Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, Book5

Chapter XV

Tenth Year of the War – Death of Cleon and Brasidas – Peace of Nicias


The next summer the truce for a year ended, after lasting until the

Pythian games. During the armistice the Athenians expelled the Delians

from Delos, concluding that they must have been polluted by some old

offence at the time of their consecration, and that this had been

the omission in the previous purification of the island, which, as

I have related, had been thought to have been duly accomplished by

the removal of the graves of the dead. The Delians had Atramyttium

in Asia given them by Pharnaces, and settled there as they removed

from Delos.


Meanwhile Cleon prevailed on the Athenians to let him set sail at

the expiration of the armistice for the towns in the direction of

Thrace with twelve hundred heavy infantry and three hundred horse

from Athens, a large force of the allies, and thirty ships. First

touching at the still besieged Scione, and taking some heavy infantry

from the army there, he next sailed into Cophos, a harbour in the

territory of Torone, which is not far from the town. From thence,

having learnt from deserters that Brasidas was not in Torone, and

that its garrison was not strong enough to give him battle, he advanced

with his army against the town, sending ten ships to sail round into

the harbour. He first came to the fortification lately thrown up in

front of the town by Brasidas in order to take in the suburb, to do

which he had pulled down part of the original wall and made it all

one city. To this point Pasitelidas, the Lacedaemonian commander,

with such garrison as there was in the place, hurried to repel the

Athenian assault; but finding himself hard pressed, and seeing the

ships that had been sent round sailing into the harbour, Pasitelidas

began to be afraid that they might get up to the city before its defenders

were there and, the fortification being also carried, he might be

taken prisoner, and so abandoned the outwork and ran into the town.

But the Athenians from the ships had already taken Torone, and their

land forces following at his heels burst in with him with a rush over

the part of the old wall that had been pulled down, killing some of

the Peloponnesians and Toronaeans in the melee, and making prisoners

of the rest, and Pasitelidas their commander amongst them. Brasidas

meanwhile had advanced to relieve Torone, and had only about four

miles more to go when he heard of its fall on the road, and turned

back again. Cleon and the Athenians set up two trophies, one by the

harbour, the other by the fortification and, making slaves of the

wives and children of the Toronaeans, sent the men with the Peloponnesians

and any Chalcidians that were there, to the number of seven hundred,

to Athens; whence, however, they all came home afterwards, the Peloponnesians

on the conclusion of peace, and the rest by being exchanged against

other prisoners with the Olynthians. About the same time Panactum,

a fortress on the Athenian border, was taken by treachery by the Boeotians.

Meanwhile Cleon, after placing a garrison in Torone, weighed anchor

and sailed around Athos on his way to Amphipolis.


About the same time Phaeax, son of Erasistratus, set sail with two

colleagues as ambassador from Athens to Italy and Sicily. The Leontines,

upon the departure of the Athenians from Sicily after the pacification,

had placed a number of new citizens upon the roll, and the commons

had a design for redividing the land; but the upper classes, aware

of their intention, called in the Syracusans and expelled the commons.

These last were scattered in various directions; but the upper classes

came to an agreement with the Syracusans, abandoned and laid waste

their city, and went and lived at Syracuse, where they were made citizens.

Afterwards some of them were dissatisfied, and leaving Syracuse occupied

Phocaeae, a quarter of the town of Leontini, and Bricinniae, a strong

place in the Leontine country, and being there joined by most of the

exiled commons carried on war from the fortifications. The Athenians

hearing this, sent Phaeax to see if they could not by some means so

convince their allies there and the rest of the Sicilians of the ambitious

designs of Syracuse as to induce them to form a general coalition

against her, and thus save the commons of Leontini. Arrived in Sicily,

Phaeax succeeded at Camarina and Agrigentum, but meeting with a repulse

at Gela did not go on to the rest, as he saw that he should not succeed

with them, but returned through the country of the Sicels to Catana,

and after visiting Bricinniae as he passed, and encouraging its inhabitants,

sailed back to Athens.


During his voyage along the coast to and from Sicily, he treated with

some cities in Italy on the subject of friendship with Athens, and

also fell in with some Locrian settlers exiled from Messina, who had

been sent thither when the Locrians were called in by one of the factions

that divided Messina after the pacification of Sicily, and Messina

came for a time into the hands of the Locrians. These being met by

Phaeax on their return home received no injury at his hands, as the

Locrians had agreed with him for a treaty with Athens. They were the

only people of the allies who, when the reconciliation between the

Sicilians took place, had not made peace with her; nor indeed would

they have done so now, if they had not been pressed by a war with

the Hipponians and Medmaeans who lived on their border, and were colonists

of theirs. Phaeax meanwhile proceeded on his voyage, and at length

arrived at Athens.


Cleon, whom we left on his voyage from Torone to Amphipolis, made

Eion his base, and after an unsuccessful assault upon the Andrian

colony of Stagirus, took Galepsus, a colony of Thasos, by storm. He

now sent envoys to Perdiccas to command his attendance with an army,

as provided by the alliance; and others to Thrace, to Polles, king

of the Odomantians, who was to bring as many Thracian mercenaries

as possible; and himself remained inactive in Eion, awaiting their

arrival. Informed of this, Brasidas on his part took up a position

of observation upon Cerdylium, a place situated in the Argilian country

on high ground across the river, not far from Amphipolis, and commanding

a view on all sides, and thus made it impossible for Cleon’s army

to move without his seeing it; for he fully expected that Cleon, despising

the scanty numbers of his opponent, would march against Amphipolis

with the force that he had got with him. At the same time Brasidas

made his preparations, calling to his standard fifteen hundred Thracian

mercenaries and all the Edonians, horse and targeteers; he also had

a thousand Myrcinian and Chalcidian targeteers, besides those in Amphipolis,

and a force of heavy infantry numbering altogether about two thousand,

and three hundred Hellenic horse. Fifteen hundred of these he had

with him upon Cerdylium; the rest were stationed with Clearidas in



After remaining quiet for some time, Cleon was at length obliged to

do as Brasidas expected. His soldiers, tired of their inactivity,

began also seriously to reflect on the weakness and incompetence of

their commander, and the skill and valour that would be opposed to

him, and on their own original unwillingness to accompany him. These

murmurs coming to the ears of Cleon, he resolved not to disgust the

army by keeping it in the same place, and broke up his camp and advanced.

The temper of the general was what it had been at Pylos, his success

on that occasion having given him confidence in his capacity. He never

dreamed of any one coming out to fight him, but said that he was rather

going up to view the place; and if he waited for his reinforcements,

it was not in order to make victory secure in case he should be compelled

to engage, but to be enabled to surround and storm the city. He accordingly

came and posted his army upon a strong hill in front of Amphipolis,

and proceeded to examine the lake formed by the Strymon, and how the

town lay on the side of Thrace. He thought to retire at pleasure without

fighting, as there was no one to be seen upon the wall or coming out

of the gates, all of which were shut. Indeed, it seemed a mistake

not to have brought down engines with him; he could then have taken

the town, there being no one to defend it.


As soon as Brasidas saw the Athenians in motion he descended himself

from Cerdylium and entered Amphipolis. He did not venture to go out

in regular order against the Athenians: he mistrusted his strength,

and thought it inadequate to the attempt; not in numbers- these were

not so unequal- but in quality, the flower of the Athenian army being

in the field, with the best of the Lemnians and Imbrians. He therefore

prepared to assail them by stratagem. By showing the enemy the number

of his troops, and the shifts which he had been put to to to arm them,

he thought that he should have less chance of beating him than by

not letting him have a sight of them, and thus learn how good a right

he had to despise them. He accordingly picked out a hundred and fifty

heavy infantry and, putting the rest under Clearidas, determined to

attack suddenly before the Athenians retired; thinking that he should

not have again such a chance of catching them alone, if their reinforcements

were once allowed to come up; and so calling all his soldiers together

in order to encourage them and explain his intention, spoke as follows:


«Peloponnesians, the character of the country from which we have come,

one which has always owed its freedom to valour, and the fact that

you are Dorians and the enemy you are about to fight Ionians, whom

you are accustomed to beat, are things that do not need further comment.

But the plan of attack that I propose to pursue, this it is as well

to explain, in order that the fact of our adventuring with a part

instead of with the whole of our forces may not damp your courage

by the apparent disadvantage at which it places you. I imagine it

is the poor opinion that he has of us, and the fact that he has no

idea of any one coming out to engage him, that has made the enemy

march up to the place and carelessly look about him as he is doing,

without noticing us. But the most successful soldier will always be

the man who most happily detects a blunder like this, and who carefully

consulting his own means makes his attack not so much by open and

regular approaches, as by seizing the opportunity of the moment; and

these stratagems, which do the greatest service to our friends by

most completely deceiving our enemies, have the most brilliant name

in war. Therefore, while their careless confidence continues, and

they are still thinking, as in my judgment they are now doing, more

of retreat than of maintaining their position, while their spirit

is slack and not high-strung with expectation, I with the men under

my command will, if possible, take them by surprise and fall with

a run upon their centre; and do you, Clearidas, afterwards, when you

see me already upon them, and, as is likely, dealing terror among

them, take with you the Amphipolitans, and the rest of the allies,

and suddenly open the gates and dash at them, and hasten to engage

as quickly as you can. That is our best chance of establishing a panic

among them, as a fresh assailant has always more terrors for an enemy

than the one he is immediately engaged with. Show yourself a brave

man, as a Spartan should; and do you, allies, follow him like men,

and remember that zeal, honour, and obedience mark the good soldier,

and that this day will make you either free men and allies of Lacedaemon,

or slaves of Athens; even if you escape without personal loss of liberty

or life, your bondage will be on harsher terms than before, and you

will also hinder the liberation of the rest of the Hellenes. No cowardice

then on your part, seeing the greatness of the issues at stake, and

I will show that what I preach to others I can practise myself.»


After this brief speech Brasidas himself prepared for the sally, and

placed the rest with Clearidas at the Thracian gates to support him

as had been agreed. Meanwhile he had been seen coming down from Cerdylium

and then in the city, which is overlooked from the outside, sacrificing

near the temple of Athene; in short, all his movements had been observed,

and word was brought to Cleon, who had at the moment gone on to look

about him, that the whole of the enemy’s force could be seen in the

town, and that the feet of horses and men in great numbers were visible

under the gates, as if a sally were intended. Upon hearing this he

went up to look, and having done so, being unwilling to venture upon

the decisive step of a battle before his reinforcements came up, and

fancying that he would have time to retire, bid the retreat be sounded

and sent orders to the men to effect it by moving on the left wing

in the direction of Eion, which was indeed the only way practicable.

This however not being quick enough for him, he joined the retreat

in person and made the right wing wheel round, thus turning its unarmed

side to the enemy. It was then that Brasidas, seeing the Athenian

force in motion and his opportunity come, said to the men with him

and the rest: «Those fellows will never stand before us, one can see

that by the way their spears and heads are going. Troops which do

as they do seldom stand a charge. Quick, someone, and open the gates

I spoke of, and let us be out and at them with no fears for the result.»

Accordingly issuing out by the palisade gate and by the first in the

long wall then existing, he ran at the top of his speed along the

straight road, where the trophy now stands as you go by the steepest

part of the hill, and fell upon and routed the centre of the Athenians,

panic-stricken by their own disorder and astounded at his audacity.

At the same moment Clearidas in execution of his orders issued out

from the Thracian gates to support him, and also attacked the enemy.

The result was that the Athenians, suddenly and unexpectedly attacked

on both sides, fell into confusion; and their left towards Eion, which

had already got on some distance, at once broke and fled. Just as

it was in full retreat and Brasidas was passing on to attack the right,

he received a wound; but his fall was not perceived by the Athenians,

as he was taken up by those near him and carried off the field. The

Athenian right made a better stand, and though Cleon, who from the

first had no thought of fighting, at once fled and was overtaken and

slain by a Myrcinian targeteer, his infantry forming in close order

upon the hill twice or thrice repulsed the attacks of Clearidas, and

did not finally give way until they were surrounded and routed by

the missiles of the Myrcinian and Chalcidian horse and the targeteers.

Thus the Athenian army was all now in flight; and such as escaped

being killed in the battle, or by the Chalcidian horse and the targeteers,

dispersed among the hills, and with difficulty made their way to Eion.

The men who had taken up and rescued Brasidas, brought him into the

town with the breath still in him: he lived to hear of the victory

of his troops, and not long after expired. The rest of the army returning

with Clearidas from the pursuit stripped the dead and set up a trophy.

