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Title: History of Greece, Volume 7 (of 12)
Author: Grote, George
Language: English
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  * Italics are denoted by underscores as in _italics_.
  * Small caps are represented in upper case as in SMALL CAPS.
  * Letter spaced Greek text is enclosed in tildes as in ~καὶ τὰ
  * Obvious printer errors have been silently corrected, after
    comparison with a later edition of this work. Greek text has
    also been corrected after checking with this later edition and
    with Perseus, when the reference was found.
  * Original spelling, hyphenation and punctuation have been kept,
    but variant spellings were made consistent when a predominant
    usage was found.
  * Some inconsistencies in the use of accents over proper nouns
    (like “Alkibiades” and “Alkibiadês”) have been retained.
  * The following changes were also made, after checking with
    Perseus and other editions:

    note 337: “Thucyd. vi, 69” → “Thucyd, i, 69”
    note 573:        “vii, 73” → “viii, 73”












  Negotiations for peace during the winter after the battle
  of Amphipolis.—Peace called the Peace of Nikias—concluded
  in March 421 B.C. Conditions of peace.—Peace accepted at
  Sparta by the majority of members of the Peloponnesian
  alliance.—The most powerful members of the alliance refuse
  to accept the truce—Bœotians, Megarians, Corinthians, and
  Eleians.—Position and feelings of the Lacedæmonians—their
  great anxiety for peace—their uncertain relations with
  Argos.—Steps taken by the Lacedæmonians to execute the
  peace—Amphipolis is not restored to Athens—the great
  allies of Sparta do not accept the peace.—Separate
  alliance for mutual defence concluded between Sparta and
  Athens.—Terms of the alliance.—Athens restores the Spartan
  captives.—Mismanagement of the political interests of
  Athens by Nikias and the peace party.—By the terms of
  the alliance Athens renounced all the advantages of her
  position in reference to the Lacedæmonians—she gained none
  of those concessions upon which she calculated, while
  they gained materially.—Discontent and remonstrances
  of the Athenians against Sparta in consequence of the
  non-performance of the conditions—they repent of having
  given up the captives—excuses of Sparta.—New combinations
  in Peloponnesus—suspicion entertained of concert between
  Sparta and Athens—Argos stands prominently forward—state
  of Argos—aristocratical regiment of one thousand formed
  in that city.—The Corinthians prevail upon Argos to stand
  forward as head of a new Peloponnesian alliance.—Congress
  of recusant Peloponnesian allies at Corinth—the Mantineians
  join Argos—state of Arcadia—rivalship of Tegea and
  Mantineia.—Remonstrances of Lacedæmonian envoys at the
  congress at Corinth—redefence of the Corinthians—pretence
  of religious scruple.—The Bœotians and Megarians refuse
  to break with Sparta, or to ally themselves with Argos—the
  Corinthians hesitate in actually joining Argos.—The
  Eleians become allies of Argos—their reasons for doing
  so—relations with Lepreum—the Corinthians now join Argos
  also.—Refusal of Tegea to separate from Sparta.—The
  Corinthians are disheartened—their application through
  the Bœotians to Athens.—The Lacedæmonians emancipate the
  Arcadian subjects of Mantineia—they plant the Brasidean
  Helots at Lepreum.—Treatment of the Spartan captives after
  their liberation from Athens and return to Sparta—they are
  disfranchised for a time and in a qualified manner.—The
  Athenians recapture Skiônê—put to death all the adult
  males.—Political relations in Peloponnesus—change of ephors
  at Sparta—the new ephors are hostile to Athens.—Congress
  at Sparta—Athenian, Bœotian, and Corinthian deputies,
  present—long debates, but no settlement attained of any
  one of the disputed points—intrigues of the anti-Athenian
  ephors—Kleobulus and Xenarês.—These ephors try to bring
  about underhand an alliance between Sparta and Argos,
  through the Bœotians—the project fails.—The Lacedæmonians
  conclude a special alliance with the Bœotians, thereby
  violating their alliance with Athens—the Bœotians raze
  Panaktum to the ground.—Application from the Argeians
  to Sparta to renew the expiring treaty. Project of
  renewed treaty agreed upon. Curious stipulation about
  combat by champions, to keep the question open about
  the title to Thyrea.—Lacedæmonian envoys go first to
  Bœotia, next to Athens—they find Panaktum demolished—they
  ask for the cession of Pylos from Athens.—The envoys
  are badly received at Athens—angry feeling against
  the Lacedæmonians.—Alkibiadês stands forward as a
  party-leader. His education and character.—Great energy
  and capacity of Alkibiadês in public affairs—his
  reckless expenditure—lawless demeanor—unprincipled
  character, inspiring suspicion and alarm—military
  service.—Alkibiadês—Sokratês—the Sophists.—Conflicting
  sentiments entertained towards Alkibiadês—his great energy
  and capacity. Admiration, fear, hatred, and jealousy, which
  he inspires.—Alkibiadês tries to renew the ancient but
  interrupted connection of his ancestors with Lacedæmon,
  as proxeni.—The Spartans reject his advances—he turns
  against them—alters his politics, and becomes their enemy
  at Athens.—He tries to bring Athens into alliance with
  Argos.—He induces the Argeians to send envoys to Athens—the
  Argeians eagerly embrace this opening, and drop their
  negotiations with Sparta.—Embassy of the Lacedæmonians
  to Athens, to press the Athenians not to throw up the
  alliance. The envoys are favorably received.—Trick by which
  Alkibiadês cheats and disgraces the envoys, and baffles
  the Lacedæmonian project. Indignation of the Athenians
  against Sparta.—Nikias prevails with the assembly to
  send himself and others as envoys to Sparta, in order to
  clear up the embarrassment.—Failure of the embassy of
  Nikias at Sparta—Athens concludes the alliance with Argos,
  Elis, and Mantineia.—Conditions of this convention and
  alliance.—Complicated relations among the Grecian states
  as to treaty and alliance.—Olympic festival of the 90th
  Olympiad, July 420 B.C., its memorable character.—First
  appearance of Athens at the Olympic festival since the
  beginning of the war. Immense display of Alkibiadês in
  the chariot-race.—The Eleians exclude the Spartan sacred
  legation from this Olympic festival, in consequence of
  alleged violation of the Olympic truce.—Alarm felt at the
  festival lest the Spartans should come in arms.—Depressed
  estimation of Sparta throughout Greece—Herakleia.             1-61



