostensibly, and really if possible,

to attempt Nisaea, but above all to get into Megara and secure the

town. He accordingly invited the townspeople to admit his party, saying

that he had hopes of recovering Nisaea.


However, one of the Megarian factions feared that he might expel them

and restore the exiles; the other that the commons, apprehensive of

this very danger, might set upon them, and the city be thus destroyed

by a battle within its gates under the eyes of the ambushed Athenians.

He was accordingly refused admittance, both parties electing to remain

quiet and await the event; each expecting a battle between the Athenians

and the relieving army, and thinking it safer to see their friends

victorious before declaring in their favour.


Unable to carry his point, Brasidas went back to the rest of the army.

At daybreak the Boeotians joined him. Having determined to relieve

Megara, whose danger they considered their own, even before hearing

from Brasidas, they were already in full force at Plataea, when his

messenger arrived to add spurs to their resolution; and they at once

sent on to him two thousand two hundred heavy infantry, and six hundred

horse, returning home with the main body. The whole army thus assembled

numbered six thousand heavy infantry. The Athenian heavy infantry

were drawn up by Nisaea and the sea; but the light troops being scattered

over the plain were attacked by the Boeotian horse and driven to the

sea, being taken entirely by surprise, as on previous occasions no

relief had ever come to the Megarians from any quarter. Here the Boeotians

were in their turn charged and engaged by the Athenian horse, and

a cavalry action ensued which lasted a long time, and in which both

parties claimed the victory. The Athenians killed and stripped the

leader of the Boeotian horse and some few of his comrades who had

charged right up to Nisaea, and remaining masters of the bodies gave

them back under truce, and set up a trophy; but regarding the action

as a whole the forces separated without either side having gained

a decisive advantage, the Boeotians returning to their army and the

Athenians to Nisaea.


After this Brasidas and the army came nearer to the sea and to Megara,

and taking up a convenient position, remained quiet in order of battle,

expecting to be attacked by the Athenians and knowing that the Megarians

were waiting to see which would be the victor. This attitude seemed

to present two advantages. Without taking the offensive or willingly

provoking the hazards of a battle, they openly showed their readiness

to fight, and thus without bearing the burden of the day would fairly

reap its honours; while at the same time they effectually served their

interests at Megara. For if they had failed to show themselves they

would not have had a chance, but would have certainly been considered

vanquished, and have lost the town. As it was, the Athenians might

possibly not be inclined to accept their challenge, and their object

would be attained without fighting. And so it turned out. The Athenians

formed outside the long walls and, the enemy not attacking, there

remained motionless; their generals having decided that the risk was

too unequal. In fact most of their objects had been already attained;

and they would have to begin a battle against superior numbers, and

if victorious could only gain Megara, while a defeat would destroy

the flower of their heavy soldiery. For the enemy it was different;

as even the states actually represented in his army risked each only

a part of its entire force, he might well be more audacious. Accordingly,

after waiting for some time without either side attacking, the Athenians

withdrew to Nisaea, and the Peloponnesians after them to the point

from which they had set out. The friends of the Megarian exiles now

threw aside their hesitation, and opened the gates to Brasidas and

the commanders from the different states- looking upon him as the

victor and upon the Athenians as having declined the battle- and receiving

them into the town proceeded to discuss matters with them; the party

in correspondence with the Athenians being paralysed by the turn things

had taken.


Afterwards Brasidas let the allies go home, and himself went back

to Corinth, to prepare for his expedition to Thrace, his original

destination. The Athenians also returning home, the Megarians in the

city most implicated in the Athenian negotiation, knowing that they

had been detected, presently disappeared; while the rest conferred

with the friends of the exiles, and restored the party at Pegae, after

binding them under solemn oaths to take no vengeance for the past,

and only to consult the real interests of the town. However, as soon

as they were in office, they held a review of the heavy infantry,

and separating the battalions, picked out about a hundred of their

enemies, and of those who were thought to be most involved in the

correspondence with the Athenians, brought them before the people,

and compelling the vote to be given openly, had them condemned and

executed, and established a close oligarchy in the town- a revolution

which lasted a very long while, although effected by a very few partisans.


Chapter XIV


Eighth and Ninth Years of the War – Invasion of Boeotia – Fall of

Amphipolis – Brilliant Successes of Brasidas


The same summer the Mitylenians were about to fortify Antandrus, as

they had intended, when Demodocus and Aristides, the commanders of

the Athenian squadron engaged in levying subsidies, heard on the Hellespont

of what was being done to the place (Lamachus their colleague having

sailed with ten ships into the Pontus) and conceived fears of its

becoming a second Anaia-the place in which the Samian exiles had established

themselves to annoy Samos, helping the Peloponnesians by sending pilots

to their navy, and keeping the city in agitation and receiving all

its outlaws. They accordingly got together a force from the allies

and set sail, defeated in battle the troops that met them from Antandrus,

and retook the place. Not long after, Lamachus, who had sailed into

the Pontus, lost his ships at anchor in the river Calex, in the territory

of Heraclea, rain having fallen in the interior and the flood coming

suddenly down upon them; and himself and his troops passed by land

through the Bithynian Thracians on the Asiatic side, and arrived at

Chalcedon, the Megarian colony at the mouth of the Pontus.


The same summer the Athenian general, Demosthenes, arrived at Naupactus

with forty ships immediately after the return from the Megarid. Hippocrates

and himself had had overtures made to them by certain men in the cities

in Boeotia, who wished to change the constitution and introduce a

democracy as at Athens; Ptoeodorus, a Theban exile, being the chief

mover in this intrigue. The seaport town of Siphae, in the bay of

Crisae, in the Thespian territory, was to be betrayed to them by one

party; Chaeronea (a dependency of what was formerly called the Minyan,

now the Boeotian, Orchomenus) to be put into their hands by another

from that town, whose exiles were very active in the business, hiring

men in Peloponnese. Some Phocians also were in the plot, Chaeronea

being the frontier town of Boeotia and close to Phanotis in Phocia.

Meanwhile the Athenians were to seize Delium, the sanctuary of Apollo,

in the territory of Tanagra looking towards Euboea; and all these

events were to take place simultaneously upon a day appointed, in

order that the Boeotians might be unable to unite to oppose them at

Delium, being everywhere detained by disturbances at home. Should

the enterprise succeed, and Delium be fortified, its authors confidently

expected that even if no revolution should immediately follow in Boeotia,

yet with these places in their hands, and the country being harassed

by incursions, and a refuge in each instance near for the partisans

engaged in them, things would not remain as they were, but that the

rebels being supported by the Athenians and the forces of the oligarchs

divided, it would be possible after a while to settle matters according

to their wishes.


Such was the plot in contemplation. Hippocrates with a force raised

at home awaited the proper moment to take the field against the Boeotians;

while he sent on Demosthenes with the forty ships above mentioned

to Naupactus, to raise in those parts an army of Acarnanians and of

the other allies, and sail and receive Siphae from the conspirators;

a day having been agreed on for the simultaneous execution of both

these operations. Demosthenes on his arrival found Oeniadae already

compelled by the united Acarnanians to join the Athenian confederacy,

and himself raising all the allies in those countries marched against

and subdued Salynthius and the Agraeans; after which he devoted himself

to the preparations necessary to enable him to be at Siphae by the

time appointed.


About the same time in the summer, Brasidas set out on his march for

the Thracian places with seventeen hundred heavy infantry, and arriving

at Heraclea in Trachis, from thence sent on a messenger to his friends

at Pharsalus, to ask them to conduct himself and his army through

the country. Accordingly there came to Melitia in Achaia Panaerus,

Dorus, Hippolochidas, Torylaus, and Strophacus, the Chalcidian proxenus,

under whose escort he resumed his march, being accompanied also by

other Thessalians, among whom was Niconidas from Larissa, a friend

of Perdiccas. It was never very easy to traverse Thessaly without

an escort; and throughout all Hellas for an armed force to pass without

leave through a neighbour’s country was a delicate step to take. Besides

this the Thessalian people had always sympathized with the Athenians.