After this all the allies attended in arms and buried Brasidas at

the public expense in the city, in front of what is now the marketplace,

and the Amphipolitans, having enclosed his tomb, ever afterwards sacrifice

to him as a hero and have given to him the honour of games and annual

offerings. They constituted him the founder of their colony, and pulled

down the Hagnonic erections, and obliterated everything that could

be interpreted as a memorial of his having founded the place; for

they considered that Brasidas had been their preserver, and courting

as they did the alliance of Lacedaemon for fear of Athens, in their

present hostile relations with the latter they could no longer with

the same advantage or satisfaction pay Hagnon his honours. They also

gave the Athenians back their dead. About six hundred of the latter

had fallen and only seven of the enemy, owing to there having been

no regular engagement, but the affair of accident and panic that I

have described. After taking up their dead the Athenians sailed off

home, while Clearidas and his troops remained to arrange matters at



About the same time three Lacedaemonians- Ramphias, Autocharidas,

and Epicydidas- led a reinforcement of nine hundred heavy infantry

to the towns in the direction of Thrace, and arriving at Heraclea

in Trachis reformed matters there as seemed good to them. While they

delayed there, this battle took place and so the summer ended.


With the beginning of the winter following, Ramphias and his companions

penetrated as far as Pierium in Thessaly; but as the Thessalians opposed

their further advance, and Brasidas whom they came to reinforce was

dead, they turned back home, thinking that the moment had gone by,

the Athenians being defeated and gone, and themselves not equal to

the execution of Brasidas’s designs. The main cause however of their

return was because they knew that when they set out Lacedaemonian

opinion was really in favour of peace.


Indeed it so happened that directly after the battle of Amphipolis

and the retreat of Ramphias from Thessaly, both sides ceased to prosecute

the war and turned their attention to peace. Athens had suffered severely

at Delium, and again shortly afterwards at Amphipolis, and had no

longer that confidence in her strength which had made her before refuse

to treat, in the belief of ultimate victory which her success at the

moment had inspired; besides, she was afraid of her allies being tempted

by her reverses to rebel more generally, and repented having let go

the splendid opportunity for peace which the affair of Pylos had offered.

Lacedaemon, on the other hand, found the event of the war to falsify

her notion that a few years would suffice for the overthrow of the

power of the Athenians by the devastation of their land. She had suffered

on the island a disaster hitherto unknown at Sparta; she saw her country

plundered from Pylos and Cythera; the Helots were deserting, and she

was in constant apprehension that those who remained in Peloponnese

would rely upon those outside and take advantage of the situation

to renew their old attempts at revolution. Besides this, as chance

would have it, her thirty years’ truce with the Argives was upon the

point of expiring; and they refused to renew it unless Cynuria were

restored to them; so that it seemed impossible to fight Argos and

Athens at once. She also suspected some of the cities in Peloponnese

of intending to go over to the endeed was indeed the case.


These considerations made both sides disposed for an accommodation;

the Lacedaemonians being probably the most eager, as they ardently

desired to recover the men taken upon the island, the Spartans among

whom belonged to the first families and were accordingly related to

the governing body in Lacedaemon. Negotiations had been begun directly

after their capture, but the Athenians in their hour of triumph would

not consent to any reasonable terms; though after their defeat at

Delium, Lacedaemon, knowing that they would be now more inclined to

listen, at once concluded the armistice for a year, during which they

were to confer together and see if a longer period could not be agreed



Now, however, after the Athenian defeat at Amphipolis, and the death

of Cleon and Brasidas, who had been the two principal opponents of

peace on either side- the latter from the success and honour which

war gave him, the former because he thought that, if tranquillity

were restored, his crimes would be more open to detection and his

slanders less credited- the foremost candidates for power in either

city, Pleistoanax, son of Pausanias, king of Lacedaemon, and Nicias,

son of Niceratus, the most fortunate general of his time, each desired

peace more ardently than ever. Nicias, while still happy and honoured,

wished to secure his good fortune, to obtain a present release from

trouble for himself and his countrymen, and hand down to posterity

a name as an ever-successful statesman, and thought the way to do

this was to keep out of danger and commit himself as little as possible

to fortune, and that peace alone made this keeping out of danger possible.

Pleistoanax, again, was assailed by his enemies for his restoration,

and regularly held up by them to the prejudice of his countrymen,

upon every reverse that befell them, as though his unjust restoration

were the cause; the accusation being that he and his brother Aristocles

had bribed the prophetess of Delphi to tell the Lacedaemonian deputations

which successively arrived at the temple to bring home the seed of

the demigod son of Zeus from abroad, else they would have to plough

with a silver share. In this way, it was insisted, in time he had

induced the Lacedaemonians in the nineteenth year of his exile to

Lycaeum (whither he had gone when banished on suspicion of having

been bribed to retreat from Attica, and had built half his house within

the consecrated precinct of Zeus for fear of the Lacedaemonians),

to restore him with the same dances and sacrifices with which they

had instituted their kings upon the first settlement of Lacedaemon.

The smart of this accusation, and the reflection that in peace no

disaster could occur, and that when Lacedaemon had recovered her men

there would be nothing for his enemies to take hold of (whereas, while

war lasted, the highest station must always bear the scandal of everything

that went wrong), made him ardently desire a settlement. Accordingly

this winter was employed in conferences; and as spring rapidly approached,

the Lacedaemonians sent round orders to the cities to prepare for

a fortified occupation of Attica, and held this as a sword over the

heads of the Athenians to induce them to listen to their overtures;

and at last, after many claims had been urged on either side at the

conferences a peace was agreed on upon the following basis. Each party

was to restore its conquests, but Athens was to keep Nisaea; her demand

for Plataea being met by the Thebans asserting that they had acquired

the place not by force or treachery, but by the voluntary adhesion

upon agreement of its citizens; and the same, according to the Athenian

account, being the history of her acquisition of Nisaea. This arranged,

the Lacedaemonians summoned their allies, and all voting for peace

except the Boeotians, Corinthians, Eleans, and Megarians, who did

not approve of these proceedings, they concluded the treaty and made

peace, each of the contracting parties swearing to the following articles:


The Athenians and Lacedaemonians and their allies made a treaty, and

swore to it, city by city, as follows;


  1. Touching the national temples, there shall be a free passage by

land and by sea to all who wish it, to sacrifice, travel, consult,

and attend the oracle or games, according to the customs of their



  1. The temple and shrine of Apollo at Delphi and the Delphians shall

be governed by their own laws, taxed by their own state, and judged

by their own judges, the land and the people, according to the custom

of their country.


  1. The treaty shall be binding for fifty years upon the Athenians

and the allies of the Athenians, and upon the Lacedaemonians and the

allies of the Lacedaemonians, without fraud or hurt by land or by



  1. It shall not be lawful to take up arms, with intent to do hurt,

either for the Lacedaemonians and their allies against the Athenians

and their allies, or for the Athenians and their allies against the

Lacedaemonians and their allies, in any way or means whatsoever. But

should any difference arise between them they are to have recourse

to law and oaths, according as may be agreed between the parties.


  1. The Lacedaemonians and their allies shall give back Amphipolis

to the Athenians. Nevertheless, in the case of cities given up by

the Lacedaemonians to the Athenians, the inhabitants shall be allowed

to go where they please and to take their property with them: and

the cities shall be independent, paying only the tribute of Aristides.

And it shall not be lawful for the Athenians or their allies to carry

on war against them after the treaty has been concluded, so long as

the tribute is paid. The cities referred to are Argilus, Stagirus,

Acanthus, Scolus, Olynthus, and Spartolus. These cities shall be neutral,

allies neither of the Lacedaemonians nor of the Athenians: but if

the cities consent, it shall be lawful for the Athenians to make them

their allies, provided always that the cities wish it. The Mecybernaeans,

Sanaeans, and Singaeans shall inhabit their own cities, as also the

Olynthians and Acanthians: but the Lacedaemonians and their allies

shall give back Panactum to the Athenians.


  1. The Athenians shall give back Coryphasium, Cythera, Methana, Pteleum,

and Atalanta to the Lacedaemonians, and also all Lacedaemonians that

are in the prison at Athens or elsewhere in the Athenian dominions,

and shall let go the Peloponnesians besieged in Scione, and all others

in Scione that are allies of the Lacedaemonians, and all whom Brasidas

sent in there, and any others of the allies of the Lacedaemonians

that may be in the prison at Athens or elsewhere in the Athenian dominions.


  1. The Lacedaemonians and their allies shall in like manner give back

any of the Athenians or their allies that they may have in their hands.


  1. In the case of Scione, Torone, and Sermylium, and any other cities

that the Athenians may have, the Athenians may adopt such measures

as they please.


  1. The Athenians shall take an oath to the Lacedaemonians and their

allies, city by city. Every man shall swear by the most binding oath

of his country, seventeen from each city. The oath shall be as follows;

«I will abide by this agreement and treaty honestly and without deceit.»

In the same way an oath shall be taken by the Lacedaemonians and their

allies to the Athenians: and the oath shall be renewed annually by

both parties. Pillars shall be erected at Olympia, Pythia, the Isthmus,

at Athens in the Acropolis, and at Lacedaemon in the temple at Amyclae.


  1. If anything be forgotten, whatever it be, and on whatever point,

it shall be consistent with their oath for both parties, the Athenians

and Lacedaemonians, to alter it, according to their discretion.


The treaty begins from the ephoralty of Pleistolas in Lacedaemon,

on the 27th day of the month of Artemisium, and from the archonship,

of Alcaeus at Athens, on the 25th day of the month of Elaphebolion.

Those who took the oath and poured the libations for the Lacedaemonians

were Pleistoanax, Agis, Pleistolas, Damagetis, Chionis, Metagenes,

Acanthus, Daithus, Ischagoras, Philocharidas, Zeuxidas, Antippus,

Tellis, Alcinadas, Empedias, Menas, and Laphilus: for the Athenians,

Lampon, Isthmonicus, Nicias, Laches, Euthydemus, Procles, Pythodorus,

Hagnon, Myrtilus, Thrasycles, Theagenes, Aristocrates, Iolcius, Timocrates,

Leon, Lamachus, and Demosthenes.


This treaty was made in the spring, just at the end of winter, directly

after the city festival of Dionysus, just ten years, with the difference

of a few days, from the first invasion of Attica and the commencement

of this war. This must be calculated by the seasons rather than by

trusting to the enumeration of the names of the several magistrates

or offices of honour that are used to mark past events. Accuracy is

impossible where an event may have occurred in the beginning, or middle,

or at any period in their tenure of office. But by computing by summers

and winters, the method adopted in this history, it will be found

that, each of these amounting to half a year, there were ten summers

and as many winters contained in this first war.


Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians, to whose lot it fell to begin the work

of restitution, immediately set free all the prisoners of war in their

possession, and sent Ischagoras, Menas, and Philocharidas as envoys

to the towns in the direction of Thrace, to order Clearidas to hand

over Amphipolis to the Athenians, and the rest of their allies each

to accept the treaty as it affected them. They, however, did not like

its terms, and refused to accept it; Clearidas also, willing to oblige

the Chalcidians, would not hand over the town, averring his inability

to do so against their will. Meanwhile he hastened in person to Lacedaemon

with envoys from the place, to defend his disobedience against the

possible accusations of Ischagoras and his companions, and also to

see whether it was too late for the agreement to be altered; and on

finding the Lacedaemonians were bound, quickly set out back again

with instructions from them to hand over the place, if possible, or

at all events to bring out the Peloponnesians that were in it.


The allies happened to be present in person at Lacedaemon, and those

who had not accepted the treaty were now asked by the Lacedaemonians

to adopt it. This, however, they refused to do, for the same reasons

as before, unless a fairer one than the present were agreed upon;

and remaining firm in their determination were dismissed by the Lacedaemonians,

who now decided on forming an alliance with the Athenians, thinking

that Argos, who had refused the application of Ampelidas and Lichas

for a renewal of the treaty, would without Athens be no longer formidable,

and that the rest of the Peloponnese would be most likely to keep

quiet, if the coveted alliance of Athens were shut against them. Accordingly,

after conference with the Athenian ambassadors, an alliance was agreed

upon and oaths were exchanged, upon the terms following:


  1. The Lacedaemonians shall be allies of the Athenians for fifty years.


  1. Should any enemy invade the territory of Lacedaemon and injure

the Lacedaemonians, the Athenians shall help in such way as they most

effectively can, according to their power. But if the invader be gone

after plundering the country, that city shall be the enemy of Lacedaemon

and Athens, and shall be chastised by both, and one shall not make

peace without the other. This to be honestly, loyally, and without



  1. Should any enemy invade the territory of Athens and injure the

Athenians, the Lacedaemonians shall help them in such way as they

most effectively can, according to their power. But if the invader

be gone after plundering the country, that city shall be the enemy

of Lacedaemon and Athens, and shall be chastised by both, and one

shall not make peace without the other. This to be honestly, loyally,

and without fraud.


  1. Should the slave population rise, the Athenians shall help the

Lacedaemonians with all their might, according to their power.