  New policy of Athens, attempted by Alkibiadês.—Expedition
  of Alkibiadês into the interior of Peloponnesus.—Attack
  upon Epidaurus by Argos and Athens.—Movements of the
  Spartans and Argeians.—The sacred month Karneius—trick
  played by the Argeians with their calendar—Congress
  at Mantineia for peace—the discussions prove
  abortive.—Athenian lordship of the sea—the alliance between
  Athens and Sparta continues in name, but is indirectly
  violated by both.—Invasion of Argos by Agis and the
  Lacedæmonians, Bœotians, and Corinthians.—Approach of the
  invaders to Argos by different lines of march.—Superior
  forces and advantageous position of the invaders—danger
  of Argos—Agis takes upon him to grant an armistice to
  the Argeians, and withdraws the army—dissatisfaction of
  the allies.—Severe censure against Agis on his return
  to Sparta.—Tardy arrival of Alkibiadês, Lachês, etc.,
  with the Athenian contingent at Argos—expedition of
  Athenians, Eleians, Mantineians, and Argeians, against
  the Arcadian town of Orchomenus.—Plans against Tegea—the
  Eleians return home.—Danger of Tegea—Agis and the
  Lacedæmonians march to its relief.—Manœuvres of Agis
  to bring on a battle on fair ground.—Forward march
  and new position of the Argeians.—The Lacedæmonians
  are surprised: their sudden and ready formation into
  battle order.—Gradation of command and responsibility
  peculiar to the Lacedæmonian army.—Lacedæmonian line:
  privileged post of the Skiritæ on the left.—Uncertain
  numbers of both armies.—Preliminary harangues to the
  soldiers.—Battle of Mantineia.—Movement ordered by Agis,
  on the instant before the battle; his order disobeyed.
  His left wing is defeated.—Complete ultimate victory
  of the Lacedæmonians.—Great effects of the victory in
  reëstablishing the reputation of Sparta.—Operations
  of Argeians, Eleians, etc., near Epidaurus.—Political
  change at Argos, arising out of the battle of
  Mantineia.—Oligarchical conspiracy of the Thousand-regiment
  at Argos, in concert with the Lacedæmonians.—Treaty of
  peace between Sparta and Argos.—Treaty of alliance between
  Sparta and Argos—dissolution of the alliance of Argos with
  Athens, Mantineia, and Elis.—Submission of Mantineia to
  Sparta.—Oligarchical revolution effected at Argos by the
  Thousand, in concert with the Lacedæmonians.—Oligarchy in
  Sikyôn and the towns in Achaia.—Violences of the Thousand
  at Argos: counter-revolution in that town: restoration of
  the democracy.—Proceedings of the restored Argeian Demos:
  tardiness of Sparta.—Alkibiadês at Argos: measures for the
  protection of the democracy.—Nominal peace, but precarious
  relations, between Athens and Sparta.—Relations of Athens
  with Perdikkas of Macedonia.—Negligence of Athens about
  Amphipolis: improvidence of Nikias and the peace-party:
  adventurous speculations of Alkibiadês.—Projected
  contention of ostracism between Nikias and Alkibiadês.
  Proposition supported by Hyperbolus.—Gradual desuetude of
  the ostracism, as the democracy became assured.—Siege of
  Mêlos by the Athenians.—Dialogue set forth by Thucydidês,
  between the Athenian envoys and the Executive Council
  of Mêlos.—Language represented by Thucydidês as having
  been held by the Athenian envoys—with the replies of
  the Melians.—Refusal of the Melians to submit.—Siege and
  capture of Mêlos.—Remarks upon the event.—View taken by
  Thucydidês of this incident.—Place which it occupies in the
  general historical conception of Thucydidês.                61-118



  Expulsion of the Gelonian dynasty from Syracuse, and
  of other despots from the other Sicilian towns.—Large
  changes of resident inhabitants—effects of this
  fact.—Relative power and condition of the Sicilian
  cities. Political dissensions at Syracuse. Ostracism
  tried and abandoned.—Power and foreign exploits
  of Syracuse.—Sikels in the interior of Sicily—the
  Sikel prince Duketius—he founds the new Sikel town
  of Palikê.—Exploits of Duketius—he is defeated and
  becomes the prisoner of the Syracusans, who spare him,
  and send him to Corinth.—Duketius breaks his parole
  and returns to Sicily.—Conquests of Syracuse in the
  interior of Sicily—death of Duketius.—Prosperity
  and power of Agrigentum.—Intellectual movement in
  cities—their condition and proceedings at the first
  breaking out of the Peloponnesian war, 431 B.C.—Relations
  of Sicily to Athens and Sparta—altered by the quarrel
  between Corinth and Korkyra and the intervention of
  Athens.—Expectations entertained by Sparta of aid from the
  Sicilian Dorians, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian
  war. Expectations not realized.—The Dorian cities in
  Sicily attack the Ionian cities in Sicily.—The Ionic
  cities in Sicily solicit aid from Athens—first Athenian
  expedition to Sicily under Lachês.—Second expedition
  under Pythodôrus.—Indecisive operations near Messênê and
  Rhegium.—Defeat of the Messenians by the Naxians and
  Sikels, near Naxos.—Eurymedon and Sophoklês, with a larger
  Athenian fleet, arrive in Sicily.—Congress of the Sicilian
  cities at Gela. Speech of Hermokratês.—General peace made
  between the Sicilian cities. Eurymedon accedes to the
  peace, and withdraws the Athenian fleet.—Displeasure of the
  Athenians against Eurymedon and his colleagues.—Intestine
  dissension in Leontini—expulsion of the Leontine Demos,
  by the aid of Syracuse.—Application of the Leontine
  Demos for help to Athens. The Athenians send Phæax
  to make observations.—Leontini depopulated—the Demos
  expelled—Leontine exiles at Athens.—War between Selinus and
  Egesta—the latter applies to Athens for aid.—Promises of
  the Egestæans: motives offered to Athens for intervention
  in Sicily.—Alkibiadês warmly espouses their cause, and
  advises intervention.—Inspecting commissioners despatched
  by the Athenians to Egesta—frauds practised by the
  Egestæans to delude them.—Return of the commissioners to
  Athens—impression produced by their report. Resolution
  taken to send an expedition to Sicily.—Embarrassment of
  Nikias as opposer of the expedition.—Speech of Nikias
  at the second assembly held by the Athenians.—Reply
  of Alkibiadês.—The assembly favorable to the views
  of Alkibiadês—adheres to the resolution of sailing
  to Sicily.—Second speech of Nikias—exaggerating the
  difficulties and dangers of the expedition, and demanding a
  force on the largest scale.—Effect of this speech—increased
  eagerness of the assembly for the expedition—order and
  unanimity in reference to the plan.—Excitement in the city
  among all classes—great increase in the scale on which the
  expedition was planned.—Large preparations made for the
  expedition.—Review of these preliminary proceedings to the
  Sicilian expedition.—Advice and influence of Nikias.—Advice
  and influence of Alkibiadês.—Athens believed herself
  entitled to be mistress of the islands as well as of the
  sea.                                                       118-162