Indeed if instead of the customary dose oligarchy there had been a

constitutional government in Thessaly, he would never have been able

to proceed; since even as it was, he was met on his march at the river

Enipeus by certain of the opposite party who forbade his further progress,

and complained of his making the attempt without the consent of the

nation. To this his escort answered that they had no intention of

taking him through against their will; they were only friends in attendance

on an unexpected visitor. Brasidas himself added that he came as a

friend to Thessaly and its inhabitants, his arms not being directed

against them but against the Athenians, with whom he was at war, and

that although he knew of no quarrel between the Thessalians and Lacedaemonians

to prevent the two nations having access to each other’s territory,

he neither would nor could proceed against their wishes; he could

only beg them not to stop him. With this answer they went away, and

he took the advice of his escort, and pushed on without halting, before

a greater force might gather to prevent him. Thus in the day that

he set out from Melitia he performed the whole distance to Pharsalus,

and encamped on the river Apidanus; and so to Phacium and from thence

to Perrhaebia. Here his Thessalian escort went back, and the Perrhaebians,

who are subjects of Thessaly, set him down at Dium in the dominions

of Perdiccas, a Macedonian town under Mount Olympus, looking towards



In this way Brasidas hurried through Thessaly before any one could

be got ready to stop him, and reached Perdiccas and Chalcidice. The

departure of the army from Peloponnese had been procured by the Thracian

towns in revolt against Athens and by Perdiccas, alarmed at the successes

of the Athenians. The Chalcidians thought that they would be the first

objects of an Athenian expedition, not that the neighbouring towns

which had not yet revolted did not also secretly join in the invitation;

and Perdiccas also had his apprehensions on account of his old quarrels

with the Athenians, although not openly at war with them, and above

all wished to reduce Arrhabaeus, king of the Lyncestians. It had been

less difficult for them to get an army to leave Peloponnese, because

of the ill fortune of the Lacedaemonians at the present moment. The

attacks of the Athenians upon Peloponnese, and in particular upon

Laconia, might, it was hoped, be diverted most effectually by annoying

them in return, and by sending an army to their allies, especially

as they were willing to maintain it and asked for it to aid them in

revolting. The Lacedaemonians were also glad to have an excuse for

sending some of the Helots out of the country, for fear that the present

aspect of affairs and the occupation of Pylos might encourage them

to move. Indeed fear of their numbers and obstinacy even persuaded

the Lacedaemonians to the action which I shall now relate, their policy

at all times having been governed by the necessity of taking precautions

against them. The Helots were invited by a proclamation to pick out

those of their number who claimed to have most distinguished themselves

against the enemy, in order that they might receive their freedom;

the object being to test them, as it was thought that the first to

claim their freedom would be the most high-spirited and the most apt

to rebel. As many as two thousand were selected accordingly, who crowned

themselves and went round the temples, rejoicing in their new freedom.

The Spartans, however, soon afterwards did away with them, and no

one ever knew how each of them perished. The Spartans now therefore

gladly sent seven hundred as heavy infantry with Brasidas, who recruited

the rest of his force by means of money in Peloponnese.


Brasidas himself was sent out by the Lacedaemonians mainly at his

own desire, although the Chalcidians also were eager to have a man

so thorough as he had shown himself whenever there was anything to

be done at Sparta, and whose after-service abroad proved of the utmost

use to his country. At the present moment his just and moderate conduct

towards the towns generally succeeded in procuring their revolt, besides

the places which he managed to take by treachery; and thus when the

Lacedaemonians desired to treat, as they ultimately did, they had

places to offer in exchange, and the burden of war meanwhile shifted

from Peloponnese. Later on in the war, after the events in Sicily,

the present valour and conduct of Brasidas, known by experience to

some, by hearsay to others, was what mainly created in the allies

of Athens a feeling for the Lacedaemonians. He was the first who went

out and showed himself so good a man at all points as to leave behind

him the conviction that the rest were like him.


Meanwhile his arrival in the Thracian country no sooner became known

to the Athenians than they declared war against Perdiccas, whom they

regarded as the author of the expedition, and kept a closer watch

on their allies in that quarter.


Upon the arrival of Brasidas and his army, Perdiccas immediately started

with them and with his own forces against Arrhabaeus, son of Bromerus,

king of the Lyncestian Macedonians, his neighbour, with whom he had

a quarrel and whom he wished to subdue. However, when he arrived with

his army and Brasidas at the pass leading into Lyncus, Brasidas told

him that before commencing hostilities he wished to go and try to

persuade Arrhabaeus to become the ally of Lacedaemon, this latter

having already made overtures intimating his willingness to make Brasidas

arbitrator between them, and the Chalcidian envoys accompanying him

having warned him not to remove the apprehensions of Perdiccas, in

order to ensure his greater zeal in their cause. Besides, the envoys

of Perdiccas had talked at Lacedaemon about his bringing many of the

places round him into alliance with them; and thus Brasidas thought

he might take a larger view of the question of Arrhabaeus. Perdiccas

however retorted that he had not brought him with him to arbitrate

in their quarrel, but to put down the enemies whom he might point

out to him; and that while he, Perdiccas, maintained half his army

it was a breach of faith for Brasidas to parley with Arrhabaeus. Nevertheless

Brasidas disregarded the wishes of Perdiccas and held the parley in

spite of him, and suffered himself to be persuaded to lead off the

army without invading the country of Arrhabaeus; after which Perdiccas,

holding that faith had not been kept with him, contributed only a

third instead of half of the support of the army.


The same summer, without loss of time, Brasidas marched with the Chalcidians

against Acanthus, a colony of the Andrians, a little before vintage.

The inhabitants were divided into two parties on the question of receiving

him; those who had joined the Chalcidians in inviting him, and the

popular party. However, fear for their fruit, which was still out,

enabled Brasidas to persuade the multitude to admit him alone, and

to hear what he had to say before making a decision; and he was admitted

accordingly and appeared before the people, and not being a bad speaker

for a Lacedaemonian, addressed them as follows:


«Acanthians, the Lacedaemonians have sent out me and my army to make

good the reason that we gave for the war when we began it, viz., that

we were going to war with the Athenians in order to free Hellas. Our

delay in coming has been caused by mistaken expectations as to the

war at home, which led us to hope, by our own unassisted efforts and

without your risking anything, to effect the speedy downfall of the

Athenians; and you must not blame us for this, as we are now come

the moment that we were able, prepared with your aid to do our best

to subdue them. Meanwhile I am astonished at finding your gates shut

against me, and at not meeting with a better welcome. We Lacedaemonians

thought of you as allies eager to have us, to whom we should come

in spirit even before we were with you in body; and in this expectation

undertook all the risks of a march of many days through a strange

country, so far did our zeal carry us. It will be a terrible thing

if after this you have other intentions, and mean to stand in the

way of your own and Hellenic freedom. It is not merely that you oppose

me yourselves; but wherever I may go people will be less inclined

to join me, on the score that you, to whom I first came- an important

town like Acanthus, and prudent men like the Acanthians- refused to

admit me. I shall have nothing to prove that the reason which I advance

is the true one; it will be said either that there is something unfair

in the freedom which I offer, or that I am in insufficient force and

unable to protect you against an attack from Athens. Yet when I went

with the army which I now have to the relief of Nisaea, the Athenians

did not venture to engage me although in greater force than I; and

it is not likely they will ever send across sea against you an army

as numerous as they had at Nisaea. And for myself, I have come here

not to hurt but to free the Hellenes, witness the solemn oaths by

which I have bound my government that the allies that I may bring

over shall be independent; and besides my object in coming is not

by force or fraud to obtain your alliance, but to offer you mine to

help you against your Athenian masters. I protest, therefore, against

any suspicions of my intentions after the guarantees which I offer,

and equally so against doubts of my ability to protect you, and I

invite you to join me without hesitation.


«Some of you may hang back because they have private enemies, and

fear that I may put the city into the hands of a party: none need

be more tranquil than they. I am not come here to help this party

or that; and I do not consider that I should be bringing you freedom

in any real sense, if I should disregard your constitution, and enslave

the many to the few or the few to the many. This would be heavier

than a foreign yoke; and we Lacedaemonians, instead of being thanked

for our pains, should get neither honour nor glory, but, contrariwise,

reproaches. The charges which strengthen our hands in the war against

the Athenians would on our own showing be merited by ourselves, and

more hateful in us than in those who make no pretensions to honesty;

as it is more disgraceful for persons of character to take what they

covet by fair-seeming fraud than by open force; the one aggression

having for its justification the might which fortune gives, the other

being simply a piece of clever roguery. A matter which concerns us

thus nearly we naturally look to most jealously; and over and above

the oaths that I have mentioned, what stronger assurance can you have,

when you see that our words, compared with the actual facts, produce

the necessary conviction that it is our interest to act as we say?