  1. This treaty shall be sworn to by the same persons on either side

that swore to the other. It shall be renewed annually by the Lacedaemonians

going to Athens for the Dionysia, and the Athenians to Lacedaemon

for the Hyacinthia, and a pillar shall be set up by either party:

at Lacedaemon near the statue of Apollo at Amyclae, and at Athens

on the Acropolis near the statue of Athene. Should the Lacedaemonians

and Athenians see to add to or take away from the alliance in any

particular, it shall be consistent with their oaths for both parties

to do so, according to their discretion.


Those who took the oath for the Lacedaemonians were Pleistoanax, Agis,

Pleistolas, Damagetus, Chionis, Metagenes, Acanthus, Daithus, Ischagoras,

Philocharidas, Zeuxidas, Antippus, Alcinadas, Tellis, Empedias, Menas,

and Laphilus; for the Athenians, Lampon, Isthmionicus, Laches, Nicias,

Euthydemus, Procles, Pythodorus, Hagnon, Myrtilus, Thrasycles, Theagenes,

Aristocrates, Iolcius, Timocrates, Leon, Lamachus, and Demosthenes.


This alliance was made not long after the treaty; and the Athenians

gave back the men from the island to the Lacedaemonians, and the summer

of the eleventh year began. This completes the history of the first

war, which occupied the whole of the ten years previously.


Chapter XVI


Feeling against Sparta in Peloponnese – League of the Mantineans,

Eleans, Argives, and Athenians – Battle of Mantinea and breaking up

of the League


After the treaty and the alliance between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians,

concluded after the ten years’ war, in the ephorate of Pleistolas

at Lacedaemon, and the archonship of Alcaeus at Athens, the states

which had accepted them were at peace; but the Corinthians and some

of the cities in Peloponnese trying to disturb the settlement, a fresh

agitation was instantly commenced by the allies against Lacedaemon.

Further, the Lacedaemonians, as time went on, became suspected by

the Athenians through their not performing some of the provisions

in the treaty; and though for six years and ten months they abstained

from invasion of each other’s territory, yet abroad an unstable armistice

did not prevent either party doing the other the most effectual injury,

until they were finally obliged to break the treaty made after the

ten years’ war and to have recourse to open hostilities.


The history of this period has been also written by the same Thucydides,

an Athenian, in the chronological order of events by summers and winters,

to the time when the Lacedaemonians and their allies put an end to

the Athenian empire, and took the Long Walls and Piraeus. The war

had then lasted for twenty-seven years in all. Only a mistaken judgment

can object to including the interval of treaty in the war. Looked

at by the light of facts it cannot, it will be found, be rationally

considered a state of peace, where neither party either gave or got

back all that they had agreed, apart from the violations of it which

occurred on both sides in the Mantinean and Epidaurian wars and other

instances, and the fact that the allies in the direction of Thrace

were in as open hostility as ever, while the Boeotians had only a

truce renewed every ten days. So that the first ten years’ war, the

treacherous armistice that followed it, and the subsequent war will,

calculating by the seasons, be found to make up the number of years

which I have mentioned, with the difference of a few days, and to

afford an instance of faith in oracles being for once justified by

the event. I certainly all along remember from the beginning to the

end of the war its being commonly declared that it would last thrice

nine years. I lived through the whole of it, being of an age to comprehend

events, and giving my attention to them in order to know the exact

truth about them. It was also my fate to be an exile from my country

for twenty years after my command at Amphipolis; and being present

with both parties, and more especially with the Peloponnesians by

reason of my exile, I had leisure to observe affairs somewhat particularly.

I will accordingly now relate the differences that arose after the

ten years’ war, the breach of the treaty, and the hostilities that



After the conclusion of the fifty years’ truce and of the subsequent

alliance, the embassies from Peloponnese which had been summoned for

this business returned from Lacedaemon. The rest went straight home,

but the Corinthians first turned aside to Argos and opened negotiations

with some of the men in office there, pointing out that Lacedaemon

could have no good end in view, but only the subjugation of Peloponnese,

or she would never have entered into treaty and alliance with the

once detested Athenians, and that the duty of consulting for the safety

of Peloponnese had now fallen upon Argos, who should immediately pass

a decree inviting any Hellenic state that chose, such state being

independent and accustomed to meet fellow powers upon the fair and

equal ground of law and justice, to make a defensive alliance with

the Argives; appointing a few individuals with plenipotentiary powers,

instead of making the people the medium of negotiation, in order that,

in the case of an applicant being rejected, the fact of his overtures

might not be made public. They said that many would come over from

hatred of the Lacedaemonians. After this explanation of their views,

the Corinthians returned home.


The persons with whom they had communicated reported the proposal

to their government and people, and the Argives passed the decree

and chose twelve men to negotiate an alliance for any Hellenic state

that wished it, except Athens and Lacedaemon, neither of which should

be able to join without reference to the Argive people. Argos came

into the plan the more readily because she saw that war with Lacedaemon

was inevitable, the truce being on the point of expiring; and also

because she hoped to gain the supremacy of Peloponnese. For at this

time Lacedaemon had sunk very low in public estimation because of

her disasters, while the Argives were in a most flourishing condition,

having taken no part in the Attic war, but having on the contrary

profited largely by their neutrality. The Argives accordingly prepared

to receive into alliance any of the Hellenes that desired it.


The Mantineans and their allies were the first to come over through

fear of the Lacedaemonians. Having taken advantage of the war against

Athens to reduce a large part of Arcadia into subjection, they thought

that Lacedaemon would not leave them undisturbed in their conquests,

now that she had leisure to interfere, and consequently gladly turned

to a powerful city like Argos, the historical enemy of the Lacedaemonians,

and a sister democracy. Upon the defection of Mantinea, the rest of

Peloponnese at once began to agitate the propriety of following her

example, conceiving that the Mantineans not have changed sides without

good reason; besides which they were angry with Lacedaemon among other

reasons for having inserted in the treaty with Athens that it should

be consistent with their oaths for both parties, Lacedaemonians and

Athenians, to add to or take away from it according to their discretion.

It was this clause that was the real origin of the panic in Peloponnese,

by exciting suspicions of a Lacedaemonian and Athenian combination

against their liberties: any alteration should properly have been

made conditional upon the consent of the whole body of the allies.

With these apprehensions there was a very general desire in each state

to place itself in alliance with Argos.


In the meantime the Lacedaemonians perceiving the agitation going

on in Peloponnese, and that Corinth was the author of it and was herself

about to enter into alliance with the Argives, sent ambassadors thither

in the hope of preventing what was in contemplation. They accused

her of having brought it all about, and told her that she could not

desert Lacedaemon and become the ally of Argos, without adding violation

of her oaths to the crime which she had already committed in not accepting

the treaty with Athens, when it had been expressly agreed that the

decision of the majority of the allies should be binding, unless the

gods or heroes stood in the way. Corinth in her answer, delivered

before those of her allies who had like her refused to accept the

treaty, and whom she had previously invited to attend, refrained from

openly stating the injuries she complained of, such as the non-recovery

of Sollium or Anactorium from the Athenians, or any other point in

which she thought she had been prejudiced, but took shelter under

the pretext that she could not give up her Thracian allies, to whom

her separate individual security had been given, when they first rebelled

with Potidaea, as well as upon subsequent occasions. She denied, therefore,

that she committed any violation of her oaths to the allies in not

entering into the treaty with Athens; having sworn upon the faith

of the gods to her Thracian friends, she could not honestly give them

  1. Besides, the expression was, «unless the gods or heroes stand

in the way.» Now here, as it appeared to her, the gods stood in the

way. This was what she said on the subject of her former oaths. As

to the Argive alliance, she would confer with her friends and do whatever

was right. The Lacedaemonian envoys returning home, some Argive ambassadors

who happened to be in Corinth pressed her to conclude the alliance

without further delay, but were told to attend at the next congress

to be held at Corinth.


Immediately afterwards an Elean embassy arrived, and first making

an alliance with Corinth went on from thence to Argos, according to

their instructions, and became allies of the Argives, their country

being just then at enmity with Lacedaemon and Lepreum. Some time back

there had been a war between the Lepreans and some of the Arcadians;

and the Eleans being called in by the former with the offer of half

their lands, had put an end to the war, and leaving the land in the

hands of its Leprean occupiers had imposed upon them the tribute of

a talent to the Olympian Zeus. Till the Attic war this tribute was

paid by the Lepreans, who then took the war as an excuse for no longer

doing so, and upon the Eleans using force appealed to Lacedaemon.

The case was thus submitted to her arbitrament; but the Eleans, suspecting

the fairness of the tribunal, renounced the reference and laid waste

the Leprean territory. The Lacedaemonians nevertheless decided that

the Lepreans were independent and the Eleans aggressors, and as the

latter did not abide by the arbitration, sent a garrison of heavy

infantry into Lepreum. Upon this the Eleans, holding that Lacedaemon

had received one of their rebel subjects, put forward the convention

providing that each confederate should come out of the Attic war in

possession of what he had when he went into it, and considering that

justice had not been done them went over to the Argives, and now made

the alliance through their ambassadors, who had been instructed for

that purpose. Immediately after them the Corinthians and the Thracian

Chalcidians became allies of Argos. Meanwhile the Boeotians and Megarians,

who acted together, remained quiet, being left to do as they pleased

by Lacedaemon, and thinking that the Argive democracy would not suit

so well with their aristocratic government as the Lacedaemonian constitution.


About the same time in this summer Athens succeeded in reducing Scione,

put the adult males to death, and, making slaves of the women and

children, gave the land for the Plataeans to live in. She also brought

back the Delians to Delos, moved by her misfortunes in the field and

by the commands of the god at Delphi. Meanwhile the Phocians and Locrians

commenced hostilities. The Corinthians and Argives, being now in alliance,

went to Tegea to bring about its defection from Lacedaemon, seeing

that, if so considerable a state could be persuaded to join, all Peloponnese

would be with them. But when the Tegeans said that they would do nothing

against Lacedaemon, the hitherto zealous Corinthians relaxed their

activity, and began to fear that none of the rest would now come over.

Still they went to the Boeotians and tried to persuade them to alliance

and a common action generally with Argos and themselves, and also

begged them to go with them to Athens and obtain for them a ten days’

truce similar to that made between the Athenians and Boeotians not

long after the fifty years’ treaty, and, in the event of the Athenians

refusing, to throw up the armistice, and not make any truce in future

without Corinth. These were the requests of the Corinthians. The Boeotians

stopped them on the subject of the Argive alliance, but went with

them to Athens, where however they failed to obtain the ten days’

truce; the Athenian answer being that the Corinthians had truce already,

as being allies of Lacedaemon. Nevertheless the Boeotians did not

throw up their ten days’ truce, in spite of the prayers and reproaches

of the Corinthians for their breach of faith; and these last had to

content themselves with a de facto armistice with Athens.


The same summer the Lacedaemonians marched into Arcadia with their

whole levy under Pleistoanax, son of Pausanias, king of Lacedaemon,

against the Parrhasians, who were subjects of Mantinea, and a faction

of whom had invited their aid. They also meant to demolish, if possible,

the fort of Cypsela which the Mantineans had built and garrisoned

in the Parrhasian territory, to annoy the district of Sciritis in

Laconia. The Lacedaemonians accordingly laid waste the Parrhasian

country, and the Mantineans, placing their town in the hands of an

Argive garrison, addressed themselves to the defence of their confederacy,

but being unable to save Cypsela or the Parrhasian towns went back

to Mantinea. Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians made the Parrhasians independent,

razed the fortress, and returned home.


The same summer the soldiers from Thrace who had gone out with Brasidas

came back, having been brought from thence after the treaty by Clearidas;

and the Lacedaemonians decreed that the Helots who had fought with

Brasidas should be free and allowed to live where they liked, and

not long afterwards settled them with the Neodamodes at Lepreum, which

is situated on the Laconian and Elean border; Lacedaemon being at

this time at enmity with Elis. Those however of the Spartans who had

been taken prisoners on the island and had surrendered their arms

might, it was feared, suppose that they were to be subjected to some

degradation in consequence of their misfortune, and so make some attempt

at revolution, if left in possession of their franchise. These were

therefore at once disfranchised, although some of them were in office

at the time, and thus placed under a disability to take office, or

buy and sell anything. After some time, however, the franchise was

restored to them.