  Preparations for the expedition against Sicily—general
  enthusiasm and sanguine hopes at Athens.—Abundance in
  the Athenian treasury—display of wealth as well as of
  force in the armament.—Mutilation of the Hermæ at Athens.
  Numbers and sanctity of the Hermæ.—Violent excitement
  and religious alarm produced by the act at Athens.—The
  authors of the act unknown—but it was certainly done by
  design and conspiracy.—Various parties suspected—great
  probability beforehand that it would induce the Athenians
  to abandon or postpone the expedition.—The political
  enemies of Alkibiadês take advantage of the reigning
  excitement to try and ruin him.—Anxiety of the Athenians
  to detect and punish the conspirators—rewards offered for
  information.—Informations given in—commissioners of inquiry
  appointed.—First accusation of Alkibiadês, of having
  profaned and divulged the Eleusinian mysteries.—Violent
  speeches in the assembly against Alkibiadês unfavorably
  received.—He denies the charge and demands immediate
  trial—his demand is eluded by his enemies.—Departure of
  the armament from Peiræus—splendor and exciting character
  of the spectacle.—Solemnities of parting, on shipboard
  and on the water’s edge.—Full muster of the armament
  at Korkyra.—Progress to Rhegium—cold reception by the
  Italian cities.—Feeling at Syracuse as to the approaching
  armament—disposition to undervalue its magnitude,
  and even to question its intended coming.—Strenuous
  exhortations of Hermokratês, to be prepared.—Temper and
  parties in the Syracusan assembly.—Reply of Athenagoras,
  the popular orator.—Interposition of the stratêgi to
  moderate the violence of the debate.—Relative position
  of Athenagoras and other parties at Syracuse.—Pacific
  dispositions of Athenagoras.—His general denunciations
  against the oligarchical youth were well founded.—Active
  preparations at Syracuse on the approach of the
  Athenian armament.—Discouragement of the Athenians at
  Rhegium on learning the truth respecting the poverty
  of Egesta.—The Athenian generals discuss their plan of
  action—opinion of Nikias.—Opinion of Alkibiadês.—Opinion
  of Lamachus.—Superior discernment of Lamachus—plan of
  Alkibiadês preferred.—Alkibiadês at Messênê—Naxos joins
  the Athenians. Empty display of the armament.—Alkibiadês
  at Katana—the Athenians masters of Katana—they establish
  their station there. Refusal of Kamarina.—Alkibiadês is
  summoned home to take his trial.—Feelings and proceedings
  at Athens since the departure of the armament.—Number of
  citizens imprisoned on suspicion—increased agony of the
  public mind.—Peisander and Chariklês the commissioners
  of inquiry.—Information of Diokleidês.—More prisoners
  arrested—increased terror in the city—Andokidês
  among the persons imprisoned.—Andokidês is solicited
  by his fellow-prisoners to stand forward and give
  information—he complies.—Andokidês designates the
  authors of the mutilation of the Hermæ—consequence of
  his revelations.—Questionable authority of Andokidês, as
  to what he himself really stated in information.—Belief
  of the Athenians in his information—its tranquillizing
  effects.—Anxiety and alarm revived, respecting
  the persons concerned in the profanation of the
  Eleusinian mysteries.—Revival of the accusation against
  Alkibiadês.—Indictment presented by Thessalus, son
  of Kimon, against Alkibiadês.—Resolution to send for
  Alkibiadês home from Sicily to be tried.—Alkibiadês quits
  the army, as if to come home: makes his escape at Thurii,
  and retires to Peloponnesus.—Conduct of the Athenian public
  in reference to Alkibiadês—how far blamable. Conduct of
  his enemies.—Mischief to Athens from the banishment of
  Alkibiadês. Languid operations of the Sicilian armament
  under Nikias.—Increase of confidence and preparations at
  Syracuse, arising from the delays of Nikias.—Manœuvre of
  Nikias from Katana—he lands his forces in the Great Harbor
  of Syracuse.—Return of the Syracusan army from Katana to
  the Great Harbor—preparations for fighting Nikias.—Feelings
  of the ancient soldier.—Harangue of Nikias.—Battle near the
  Olympieion—victory of the Athenians.—Unabated confidence
  of the Syracusans—they garrison the Olympieion—Nikias
  reembarks his army, and returns to Katana.—He determines
  to take up his winter quarters at Katana, and sends
  to Athens for reinforcements of horse.—His failure at
  Messênê, through the betrayal by Alkibiadês.—Salutary
  lesson to the Syracusans, arising out of the recent
  defeat—mischiefs to the Athenians from the delay of
  Nikias.—Confidence of the Athenians at home in Nikias—their
  good temper—they send to him the reinforcements
  demanded.—Determined feeling at Syracuse—improved measures
  of defence—recommendations of Hermokratês.—Enlargement
  of the fortifications of Syracuse. Improvement of
  their situation. Increase of the difficulties of
  Nikias.—Hermokratês and Euphêmus—counter-envoys at
  Kamarina.—Speech of Euphêmus.—The Kamarinæans maintain
  practical neutrality.—Winter proceedings of Nikias from
  his quarters at Katana.—Syracusan envoys sent to solicit
  aid from Corinth and Sparta.—Alkibiadês at Sparta—his
  intense hostility to Athens.—Speech of Alkibiadês in the
  Lacedæmonian assembly.—Great effect of his speech on
  the Peloponnesians.—Misrepresentations contained in the
  speech.—Resolutions of the Spartans.—The Lacedæmonians send
  Gylippus to Syracuse.                                      163-243