«If to these considerations of mine you put in the plea of inability,

and claim that your friendly feeling should save you from being hurt

by your refusal; if you say that freedom, in your opinion, is not

without its dangers, and that it is right to offer it to those who

can accept it, but not to force it on any against their will, then

I shall take the gods and heroes of your country to witness that I

came for your good and was rejected, and shall do my best to compel

you by laying waste your land. I shall do so without scruple, being

justified by the necessity which constrains me, first, to prevent

the Lacedaemonians from being damaged by you, their friends, in the

event of your nonadhesion, through the moneys that you pay to the

Athenians; and secondly, to prevent the Hellenes from being hindered

by you in shaking off their servitude. Otherwise indeed we should

have no right to act as we propose; except in the name of some public

interest, what call should we Lacedaemonians have to free those who

do not wish it? Empire we do not aspire to: it is what we are labouring

to put down; and we should wrong the greater number if we allowed

you to stand in the way of the independence that we offer to all.

Endeavour, therefore, to decide wisely, and strive to begin the work

of liberation for the Hellenes, and lay up for yourselves endless

renown, while you escape private loss, and cover your commonwealth

with glory.»


Such were the words of Brasidas. The Acanthians, after much had been

said on both sides of the question, gave their votes in secret, and

the majority, influenced by the seductive arguments of Brasidas and

by fear for their fruit, decided to revolt from Athens; not however

admitting the army until they had taken his personal security for

the oaths sworn by his government before they sent him out, assuring

the independence of the allies whom he might bring over. Not long

after, Stagirus, a colony of the Andrians, followed their example

and revolted.


Such were the events of this summer. It was in the first days of the

winter following that the places in Boeotia were to be put into the

hands of the Athenian generals, Hippocrates and Demosthenes, the latter

of whom was to go with his ships to Siphae, the former to Delium.

A mistake, however, was made in the days on which they were each to

start; and Demosthenes, sailing first to Siphae, with the Acarnanians

and many of the allies from those parts on board, failed to effect

anything, through the plot having been betrayed by Nicomachus, a Phocian

from Phanotis, who told the Lacedaemonians, and they the Boeotians.

Succours accordingly flocked in from all parts of Boeotia, Hippocrates

not being yet there to make his diversion, and Siphae and Chaeronea

were promptly secured, and the conspirators, informed of the mistake,

did not venture on any movement in the towns.


Meanwhile Hippocrates made a levy in mass of the citizens, resident

aliens, and foreigners in Athens, and arrived at his destination after

the Boeotians had already come back from Siphae, and encamping his

army began to fortify Delium, the sanctuary of Apollo, in the following

manner. A trench was dug all round the temple and the consecrated

ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do

duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted, the vines round

the sanctuary being cut down and thrown in, together with stones and

bricks pulled down from the houses near; every means, in short, being

used to run up the rampart. Wooden towers were also erected where

they were wanted, and where there was no part of the temple buildings

left standing, as on the side where the gallery once existing had

fallen in. The work was begun on the third day after leaving home,

and continued during the fourth, and till dinnertime on the fifth,

when most of it being now finished the army removed from Delium about

a mile and a quarter on its way home. From this point most of the

light troops went straight on, while the heavy infantry halted and

remained where they were; Hippocrates having stayed behind at Delium

to arrange the posts, and to give directions for the completion of

such part of the outworks as had been left unfinished.


During the days thus employed the Boeotians were mustering at Tanagra,

and by the time that they had come in from all the towns, found the

Athenians already on their way home. The rest of the eleven Boeotarchs

were against giving battle, as the enemy was no longer in Boeotia,

the Athenians being just over the Oropian border, when they halted;

but Pagondas, son of Aeolidas, one of the Boeotarchs of Thebes (Arianthides,

son of Lysimachidas, being the other), and then commander-in-chief,

thought it best to hazard a battle. He accordingly called the men

to him, company after company, to prevent their all leaving their

arms at once, and urged them to attack the Athenians, and stand the

issue of a battle, speaking as follows:


«Boeotians, the idea that we ought not to give battle to the Athenians,

unless we came up with them in Boeotia, is one which should never

have entered into the head of any of us, your generals. It was to

annoy Boeotia that they crossed the frontier and built a fort in our

country; and they are therefore, I imagine, our enemies wherever we

may come up with them, and from wheresoever they may have come to

act as enemies do. And if any one has taken up with the idea in question

for reasons of safety, it is high time for him to change his mind.

The party attacked, whose own country is in danger, can scarcely discuss

what is prudent with the calmness of men who are in full enjoyment

of what they have got, and are thinking of attacking a neighbour in

order to get more. It is your national habit, in your country or out

of it, to oppose the same resistance to a foreign invader; and when

that invader is Athenian, and lives upon your frontier besides, it

is doubly imperative to do so. As between neighbours generally, freedom

means simply a determination to hold one’s own; and with neighbours

like these, who are trying to enslave near and far alike, there is

nothing for it but to fight it out to the last. Look at the condition

of the Euboeans and of most of the rest of Hellas, and be convinced

that others have to fight with their neighbours for this frontier

or that, but that for us conquest means one frontier for the whole

country, about which no dispute can be made, for they will simply

come and take by force what we have. So much more have we to fear

from this neighbour than from another. Besides, people who, like the

Athenians in the present instance, are tempted by pride of strength

to attack their neighbours, usually march most confidently against

those who keep still, and only defend themselves in their own country,

but think twice before they grapple with those who meet them outside

their frontier and strike the first blow if opportunity offers. The

Athenians have shown us this themselves; the defeat which we inflicted

upon them at Coronea, at the time when our quarrels had allowed them

to occupy the country, has given great security to Boeotia until the

present day. Remembering this, the old must equal their ancient exploits,

and the young, the sons of the heroes of that time, must endeavour

not to disgrace their native valour; and trusting in the help of the

god whose temple has been sacrilegiously fortified, and in the victims

which in our sacrifices have proved propitious, we must march against

the enemy, and teach him that he must go and get what he wants by

attacking someone who will not resist him, but that men whose glory

it is to be always ready to give battle for the liberty of their own

country, and never unjustly to enslave that of others, will not let

him go without a struggle.»


By these arguments Pagondas persuaded the Boeotians to attack the

Athenians, and quickly breaking up his camp led his army forward,

it being now late in the day. On nearing the enemy, he halted in a

position where a hill intervening prevented the two armies from seeing

each other, and then formed and prepared for action. Meanwhile Hippocrates

at Delium, informed of the approach of the Boeotians, sent orders

to his troops to throw themselves into line, and himself joined them

not long afterwards, leaving about three hundred horse behind him

at Delium, at once to guard the place in case of attack, and to watch

their opportunity and fall upon the Boeotians during the battle. The

Boeotians placed a detachment to deal with these, and when everything

was arranged to their satisfaction appeared over the hill, and halted

in the order which they had determined on, to the number of seven

thousand heavy infantry, more than ten thousand light troops, one

thousand horse, and five hundred targeteers. On their right were the

Thebans and those of their province, in the centre the Haliartians,

Coronaeans, Copaeans, and the other people around the lake, and on

the left the Thespians, Tanagraeans, and Orchomenians, the cavalry

and the light troops being at the extremity of each wing. The Thebans

formed twenty-five shields deep, the rest as they pleased. Such was

the strength and disposition of the Boeotian army.


On the side of the Athenians, the heavy infantry throughout the whole

army formed eight deep, being in numbers equal to the enemy, with

the cavalry upon the two wings. Light troops regularly armed there

were none in the army, nor had there ever been any at Athens. Those

who had joined in the invasion, though many times more numerous than

those of the enemy, had mostly followed unarmed, as part of the levy

in mass of the citizens and foreigners at Athens, and having started

first on their way home were not present in any number. The armies

being now in line and upon the point of engaging, Hippocrates, the

general, passed along the Athenian ranks, and encouraged them as follows:


«Athenians, I shall only say a few words to you, but brave men require

no more, and they are addressed more to your understanding than to

your courage. None of you must fancy that we are going out of our

way to run this risk in the country of another. Fought in their territory

the battle will be for ours: if we conquer, the Peloponnesians will

never invade your country without the Boeotian horse, and in one battle

you will win Boeotia and in a manner free Attica. Advance to meet

them then like citizens of a country in which you all glory as the

first in Hellas, and like sons of the fathers who beat them at Oenophyta

with Myronides and thus gained possession of Boeotia.»