The same summer the Dians took Thyssus, a town on Acte by Athos in

alliance with Athens. During the whole of this summer intercourse

between the Athenians and Peloponnesians continued, although each

party began to suspect the other directly after the treaty, because

of the places specified in it not being restored. Lacedaemon, to whose

lot it had fallen to begin by restoring Amphipolis and the other towns,

had not done so. She had equally failed to get the treaty accepted

by her Thracian allies, or by the Boeotians or the Corinthians; although

she was continually promising to unite with Athens in compelling their

compliance, if it were longer refused. She also kept fixing a time

at which those who still refused to come in were to be declared enemies

to both parties, but took care not to bind herself by any written

agreement. Meanwhile the Athenians, seeing none of these professions

performed in fact, began to suspect the honesty of her intentions,

and consequently not only refused to comply with her demands for Pylos,

but also repented having given up the prisoners from the island, and

kept tight hold of the other places, until Lacedaemon’s part of the

treaty should be fulfilled. Lacedaemon, on the other hand, said she

had done what she could, having given up the Athenian prisoners of

war in her possession, evacuated Thrace, and performed everything

else in her power. Amphipolis it was out of her ability to restore;

but she would endeavour to bring the Boeotians and Corinthians into

the treaty, to recover Panactum, and send home all the Athenian prisoners

of war in Boeotia. Meanwhile she required that Pylos should be restored,

or at all events that the Messenians and Helots should be withdrawn,

as her troops had been from Thrace, and the place garrisoned, if necessary,

by the Athenians themselves. After a number of different conferences

held during the summer, she succeeded in persuading Athens to withdraw

from Pylos the Messenians and the rest of the Helots and deserters

from Laconia, who were accordingly settled by her at Cranii in Cephallenia.

Thus during this summer there was peace and intercourse between the

two peoples.


Next winter, however, the ephors under whom the treaty had been made

were no longer in office, and some of their successors were directly

opposed to it. Embassies now arrived from the Lacedaemonian confederacy,

and the Athenians, Boeotians, and Corinthians also presented themselves

at Lacedaemon, and after much discussion and no agreement between

them, separated for their several homes; when Cleobulus and Xenares,

the two ephors who were the most anxious to break off the treaty,

took advantage of this opportunity to communicate privately with the

Boeotians and Corinthians, and, advising them to act as much as possible

together, instructed the former first to enter into alliance with

Argos, and then try and bring themselves and the Argives into alliance

with Lacedaemon. The Boeotians would so be least likely to be compelled

to come into the Attic treaty; and the Lacedaemonians would prefer

gaining the friendship and alliance of Argos even at the price of

the hostility of Athens and the rupture of the treaty. The Boeotians

knew that an honourable friendship with Argos had been long the desire

of Lacedaemon; for the Lacedaemonians believed that this would considerably

facilitate the conduct of the war outside Peloponnese. Meanwhile they

begged the Boeotians to place Panactum in her hands in order that

she might, if possible, obtain Pylos in exchange for it, and so be

more in a position to resume hostilities with Athens.


After receiving these instructions for their governments from Xenares

and Cleobulus and their friends at Lacedaemon, the Boeotians and Corinthians

departed. On their way home they were joined by two persons high in

office at Argos, who had waited for them on the road, and who now

sounded them upon the possibility of the Boeotians joining the Corinthians,

Eleans, and Mantineans in becoming the allies of Argos, in the idea

that if this could be effected they would be able, thus united, to

make peace or war as they pleased either against Lacedaemon or any

other power. The Boeotian envoys were were pleased at thus hearing

themselves accidentally asked to do what their friends at Lacedaemon

had told them; and the two Argives perceiving that their proposal

was agreeable, departed with a promise to send ambassadors to the

Boeotians. On their arrival the Boeotians reported to the Boeotarchs

what had been said to them at Lacedaemon and also by the Argives who

had met them, and the Boeotarchs, pleased with the idea, embraced

it with the more eagerness from the lucky coincidence of Argos soliciting

the very thing wanted by their friends at Lacedaemon. Shortly afterwards

ambassadors appeared from Argos with the proposals indicated; and

the Boeotarchs approved of the terms and dismissed the ambassadors

with a promise to send envoys to Argos to negotiate the alliance.


In the meantime it was decided by the Boeotarchs, the Corinthians,

the Megarians, and the envoys from Thrace first to interchange oaths

together to give help to each other whenever it was required and not

to make war or peace except in common; after which the Boeotians and

Megarians, who acted together, should make the alliance with Argos.

But before the oaths were taken the Boeotarchs communicated these

proposals to the four councils of the Boeotians, in whom the supreme

power resides, and advised them to interchange oaths with all such

cities as should be willing to enter into a defensive league with

the Boeotians. But the members of the Boeotian councils refused their

assent to the proposal, being afraid of offending Lacedaemon by entering

into a league with the deserter Corinth; the Boeotarchs not having

acquainted them with what had passed at Lacedaemon and with the advice

given by Cleobulus and Xenares and the Boeotian partisans there, namely,

that they should become allies of Corinth and Argos as a preliminary

to a junction with Lacedaemon; fancying that, even if they should

say nothing about this, the councils would not vote against what had

been decided and advised by the Boeotarchs. This difficulty arising,

the Corinthians and the envoys from Thrace departed without anything

having been concluded; and the Boeotarchs, who had previously intended

after carrying this to try and effect the alliance with Argos, now

omitted to bring the Argive question before the councils, or to send

to Argos the envoys whom they had promised; and a general coldness

and delay ensued in the matter.


In this same winter Mecyberna was assaulted and taken by the Olynthians,

having an Athenian garrison inside it.


All this while negotiations had been going on between the Athenians

and Lacedaemonians about the conquests still retained by each, and

Lacedaemon, hoping that if Athens were to get back Panactum from the

Boeotians she might herself recover Pylos, now sent an embassy to

the Boeotians, and begged them to place Panactum and their Athenian

prisoners in her hands, in order that she might exchange them for

Pylos. This the Boeotians refused to do, unless Lacedaemon made a

separate alliance with them as she had done with Athens. Lacedaemon

knew that this would be a breach of faith to Athens, as it had been

agreed that neither of them should make peace or war without the other;

yet wishing to obtain Panactum which she hoped to exchange for Pylos,

and the party who pressed for the dissolution of the treaty strongly

affecting the Boeotian connection, she at length concluded the alliance

just as winter gave way to spring; and Panactum was instantly razed.

And so the eleventh year of the war ended.


In the first days of the summer following, the Argives, seeing that

the promised ambassadors from Boeotia did not arrive, and that Panactum

was being demolished, and that a separate alliance had been concluded

between the Boeotians and Lacedaemonians, began to be afraid that

Argos might be left alone, and all the confederacy go over to Lacedaemon.

They fancied that the Boeotians had been persuaded by the Lacedaemonians

to raze Panactum and to enter into the treaty with the Athenians,

and that Athens was privy to this arrangement, and even her alliance,

therefore, no longer open to them- a resource which they had always

counted upon, by reason of the dissensions existing, in the event

of the noncontinuance of their treaty with Lacedaemon. In this strait

the Argives, afraid that, as the result of refusing to renew the treaty

with Lacedaemon and of aspiring to the supremacy in Peloponnese, they

would have the Lacedaemonians, Tegeans, Boeotians, and Athenians on

their hands all at once, now hastily sent off Eustrophus and Aeson,

who seemed the persons most likely to be acceptable, as envoys to

Lacedaemon, with the view of making as good a treaty as they could

with the Lacedaemonians, upon such terms as could be got, and being

left in peace.


Having reached Lacedaemon, their ambassadors proceeded to negotiate

the terms of the proposed treaty. What the Argives first demanded

was that they might be allowed to refer to the arbitration of some

state or private person the question of the Cynurian land, a piece

of frontier territory about which they have always been disputing,

and which contains the towns of Thyrea and Anthene, and is occupied

by the Lacedaemonians. The Lacedaemonians at first said that they

could not allow this point to be discussed, but were ready to conclude

upon the old terms. Eventually, however, the Argive ambassadors succeeded

in obtaining from them this concession: For the present there was

to be a truce for fifty years, but it should be competent for either

party, there being neither plague nor war in Lacedaemon or Argos,

to give a formal challenge and decide the question of this territory

by battle, as on a former occasion, when both sides claimed the victory;

pursuit not being allowed beyond the frontier of Argos or Lacedaemon.

The Lacedaemonians at first thought this mere folly; but at last,

anxious at any cost to have the friendship of Argos they agreed to

the terms demanded, and reduced them to writing. However, before any

of this should become binding, the ambassadors were to return to Argos

and communicate with their people and, in the event of their approval,

to come at the feast of the Hyacinthia and take the oaths.


The envoys returned accordingly. In the meantime, while the Argives

were engaged in these negotiations, the Lacedaemonian ambassadors-

Andromedes, Phaedimus, and Antimenidas- who were to receive the prisoners

from the Boeotians and restore them and Panactum to the Athenians,

found that the Boeotians had themselves razed Panactum, upon the plea

that oaths had been anciently exchanged between their people and the

Athenians, after a dispute on the subject to the effect that neither

should inhabit the place, but that they should graze it in common.

As for the Athenian prisoners of war in the hands of the Boeotians,

these were delivered over to Andromedes and his colleagues, and by

them conveyed to Athens and given back. The envoys at the same time

announced the razing of Panactum, which to them seemed as good as

its restitution, as it would no longer lodge an enemy of Athens. This

announcement was received with great indignation by the Athenians,

who thought that the Lacedaemonians had played them false, both in

the matter of the demolition of Panactum, which ought to have been

restored to them standing, and in having, as they now heard, made

a separate alliance with the Boeotians, in spite of their previous

promise to join Athens in compelling the adhesion of those who refused

to accede to the treaty. The Athenians also considered the other points

in which Lacedaemon had failed in her compact, and thinking that they

had been overreached, gave an angry answer to the ambassadors and

sent them away.


The breach between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians having gone thus

far, the party at Athens, also, who wished to cancel the treaty, immediately

put themselves in motion. Foremost amongst these was Alcibiades, son

of Clinias, a man yet young in years for any other Hellenic city,

but distinguished by the splendour of his ancestry. Alcibiades thought

the Argive alliance really preferable, not that personal pique had

not also a great deal to do with his opposition; he being offended

with the Lacedaemonians for having negotiated the treaty through Nicias

and Laches, and having overlooked him on account of his youth, and

also for not having shown him the respect due to the ancient connection

of his family with them as their proxeni, which, renounced by his

grandfather, he had lately himself thought to renew by his attentions

to their prisoners taken in the island. Being thus, as he thought,

slighted on all hands, he had in the first instance spoken against

the treaty, saying that the Lacedaemonians were not to be trusted,

but that they only treated, in order to be enabled by this means to

crush Argos, and afterwards to attack Athens alone; and now, immediately

upon the above occurring, he sent privately to the Argives, telling

them to come as quickly as possible to Athens, accompanied by the

Mantineans and Eleans, with proposals of alliance; as the moment was

propitious and he himself would do all he could to help them.


Upon receiving this message and discovering that the Athenians, far

from being privy to the Boeotian alliance, were involved in a serious

quarrel with the Lacedaemonians, the Argives paid no further attention

to the embassy which they had just sent to Lacedaemon on the subject

of the treaty, and began to incline rather towards the Athenians,

reflecting that, in the event of war, they would thus have on their

side a city that was not only an ancient ally of Argos, but a sister

democracy and very powerful at sea. They accordingly at once sent

ambassadors to Athens to treat for an alliance, accompanied by others

from Elis and Mantinea.


At the same time arrived in haste from Lacedaemon an embassy consisting

of persons reputed well disposed towards the Athenians- Philocharidas,

Leon, and Endius- for fear that the Athenians in their irritation

might conclude alliance with the Argives, and also to ask back Pylos

in exchange for Panactum, and in defence of the alliance with the

Boeotians to plead that it had not been made to hurt the Athenians.

Upon the envoys speaking in the senate upon these points, and stating

that they had come with full powers to settle all others at issue

between them, Alcibiades became afraid that, if they were to repeat

these statements to the popular assembly, they might gain the multitude,

and the Argive alliance might be rejected, and accordingly had recourse

to the following stratagem. He persuaded the Lacedaemonians by a solemn

assurance that if they would say nothing of their full powers in the

assembly, he would give back Pylos to them (himself, the present opponent

of its restitution, engaging to obtain this from the Athenians), and

would settle the other points at issue. His plan was to detach them

from Nicias and to disgrace them before the people, as being without

sincerity in their intentions, or even common consistency in their

language, and so to get the Argives, Eleans, and Mantineans taken

into alliance. This plan proved successful. When the envoys appeared

before the people, and upon the question being put to them, did not

say as they had said in the senate, that they had come with full powers,

the Athenians lost all patience, and carried away by Alcibiades, who

thundered more loudly than ever against the Lacedaemonians, were ready

instantly to introduce the Argives and their companions and to take

them into alliance. An earthquake, however, occurring, before anything

definite had been done, this assembly was adjourned.