  Movements of Nikias in the early spring.—Local condition
  and fortifications of Syracuse, at the time when Nikias
  arrived.—Inner and Outer City.—Localities without the wall
  of the outer city—Epipolæ.—Possibilities of the siege when
  Nikias first arrived in Sicily—increase of difficulties
  through his delay.—Increased importance of the upper
  ground of Epipolæ. Intention of the Syracusans to occupy
  the summit of Epipolæ.—The summit is surprised by the
  Athenians.—The success of this surprise was essential
  to the effective future prosecution of the siege.—First
  operations of the siege.—Central work of the Athenians
  on Epipolæ, called The Circle.—First counter-wall of
  the Syracusans.—Its direction, south of the Athenian
  circle—its completion.—It is stormed, taken, and destroyed
  by the Athenians.—Nikias occupies the southern cliff—and
  prosecutes his line of blockade south of the Circle.—Second
  counter-work of the Syracusans—reaching across the marsh,
  south of Epipolæ, to the river Anapus.—This counter-work
  attacked and taken by Lamachus—general battle—death
  of Lamachus.—Danger of the Athenian circle and of
  Nikias—victory of the Athenians.—Entrance of the Athenian
  fleet into the Great Harbor.—The southern portion of the
  wall of blockade, across the marsh to the Great Harbor,
  is prosecuted and nearly finished.—The Syracusans offer
  no farther obstruction—despondency at Syracuse—increasing
  closeness of the siege.—Order of the besieging operations
  successively undertaken by the Athenians.—Triumphant
  prospects of the Athenians. Disposition among the Sikels
  and Italian Greeks to favor them.—Conduct of Nikias—his
  correspondents in the interior of Syracuse.—Confidence of
  Nikias—comparative languor of his operations.—Approach
  of Gylippus—he despairs of relieving Syracuse.—Progress
  of Gylippus, in spite of discouraging reports.—Approach
  of Gylippus is made known to Nikias. Facility of
  preventing his farther advance—Nikias despises him, and
  leaves him to come unobstructed. He lands at Himera in
  Sicily.—Blindness of Nikias—egregious mistake of letting
  in Gylippus.—Gylippus levies an army and marches across
  Sicily from Himera to Syracuse.—The Corinthian Goggylus
  reaches Syracuse before Gylippus—just in time to hinder
  the town from capitulating.—Gylippus with his new-levied
  force enters Syracuse unopposed.—Unaccountable inaction
  of Nikias.—Vigorous and aggressive measures of Gylippus,
  immediately on arriving.—Gylippus surprises and captures
  the Athenian fort of Labdalum.—He begins the construction
  of a third counter-wall, on the north side of the Athenian
  circle.—Nikias fortifies Cape Plemmyrium.—Inconveniences
  of Plemmyrium as a maritime station—mischief which ensues
  to the Athenian naval strength.—Operations of Gylippus in
  the field—his defeat.—His decisive victory—the Athenians
  are shut up within their lines. The Syracusan counter-wall
  is carried on so far as to cut the Athenian line of
  blockade.—Farther defences provided by Gylippus, joining
  the higher part of Epipolæ with the city wall.—Confidence
  of Gylippus and the Syracusans—aggressive plans against
  the Athenians, even on the sea.—Discouragement of Nikias
  and the Athenians.—Nikias sends home a despatch to
  Athens, soliciting reinforcements.—Despatch of Nikias
  to the Athenian people.—Resolution of the Athenians to
  send Demosthenês with a second armament.—Remarks upon the
  despatch of Nikias.—Former despatches of Nikias.—Effect
  of his despatch upon the Athenians.—Treatment of
  Nikias by the Athenians.—Capital mistake committed by
  the Athenians.—Hostilities from Sparta certain and
  impending.—Resolution of Sparta to invade Attica forthwith,
  and to send farther reinforcements to Sicily.              243-286



  Active warlike preparations throughout Greece during
  the winter of 414-413 B.C.—Invasion of Attica by
  Agis and the Peloponnesian force—fortification of
  Dekeleia.—Second expedition from Athens against Syracuse,
  under Demosthenês.—Operations of Gylippus at Syracuse. He
  determines to attack the Athenians at sea.—Naval combat in
  the harbor of Syracuse—the Athenians victorious.—Gylippus
  surprises and takes Plemmyrium.—Important consequences
  of the capture.—Increased spirits and confidence of the
  Syracusans, even for sea-fight.—Efforts of the Syracusans
  to procure farther reinforcements from the Sicilian
  towns.—Conflicts between the Athenians and Syracusans
  in the Great Harbor.—Defeat of a Sicilian reinforcement
  marching to aid Syracuse—Renewed attack by Gylippus
  on the Athenians.—Disadvantages of the Athenian fleet
  in the harbor. Their naval tactics impossible in the
  narrow space.—Improvements in Syracusan ships suited to
  the narrow space.—The Syracusans threaten attack upon
  the Athenian naval station.—Additional preparations
  of Nikias—battle renewed.—Complete defeat of the
  Athenians.—Danger of the Athenian armament—arrival of
  Demosthenês with the second armament.—Voyage of Demosthenês
  from Korkyra.—Imposing effect of his entry into the Great
  Harbor.—Revived courage of the Athenians. Judicious
  and decisive resolutions of Demosthenês.—Position and
  plans of Demosthenês.—Nocturnal march of Demosthenês
  to surprise Epipolæ, and turn the Syracusan line of
  defence.—Partial success at first—complete and ruinous
  defeat finally.—Disorder of the Athenians—great loss
  in the flight.—Elate spirits, and renewed aggressive
  plans, of the Syracusans.—Deliberation and different
  opinions of the Athenian generals.—Demosthenês insists
  on departing from Sicily—Nikias opposes him.—Demosthenês
  insists at least on removing out of the Great
  Harbor.—Nikias refuses to consent to such removal.—The
  armament remains in the Great Harbor, neither acting nor
  retiring.—Infatuation of Nikias.—Increase of force and
  confidence in Syracuse.—Nikias at length consents to
  retreat. Orders for retreat privately circulated.—Eclipse
  of the moon—Athenian retreat postponed.—Eclipses
  considered as signs—differently interpreted—opinion of
  Philochorus.—Renewed attacks of the Syracusans—defeat of
  the Athenian fleet in the Great Harbor.—Partial success
  ashore against Gylippus.—The Syracusans determine to block
  up the mouth of the harbor, and destroy or capture the
  whole Athenian armament.—Large views of the Syracusans
  against the power of Athens—new hazards now opened to
  endanger that power.—Vast numbers, and miscellaneous
  origin, of the combatants now engaged in fighting for
  or against Syracuse.—The Syracusans block up the mouth
  of the harbor.—The Athenians resolve to force their way
  out—preparations made by the generals.—Exhortations of
  Nikias on putting the crews aboard.—Agony of Nikias—his
  efforts to encourage the officers.—Bold and animated
  language of Gylippus to the Syracusan fleet.—Syracusan
  arrangements. Condition of the Great Harbor—sympathizing
  population surrounding it.—Attempt of the Athenian fleet
  to break out—battle in the Great Harbor.—Long-continued
  and desperate struggle—intense emotion—total defeat of the
  Athenians.—Military operations of ancient times—strong
  emotions which accompanied them.—Causes of the defeat of
  the Athenians.—Feelings of the victors and vanquished after
  the battle.—Resolution of Demosthenês and Nikias to make
  a second attempt—the armament are too much discouraged
  to obey.—The Athenians determine to retreat by land—they
  postpone their retreat, under false communications from
  Syracuse.—The Syracusans block up the roads, to intercept
  their retreat.—Retreat of the Athenians—miserable condition
  of the army.—Wretchedness arising from abandoning the
  sick and wounded.—Attempt of the generals to maintain
  some order—energy of Nikias.—Exhortations of Nikias to
  the suffering army.—Commencement of the retreat—harassed
  and impeded by the Syracusans.—Continued conflict—no
  progress made by the retreating army.—Violent storm—effect
  produced on both parties—change of feeling in the last
  two years.—Night march of the Athenians, in an altered
  direction, towards the southern sea.—Separation of
  the two divisions under Nikias and Demosthenês. The
  first division under Nikias gets across the river
  Erineus.—The rear division under Demosthenês is pursued,
  overtaken, and forced to surrender.—Gylippus overtakes
  and attacks the division of Nikias.—Nikias gets to the
  river Asinarus—intolerable thirst and suffering of the
  soldiers—he and his division become prisoners.—Total
  numbers captured.—Hard treatment and sufferings of
  the Athenian prisoners at Syracuse.—Treatment of
  Nikias and Demosthenês—difference of opinion among the
  conquerors.—Influence of the Corinthians—efforts of
  Gylippus—both the generals are slain.—Disgrace of Nikias
  after his death, at Athens—continued respect for the memory
  of Demosthenês.—Opinion of Thucydidês about Nikias.—How
  far that opinion is just.—Opinion of the Athenians about
  Nikias—their steady over-confidence and over-esteem
  for him, arising from his respectable and religious
  character.—Over-confidence in Nikias was the greatest
  personal mistake which the Athenian public ever committed. 287-352