Hippocrates had got half through the army with his exhortation, when

the Boeotians, after a few more hasty words from Pagondas, struck

up the paean, and came against them from the hill; the Athenians advancing

to meet them, and closing at a run. The extreme wing of neither army

came into action, one like the other being stopped by the water-courses

in the way; the rest engaged with the utmost obstinacy, shield against

shield. The Boeotian left, as far as the centre, was worsted by the

Athenians. The Thespians in that part of the field suffered most severely.

The troops alongside them having given way, they were surrounded in

a narrow space and cut down fighting hand to hand; some of the Athenians

also fell into confusion in surrounding the enemy and mistook and

so killed each other. In this part of the field the Boeotians were

beaten, and retreated upon the troops still fighting; but the right,

where the Thebans were, got the better of the Athenians and shoved

them further and further back, though gradually at first. It so happened

also that Pagondas, seeing the distress of his left, had sent two

squadrons of horse, where they could not be seen, round the hill,

and their sudden appearance struck a panic into the victorious wing

of the Athenians, who thought that it was another army coming against

them. At length in both parts of the field, disturbed by this panic,

and with their line broken by the advancing Thebans, the whole Athenian

army took to flight. Some made for Delium and the sea, some for Oropus,

others for Mount Parnes, or wherever they had hopes of safety, pursued

and cut down by the Boeotians, and in particular by the cavalry, composed

partly of Boeotians and partly of Locrians, who had come up just as

the rout began. Night however coming on to interrupt the pursuit,

the mass of the fugitives escaped more easily than they would otherwise

have done. The next day the troops at Oropus and Delium returned home

by sea, after leaving a garrison in the latter place, which they continued

to hold notwithstanding the defeat.


The Boeotians set up a trophy, took up their own dead, and stripped

those of the enemy, and leaving a guard over them retired to Tanagra,

there to take measures for attacking Delium. Meanwhile a herald came

from the Athenians to ask for the dead, but was met and turned back

by a Boeotian herald, who told him that he would effect nothing until

the return of himself the Boeotian herald, and who then went on to

the Athenians, and told them on the part of the Boeotians that they

had done wrong in transgressing the law of the Hellenes. Of what use

was the universal custom protecting the temples in an invaded country,

if the Athenians were to fortify Delium and live there, acting exactly

as if they were on unconsecrated ground, and drawing and using for

their purposes the water which they, the Boeotians, never touched

except for sacred uses? Accordingly for the god as well as for themselves,

in the name of the deities concerned, and of Apollo, the Boeotians

invited them first to evacuate the temple, if they wished to take

up the dead that belonged to them.


After these words from the herald, the Athenians sent their own herald

to the Boeotians to say that they had not done any wrong to the temple,

and for the future would do it no more harm than they could help;

not having occupied it originally in any such design, but to defend

themselves from it against those who were really wronging them. The

law of the Hellenes was that conquest of a country, whether more or

less extensive, carried with it possession of the temples in that

country, with the obligation to keep up the usual ceremonies, at least

as far as possible. The Boeotians and most other people who had turned

out the owners of a country, and put themselves in their places by

force, now held as of right the temples which they originally entered

as usurpers. If the Athenians could have conquered more of Boeotia

this would have been the case with them: as things stood, the piece

of it which they had got they should treat as their own, and not quit

unless obliged. The water they had disturbed under the impulsion of

a necessity which they had not wantonly incurred, having been forced

to use it in defending themselves against the Boeotians who first

invaded Attica. Besides, anything done under the pressure of war and

danger might reasonably claim indulgence even in the eye of the god;

or why, pray, were the altars the asylum for involuntary offences?

Transgression also was a term applied to presumptuous offenders, not

to the victims of adverse circumstances. In short, which were most

impious- the Boeotians who wished to barter dead bodies for holy places,

or the Athenians who refused to give up holy places to obtain what

was theirs by right? The condition of evacuating Boeotia must therefore

be withdrawn. They were no longer in Boeotia. They stood where they

stood by the right of the sword. All that the Boeotians had to do

was to tell them to take up their dead under a truce according to

the national custom.


The Boeotians replied that if they were in Boeotia, they must evacuate

that country before taking up their dead; if they were in their own

territory, they could do as they pleased: for they knew that, although

the Oropid where the bodies as it chanced were lying (the battle having

been fought on the borders) was subject to Athens, yet the Athenians

could not get them without their leave. Besides, why should they grant

a truce for Athenian ground? And what could be fairer than to tell

them to evacuate Boeotia if they wished to get what they asked? The

Athenian herald accordingly returned with this answer, without having

accomplished his object.


Meanwhile the Boeotians at once sent for darters and slingers from

the Malian Gulf, and with two thousand Corinthian heavy infantry who

had joined them after the battle, the Peloponnesian garrison which

had evacuated Nisaea, and some Megarians with them, marched against

Delium, and attacked the fort, and after divers efforts finally succeeded

in taking it by an engine of the following description. They sawed

in two and scooped out a great beam from end to end, and fitting it

nicely together again like a pipe, hung by chains a cauldron at one

extremity, with which communicated an iron tube projecting from the

beam, which was itself in great part plated with iron. This they brought

up from a distance upon carts to the part of the wall principally

composed of vines and timber, and when it was near, inserted huge

bellows into their end of the beam and blew with them. The blast passing

closely confined into the cauldron, which was filled with lighted

coals, sulphur and pitch, made a great blaze, and set fire to the

wall, which soon became untenable for its defenders, who left it and

fled; and in this way the fort was taken. Of the garrison some were

killed and two hundred made prisoners; most of the rest got on board

their ships and returned home.


Soon after the fall of Delium, which took place seventeen days after

the battle, the Athenian herald, without knowing what had happened,

came again for the dead, which were now restored by the Boeotians,

who no longer answered as at first. Not quite five hundred Boeotians

fell in the battle, and nearly one thousand Athenians, including Hippocrates

the general, besides a great number of light troops and camp followers.


Soon after this battle Demosthenes, after the failure of his voyage

to Siphae and of the plot on the town, availed himself of the Acarnanian

and Agraean troops and of the four hundred Athenian heavy infantry

which he had on board, to make a descent on the Sicyonian coast. Before

however all his ships had come to shore, the Sicyonians came up and

routed and chased to their ships those that had landed, killing some

and taking others prisoners; after which they set up a trophy, and

gave back the dead under truce.


About the same time with the affair of Delium took place the death

of Sitalces, king of the Odrysians, who was defeated in battle, in

a campaign against the Triballi; Seuthes, son of Sparadocus, his nephew,

succeeding to the kingdom of the Odrysians, and of the rest of Thrace

ruled by Sitalces.


The same winter Brasidas, with his allies in the Thracian places,

marched against Amphipolis, the Athenian colony on the river Strymon.

A settlement upon the spot on which the city now stands was before

attempted by Aristagoras, the Milesian (when he fled from King Darius),

who was however dislodged by the Edonians; and thirty-two years later

by the Athenians, who sent thither ten thousand settlers of their

own citizens, and whoever else chose to go. These were cut off at

Drabescus by the Thracians. Twenty-nine years after, the Athenians

returned (Hagnon, son of Nicias, being sent out as leader of the colony)

and drove out the Edonians, and founded a town on the spot, formerly

called Ennea Hodoi or Nine Ways. The base from which they started

was Eion, their commercial seaport at the mouth of the river, not

more than three miles from the present town, which Hagnon named Amphipolis,

because the Strymon flows round it on two sides, and he built it so

as to be conspicuous from the sea and land alike, running a long wall

across from river to river, to complete the circumference.


Brasidas now marched against this town, starting from Arne in Chalcidice.

Arriving about dusk at Aulon and Bromiscus, where the lake of Bolbe

runs into the sea, he supped there, and went on during the night.

The weather was stormy and it was snowing a little, which encouraged

him to hurry on, in order, if possible, to take every one at Amphipolis

by surprise, except the party who were to betray it. The plot was

carried on by some natives of Argilus, an Andrian colony, residing

in Amphipolis, where they had also other accomplices gained over by

Perdiccas or the Chalcidians. But the most active in the matter were

the inhabitants of Argilus itself, which is close by, who had always

been suspected by the Athenians, and had had designs on the place.