In the assembly held the next day, Nicias, in spite of the Lacedaemonians

having been deceived themselves, and having allowed him to be deceived

also in not admitting that they had come with full powers, still maintained

that it was best to be friends with the Lacedaemonians, and, letting

the Argive proposals stand over, to send once more to Lacedaemon and

learn her intentions. The adjournment of the war could only increase

their own prestige and injure that of their rivals; the excellent

state of their affairs making it their interest to preserve this prosperity

as long as possible, while those of Lacedaemon were so desperate that

the sooner she could try her fortune again the better. He succeeded

accordingly in persuading them to send ambassadors, himself being

among the number, to invite the Lacedaemonians, if they were really

sincere, to restore Panactum intact with Amphipolis, and to abandon

their alliance with the Boeotians (unless they consented to accede

to the treaty), agreeably to the stipulation which forbade either

to treat without the other. The ambassadors were also directed to

say that the Athenians, had they wished to play false, might already

have made alliance with the Argives, who were indeed come to Athens

for that very purpose, and went off furnished with instructions as

to any other complaints that the Athenians had to make. Having reached

Lacedaemon, they communicated their instructions, and concluded by

telling the Lacedaemonians that unless they gave up their alliance

with the Boeotians, in the event of their not acceding to the treaty,

the Athenians for their part would ally themselves with the Argives

and their friends. The Lacedaemonians, however, refused to give up

the Boeotian alliance- the party of Xenares the ephor, and such as

shared their view, carrying the day upon this point- but renewed the

oaths at the request of Nicias, who feared to return without having

accomplished anything and to be disgraced; as was indeed his fate,

he being held the author of the treaty with Lacedaemon. When he returned,

and the Athenians heard that nothing had been done at Lacedaemon,

they flew into a passion, and deciding that faith had not been kept

with them, took advantage of the presence of the Argives and their

allies, who had been introduced by Alcibiades, and made a treaty and

alliance with them upon the terms following:


The Athenians, Argives, Mantineans, and Eleans, acting for themselves

and the allies in their respective empires, made a treaty for a hundred

years, to be without fraud or hurt by land and by sea.


  1. It shall not be lawful to carry on war, either for the Argives,

Eleans, Mantineans, and their allies, against the Athenians, or the

allies in the Athenian empire: or for the Athenians and their allies

against the Argives, Eleans, Mantineans, or their allies, in any way

or means whatsoever. The Athenians, Argives, Eleans, and Mantineans

shall be allies for a hundred years upon the terms following:


  1. If an enemy invade the country of the Athenians, the Argives, Eleans,

and Mantineans shall go to the relief of Athens, according as the

Athenians may require by message, in such way as they most effectually

can, to the best of their power. But if the invader be gone after

plundering the territory, the offending state shall be the enemy of

the Argives, Mantineans, Eleans, and Athenians, and war shall be made

against it by all these cities: and no one of the cities shall be

able to make peace with that state, except all the above cities agree

to do so.


  1. Likewise the Athenians shall go to the relief of Argos, Mantinea,

and Elis, if an enemy invade the country of Elis, Mantinea, or Argos,

according as the above cities may require by message, in such way

as they most effectually can, to the best of their power. But if the

invader be gone after plundering the territory, the state offending

shall be the enemy of the Athenians, Argives, Mantineans, and Eleans,

and war shall be made against it by all these cities, and peace may

not be made with that state except all the above cities agree to it.


  1. No armed force shall be allowed to pass for hostile purposes through

the country of the powers contracting, or of the allies in their respective

empires, or to go by sea, except all the cities- that is to say, Athens,

Argos, Mantinea, and Elis- vote for such passage.


  1. The relieving troops shall be maintained by the city sending them

for thirty days from their arrival in the city that has required them,

and upon their return in the same way: if their services be desired

for a longer period, the city that sent for them shall maintain them,

at the rate of three Aeginetan obols per day for a heavy-armed soldier,

archer, or light soldier, and an Aeginetan drachma for a trooper.


  1. The city sending for the troops shall have the command when the

war is in its own country: but in case of the cities resolving upon

a joint expedition the command shall be equally divided among all

the cities.


  1. The treaty shall be sworn to by the Athenians for themselves and

their allies, by the Argives, Mantineans, Eleans, and their allies,

by each state individually. Each shall swear the oath most binding

in his country over full-grown victims: the oath being as follows:




Whatsoever.» The oath shall taken at Athens by the Senate and the

magistrates, the Prytanes administering it: as by the Senate, the

Eighty, and the Artynae, the Eighty administering it: at Mantinea

by the Demiurgi, the Senate, and the other magistrates, the Theori

and Polemarchs administering it: at Elis by the Demiurgi, the magistrates,

and the Six Hundred, the Demiurgi and the Thesmophylaces administering

  1. The oaths shall be renewed by the Athenians going to Elis, Mantinea,

and Argos thirty days before the Olympic games: by the Argives, Mantineans,

and Eleans going to Athens ten days before the great feast of the

Panathenaea. The articles of the treaty, the oaths, and the alliance

shall be inscribed on a stone pillar by the Athenians in the citadel,

by the Argives in the market-place, in the temple of Apollo: by the

Mantineans in the temple of Zeus, in the market-place: and a brazen

pillar shall be erected jointly by them at the Olympic games now at

hand. Should the above cities see good to make any addition in these

articies, whatever all the above cities shall agree upon, after consulting

together, shall be binding.


Although the treaty and alliances were thus concluded, still the treaty

between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians was not renounced by either

party. Meanwhile Corinth, although the ally of the Argives, did not

accede to the new treaty, any more than she had done to the alliance,

defensive and offensive, formed before this between the Eleans, Argives,

and Mantineans, when she declared herself content with the first alliance,

which was defensive only, and which bound them to help each other,

but not to join in attacking any. The Corinthians thus stood aloof

from their allies, and again turned their thoughts towards Lacedaemon.


At the Olympic games which were held this summer, and in which the

Arcadian Androsthenes was victor the first time in the wrestling and

boxing, the Lacedaemonians were excluded from the temple by the Eleans,

and thus prevented from sacrificing or contending, for having refused

to pay the fine specified in the Olympic law imposed upon them by

the Eleans, who alleged that they had attacked Fort Phyrcus, and sent

heavy infantry of theirs into Lepreum during the Olympic truce. The

amount of the fine was two thousand minae, two for each heavy-armed

soldier, as the law prescribes. The Lacedaemonians sent envoys, and

pleaded that the imposition was unjust; saying that the truce had

not yet been proclaimed at Lacedaemon when the heavy infantry were

sent off. But the Eleans affirmed that the armistice with them had

already begun (they proclaim it first among themselves), and that

the aggression of the Lacedaemonians had taken them by surprise while

they were living quietly as in time of peace, and not expecting anything.

Upon this the Lacedaemonians submitted, that if the Eleans really

believed that they had committed an aggression, it was useless after

that to proclaim the truce at Lacedaemon; but they had proclaimed

it notwithstanding, as believing nothing of the kind, and from that

moment the Lacedaemonians had made no attack upon their country. Nevertheless

the Eleans adhered to what they had said, that nothing would persuade

them that an aggression had not been committed; if, however, the Lacedaemonians

would restore Lepreum, they would give up their own share of the money

and pay that of the god for them.


As this proposal was not accepted, the Eleans tried a second. Instead

of restoring Lepreum, if this was objected to, the Lacedaemonians

should ascend the altar of the Olympian Zeus, as they were so anxious

to have access to the temple, and swear before the Hellenes that they

would surely pay the fine at a later day. This being also refused,

the Lacedaemonians were excluded from the temple, the sacrifice, and

the games, and sacrificed at home; the Lepreans being the only other

Hellenes who did not attend. Still the Eleans were afraid of the Lacedaemonians

sacrificing by force, and kept guard with a heavy-armed company of

their young men; being also joined by a thousand Argives, the same

number of Mantineans, and by some Athenian cavalry who stayed at Harpina

during the feast. Great fears were felt in the assembly of the Lacedaemonians

coming in arms, especially after Lichas, son of Arcesilaus, a Lacedaemonian,

had been scourged on the course by the umpires; because, upon his

horses being the winners, and the Boeotian people being proclaimed

the victor on account of his having no right to enter, he came forward

on the course and crowned the charioteer, in order to show that the

chariot was his. After this incident all were more afraid than ever,

and firmly looked for a disturbance: the Lacedaemonians, however,

kept quiet, and let the feast pass by, as we have seen. After the

Olympic games, the Argives and the allies repaired to Corinth to invite

her to come over to them. There they found some Lacedaemonian envoys;

and a long discussion ensued, which after all ended in nothing, as

an earthquake occurred, and they dispersed to their different homes.


Summer was now over. The winter following a battle took place between

the Heracleots in Trachinia and the Aenianians, Dolopians, Malians,

and certain of the Thessalians, all tribes bordering on and hostile

to the town, which directly menaced their country. Accordingly, after

having opposed and harassed it from its very foundation by every means

in their power, they now in this battle defeated the Heracleots, Xenares,

son of Cnidis, their Lacedaemonian commander, being among the slain.

Thus the winter ended and the twelfth year of this war ended also.

After the battle, Heraclea was so terribly reduced that in the first

days of the summer following the Boeotians occupied the place and

sent away the Lacedaemonian Agesippidas for misgovernment, fearing

that the town might be taken by the Athenians while the Lacedaemonians

were distracted with the affairs of Peloponnese. The Lacedaemonians,

nevertheless, were offended with them for what they had done.


The same summer Alcibiades, son of Clinias, now one of the generals

at Athens, in concert with the Argives and the allies, went into Peloponnese

with a few Athenian heavy infantry and archers and some of the allies

in those parts whom he took up as he passed, and with this army marched

here and there through Peloponnese, and settled various matters connected

with the alliance, and among other things induced the Patrians to

carry their walls down to the sea, intending himself also to build

a fort near the Achaean Rhium. However, the Corinthians and Sicyonians,

and all others who would have suffered by its being built, came up

and hindered him.


The same summer war broke out between the Epidaurians and Argives.

The pretext was that the Epidaurians did not send an offering for

their pasture-land to Apollo Pythaeus, as they were bound to do, the

Argives having the chief management of the temple; but, apart from

this pretext, Alcibiades and the Argives were determined, if possible,

to gain possession of Epidaurus, and thus to ensure the neutrality

of Corinth and give the Athenians a shorter passage for their reinforcements

from Aegina than if they had to sail round Scyllaeum. The Argives

accordingly prepared to invade Epidaurus by themselves, to exact the



About the same time the Lacedaemonians marched out with all their

people to Leuctra upon their frontier, opposite to Mount Lycaeum,

under the command of Agis, son of Archidamus, without any one knowing

their destination, not even the cities that sent the contingents.

The sacrifices, however, for crossing the frontier not proving propitious,

the Lacedaemonians returned home themselves, and sent word to the

allies to be ready to march after the month ensuing, which happened

to be the month of Carneus, a holy time for the Dorians. Upon the

retreat of the Lacedaemonians the Argives marched out on the last

day but three of the month before Carneus, and keeping this as the

day during the whole time that they were out, invaded and plundered

Epidaurus. The Epidaurians summoned their allies to their aid, some

of whom pleaded the month as an excuse; others came as far as the

frontier of Epidaurus and there remained inactive.


While the Argives were in Epidaurus embassies from the cities assembled

at Mantinea, upon the invitation of the Athenians. The conference

having begun, the Corinthian Euphamidas said that their actions did

not agree with their words; while they were sitting deliberating about

peace, the Epidaurians and their allies and the Argives were arrayed

against each other in arms; deputies from each party should first

go and separate the armies, and then the talk about peace might be

resumed. In compliance with this suggestion, they went and brought

back the Argives from Epidaurus, and afterwards reassembled, but without

succeeding any better in coming to a conclusion; and the Argives a

second time invaded Epidaurus and plundered the country. The Lacedaemonians

also marched out to Caryae; but the frontier sacrifices again proving

unfavourable, they went back again, and the Argives, after ravaging

about a third of the Epidaurian territory, returned home. Meanwhile

a thousand Athenian heavy infantry had come to their aid under the

command of Alcibiades, but finding that the Lacedaemonian expedition

was at an end, and that they were no longer wanted, went back again.


So passed the summer. The next winter the Lacedaemonians managed to

elude the vigilance of the Athenians, and sent in a garrison of three

hundred men to Epidaurus, under the command of Agesippidas. Upon this

the Argives went to the Athenians and complained of their having allowed

an enemy to pass by sea, in spite of the clause in the treaty by which

the allies were not to allow an enemy to pass through their country.

Unless, therefore, they now put the Messenians and Helots in Pylos

to annoy the Lacedaemonians, they, the Argives, should consider that

faith had not been kept with them. The Athenians were persuaded by

Alcibiades to inscribe at the bottom of the Laconian pillar that the

Lacedaemonians had not kept their oaths, and to convey the Helots

at Cranii to Pylos to plunder the country; but for the rest they remained

quiet as before. During this winter hostilities went on between the

Argives and Epidaurians, without any pitched battle taking place,

but only forays and ambuscades, in which the losses were small and

fell now on one side and now on the other. At the close of the winter,

towards the beginning of spring, the Argives went with scaling ladders

to Epidaurus, expecting to find it left unguarded on account of the

war and to be able to take it by assault, but returned unsuccessful.