  Consequences of the ruin of the Athenian armament in
  Sicily.—Occupation of Dekeleia by the Lacedæmonians—its
  ruinous effects upon Athens.—Athens becomes a
  military post—heavy duty in arms imposed upon the
  citizens.—Financial pressure.—Athens dismisses her
  Thracian mercenaries—massacre at Mykalêssus.—The Thracians
  driven back with slaughter by the Thebans.—Athenian
  station at Naupaktus—decline of the naval superiority of
  Athens.—Naval battle near Naupaktus—indecisive result.—Last
  news of the Athenians from Syracuse—ruin of the army
  there not officially made known to them.—Reluctance of
  the Athenians to believe the full truth.—Terror and
  affliction at Athens.—Energetic resolutions adopted by
  the Athenians—Board of Probûli.—Prodigious effect of the
  catastrophe upon all Greeks—enemies and allies of Athens
  as well as neutrals—and even on the Persians.—Motions
  of king Agis.—The Eubœans apply to Agis for aid in
  revolting from Athens—the Lesbians also apply, and
  are preferred.—The Chians, with the same view, make
  application to Sparta.—Envoys from Tissaphernês and
  Pharnabazus come to Sparta at the same time.—Alkibiadês
  at Sparta—his recommendations determine the Lacedæmonians
  to send aid to Chios.—Synod of the Peloponnesian allies
  at Corinth—measures resolved.—Isthmian festival—scruples
  of the Corinthians—delay about Chios—suspicions of
  Athens.—Peloponnesian fleet from Corinth to Chios—it
  is defeated by the Athenians.—Small squadron starts
  from Sparta under Chalkideus and Alkibiadês, to go to
  Chios.—Energetic advice of Alkibiadês—his great usefulness
  to Sparta.—Arrival of Alkibiadês at Chios—revolt of the
  island from Athens.—General population of Chios was
  disinclined to revolt from Athens.—Dismay occasioned at
  Athens by the revolt of Chios—the Athenians set free
  and appropriate their reserved fund.—Athenian force
  despatched to Chios under Strombichidês.—Activity of
  the Chians in promoting revolt among the other Athenian
  allies—Alkibiadês determines Milêtus to revolt.—First
  alliance between the Peloponnesians and Tissaphernês,
  concluded by Chalkideus at Milêtus.—Dishonorable and
  disadvantageous conditions of the treaty.—Energetic efforts
  of Athens—democratical revolution at Samos.—Peloponnesian
  fleet at Kenchreæ—Astyochus is sent as Spartan admiral
  to Ionia.—Expedition of the Chians against Lesbos.—Ill
  success of the Chians—Lesbos is maintained by the
  Athenians.—Harassing operations of the Athenians against
  Chios.—Hardships suffered by the Chians—prosperity
  of the island up to this time.—Fresh forces from
  Athens—victory of the Athenians near Milêtus.—Fresh
  Peloponnesian forces arrive—the Athenians retire, pursuant
  to the strong recommendation of Phrynichus.—Capture of
  Iasus by the Peloponnesians—rich plunder—Amorgês made
  prisoner.—Tissaphernês begins to furnish pay to the
  Peloponnesian fleet. He reduces the rate of pay for the
  future.—Powerful Athenian fleet at Samos—unexpected
  renovation of the navy of Athens.—Astyochus at Chios and
  on the opposite coast.—Pedaritus, Lacedæmonian governor at
  Chios—disagreement between him and Astyochus.—Astyochus
  abandons Chios and returns to Milêtus—accident whereby
  he escaped the Athenian fleet.—The Athenians establish a
  fortified post in Chios, to ravage the island.—Dorieus
  arrives on the Asiatic coast with a squadron from Thurii,
  to join Astyochus—maritime contests near Knidus.—Second
  Peloponnesian treaty with Tissaphernês, concluded by
  Astyochus and Theramenês.—Comparison of the second
  treaty with the first.—Arrival of a fresh Peloponnesian
  squadron under Antisthenês at Kaunus—Lichas comes out as
  Spartan commissioner.—Astyochus goes with the fleet from
  Milêtus to join the newly-arrived squadron—he defeats
  the Athenian squadron under Charmînus.—Peloponnesian
  fleet at Knidus—double dealing of Tissaphernês—breach
  between him and Lichas.—Peloponnesian fleet masters
  Rhodes, and establishes itself in that island.—Long
  inaction of the fleet at Rhodes—paralyzing intrigues of
  Tissaphernês—corruption of the Lacedæmonian officers.      353-402






My last chapter and last volume terminated with the peace called the
Peace of Nikias, concluded in March 421 B.C., between Athens and the
Spartan confederacy, for fifty years.

This peace—negotiated during the autumn and winter succeeding the
defeat of the Athenians at Amphipolis, wherein both Kleon and
Brasidas were slain—resulted partly from the extraordinary anxiety
of the Spartans to recover their captives who had been taken at
Sphakteria, partly from the discouragement of the Athenians, leading
them to listen to the peace-party who acted with Nikias. The general
principle adopted for the peace was, the restitution by both parties
of what had been acquired by war, yet excluding such places as had
been surrendered by capitulation: according to which reserve the
Athenians, while prevented from recovering Platæa, continued to hold
Nisæa, the harbor of Megara. The Lacedæmonians engaged to restore
Amphipolis to Athens, and to relinquish their connection with the
revolted allies of Athens in Thrace; that is, Argilus, Stageirus,
Akanthus, Skôlus, Olynthus, and Spartôlus. These six cities, however,
were not to be enrolled as allies of Athens unless they chose
voluntarily to become so, but only to pay regularly to Athens the
tribute originally assessed by Aristeidês, as a sort of recompense
for the protection of the Ægean sea against private war or piracy.
Any inhabitant of Amphipolis or the other cities, who chose to leave
them, was at liberty to do so, and to carry away his property.
Farther, the Lacedæmonians covenanted to restore Panaktum to Athens,
together with all the Athenian prisoners in their possession. As to
Skiônê, Torônê, and Sermylus, the Athenians were declared free to
take their own measures. On their part, they engaged to release all
captives in their hands, either of Sparta or her allies; to restore
Pylus, Kythêra, Methônê, Pteleon, and Atalantê; and to liberate all
the Peloponnesian or Brasidean soldiers now under blockade in Skiônê.

Provision was also made, by special articles, that all Greeks should
have free access to the sacred Pan-Hellenic festivals, either by
land or sea; and that the autonomy of the Delphian temple should be

The contracting parties swore to abstain in future from all injury
to each other, and to settle by amicable decision any dispute which
might arise.[1]

  [1] Thucyd. v, 17-29.