These men now saw their opportunity arrive with Brasidas, and having

for some time been in correspondence with their countrymen in Amphipolis

for the betrayal of the town, at once received him into Argilus, and

revolted from the Athenians, and that same night took him on to the

bridge over the river; where he found only a small guard to oppose

him, the town being at some distance from the passage, and the walls

not reaching down to it as at present. This guard he easily drove

in, partly through there being treason in their ranks, partly from

the stormy state of the weather and the suddenness of his attack,

and so got across the bridge, and immediately became master of all

the property outside; the Amphipolitans having houses all over the



The passage of Brasidas was a complete surprise to the people in the

town; and the capture of many of those outside, and the flight of

the rest within the wall, combined to produce great confusion among

the citizens; especially as they did not trust one another. It is

even said that if Brasidas, instead of stopping to pillage, had advanced

straight against the town, he would probably have taken it. In fact,

however, he established himself where he was and overran the country

outside, and for the present remained inactive, vainly awaiting a

demonstration on the part of his friends within. Meanwhile the party

opposed to the traitors proved numerous enough to prevent the gates

being immediately thrown open, and in concert with Eucles, the general,

who had come from Athens to defend the place, sent to the other commander

in Thrace, Thucydides, son of Olorus, the author of this history,

who was at the isle of Thasos, a Parian colony, half a day’s sail

from Amphipolis, to tell him to come to their relief. On receipt of

this message he at once set sail with seven ships which he had with

him, in order, if possible, to reach Amphipolis in time to prevent

its capitulation, or in any case to save Eion.


Meanwhile Brasidas, afraid of succours arriving by sea from Thasos,

and learning that Thucydides possessed the right of working the gold

mines in that part of Thrace, and had thus great influence with the

inhabitants of the continent, hastened to gain the town, if possible,

before the people of Amphipolis should be encouraged by his arrival

to hope that he could save them by getting together a force of allies

from the sea and from Thrace, and so refuse to surrender. He accordingly

offered moderate terms, proclaiming that any of the Amphipolitans

and Athenians who chose, might continue to enjoy their property with

full rights of citizenship; while those who did not wish to stay had

five days to depart, taking their property with them.


The bulk of the inhabitants, upon hearing this, began to change their

minds, especially as only a small number of the citizens were Athenians,

the majority having come from different quarters, and many of the

prisoners outside had relations within the walls. They found the proclamation

a fair one in comparison of what their fear had suggested; the Athenians

being glad to go out, as they thought they ran more risk than the

rest, and further, did not expect any speedy relief, and the multitude

generally being content at being left in possession of their civic

rights, and at such an unexpected reprieve from danger. The partisans

of Brasidas now openly advocated this course, seeing that the feeling

of the people had changed, and that they no longer gave ear to the

Athenian general present; and thus the surrender was made and Brasidas

was admitted by them on the terms of his proclamation. In this way

they gave up the city, and late in the same day Thucydides and his

ships entered the harbour of Eion, Brasidas having just got hold of

Amphipolis, and having been within a night of taking Eion: had the

ships been less prompt in relieving it, in the morning it would have

been his.


After this Thucydides put all in order at Eion to secure it against

any present or future attack of Brasidas, and received such as had

elected to come there from the interior according to the terms agreed

  1. Meanwhile Brasidas suddenly sailed with a number of boats down

the river to Eion to see if he could not seize the point running out

from the wall, and so command the entrance; at the same time he attempted

it by land, but was beaten off on both sides and had to content himself

with arranging matters at Amphipolis and in the neighbourhood. Myrcinus,

an Edonian town, also came over to him; the Edonian king Pittacus

having been killed by the sons of Goaxis and his own wife Brauro;

and Galepsus and Oesime, which are Thasian colonies, not long after

followed its example. Perdiccas too came up immediately after the

capture and joined in these arrangements.


The news that Amphipolis was in the hands of the enemy caused great

alarm at Athens. Not only was the town valuable for the timber it

afforded for shipbuilding, and the money that it brought in; but also,

although the escort of the Thessalians gave the Lacedaemonians a means

of reaching the allies of Athens as far as the Strymon, yet as long

as they were not masters of the bridge but were watched on the side

of Eion by the Athenian galleys, and on the land side impeded by a

large and extensive lake formed by the waters of the river, it was

impossible for them to go any further. Now, on the contrary, the path

seemed open. There was also the fear of the allies revolting, owing

to the moderation displayed by Brasidas in all his conduct, and to

the declarations which he was everywhere making that he sent out to

free Hellas. The towns subject to the Athenians, hearing of the capture

of Amphipolis and of the terms accorded to it, and of the gentleness

of Brasidas, felt most strongly encouraged to change their condition,

and sent secret messages to him, begging him to come on to them; each

wishing to be the first to revolt. Indeed there seemed to be no danger

in so doing; their mistake in their estimate of the Athenian power

was as great as that power afterwards turned out to be, and their

judgment was based more upon blind wishing than upon any sound prevision;

for it is a habit of mankind to entrust to careless hope what they

long for, and to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do

not fancy. Besides the late severe blow which the Athenians had met

with in Boeotia, joined to the seductive, though untrue, statements

of Brasidas, about the Athenians not having ventured to engage his

single army at Nisaea, made the allies confident, and caused them

to believe that no Athenian force would be sent against them. Above

all the wish to do what was agreeable at the moment, and the likelihood

that they should find the Lacedaemonians full of zeal at starting,

made them eager to venture. Observing this, the Athenians sent garrisons

to the different towns, as far as was possible at such short notice

and in winter; while Brasidas sent dispatches to Lacedaemon asking

for reinforcements, and himself made preparations for building galleys

in the Strymon. The Lacedaemonians however did not send him any, partly

through envy on the part of their chief men, partly because they were

more bent on recovering the prisoners of the island and ending the



The same winter the Megarians took and razed to the foundations the

long walls which had been occupied by the Athenians; and Brasidas

after the capture of Amphipolis marched with his allies against Acte,

a promontory running out from the King’s dike with an inward curve,

and ending in Athos, a lofty mountain looking towards the Aegean Sea.

In it are various towns, Sane, an Andrian colony, close to the canal,

and facing the sea in the direction of Euboea; the others being Thyssus,

Cleone, Acrothoi, Olophyxus, and Dium, inhabited by mixed barbarian

races speaking the two languages. There is also a small Chalcidian

element; but the greater number are Tyrrheno-Pelasgians once settled

in Lemnos and Athens, and Bisaltians, Crestonians, and Edonians; the

towns being all small ones. Most of these came over to Brasidas; but

Sane and Dium held out and saw their land ravaged by him and his army.


Upon their not submitting, he at once marched against Torone in Chalcidice,

which was held by an Athenian garrison, having been invited by a few

persons who were prepared to hand over the town. Arriving in the dark

a little before daybreak, he sat down with his army near the temple

of the Dioscuri, rather more than a quarter of a mile from the city.

The rest of the town of Torone and the Athenians in garrison did not

perceive his approach; but his partisans knowing that he was coming

(a few of them had secretly gone out to meet him) were on the watch

for his arrival, and were no sooner aware of it than they took it

to them seven light-armed men with daggers, who alone of twenty men

ordered on this service dared to enter, commanded by Lysistratus an

Olynthian. These passed through the sea wall, and without being seen

went up and put to the sword the garrison of the highest post in the

town, which stands on a hill, and broke open the postern on the side

of Canastraeum.


Brasidas meanwhile came a little nearer and then halted with his main

body, sending on one hundred targeteers to be ready to rush in first,

the moment that a gate should be thrown open and the beacon lighted

as agreed. After some time passed in waiting and wondering at the

delay, the targeteers by degrees got up close to the town. The Toronaeans

inside at work with the party that had entered had by this time broken

down the postern and opened the gates leading to the market-place

by cutting through the bar, and first brought some men round and let

them in by the postern, in order to strike a panic into the surprised

townsmen by suddenly attacking them from behind and on both sides

at once; after which they raised the fire-signal as had been agreed,

and took in by the market gates the rest of the targeteers.


Brasidas seeing the signal told the troops to rise, and dashed forward

amid the loud hurrahs of his men, which carried dismay among the astonished

townspeople. Some burst in straight by the gate, others over some

square pieces of timber placed against the wall (which has fallen

down and was being rebuilt) to draw up stones; Brasidas and the greater

number making straight uphill for the higher part of the town, in

order to take it from top to bottom, and once for all, while the rest

of the multitude spread in all directions.