And the winter ended, and with it the thirteenth year of the war ended



In the middle of the next summer the Lacedaemonians, seeing the Epidaurians,

their allies, in distress, and the rest of Peloponnese either in revolt

or disaffected, concluded that it was high time for them to interfere

if they wished to stop the progress of the evil, and accordingly with

their full force, the Helots included, took the field against Argos,

under the command of Agis, son of Archidamus, king of the Lacedaemonians.

The Tegeans and the other Arcadian allies of Lacedaemon joined in

the expedition. The allies from the rest of Peloponnese and from outside

mustered at Phlius; the Boeotians with five thousand heavy infantry

and as many light troops, and five hundred horse and the same number

of dismounted troopers; the Corinthians with two thousand heavy infantry;

the rest more or less as might happen; and the Phliasians with all

their forces, the army being in their country.


The preparations of the Lacedaemonians from the first had been known

to the Argives, who did not, however, take the field until the enemy

was on his road to join the rest at Phlius. Reinforced by the Mantineans

with their allies, and by three thousand Elean heavy infantry, they

advanced and fell in with the Lacedaemonians at Methydrium in Arcadia.

Each party took up its position upon a hill, and the Argives prepared

to engage the Lacedaemonians while they were alone; but Agis eluded

them by breaking up his camp in the night, and proceeded to join the

rest of the allies at Phlius. The Argives discovering this at daybreak,

marched first to Argos and then to the Nemean road, by which they

expected the Lacedaemonians and their allies would come down. However,

Agis, instead of taking this road as they expected, gave the Lacedaemonians,

Arcadians, and Epidaurians their orders, and went along another difficult

road, and descended into the plain of Argos. The Corinthians, Pellenians,

and Phliasians marched by another steep road; while the Boeotians,

Megarians, and Sicyonians had instructions to come down by the Nemean

road where the Argives were posted, in order that, if the enemy advanced

into the plain against the troops of Agis, they might fall upon his

rear with their cavalry. These dispositions concluded, Agis invaded

the plain and began to ravage Saminthus and other places.


Discovering this, the Argives came up from Nemea, day having now dawned.

On their way they fell in with the troops of the Phliasians and Corinthians,

and killed a few of the Phliasians and had perhaps a few more of their

own men killed by the Corinthians. Meanwhile the Boeotians, Megarians,

and Sicyonians, advancing upon Nemea according to their instructions,

found the Argives no longer there, as they had gone down on seeing

their property ravaged, and were now forming for battle, the Lacedaemonians

imitating their example. The Argives were now completely surrounded;

from the plain the Lacedaemonians and their allies shut them off from

their city; above them were the Corinthians, Phliasians, and Pellenians;

and on the side of Nemea the Boeotians, Sicyonians, and Megarians.

Meanwhile their army was without cavalry, the Athenians alone among

the allies not having yet arrived. Now the bulk of the Argives and

their allies did not see the danger of their position, but thought

that they could not have a fairer field, having intercepted the Lacedaemonians

in their own country and close to the city. Two men, however, in the

Argive army, Thrasylus, one of the five generals, and Alciphron, the

Lacedaemonian proxenus, just as the armies were upon the point of

engaging, went and held a parley with Agis and urged him not to bring

on a battle, as the Argives were ready to refer to fair and equal

arbitration whatever complaints the Lacedaemonians might have against

them, and to make a treaty and live in peace in future.


The Argives who made these statements did so upon their own authority,

not by order of the people, and Agis on his accepted their proposals,

and without himself either consulting the majority, simply communicated

the matter to a single individual, one of the high officers accompanying

the expedition, and granted the Argives a truce for four months, in

which to fulfil their promises; after which he immediately led off

the army without giving any explanation to any of the other allies.

The Lacedaemonians and allies followed their general out of respect

for the law, but amongst themselves loudly blamed Agis for going away

from so fair a field (the enemy being hemmed in on every side by infantry

and cavalry) without having done anything worthy of their strength.

Indeed this was by far the finest Hellenic army ever yet brought together;

and it should have been seen while it was still united at Nemea, with

the Lacedaemonians in full force, the Arcadians, Boeotians, Corinthians,

Sicyonians, Pellenians, Phliasians and Megarians, and all these the

flower of their respective populations, thinking themselves a match

not merely for the Argive confederacy, but for another such added

to it. The army thus retired blaming Agis, and returned every man

to his home. The Argives however blamed still more loudly the persons

who had concluded the truce without consulting the people, themselves

thinking that they had let escape with the Lacedaemonians an opportunity

such as they should never see again; as the struggle would have been

under the walls of their city, and by the side of many and brave allies.

On their return accordingly they began to stone Thrasylus in the bed

of the Charadrus, where they try all military causes before entering

the city. Thrasylus fled to the altar, and so saved his life; his

property however they confiscated.


After this arrived a thousand Athenian heavy infantry and three hundred

horse, under the command of Laches and Nicostratus; whom the Argives,

being nevertheless loath to break the truce with the Lacedaemonians,

begged to depart, and refused to bring before the people, to whom

they had a communication to make, until compelled to do so by the

entreaties of the Mantineans and Eleans, who were still at Argos.

The Athenians, by the mouth of Alcibiades their ambassador there present,

told the Argives and the allies that they had no right to make a truce

at all without the consent of their fellow confederates, and now that

the Athenians had arrived so opportunely the war ought to be resumed.

These arguments proving successful with the allies, they immediately

marched upon Orchomenos, all except the Argives, who, although they

had consented like the rest, stayed behind at first, but eventually

joined the others. They now all sat down and besieged Orchomenos,

and made assaults upon it; one of their reasons for desiring to gain

this place being that hostages from Arcadia had been lodged there

by the Lacedaemonians. The Orchomenians, alarmed at the weakness of

their wall and the numbers of the enemy, and at the risk they ran

of perishing before relief arrived, capitulated upon condition of

joining the league, of giving hostages of their own to the Mantineans,

and giving up those lodged with them by the Lacedaemonians. Orchomenos

thus secured, the allies now consulted as to which of the remaining

places they should attack next. The Eleans were urgent for Lepreum;

the Mantineans for Tegea; and the Argives and Athenians giving their

support to the Mantineans, the Eleans went home in a rage at their

not having voted for Lepreum; while the rest of the allies made ready

at Mantinea for going against Tegea, which a party inside had arranged

to put into their hands.


Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians, upon their return from Argos after concluding

the four months’ truce, vehemently blamed Agis for not having subdued

Argos, after an opportunity such as they thought they had never had

before; for it was no easy matter to bring so many and so good allies

together. But when the news arrived of the capture of Orchomenos,

they became more angry than ever, and, departing from all precedent,

in the heat of the moment had almost decided to raze his house, and

to fine him ten thousand drachmae. Agis however entreated them to

do none of these things, promising to atone for his fault by good

service in the field, failing which they might then do to him whatever

they pleased; and they accordingly abstained from razing his house

or fining him as they had threatened to do, and now made a law, hitherto

unknown at Lacedaemon, attaching to him ten Spartans as counsellors,

without whose consent he should have no power to lead an army out

of the city.


At this juncture arrived word from their friends in Tegea that, unless

they speedily appeared, Tegea would go over from them to the Argives

and their allies, if it had not gone over already. Upon this news

a force marched out from Lacedaemon, of the Spartans and Helots and

all their people, and that instantly and upon a scale never before

witnessed. Advancing to Orestheum in Maenalia, they directed the Arcadians

in their league to follow close after them to Tegea, and, going on

themselves as far as Orestheum, from thence sent back the sixth part

of the Spartans, consisting of the oldest and youngest men, to guard

their homes, and with the rest of their army arrived at Tegea; where

their Arcadian allies soon after joined them. Meanwhile they sent

to Corinth, to the Boeotians, the Phocians, and Locrians, with orders

to come up as quickly as possible to Mantinea. These had but short

notice; and it was not easy except all together, and after waiting

for each other, to pass through the enemy’s country, which lay right

across and blocked up the line of communication. Nevertheless they

made what haste they could. Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians with the

Arcadian allies that had joined them, entered the territory of Mantinea,

and encamping near the temple of Heracles began to plunder the country.


Here they were seen by the Argives and their allies, who immediately

took up a strong and difficult position, and formed in order of battle.

The Lacedaemonians at once advanced against them, and came on within

a stone’s throw or javelin’s cast, when one of the older men, seeing

the enemy’s position to be a strong one, hallooed to Agis that he

was minded to cure one evil with another; meaning that he wished to

make amends for his retreat, which had been so much blamed, from Argos,

by his present untimely precipitation. Meanwhile Agis, whether in

consequence of this halloo or of some sudden new idea of his own,

quickly led back his army without engaging, and entering the Tegean

territory, began to turn off into that of Mantinea the water about

which the Mantineans and Tegeans are always fighting, on account of

the extensive damage it does to whichever of the two countries it

falls into. His object in this was to make the Argives and their allies

come down from the hill, to resist the diversion of the water, as

they would be sure to do when they knew of it, and thus to fight the

battle in the plain. He accordingly stayed that day where he was,

engaged in turning off the water. The Argives and their allies were

at first amazed at the sudden retreat of the enemy after advancing

so near, and did not know what to make of it; but when he had gone

away and disappeared, without their having stirred to pursue him,

they began anew to find fault with their generals, who had not only

let the Lacedaemonians get off before, when they were so happily intercepted

before Argos, but who now again allowed them to run away, without

any one pursuing them, and to escape at their leisure while the Argive

army was leisurely betrayed.


The generals, half-stunned for the moment, afterwards led them down

from the hill, and went forward and encamped in the plain, with the

intention of attacking the enemy.


The next day the Argives and their allies formed in the order in which

they meant to fight, if they chanced to encounter the enemy; and the

Lacedaemonians returning from the water to their old encampment by

the temple of Heracles, suddenly saw their adversaries close in front

of them, all in complete order, and advanced from the hill. A shock

like that of the present moment the Lacedaemonians do not ever remember

to have experienced: there was scant time for preparation, as they

instantly and hastily fell into their ranks, Agis, their king, directing

everything, agreeably to the law. For when a king is in the field

all commands proceed from him: he gives the word to the Polemarchs;

they to the Lochages; these to the Pentecostyes; these again to the

Enomotarchs, and these last to the Enomoties. In short all orders

required pass in the same way and quickly reach the troops; as almost

the whole Lacedaemonian army, save for a small part, consists of officers

under officers, and the care of what is to be done falls upon many.


In this battle the left wing was composed of the Sciritae, who in

a Lacedaemonian army have always that post to themselves alone; next

to these were the soldiers of Brasidas from Thrace, and the Neodamodes

with them; then came the Lacedaemonians themselves, company after

company, with the Arcadians of Heraea at their side. After these were

the Maenalians, and on the right wing the Tegeans with a few of the

Lacedaemonians at the extremity; their cavalry being posted upon the

two wings. Such was the Lacedaemonian formation. That of their opponents

was as follows: On the right were the Mantineans, the action taking

place in their country; next to them the allies from Arcadia; after

whom came the thousand picked men of the Argives, to whom the state

had given a long course of military training at the public expense;

next to them the rest of the Argives, and after them their allies,

the Cleonaeans and Orneans, and lastly the Athenians on the extreme

left, and lastly the Athenians on the extreme left, and their own

cavalry with them.


Such were the order and the forces of the two combatants. The Lacedaemonian

army looked the largest; though as to putting down the numbers of

either host, or of the contingents composing it, I could not do so

with any accuracy. Owing to the secrecy of their government the number

of the Lacedaemonians was not known, and men are so apt to brag about

the forces of their country that the estimate of their opponents was

not trusted. The following calculation, however, makes it possible

to estimate the numbers of the Lacedaemonians present upon this occasion.

There were seven companies in the field without counting the Sciritae,

who numbered six hundred men: in each company there were four Pentecostyes,

and in the Pentecosty four Enomoties. The first rank of the Enomoty

was composed of four soldiers: as to the depth, although they had

not been all drawn up alike, but as each captain chose, they were

generally ranged eight deep; the first rank along the whole line,

exclusive of the Sciritae, consisted of four hundred and forty-eight



The armies being now on the eve of engaging, each contingent received

some words of encouragement from its own commander. The Mantineans

were, reminded that they were going to fight for their country and

to avoid returning to the experience of servitude after having tasted

that of empire; the Argives, that they would contend for their ancient

supremacy, to regain their once equal share of Peloponnese of which

they had been so long deprived, and to punish an enemy and a neighbour

for a thousand wrongs; the Athenians, of the glory of gaining the

honours of the day with so many and brave allies in arms, and that

a victory over the Lacedaemonians in Peloponnese would cement and

extend their empire, and would besides preserve Attica from all invasions

in future. These were the incitements addressed to the Argives and

their allies. The Lacedaemonians meanwhile, man to man, and with their

war-songs in the ranks, exhorted each brave comrade to remember what

he had learnt before; well aware that the long training of action

was of more saving virtue than any brief verbal exhortation, though

never so well delivered.