Lastly, it was provided that if any matter should afterwards occur
as having been forgotten, the Athenians and Lacedæmonians might by
mutual consent amend the treaty as they thought fit. So prepared, the
oaths were interchanged between seventeen principal Athenians and as
many principal Lacedæmonians.

Earnestly bent as Sparta herself was upon the peace, and ratified as
it had been by the vote of a majority among her confederates, still,
there was a powerful minority who not only refused their assent
but strenuously protested against its conditions. The Corinthians
were discontented because they did not receive back Sollium and
Anaktorium; the Megarians, because they did not regain Nisæa; the
Bœotians, because Panaktum was to be restored to Athens: the Eleians
also on some other ground which we do not distinctly know. All of
them, moreover, took common offence at the article which provided
that Athens and Sparta might, by mutual consent, and without
consulting the allies, amend the treaty in any way that they thought
proper.[2] Though the peace was sworn, therefore, the most powerful
members of the Spartan confederacy remained all recusant.

  [2] Thucyd. v, 18.

So strong was the interest of the Spartans themselves, however,
that having obtained the favorable vote of the majority, they
resolved to carry the peace through, even at the risk of breaking
up the confederacy. Besides the earnest desire of recovering their
captives from the Athenians, they were farther alarmed by the fact
that their truce for thirty years concluded with Argos was just now
expiring. They had indeed made application to Argos for renewing it,
through Lichas the Spartan proxenus of that city. But the Argeians
had refused, except upon the inadmissible condition that the border
territory of Kynuria should be ceded to them: there was reason to
fear therefore that this new and powerful force might be thrown into
the scale of Athens, if war were allowed to continue.[3]

  [3] Thucyd. v, 14, 22, 76.

Accordingly, no sooner had the peace been sworn than the Spartans
proceeded to execute its provisions. Lots being drawn to determine
whether Sparta or Athens should be the first to make the cessions
required, the Athenians drew the favorable lot: an advantage so very
great, under the circumstances, that Theophrastus affirmed Nikias to
have gained the point by bribery. There is no ground for believing
such alleged bribery; the rather, as we shall presently find Nikias
gratuitously throwing away most of the benefit which the lucky lot

  [4] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 10.

The Spartans began their compliance by forthwith releasing all
the Athenian prisoners in their hands, and despatching Ischagoras
with two other envoys to Amphipolis and the Thracian towns. These
envoys were directed to proclaim the peace as well as to enforce
its observance upon the Thracian towns, and especially to command
Klearidas, the Spartan commander in Amphipolis, that he should
surrender the town to the Athenians. But on arriving in Thrace, these
envoys met with nothing but unanimous opposition: and so energetic
were the remonstrances of the Chalkidians, both in Amphipolis and out
of it, that even Klearidas refused obedience to his own government,
pretending that he was not strong enough to surrender the place
against the resistance of the Chalkidians. Thus completely baffled,
the envoys returned to Sparta, whither Klearidas thought it prudent
to accompany them, partly to explain his own conduct, partly in hopes
of being able to procure some modification of the terms. But he found
this impossible, and he was sent back to Amphipolis with peremptory
orders to surrender the place to the Athenians, if it could possibly
be done; if that should prove beyond his force, then to come away,
and bring home every Peloponnesian soldier in the garrison. Perhaps
the surrender was really impracticable to a force no greater
than that which Klearidas commanded, since the reluctance of the
population was doubtless obstinate. At any rate, he represented it to
be impracticable: the troops accordingly came home, but the Athenians
still remained excluded from Amphipolis, and all the stipulations of
the peace respecting the Thracian towns remained unperformed. Nor
was this all. The envoys from the recusant minority (Corinthians and
others), after having gone home for instructions, had now come back
to Sparta with increased repugnance and protest against the injustice
of the peace, so that all the efforts of the Spartans to bring them
to compliance were fruitless.[5]

  [5] Thucyd. v, 21, 22.

The latter were now in serious embarrassment. Not having executed
their portion of the treaty, they could not demand that Athens should
execute hers: and they were threatened with the double misfortune of
forfeiting the confidence of their allies without acquiring any one
of the advantages of the treaty. In this dilemma they determined to
enter into closer relations, and separate relations, with Athens,
at all hazard of offending their allies. Of the enmity of Argos,
if unaided by Athens, they had little apprehension; while the
moment was now favorable for alliance with Athens, from the decided
pacific tendencies reigning on both sides, as well as from the
known philo-Laconian sentiment of the leaders Nikias and Lachês.
The Athenian envoys had remained at Sparta ever since the swearing
of the peace, awaiting the fulfilment of the conditions; Nikias
or Lachês, one or both, being very probably among them. When they
saw that Sparta was unable to fulfil her bond, so that the treaty
seemed likely to be cancelled, they would doubtless encourage, and
perhaps may even have suggested, the idea of a separate alliance
between Sparta and Athens, as the only expedient for covering the
deficiency; promising that under that alliance the Spartan captives
should be restored. Accordingly, a treaty was concluded between the
two, for fifty years; not merely of peace, but of defensive alliance.
Each party pledged itself to assist in repelling any invaders of
the territory of the other, to treat them as enemies, and not to
conclude peace with them without the consent of the other. This was
the single provision of the alliance, with one addition, however,
of no mean importance, for the security of Lacedæmon. The Athenians
engaged to lend their best and most energetic aid in putting down any
rising of the Helots which might occur in Laconia. Such a provision
indicates powerfully the uneasiness felt by the Lacedæmonians
respecting their serf-population: but at the present moment it was of
peculiar value to them, since it bound the Athenians to restrain, if
not to withdraw, the Messenian garrison of Pylos, planted there by
themselves for the express purpose of provoking the Helots to revolt.

An alliance with stipulations so few and simple took no long time
to discuss. It was concluded very speedily after the return of the
envoys from Amphipolis, probably not more than a month or two after
the former peace. It was sworn to by the same individuals on both
sides; with similar declaration that the oath should be annually
renewed, and also with similar proviso that Sparta and Athens might
by mutual consent either enlarge or contract the terms, without
violating the oath.[6] Moreover, the treaty was directed to be
inscribed on two columns: one to be set up in the temple of Apollo at
Amyklæ, the other in the temple of Athênê, in the acropolis of Athens.

  [6] Thucyd. v, 23. The treaty of alliance seems to have been
  drawn up at Sparta, and approved or concerted with the Athenian
  envoys; then sent to Athens, and there adopted by the people;
  then sworn to on both sides. The interval between this second
  treaty and the first (οὐ πολλῷ ὕστερον, v, 24), may have been
  more than a month; for it comprised the visit of the Lacedæmonian
  envoys to Amphipolis and the other towns of Thrace, the
  manifestation of resistance in those towns, and the return of
  Klearidas to Sparta to give an account of his conduct.

The most important result of this new alliance was something
not specified in its provisions, but understood, we may be well
assured, between the Spartan ephors and Nikias at the time when it
was concluded. All the Spartan captives at Athens were forthwith

  [7] Thucyd. v, 24.