The capture of the town was effected before the great body of the

Toronaeans had recovered from their surprise and confusion; but the

conspirators and the citizens of their party at once joined the invaders.

About fifty of the Athenian heavy infantry happened to be sleeping

in the market-place when the alarm reached them. A few of these were

killed fighting; the rest escaped, some by land, others to the two

ships on the station, and took refuge in Lecythus, a fort garrisoned

by their own men in the corner of the town running out into the sea

and cut off by a narrow isthmus; where they were joined by the Toronaeans

of their party.


Day now arrived, and the town being secured, Brasidas made a proclamation

to the Toronaeans who had taken refuge with the Athenians, to come

out, as many as chose, to their homes without fearing for their rights

or persons, and sent a herald to invite the Athenians to accept a

truce, and to evacuate Lecythus with their property, as being Chalcidian

ground. The Athenians refused this offer, but asked for a truce for

a day to take up their dead. Brasidas granted it for two days, which

he employed in fortifying the houses near, and the Athenians in doing

the same to their positions. Meanwhile he called a meeting of the

Toronaeans, and said very much what he had said at Acanthus, namely,

that they must not look upon those who had negotiated with him for

the capture of the town as bad men or as traitors, as they had not

acted as they had done from corrupt motives or in order to enslave

the city, but for the good and freedom of Torone; nor again must those

who had not shared in the enterprise fancy that they would not equally

reap its fruits, as he had not come to destroy either city or individual.

This was the reason of his proclamation to those that had fled for

refuge to the Athenians: he thought none the worse of them for their

friendship for the Athenians; he believed that they had only to make

trial of the Lacedaemonians to like them as well, or even much better,

as acting much more justly: it was for want of such a trial that they

were now afraid of them. Meanwhile he warned all of them to prepare

to be staunch allies, and for being held responsible for all faults

in future: for the past, they had not wronged the Lacedaemonians but

had been wronged by others who were too strong for them, and any opposition

that they might have offered him could be excused.


Having encouraged them with this address, as soon as the truce expired

he made his attack upon Lecythus; the Athenians defending themselves

from a poor wall and from some houses with parapets. One day they

beat him off; the next the enemy were preparing to bring up an engine

against them from which they meant to throw fire upon the wooden defences,

and the troops were already coming up to the point where they fancied

they could best bring up the engine, and where place was most assailable;

meanwhile the Athenians put a wooden tower upon a house opposite,

and carried up a quantity of jars and casks of water and big stones,

and a large number of men also climbed up. The house thus laden too

heavily suddenly broke down with a loud crash; at which the men who

were near and saw it were more vexed than frightened; but those not

so near, and still more those furthest off, thought that the place

was already taken at that point, and fled in haste to the sea and

the ships.


Brasidas, perceiving that they were deserting the parapet, and seeing

what was going on, dashed forward with his troops, and immediately

took the fort, and put to the sword all whom he found in it. In this

way the place was evacuated by the Athenians, who went across in their

boats and ships to Pallene. Now there is a temple of Athene in Lecythus,

and Brasidas had proclaimed in the moment of making the assault that

he would give thirty silver minae to the man first on the wall. Being

now of opinion that the capture was scarcely due to human means, he

gave the thirty minae to the goddess for her temple, and razed and

cleared Lecythus, and made the whole of it consecrated ground. The

rest of the winter he spent in settling the places in his hands, and

in making designs upon the rest; and with the expiration of the winter

the eighth year of this war ended.


In the spring of the summer following, the Lacedaemonians and Athenians

made an armistice for a year; the Athenians thinking that they would

thus have full leisure to take their precautions before Brasidas could

procure the revolt of any more of their towns, and might also, if

it suited them, conclude a general peace; the Lacedaemonians divining

the actual fears of the Athenians, and thinking that after once tasting

a respite from trouble and misery they would be more disposed to consent

to a reconciliation, and to give back the prisoners, and make a treaty

for the longer period. The great idea of the Lacedaemonians was to

get back their men while Brasidas’s good fortune lasted: further successes

might make the struggle a less unequal one in Chalcidice, but would

leave them still deprived of their men, and even in Chalcidice not

more than a match for the Athenians and by no means certain of victory.

An armistice was accordingly concluded by Lacedaemon and her allies

upon the terms following:


  1. As to the temple and oracle of the Pythian Apollo, we are agreed

that whosoever will shall have access to it, without fraud or fear,

according to the usages of his forefathers. The Lacedaemonians and

the allies present agree to this, and promise to send heralds to the

Boeotians and Phocians, and to do their best to persuade them to agree



  1. As to the treasure of the god, we agree to exert ourselves to detect

all malversators, truly and honestly following the customs of our

forefathers, we and you and all others willing to do so, all following

the customs of our forefathers. As to these points the Lacedaemonians

and the other allies are agreed as has been said.


  1. As to what follows, the Lacedaemonians and the other allies agree,

if the Athenians conclude a treaty, to remain, each of us in our own

territory, retaining our respective acquisitions: the garrison in

Coryphasium keeping within Buphras and Tomeus: that in Cythera attempting

no communication with the Peloponnesian confederacy, neither we with

them, nor they with us: that in Nisaea and Minoa not crossing the

road leading from the gates of the temple of Nisus to that of Poseidon

and from thence straight to the bridge at Minoa: the Megarians and

the allies being equally bound not to cross this road, and the Athenians

retaining the island they have taken, without any communication on

either side: as to Troezen, each side retaining what it has, and as

was arranged with the Athenians.


  1. As to the use of the sea, so far as refers to their own coast and

to that of their confederacy, that the Lacedaemonians and their allies

may voyage upon it in any vessel rowed by oars and of not more than

five hundred talents tonnage, not a vessel of war.


  1. That all heralds and embassies, with as many attendants as they

please, for concluding the war and adjusting claims, shall have free

passage, going and coming, to Peloponnese or Athens by land and by



  1. That during the truce, deserters whether bond or free shall be

received neither by you, nor by us.


  1. Further, that satisfaction shall be given by you to us and by us

to you according to the public law of our several countries, all disputes

being settled by law without recourse to hostilities.


The Lacedaemonians and allies agree to these articles; but if you

have anything fairer or juster to suggest, come to Lacedaemon and

let us know: whatever shall be just will meet with no objection either

from the Lacedaemonians or from the allies. Only let those who come

come with full powers, as you desire us. The truce shall be for one



Approved by the people.

The tribe of Acamantis had the prytany, Phoenippus was secretary,

Niciades chairman. Laches moved, in the name of the good luck of the

Athenians, that they should conclude the armistice upon the terms

agreed upon by the Lacedaemonians and the allies. It was agreed accordingly

in the popular assembly that the armistice should be for one year,

beginning that very day, the fourteenth of the month of Elaphebolion;

during which time ambassadors and heralds should go and come between

the two countries to discuss the bases of a pacification. That the

generals and prytanes should call an assembly of the people, in which

the Athenians should first consult on the peace, and on the mode in

which the embassy for putting an end to the war should be admitted.

That the embassy now present should at once take the engagement before

the people to keep well and truly this truce for one year.


On these terms the Lacedaemonians concluded with the Athenians and

their allies on the twelfth day of the Spartan month Gerastius; the

allies also taking the oaths. Those who concluded and poured the libation

were Taurus, son of Echetimides, Athenaeus, son of Pericleidas, and

Philocharidas, son of Eryxidaidas, Lacedaemonians; Aeneas, son of

Ocytus, and Euphamidas, son of Aristonymus, Corinthians; Damotimus,

son of Naucrates, and Onasimus, son of Megacles, Sicyonians; Nicasus,

son of Cecalus, and Menecrates, son of Amphidorus, Megarians; and

Amphias, son of Eupaidas, an Epidaurian; and the Athenian generals

Nicostratus, son of Diitrephes, Nicias, son of Niceratus, and Autocles,

son of Tolmaeus. Such was the armistice, and during the whole of it

conferences went on on the subject of a pacification.