After this they joined battle, the Argives and their allies advancing

with haste and fury, the Lacedaemonians slowly and to the music of

many flute-players- a standing institution in their army, that has

nothing to do with religion, but is meant to make them advance evenly,

stepping in time, without break their order, as large armies are apt

to do in the moment of engaging.


Just before the battle joined, King Agis resolved upon the following

manoeuvre. All armies are alike in this: on going into action they

get forced out rather on their right wing, and one and the other overlap

with this adversary’s left; because fear makes each man do his best

to shelter his unarmed side with the shield of the man next him on

the right, thinking that the closer the shields are locked together

the better will he be protected. The man primarily responsible for

this is the first upon the right wing, who is always striving to withdraw

from the enemy his unarmed side; and the same apprehension makes the

rest follow him. On the present occasion the Mantineans reached with

their wing far beyond the Sciritae, and the Lacedaemonians and Tegeans

still farther beyond the Athenians, as their army was the largest.

Agis, afraid of his left being surrounded, and thinking that the Mantineans

outflanked it too far, ordered the Sciritae and Brasideans to move

out from their place in the ranks and make the line even with the

Mantineans, and told the Polemarchs Hipponoidas and Aristocles to

fill up the gap thus formed, by throwing themselves into it with two

companies taken from the right wing; thinking that his right would

still be strong enough and to spare, and that the line fronting the

Mantineans would gain in solidity.


However, as he gave these orders in the moment of the onset, and at

short notice, it so happened that Aristocles and Hipponoidas would

not move over, for which offence they were afterwards banished from

Sparta, as having been guilty of cowardice; and the enemy meanwhile

closed before the Sciritae (whom Agis on seeing that the two companies

did not move over ordered to return to their place) had time to fill

up the breach in question. Now it was, however, that the Lacedaemonians,

utterly worsted in respect of skill, showed themselves as superior

in point of courage. As soon as they came to close quarters with the

enemy, the Mantinean right broke their Sciritae and Brasideans, and,

bursting in with their allies and the thousand picked Argives into

the unclosed breach in their line, cut up and surrounded the Lacedaemonians,

and drove them in full rout to the wagons, slaying some of the older

men on guard there. But the Lacedaemonians, worsted in this part of

the field, with the rest of their army, and especially the centre,

where the three hundred knights, as they are called, fought round

King Agis, fell on the older men of the Argives and the five companies

so named, and on the Cleonaeans, the Orneans, and the Athenians next

them, and instantly routed them; the greater number not even waiting

to strike a blow, but giving way the moment that they came on, some

even being trodden under foot, in their fear of being overtaken by

their assailants.


The army of the Argives and their allies, having given way in this

quarter, was now completely cut in two, and the Lacedaemonian and

Tegean right simultaneously closing round the Athenians with the troops

that outflanked them, these last found themselves placed between two

fires, being surrounded on one side and already defeated on the other.

Indeed they would have suffered more severely than any other part

of the army, but for the services of the cavalry which they had with

them. Agis also on perceiving the distress of his left opposed to

the Mantineans and the thousand Argives, ordered all the army to advance

to the support of the defeated wing; and while this took place, as

the enemy moved past and slanted away from them, the Athenians escaped

at their leisure, and with them the beaten Argive division. Meanwhile

the Mantineans and their allies and the picked body of the Argives

ceased to press the enemy, and seeing their friends defeated and the

Lacedaemonians in full advance upon them, took to flight. Many of

the Mantineans perished; but the bulk of the picked body of the Argives

made good their escape. The flight and retreat, however, were neither

hurried nor long; the Lacedaemonians fighting long and stubbornly

until the rout of their enemy, but that once effected, pursuing for

a short time and not far.


Such was the battle, as nearly as possible as I have described it;

the greatest that had occurred for a very long while among the Hellenes,

and joined by the most considerable states. The Lacedaemonians took

up a position in front of the enemy’s dead, and immediately set up

a trophy and stripped the slain; they took up their own dead and carried

them back to Tegea, where they buried them, and restored those of

the enemy under truce. The Argives, Orneans, and Cleonaeans had seven

hundred killed; the Mantineans two hundred, and the Athenians and

Aeginetans also two hundred, with both their generals. On the side

of the Lacedaemonians, the allies did not suffer any loss worth speaking

of: as to the Lacedaemonians themselves it was difficult to learn

the truth; it is said, however, that there were slain about three

hundred of them.


While the battle was impending, Pleistoanax, the other king, set out

with a reinforcement composed of the oldest and youngest men, and

got as far as Tegea, where he heard of the victory and went back again.

The Lacedaemonians also sent and turned back the allies from Corinth

and from beyond the Isthmus, and returning themselves dismissed their

allies, and kept the Carnean holidays, which happened to be at that

time. The imputations cast upon them by the Hellenes at the time,

whether of cowardice on account of the disaster in the island, or

of mismanagement and slowness generally, were all wiped out by this

single action: fortune, it was thought, might have humbled them, but

the men themselves were the same as ever.


The day before this battle, the Epidaurians with all their forces

invaded the deserted Argive territory, and cut off many of the guards

left there in the absence of the Argive army. After the battle three

thousand Elean heavy infantry arriving to aid the Mantineans, and

a reinforcement of one thousand Athenians, all these allies marched

at once against Epidaurus, while the Lacedaemonians were keeping the

Carnea, and dividing the work among them began to build a wall round

the city. The rest left off; but the Athenians finished at once the

part assigned to them round Cape Heraeum; and having all joined in

leaving a garrison in the fortification in question, they returned

to their respective cities.


Summer now came to an end. In the first days of the next winter, when

the Carnean holidays were over, the Lacedaemonians took the field,

and arriving at Tegea sent on to Argos proposals of accommodation.

They had before had a party in the town desirous of overthrowing the

democracy; and after the battle that had been fought, these were now

far more in a position to persuade the people to listen to terms.

Their plan was first to make a treaty with the Lacedaemonians, to

be followed by an alliance, and after this to fall upon the commons.

Lichas, son of Arcesilaus, the Argive proxenus, accordingly arrived

at Argos with two proposals from Lacedaemon, to regulate the conditions

of war or peace, according as they preferred the one or the other.

After much discussion, Alcibiades happening to be in the town, the

Lacedaemonian party, who now ventured to act openly, persuaded the

Argives to accept the proposal for accommodation; which ran as follows:


The assembly of the Lacedaemonians agrees to treat with the Argives

upon the terms following:


  1. The Argives shall restore to the Orchomenians their children, and

to the Maenalians their men, and shall restore the men they have in

Mantinea to the Lacedaemonians.


  1. They shall evacuate Epidaurus, and raze the fortification there.

If the Athenians refuse to withdraw from Epidaurus, they shall be

declared enemies of the Argives and of the Lacedaemonians, and of

the allies of the Lacedaemonians and the allies of the Argives.


  1. If the Lacedaemonians have any children in their custody, they

shall restore them every one to his city.


  1. As to the offering to the god, the Argives, if they wish, shall

impose an oath upon the Epidaurians, but, if not, they shall swear

it themselves.


  1. All the cities in Peloponnese, both small and great, shall be independent

according to the customs of their country.


  1. If any of the powers outside Peloponnese invade Peloponnesian territory,

the parties contracting shall unite to repel them, on such terms as

they may agree upon, as being most fair for the Peloponnesians.


  1. All allies of the Lacedaemonians outside Peloponnese shall be on

the same footing as the Lacedaemonians, and the allies of the Argives

shall be on the same footing as the Argives, being left in enjoyment

of their own possessions.


  1. This treaty shall be shown to the allies, and shall be concluded,

if they approve; if the allies think fit, they may send the treaty

to be considered at home.


The Argives began by accepting this proposal, and the Lacedaemonian

army returned home from Tegea. After this intercourse was renewed

between them, and not long afterwards the same party contrived that

the Argives should give up the league with the Mantineans, Eleans,

and Athenians, and should make a treaty and alliance with the Lacedaemonians;

which was consequently done upon the terms following:


The Lacedaemonians and Argives agree to a treaty and alliance for

fifty years upon the terms following:


  1. All disputes shall be decided by fair and impartial arbitration,

agreeably to the customs of the two countries.


  1. The rest of the cities in Peloponnese may be included in this treaty

and alliance, as independent and sovereign, in full enjoyment of what

they possess, all disputes being decided by fair and impartial arbitration,

agreeably to the customs of the said cities.


  1. All allies of the Lacedaemonians outside Peloponnese shall be upon

the same footing as the Lacedaemonians themselves, and the allies

of the Argives shall be upon the same footing as the Argives themselves,

continuing to enjoy what they possess.


  1. If it shall be anywhere necessary to make an expedition in common,

the Lacedaemonians and Argives shall consult upon it and decide, as

may be most fair for the allies.


  1. If any of the cities, whether inside or outside Peloponnese, have

a question whether of frontiers or otherwise, it must be settled,

but if one allied city should have a quarrel with another allied city,

it must be referred to some third city thought impartial by both parties.

Private citizens shall have their disputes decided according to the

laws of their several countries.


The treaty and above alliance concluded, each party at once released

everything whether acquired by war or otherwise, and thenceforth acting

in common voted to receive neither herald nor embassy from the Athenians

unless they evacuated their forts and withdrew from Peloponnese, and

also to make neither peace nor war with any, except jointly. Zeal

was not wanting: both parties sent envoys to the Thracian places and

to Perdiccas, and persuaded the latter to join their league. Still

he did not at once break off from Athens, although minded to do so

upon seeing the way shown him by Argos, the original home of his family.

They also renewed their old oaths with the Chalcidians and took new

ones: the Argives, besides, sent ambassadors to the Athenians, bidding

them evacuate the fort at Epidaurus. The Athenians, seeing their own

men outnumbered by the rest of the garrison, sent Demosthenes to bring

them out. This general, under colour of a gymnastic contest which

he arranged on his arrival, got the rest of the garrison out of the

place, and shut the gates behind them. Afterwards the Athenians renewed

their treaty with the Epidaurians, and by themselves gave up the fortress.


After the defection of Argos from the league, the Mantineans, though

they held out at first, in the end finding themselves powerless without

the Argives, themselves too came to terms with Lacedaemon, and gave

up their sovereignty over the towns. The Lacedaemonians and Argives,

each a thousand strong, now took the field together, and the former

first went by themselves to Sicyon and made the government there more

oligarchical than before, and then both, uniting, put down the democracy

at Argos and set up an oligarchy favourable to Lacedaemon. These events

occurred at the close of the winter, just before spring; and the fourteenth

year of the war ended. The next summer the people of Dium, in Athos,

revolted from the Athenians to the Chalcidians, and the Lacedaemonians

settled affairs in Achaea in a way more agreeable to the interests

of their country. Meanwhile the popular party at Argos little by little

gathered new consistency and courage, and waited for the moment of

the Gymnopaedic festival at Lacedaemon, and then fell upon the oligarchs.

After a fight in the city, victory declared for the commons, who slew

some of their opponents and banished others. The Lacedaemonians for

a long while let the messages of their friends at Argos remain without

effect. At last they put off the Gymnopaediae and marched to their

succour, but learning at Tegea the defeat of the oligarchs, refused

to go any further in spite of the entreaties of those who had escaped,

and returned home and kept the festival. Later on, envoys arrived

with messages from the Argives in the town and from the exiles, when

the allies were also at Sparta; and after much had been said on both

sides, the Lacedaemonians decided that the party in the town had done

wrong, and resolved to march against Argos, but kept delaying and

putting off the matter. Meanwhile the commons at Argos, in fear of

the Lacedaemonians, began again to court the Athenian alliance, which

they were convinced would be of the greatest service to them; and

accordingly proceeded to build long walls to the sea, in order that

in case of a blockade by land; with the help of the Athenians they

might have the advantage of importing what they wanted by sea. Some

of the cities in Peloponnese were also privy to the building of these

walls; and the Argives with all their people, women and slaves not

excepted, addressed themselves to the work, while carpenters and masons

came to them from Athens.


Summer was now over. The winter following the Lacedaemonians, hearing

of the walls that were building, marched against Argos with their

allies, the Corinthians excepted, being also not without intelligence

in the city itself; Agis, son of Archidamus, their king, was in command.

The intelligence which they counted upon within the town came to nothing;

they however took and razed the walls which were being built, and

after capturing the Argive town Hysiae and killing all the freemen

that fell into their hands, went back and dispersed every man to his

city. After this the Argives marched into Phlius and plundered it

for harbouring their exiles, most of whom had settled there, and so

returned home. The same winter the Athenians blockaded Macedonia,

on the score of the league entered into by Perdiccas with the Argives

and Lacedaemonians, and also of his breach of his engagements on the

occasion of the expedition prepared by Athens against the Chalcidians

in the direction of Thrace and against Amphipolis, under the command

of Nicias, son of Niceratus, which had to be broken up mainly because

of his desertion. He was therefore proclaimed an enemy. And thus the

winter ended, and the fifteenth year of the war ended with it.