Nothing can demonstrate more powerfully the pacific and acquiescent
feeling now reigning at Athens, as well as the strong philo-Laconian
inclinations of her leading men (at this moment Alkibiadês was
competing with Nikias for the favor of Sparta, as will be stated
presently), than the terms of this alliance, which bound Athens to
assist in keeping down the Helots, and the still more important
after-proceeding, of restoring the Spartan captives. Athens thus
parted irrevocably with her best card, and promised to renounce her
second best, without obtaining the smallest equivalent beyond what
was contained in the oath of Sparta to become her ally. For the last
three years and a half, ever since the capture of Sphakteria, the
possession of these captives had placed her in a position of decided
advantage in regard to her chief enemy; advantage, however, which
had to a certain extent been countervailed by subsequent losses.
This state of things was fairly enough represented by the treaty of
peace deliberately discussed during the winter, and sworn to at the
commencement of spring, whereby a string of concessions, reciprocal
and balancing, had been imposed on both parties. Moreover, Athens had
been lucky enough in drawing lots to find herself enabled to wait for
the actual fulfilment of such concessions by the Spartans, before
she consummated her own. Now the Spartans had not as yet realized
any one of their promised concessions: nay, more; in trying to do
so, they had displayed such a want either of power or of will, as
made it plain, that nothing short of the most stringent necessity
would convert their promises into realities. Yet, under these marked
indications, Nikias persuades his countrymen to conclude a second
treaty which practically annuls the first, and which insures to
the Spartans gratuitously all the main benefits of the first, with
little or none of the correlative sacrifices. The alliance of Sparta
could hardly be said to count as a consideration: for that alliance
was at this moment, under the uncertain relations with Argos, not
less valuable to Sparta herself than to Athens. There can be little
doubt that, if the game of Athens had now been played with prudence,
she might have recovered Amphipolis in exchange for the captives:
for the inability of Klearidas to make over the place, even if we
grant it to have been a real fact and not merely simulated, might
have been removed by decisive coöperation on the part of Sparta
with an Athenian armament sent to occupy the place. In fact, that
which Athens was now induced to grant was precisely the original
proposition transmitted to her by the Lacedæmonians four years
before, when the hoplites were first inclosed in Sphakteria, but
before the actual capture. They then tendered no equivalent, but
merely said, through their envoys, “Give us the men in the island,
and accept in exchange peace, together with our alliance.”[8] At that
moment there were some plausible reasons in favor of granting the
proposition: but even then, the case of Kleon against it was also
plausible and powerful, when he contended that Athens was entitled
to make a better bargain. But _now_, there were no reasons in its
favor, and a strong concurrence of reasons against it. Alliance with
the Spartans was of no great value to Athens: peace was of material
importance to her; but peace had been already sworn to on both sides,
after deliberate discussion, and required now only to be carried into
execution. That equal reciprocity of concession, which presented the
best chance of permanent result, had been agreed on; and fortune had
procured for her the privilege of receiving the purchase-money before
she handed over the goods. Why renounce so advantageous a position,
accepting in exchange a hollow and barren alliance, under the
obligation of handing over her most precious merchandise upon credit,
and upon credit as delusive in promise as it afterwards proved
unproductive in reality? The alliance, in fact, prevented the peace
from being fulfilled: it became, as Thucydidês himself[9] admits, no
peace, but a simple suspension of direct hostilities.

  [8] Thucyd. iv, 19. Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ ὑμᾶς προκαλοῦνται ἐς
  σπονδὰς καὶ διάλυσιν πολέμου, διδόντες μὲν εἰρήνην καὶ ξυμμαχίαν
  καὶ ἄλλην φιλίαν πολλὴν καὶ οἰκειότητα ἐς ἀλλήλους ὑπάρχειν,
  ἀνταιτοῦντες δὲ τοὺς ἐκ τῆς νήσου ἄνδρας.

  [9] Thucyd. v, 26. οὐκ εἰκὸς ὂν εἰρήνην αὐτὴν κριθῆναι, etc.

Thucydidês states on more than one occasion, and it was the
sentiment of Nikias himself, that at the moment of concluding the
peace which bears his name, the position of Sparta was one of
disadvantage and dishonor in reference to Athens;[10] alluding
chiefly to the captives in the hands of the latter; for as to other
matters, the defeats of Delium and Amphipolis, with the serious
losses in Thrace, would more than countervail the acquisitions
of Nisæa, Pylus, Kythêra, and Methônê. Yet so inconsiderate and
short-sighted were the philo-Laconian leanings of Nikias and the
men who now commanded confidence at Athens, that they threw away
this advantage, suffered Athens to be cheated of all those hopes
which they had themselves held out as the inducement for peace, and
nevertheless yielded gratuitously to Sparta all the main points which
she desired. Most certainly there was never any public recommendation
of Kleon, as far as our information goes, so ruinously impolitic as
this alliance with Sparta and surrender of the captives, wherein
both Nikias and Alkibiadês concurred. Probably the Spartan ephors
amused Nikias, and he amused the Athenian assembly, with fallacious
assurances of certain obedience in Thrace, under alleged peremptory
orders given to Klearidas. And now that the vehement leather-dresser,
with his criminative eloquence, had passed away, replaced only by an
inferior successor, the lamp-maker[11] Hyperbolus, and leaving the
Athenian public under the undisputed guidance of citizens eminent for
birth and station, descended from gods and heroes, there remained
no one to expose effectively the futility of such assurances, or to
enforce the lesson of simple and obvious prudence: “Wait, as you are
entitled to wait, until the Spartans have performed the onerous part
of their bargain, before you perform the onerous part of yours. Or,
if you choose to relax in regard to some of the concessions which
they have sworn to make, at any rate stick to the capital point of
all, and lay before them the peremptory alternative—Amphipolis in
exchange for the captives.”

  [10] Thucyd. v, 28. κατὰ γὰρ τὸν χρόνον τοῦτον ἥ τε Λακεδαίμων
  μάλιστα δὴ κακῶς ἤκουσε καὶ ὑπερώφθη διὰ τὰς ξυμφορὰς.—(Νικίας)
  λέγων ἐν μὲν τῷ σφετέρῳ καλῷ (Athenian) ἐν δὲ τῷ ἐκείνων ἀπρεπεῖ
  (Lacedæmonian) τὸν πόλεμον ἀναβάλλεσθαι, etc. (v, 46)—Οἷς πρῶτον
  μὲν (to the Lacedæmonians) διὰ ξυμφορῶν ἡ ξύμβασις, etc.

  [11] Aristophan. Pac. 665-887.