In the days in which they were going backwards and forwards to these

conferences, Scione, a town in Pallene, revolted from Athens, and

went over to Brasidas. The Scionaeans say that they are Pallenians

from Peloponnese, and that their first founders on their voyage from

Troy were carried in to this spot by the storm which the Achaeans

were caught in, and there settled. The Scionaeans had no sooner revolted

than Brasidas crossed over by night to Scione, with a friendly galley

ahead and himself in a small boat some way behind; his idea being

that if he fell in with a vessel larger than the boat he would have

the galley to defend him, while a ship that was a match for the galley

would probably neglect the small vessel to attack the large one, and

thus leave him time to escape. His passage effected, he called a meeting

of the Scionaeans and spoke to the same effect as at Acanthus and

Torone, adding that they merited the utmost commendation, in that,

in spite of Pallene within the isthmus being cut off by the Athenian

occupation of Potidaea and of their own practically insular position,

they had of their own free will gone forward to meet their liberty

instead of timorously waiting until they had been by force compelled

to their own manifest good. This was a sign that they would valiantly

undergo any trial, however great; and if he should order affairs as

he intended, he should count them among the truest and sincerest friends

of the Lacedaemonians, and would in every other way honour them.


The Scionaeans were elated by his language, and even those who had

at first disapproved of what was being done catching the general confidence,

they determined on a vigorous conduct of the war, and welcomed Brasidas

with all possible honours, publicly crowning him with a crown of gold

as the liberator of Hellas; while private persons crowded round him

and decked him with garlands as though he had been an athlete. Meanwhile

Brasidas left them a small garrison for the present and crossed back

again, and not long afterwards sent over a larger force, intending

with the help of the Scionaeans to attempt Mende and Potidaea before

the Athenians should arrive; Scione, he felt, being too like an island

for them not to relieve it. He had besides intelligence in the above

towns about their betrayal.


In the midst of his designs upon the towns in question, a galley arrived

with the commissioners carrying round the news of the armistice, Aristonymus

for the Athenians and Athenaeus for the Lacedaemonians. The troops

now crossed back to Torone, and the commissioners gave Brasidas notice

of the convention. All the Lacedaemonian allies in Thrace accepted

what had been done; and Aristonymus made no difficulty about the rest,

but finding, on counting the days, that the Scionaeans had revolted

after the date of the convention, refused to include them in it. To

this Brasidas earnestly objected, asserting that the revolt took place

before, and would not give up the town. Upon Aristonymus reporting

the case to Athens, the people at once prepared to send an expedition

to Scione. Upon this, envoys arrived from Lacedaemon, alleging that

this would be a breach of the truce, and laying claim to the town

upon the faith of the assertion of Brasidas, and meanwhile offering

to submit the question to arbitration. Arbitration, however, was what

the Athenians did not choose to risk; being determined to send troops

at once to the place, and furious at the idea of even the islanders

now daring to revolt, in a vain reliance upon the power of the Lacedaemonians

by land. Besides the facts of the revolt were rather as the Athenians

contended, the Scionaeans having revolted two days after the convention.

Cleon accordingly succeeded in carrying a decree to reduce and put

to death the Scionaeans; and the Athenians employed the leisure which

they now enjoyed in preparing for the expedition. Meanwhile Mende

revolted, a town in Pallene and a colony of the Eretrians, and was

received without scruple by Brasidas, in spite of its having evidently

come over during the armistice, on account of certain infringements

of the truce alleged by him against the Athenians. This audacity of

Mende was partly caused by seeing Brasidas forward in the matter and

by the conclusions drawn from his refusal to betray Scione; and besides,

the conspirators in Mende were few, and, as I have already intimated,

had carried on their practices too long not to fear detection for

themselves, and not to wish to force the inclination of the multitude.

This news made the Athenians more furious than ever, and they at once

prepared against both towns. Brasidas, expecting their arrival, conveyed

away to Olynthus in Chalcidice the women and children of the Scionaeans

and Mendaeans, and sent over to them five hundred Peloponnesian heavy

infantry and three hundred Chalcidian targeteers, all under the command

of Polydamidas.


Leaving these two towns to prepare together against the speedy arrival

of the Athenians, Brasidas and Perdiccas started on a second joint

expedition into Lyncus against Arrhabaeus; the latter with the forces

of his Macedonian subjects, and a corps of heavy infantry composed

of Hellenes domiciled in the country; the former with the Peloponnesians

whom he still had with him and the Chalcidians, Acanthians, and the

rest in such force as they were able. In all there were about three

thousand Hellenic heavy infantry, accompanied by all the Macedonian

cavalry with the Chalcidians, near one thousand strong, besides an

immense crowd of barbarians. On entering the country of Arrhabaeus,

they found the Lyncestians encamped awaiting them, and themselves

took up a position opposite. The infantry on either side were upon

a hill, with a plain between them, into which the horse of both armies

first galloped down and engaged a cavalry action. After this the Lyncestian

heavy infantry advanced from their hill to join their cavalry and

offered battle; upon which Brasidas and Perdiccas also came down to

meet them, and engaged and routed them with heavy loss; the survivors

taking refuge upon the heights and there remaining inactive. The victors

now set up a trophy and waited two or three days for the Illyrian

mercenaries who were to join Perdiccas. Perdiccas then wished to go

on and attack the villages of Arrhabaeus, and to sit still no longer;

but Brasidas, afraid that the Athenians might sail up during his absence,

and of something happening to Mende, and seeing besides that the Illyrians

did not appear, far from seconding this wish was anxious to return.


While they were thus disputing, the news arrived that the Illyrians

had actually betrayed Perdiccas and had joined Arrhabaeus; and the

fear inspired by their warlike character made both parties now think

it best to retreat. However, owing to the dispute, nothing had been

settled as to when they should start; and night coming on, the Macedonians

and the barbarian crowd took fright in a moment in one of those mysterious

panics to which great armies are liable; and persuaded that an army

many times more numerous than that which had really arrived was advancing

and all but upon them, suddenly broke and fled in the direction of

home, and thus compelled Perdiccas, who at first did not perceive

what had occurred, to depart without seeing Brasidas, the two armies

being encamped at a considerable distance from each other. At daybreak

Brasidas, perceiving that the Macedonians had gone on, and that the

Illyrians and Arrhabaeus were on the point of attacking him, formed

his heavy infantry into a square, with the light troops in the centre,

and himself also prepared to retreat. Posting his youngest soldiers

to dash out wherever the enemy should attack them, he himself with

three hundred picked men in the rear intended to face about during

the retreat and beat off the most forward of their assailants, Meanwhile,

before the enemy approached, he sought to sustain the courage of his

soldiers with the following hasty exhortation:


«Peloponnesians, if I did not suspect you of being dismayed at being

left alone to sustain the attack of a numerous and barbarian enemy,

I should just have said a few words to you as usual without further

explanation. As it is, in the face of the desertion of our friends

and the numbers of the enemy, I have some advice and information to

offer, which, brief as they must be, will, I hope, suffice for the

more important points. The bravery that you habitually display in

war does not depend on your having allies at your side in this or

that encounter, but on your native courage; nor have numbers any terrors

for citizens of states like yours, in which the many do not rule the

few, but rather the few the many, owing their position to nothing

else than to superiority in the field. Inexperience now makes you

afraid of barbarians; and yet the trial of strength which you had

with the Macedonians among them, and my own judgment, confirmed by

what I hear from others, should be enough to satisfy you that they

will not prove formidable. Where an enemy seems strong but is really

weak, a true knowledge of the facts makes his adversary the bolder,

just as a serious antagonist is encountered most confidently by those

who do not know him. Thus the present enemy might terrify an inexperienced

imagination; they are formidable in outward bulk, their loud yelling

is unbearable, and the brandishing of their weapons in the air has

a threatening appearance. But when it comes to real fighting with

an opponent who stands his ground, they are not what they seemed;

they have no regular order that they should be ashamed of deserting

their positions when hard pressed; flight and attack are with them

equally honourable, and afford no test of courage; their independent

mode of fighting never leaving any one who wants to run away without

a fair excuse for so doing. In short, they think frightening you at

a secure distance a surer game than meeting you hand to hand; otherwise

they would have done the one and not the other. You can thus plainly

see that the terrors with which they were at first invested are in

fact trifling enough, though to the eye and ear very prominent. Stand

your ground therefore when they advance, and again wait your opportunity

to retire in good order, and you will reach a place of safety all

the sooner, and will know for ever afterwards that rabble such as

these, to those who sustain their first attack, do but show off their

courage by threats of the terrible things that they are going to do,

at a distance, but with those who give way to them are quick enough

to display their heroism in pursuit when they can do so without danger.»