Chapter XVII


Sixteenth Year of the War – The Melian Conference – Fate of Melos


The next summer Alcibiades sailed with twenty ships to Argos and seized

the suspected persons still left of the Lacedaemonian faction to the

number of three hundred, whom the Athenians forthwith lodged in the

neighbouring islands of their empire. The Athenians also made an expedition

against the isle of Melos with thirty ships of their own, six Chian,

and two Lesbian vessels, sixteen hundred heavy infantry, three hundred

archers, and twenty mounted archers from Athens, and about fifteen

hundred heavy infantry from the allies and the islanders. The Melians

are a colony of Lacedaemon that would not submit to the Athenians

like the other islanders, and at first remained neutral and took no

part in the struggle, but afterwards upon the Athenians using violence

and plundering their territory, assumed an attitude of open hostility.

Cleomedes, son of Lycomedes, and Tisias, son of Tisimachus, the generals,

encamping in their territory with the above armament, before doing

any harm to their land, sent envoys to negotiate. These the Melians

did not bring before the people, but bade them state the object of

their mission to the magistrates and the few; upon which the Athenian

envoys spoke as follows:


Athenians. Since the negotiations are not to go on before the people,

in order that we may not be able to speak straight on without interruption,

and deceive the ears of the multitude by seductive arguments which

would pass without refutation (for we know that this is the meaning

of our being brought before the few), what if you who sit there were

to pursue a method more cautious still? Make no set speech yourselves,

but take us up at whatever you do not like, and settle that before

going any farther. And first tell us if this proposition of ours suits



The Melian commissioners answered:

Melians. To the fairness of quietly instructing each other as you

propose there is nothing to object; but your military preparations

are too far advanced to agree with what you say, as we see you are

come to be judges in your own cause, and that all we can reasonably

expect from this negotiation is war, if we prove to have right on

our side and refuse to submit, and in the contrary case, slavery.


Athenians. If you have met to reason about presentiments of the future,

or for anything else than to consult for the safety of your state

upon the facts that you see before you, we will give over; otherwise

we will go on.


Melians. It is natural and excusable for men in our position to turn

more ways than one both in thought and utterance. However, the question

in this conference is, as you say, the safety of our country; and

the discussion, if you please, can proceed in the way which you propose.


Athenians. For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretences-

either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the

Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done

us- and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return

we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that

you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or

that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding

in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as

we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals

in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what

they must.


Melians. As we think, at any rate, it is expedient- we speak as we

are obliged, since you enjoin us to let right alone and talk only

of interest- that you should not destroy what is our common protection,

the privilege of being allowed in danger to invoke what is fair and

right, and even to profit by arguments not strictly valid if they

can be got to pass current. And you are as much interested in this

as any, as your fall would be a signal for the heaviest vengeance

and an example for the world to meditate upon.


Athenians. The end of our empire, if end it should, does not frighten

us: a rival empire like Lacedaemon, even if Lacedaemon was our real

antagonist, is not so terrible to the vanquished as subjects who by

themselves attack and overpower their rulers. This, however, is a

risk that we are content to take. We will now proceed to show you

that we are come here in the interest of our empire, and that we shall

say what we are now going to say, for the preservation of your country;

as we would fain exercise that empire over you without trouble, and

see you preserved for the good of us both.


Melians. And how, pray, could it turn out as good for us to serve

as for you to rule?


Athenians. Because you would have the advantage of submitting before

suffering the worst, and we should gain by not destroying you.


Melians. So that you would not consent to our being neutral, friends

instead of enemies, but allies of neither side.


Athenians. No; for your hostility cannot so much hurt us as your friendship

will be an argument to our subjects of our weakness, and your enmity

of our power.


Melians. Is that your subjects’ idea of equity, to put those who have

nothing to do with you in the same category with peoples that are

most of them your own colonists, and some conquered rebels?


Athenians. As far as right goes they think one has as much of it as

the other, and that if any maintain their independence it is because

they are strong, and that if we do not molest them it is because we

are afraid; so that besides extending our empire we should gain in

security by your subjection; the fact that you are islanders and weaker

than others rendering it all the more important that you should not

succeed in baffling the masters of the sea.


Melians. But do you consider that there is no security in the policy

which we indicate? For here again if you debar us from talking about

justice and invite us to obey your interest, we also must explain

ours, and try to persuade you, if the two happen to coincide. How

can you avoid making enemies of all existing neutrals who shall look

at case from it that one day or another you will attack them? And

what is this but to make greater the enemies that you have already,

and to force others to become so who would otherwise have never thought

of it?


Athenians. Why, the fact is that continentals generally give us but

little alarm; the liberty which they enjoy will long prevent their

taking precautions against us; it is rather islanders like yourselves,

outside our empire, and subjects smarting under the yoke, who would

be the most likely to take a rash step and lead themselves and us

into obvious danger.


Melians. Well then, if you risk so much to retain your empire, and

your subjects to get rid of it, it were surely great baseness and

cowardice in us who are still free not to try everything that can

be tried, before submitting to your yoke.


Athenians. Not if you are well advised, the contest not being an equal

one, with honour as the prize and shame as the penalty, but a question

of self-preservation and of not resisting those who are far stronger

than you are.


Melians. But we know that the fortune of war is sometimes more impartial

than the disproportion of numbers might lead one to suppose; to submit

is to give ourselves over to despair, while action still preserves

for us a hope that we may stand erect.


Athenians. Hope, danger’s comforter, may be indulged in by those who

have abundant resources, if not without loss at all events without

ruin; but its nature is to be extravagant, and those who go so far

as to put their all upon the venture see it in its true colours only

when they are ruined; but so long as the discovery would enable them

to guard against it, it is never found wanting. Let not this be the

case with you, who are weak and hang on a single turn of the scale;

nor be like the vulgar, who, abandoning such security as human means

may still afford, when visible hopes fail them in extremity, turn

to invisible, to prophecies and oracles, and other such inventions

that delude men with hopes to their destruction.


Melians. You may be sure that we are as well aware as you of the difficulty

of contending against your power and fortune, unless the terms be

equal. But we trust that the gods may grant us fortune as good as

yours, since we are just men fighting against unjust, and that what

we want in power will be made up by the alliance of the Lacedaemonians,

who are bound, if only for very shame, to come to the aid of their

kindred. Our confidence, therefore, after all is not so utterly irrational.


Athenians. When you speak of the favour of the gods, we may as fairly

hope for that as yourselves; neither our pretensions nor our conduct

being in any way contrary to what men believe of the gods, or practise

among themselves. Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that

by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can. And

it is not as if we were the first to make this law, or to act upon

it when made: we found it existing before us, and shall leave it to

exist for ever after us; all we do is to make use of it, knowing that

you and everybody else, having the same power as we have, would do

the same as we do. Thus, as far as the gods are concerned, we have

no fear and no reason to fear that we shall be at a disadvantage.

But when we come to your notion about the Lacedaemonians, which leads

you to believe that shame will make them help you, here we bless your

simplicity but do not envy your folly. The Lacedaemonians, when their

own interests or their country’s laws are in question, are the worthiest

men alive; of their conduct towards others much might be said, but

no clearer idea of it could be given than by shortly saying that of

all the men we know they are most conspicuous in considering what

is agreeable honourable, and what is expedient just. Such a way of

thinking does not promise much for the safety which you now unreasonably

count upon.


Melians. But it is for this very reason that we now trust to their

respect for expediency to prevent them from betraying the Melians,

their colonists, and thereby losing the confidence of their friends

in Hellas and helping their enemies.


Athenians. Then you do not adopt the view that expediency goes with

security, while justice and honour cannot be followed without danger;

and danger the Lacedaemonians generally court as little as possible.


Melians. But we believe that they would be more likely to face even

danger for our sake, and with more confidence than for others, as

our nearness to Peloponnese makes it easier for them to act, and our

common blood ensures our fidelity.


Athenians. Yes, but what an intending ally trusts to is not the goodwill

of those who ask his aid, but a decided superiority of power for action;

and the Lacedaemonians look to this even more than others. At least,

such is their distrust of their home resources that it is only with

numerous allies that they attack a neighbour; now is it likely that

while we are masters of the sea they will cross over to an island?


Melians. But they would have others to send. The Cretan Sea is a wide

one, and it is more difficult for those who command it to intercept

others, than for those who wish to elude them to do so safely. And

should the Lacedaemonians miscarry in this, they would fall upon your

land, and upon those left of your allies whom Brasidas did not reach;

and instead of places which are not yours, you will have to fight

for your own country and your own confederacy.


Athenians. Some diversion of the kind you speak of you may one day

experience, only to learn, as others have done, that the Athenians

never once yet withdrew from a siege for fear of any. But we are struck

by the fact that, after saying you would consult for the safety of

your country, in all this discussion you have mentioned nothing which

men might trust in and think to be saved by. Your strongest arguments

depend upon hope and the future, and your actual resources are too

scanty, as compared with those arrayed against you, for you to come

out victorious. You will therefore show great blindness of judgment,

unless, after allowing us to retire, you can find some counsel more

prudent than this. You will surely not be caught by that idea of disgrace,

which in dangers that are disgraceful, and at the same time too plain

to be mistaken, proves so fatal to mankind; since in too many cases

the very men that have their eyes perfectly open to what they are

rushing into, let the thing called disgrace, by the mere influence

of a seductive name, lead them on to a point at which they become

so enslaved by the phrase as in fact to fall wilfully into hopeless

disaster, and incur disgrace more disgraceful as the companion of

error, than when it comes as the result of misfortune. This, if you

are well advised, you will guard against; and you will not think it

dishonourable to submit to the greatest city in Hellas, when it makes

you the moderate offer of becoming its tributary ally, without ceasing

to enjoy the country that belongs to you; nor when you have the choice

given you between war and security, will you be so blinded as to choose

the worse. And it is certain that those who do not yield to their

equals, who keep terms with their superiors, and are moderate towards

their inferiors, on the whole succeed best. Think over the matter,

therefore, after our withdrawal, and reflect once and again that it

is for your country that you are consulting, that you have not more

than one, and that upon this one deliberation depends its prosperity

or ruin.


The Athenians now withdrew from the conference; and the Melians, left

to themselves, came to a decision corresponding with what they had

maintained in the discussion, and answered: «Our resolution, Athenians,

is the same as it was at first. We will not in a moment deprive of

freedom a city that has been inhabited these seven hundred years;

but we put our trust in the fortune by which the gods have preserved

it until now, and in the help of men, that is, of the Lacedaemonians;

and so we will try and save ourselves. Meanwhile we invite you to

allow us to be friends to you and foes to neither party, and to retire

from our country after making such a treaty as shall seem fit to us



Such was the answer of the Melians. The Athenians now departing from

the conference said: «Well, you alone, as it seems to us, judging

from these resolutions, regard what is future as more certain than

what is before your eyes, and what is out of sight, in your eagerness,

as already coming to pass; and as you have staked most on, and trusted

most in, the Lacedaemonians, your fortune, and your hopes, so will

you be most completely deceived.»


The Athenian envoys now returned to the army; and the Melians showing

no signs of yielding, the generals at once betook themselves to hostilities,

and drew a line of circumvallation round the Melians, dividing the

work among the different states. Subsequently the Athenians returned

with most of their army, leaving behind them a certain number of their

own citizens and of the allies to keep guard by land and sea. The

force thus left stayed on and besieged the place.


About the same time the Argives invaded the territory of Phlius and

lost eighty men cut off in an ambush by the Phliasians and Argive

exiles. Meanwhile the Athenians at Pylos took so much plunder from

the Lacedaemonians that the latter, although they still refrained

from breaking off the treaty and going to war with Athens, yet proclaimed

that any of their people that chose might plunder the Athenians. The

Corinthians also commenced hostilities with the Athenians for private

quarrels of their own; but the rest of the Peloponnesians stayed quiet.

Meanwhile the Melians attacked by night and took the part of the Athenian

lines over against the market, and killed some of the men, and brought

in corn and all else that they could find useful to them, and so returned

and kept quiet, while the Athenians took measures to keep better guard

in future.


Summer was now over. The next winter the Lacedaemonians intended to

invade the Argive territory, but arriving at the frontier found the

sacrifices for crossing unfavourable, and went back again. This intention

of theirs gave the Argives suspicions of certain of their fellow citizens,

some of whom they arrested; others, however, escaped them. About the

same time the Melians again took another part of the Athenian lines

which were but feebly garrisoned. Reinforcements afterwards arriving

from Athens in consequence, under the command of Philocrates, son

of Demeas, the siege was now pressed vigorously; and some treachery

taking place inside, the Melians surrendered at discretion to the

Athenians, who put to death all the grown men whom they took, and

sold the women and children for slaves, and subsequently sent out

five hundred colonists and inhabited the place themselves.