With this brief address Brasidas began to lead off his army. Seeing

this, the barbarians came on with much shouting and hubbub, thinking

that he was flying and that they would overtake him and cut him off.

But wherever they charged they found the young men ready to dash out

against them, while Brasidas with his picked company sustained their

onset. Thus the Peloponnesians withstood the first attack, to the

surprise of the enemy, and afterwards received and repulsed them as

fast as they came on, retiring as soon as their opponents became quiet.

The main body of the barbarians ceased therefore to molest the Hellenes

with Brasidas in the open country, and leaving behind a certain number

to harass their march, the rest went on after the flying Macedonians,

slaying those with whom they came up, and so arrived in time to occupy

the narrow pass between two hills that leads into the country of Arrhabaeus.

They knew that this was the only way by which Brasidas could retreat,

and now proceeded to surround him just as he entered the most impracticable

part of the road, in order to cut him off.


Brasidas, perceiving their intention, told his three hundred to run

on without order, each as quickly as he could, to the hill which seemed

easiest to take, and to try to dislodge the barbarians already there,

before they should be joined by the main body closing round him. These

attacked and overpowered the party upon the hill, and the main army

of the Hellenes now advanced with less difficulty towards it- the

barbarians being terrified at seeing their men on that side driven

from the height and no longer following the main body, who, they considered,

had gained the frontier and made good their escape. The heights once

gained, Brasidas now proceeded more securely, and the same day arrived

at Arnisa, the first town in the dominions of Perdiccas. The soldiers,

enraged at the desertion of the Macedonians, vented their rage on

all their yokes of oxen which they found on the road, and on any baggage

which had tumbled off (as might easily happen in the panic of a night

retreat), by unyoking and cutting down the cattle and taking the baggage

for themselves. From this moment Perdiccas began to regard Brasidas

as an enemy and to feel against the Peloponnesians a hatred which

could not be congenial to the adversary of the Athenians. However,

he departed from his natural interests and made it his endeavour to

come to terms with the latter and to get rid of the former.


On his return from Macedonia to Torone, Brasidas found the Athenians

already masters of Mende, and remained quiet where he was, thinking

it now out of his power to cross over into Pallene and assist the

Mendaeans, but he kept good watch over Torone. For about the same

time as the campaign in Lyncus, the Athenians sailed upon the expedition

which we left them preparing against Mende and Scione, with fifty

ships, ten of which were Chians, one thousand Athenian heavy infantry

and six hundred archers, one hundred Thracian mercenaries and some

targeteers drawn from their allies in the neighbourhood, under the

command of Nicias, son of Niceratus, and Nicostratus, son of Diitrephes.

Weighing from Potidaea, the fleet came to land opposite the temple

of Poseidon, and proceeded against Mende; the men of which town, reinforced

by three hundred Scionaeans, with their Peloponnesian auxiliaries,

seven hundred heavy infantry in all, under Polydamidas, they found

encamped upon a strong hill outside the city. These Nicias, with one

hundred and twenty light-armed Methonaeans, sixty picked men from

the Athenian heavy infantry, and all the archers, tried to reach by

a path running up the hill, but received a wound and found himself

unable to force the position; while Nicostratus, with all the rest

of the army, advancing upon the hill, which was naturally difficult,

by a different approach further off, was thrown into utter disorder;

and the whole Athenian army narrowly escaped being defeated. For that

day, as the Mendaeans and their allies showed no signs of yielding,

the Athenians retreated and encamped, and the Mendaeans at nightfall

returned into the town.


The next day the Athenians sailed round to the Scione side, and took

the suburb, and all day plundered the country, without any one coming

out against them, partly because of intestine disturbances in the

town; and the following night the three hundred Scionaeans returned

home. On the morrow Nicias advanced with half the army to the frontier

of Scione and laid waste the country; while Nicostratus with the remainder

sat down before the town near the upper gate on the road to Potidaea.

The arms of the Mendaeans and of their Peloponnesian auxiliaries within

the wall happened to be piled in that quarter, where Polydamidas accordingly

began to draw them up for battle, encouraging the Mendaeans to make

a sortie. At this moment one of the popular party answered him factiously

that they would not go out and did not want a war, and for thus answering

was dragged by the arm and knocked about by Polydamidas. Hereupon

the infuriated commons at once seized their arms and rushed at the

Peloponnesians and at their allies of the opposite faction. The troops

thus assaulted were at once routed, partly from the suddenness of

the conflict and partly through fear of the gates being opened to

the Athenians, with whom they imagined that the attack had been concerted.

As many as were not killed on the spot took refuge in the citadel,

which they had held from the first; and the whole, Athenian army,

Nicias having by this time returned and being close to the city, now

burst into Mende, which had opened its gates without any convention,

and sacked it just as if they had taken it by storm, the generals

even finding some difficulty in restraining them from also massacring

the inhabitants. After this the Athenians told the Mendaeans that

they might retain their civil rights, and themselves judge the supposed

authors of the revolt; and cut off the party in the citadel by a wall

built down to the sea on either side, appointing troops to maintain

the blockade. Having thus secured Mende, they proceeded against Scione.


The Scionaeans and Peloponnesians marched out against them, occupying

a strong hill in front of the town, which had to be captured by the

enemy before they could invest the place. The Athenians stormed the

hill, defeated and dislodged its occupants, and, having encamped and

set up a trophy, prepared for the work of circumvallation. Not long

after they had begun their operations, the auxiliaries besieged in

the citadel of Mende forced the guard by the sea-side and arrived

by night at Scione, into which most of them succeeded in entering,

passing through the besieging army.


While the investment of Scione was in progress, Perdiccas sent a herald

to the Athenian generals and made peace with the Athenians, through

spite against Brasidas for the retreat from Lyncus, from which moment

indeed he had begun to negotiate. The Lacedaemonian Ischagoras was

just then upon the point of starting with an army overland to join

Brasidas; and Perdiccas, being now required by Nicias to give some

proof of the sincerity of his reconciliation to the Athenians, and

being himself no longer disposed to let the Peloponnesians into his

country, put in motion his friends in Thessaly, with whose chief men

he always took care to have relations, and so effectually stopped

the army and its preparation that they did not even try the Thessalians.

Ischagoras himself, however, with Ameinias and Aristeus, succeeded

in reaching Brasidas; they had been commissioned by the Lacedaemonians

to inspect the state of affairs, and brought out from Sparta (in violation

of all precedent) some of their young men to put in command of the

towns, to guard against their being entrusted to the persons upon

the spot. Brasidas accordingly placed Clearidas, son of Cleonymus,

in Amphipolis, and Pasitelidas, son of Hegesander, in Torone.


The same summer the Thebans dismantled the wall of the Thespians on

the charge of Atticism, having always wished to do so, and now finding

it an easy matter, as the flower of the Thespian youth had perished

in the battle with the Athenians. The same summer also the temple

of Hera at Argos was burnt down, through Chrysis, the priestess, placing

a lighted torch near the garlands and then falling asleep, so that

they all caught fire and were in a blaze before she observed it. Chrysis

that very night fled to Phlius for fear of the Argives, who, agreeably

to the law in such a case, appointed another priestess named Phaeinis.

Chrysis at the time of her flight had been priestess for eight years

of the present war and half the ninth. At the close of the summer

the investment of Scione was completed, and the Athenians, leaving

a detachment to maintain the blockade, returned with the rest of their



During the winter following, the Athenians and Lacedaemonians were

kept quiet by the armistice; but the Mantineans and Tegeans, and their

respective allies, fought a battle at Laodicium, in the Oresthid.

The victory remained doubtful, as each side routed one of the wings

opposed to them, and both set up trophies and sent spoils to Delphi.

After heavy loss on both sides the battle was undecided, and night

interrupted the action; yet the Tegeans passed the night on the field

and set up a trophy at once, while the Mantineans withdrew to Bucolion

and set up theirs afterwards.


At the close of the same winter, in fact almost in spring, Brasidas

made an attempt upon Potidaea. He arrived by night, and succeeded

in planting a ladder against the wall without being discovered, the

ladder being planted just in the interval between the passing round

of the bell and the return of the man who brought it back. Upon the

garrison, however, taking the alarm immediately afterwards, before

his men came up, he quickly led off his troops, without waiting until

it was day. So ended the winter and the ninth year of this war of

which Thucydides is the historian.