The Athenians were not long in finding out how completely they had
forfeited the advantage of their position, and their chief means of
enforcement, by giving up the captives; which imparted a freedom
of action to Sparta such as she had never enjoyed since the first
blockade of Sphakteria. Yet it seems that under the present ephors
Sparta was not guilty of any deliberate or positive act which
could be called a breach of faith. She gave orders to Klearidas
to surrender Amphipolis if he could; if not, to evacuate it, and
bring the Peloponnesian troops home. Of course, the place was not
surrendered to the Athenians, but evacuated; and she then considered
that she had discharged her duty to Athens, as far as Amphipolis was
concerned, though she had sworn to restore it, and her oath remained
unperformed.[12] The other Thracian towns were equally deaf to her
persuasions, and equally obstinate in their hostility to Athens. So
also were the Bœotians, Corinthians, Megarians, and Eleians: but the
Bœotians, while refusing to become parties to the truce along with
Sparta, concluded for themselves a separate convention or armistice
with Athens, terminable at ten days’ notice on either side.[13]

  [12] Thucyd. v, 21-35.

  [13] Thucyd. v, 32.

In this state of things, though ostensible relations of peace and
free reciprocity of intercourse between Athens and Peloponnesus were
established, the discontent of the Athenians, and the remonstrances
of their envoys at Sparta, soon became serious. The Lacedæmonians
had sworn for themselves and their allies, yet the most powerful
among these allies, and those whose enmity was most important
to Athens, continued still recusant. Neither Panaktum, nor the
Athenian prisoners in Bœotia, were yet restored to Athens; nor had
the Thracian cities yet submitted to the peace. In reply to the
remonstrances of the Athenian envoys, the Lacedæmonians affirmed
that they had already surrendered all the Athenian prisoners in
their own hands, and had withdrawn their troops from Thrace, which
was, they said, all the intervention in their power, since they were
not masters of Amphipolis, nor capable of constraining the Thracian
cities against their will. As to the Bœotians and Corinthians, the
Lacedæmonians went so far as to profess readiness to take arms
along with Athens,[14] for the purpose of constraining them to
accept the peace, and even spoke about naming a day, after which
these recusant states should be proclaimed as joint enemies, both
by Sparta and Athens. But their propositions were always confined
to vague words, nor would they consent to bind themselves by any
written or peremptory instrument. Nevertheless, so great was their
confidence either in the sufficiency of these assurances, or in the
facility of Nikias, that they ventured to require from Athens the
surrender of Pylus, or at least the withdrawal of the Messenian
garrison with the Helot deserters from that place, leaving in it none
but native Athenian soldiers, until farther progress should be made
in the peace. But the feeling of the Athenians was now seriously
altered, and they received this demand with marked coldness. None
of the stipulations of the treaty in their favor had yet been
performed, none even seemed in course of being performed: so that
they now began to suspect Sparta of dishonesty and deceit, and deeply
regretted their inconsiderate surrender of the captives.[15] Their
remonstrances at Sparta, often repeated during the course of the
summer, produced no positive effect: nevertheless, they suffered
themselves to be persuaded to remove the Messenians and Helots from
Pylus to Kephallenia, replacing them by an Athenian garrison.[16]

  [14] Thucyd. v, 35. λέγοντες ἀεὶ ὡς μετ’ Ἀθηναίων τούτους,
  ἢν μὴ θέλωσι, κοινῇ ἀναγκάσουσι· ~χρόνους δὲ προὔθεντο ἄνευ
  ξυγγραφῆς~, ἐν οἷς χρῆν τοὺς μὴ ἐσιόντας ἀμφοτέροις πολεμίους

  [15] Thucyd. v, 35. τούτων οὖν ὁρῶντες οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι οὐδὲν ἔργῳ
  γιγνόμενον, ὑπετόπευον τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους μηδὲν δίκαιον
  διανοεῖσθαι, ὥστε οὔτε Πύλον ἀπαιτούντων αὐτῶν ἀπεδίδοσαν, ἀλλὰ
  ~καὶ τοὺς ἐκ τῆς νήσου ἄνδρας μετεμέλοντο ἀποδεδωκότες~, etc.

  [16] Thucyd. v, 35. πολλάκις δὲ καὶ πολλῶν λόγων γενομένων ἐν τῷ
  θέρει τούτῳ, etc.

The Athenians had doubtless good reason to complain of Sparta. But
the persons of whom they had still better reason to complain, were
Nikias and their own philo-Laconian leaders; who had first accepted
from Sparta promises doubtful as to execution, and next—though
favored by the lot in regard to priority of cession, and thus
acquiring proof that Sparta either would not or could not perform her
promises—renounced all these advantages, and procured for Sparta
almost gratuitously the only boon for which she seriously cared. The
many critics on Grecian history, who think no term too harsh for the
demagogue Kleon, ought in fairness to contrast his political counsel
with that of his rivals, and see which of the two betokens greater
forethought in the management of the foreign relations of Athens.
Amphipolis had been once lost by the improvident watch of Thucydidês
and Euklês: it was now again lost by the improvident concessions of

So much was the Peloponnesian alliance unhinged by the number of
states which had refused the peace, and so greatly was the ascendency
of Sparta for the time impaired, that new combinations were now
springing up in the peninsula. It has already been mentioned that
the truce between Argos and Sparta was just now expiring: Argos
therefore was free, with her old pretensions to the headship of
Peloponnesus, backed by an undiminished fulness of wealth, power,
and population. Having taken no direct part in the late exhausting
war, she had even earned money by lending occasional aid on both
sides;[17] while her military force was just now farther strengthened
by a step of very considerable importance. She had recently set apart
a body of a thousand select hoplites, composed of young men of wealth
and station, to receive constant military training at the public
expense, and to be enrolled as a separate regiment by themselves,
apart from the other citizens.[18] To a democratical government like
Argos, such an institution was internally dangerous, and pregnant
with mischief, which will be hereafter described. But at the present
moment, the democratical leaders of Argos seem to have thought only
of the foreign relations of their city, now that her truce with
Sparta was expiring, and that the disorganized state of the Spartan
confederacy opened new chances to her ambition of regaining something
like headship in Peloponnesus.

  [17] Thucyd. v, 28. Aristophan. Pac. 467, about the Argeians,
  δίχοθεν μισθοφοροῦντες ἄλφιτα.

  He characterizes the Argeians as anxious for this reason to
  prolong the war between Athens and Sparta. This passage, as well
  as the whole tenor of the play, affords ground for affirming that
  the Pax was represented during the winter immediately preceding
  the Peace of Nikias, about four or five months after the battle
  of Amphipolis and the death of Kleon and Brasidas; not two years
  later, as Mr. Clinton would place it, on the authority of a date
  in the play itself, upon which he lays too great stress.

  [18] Thucyd. v, 67. Ἀργείων οἱ Χίλιοι λογάδες, οἷς ἡ πόλις ~ἐκ
  πολλοῦ~ ἄσκησιν τῶν ἐς τὸν πόλεμον δημοσίᾳ παρεῖχε.

  Diodorus (xii, 75) represents the first formation of this
  Thousand-regiment at Argos as having taken place just about this
  time, and I think he is here worthy of credit; so that I do not
  regard the expression of Thucydidês ἐκ πολλοῦ as indicating a
  time more than two years prior to the battle of Mantineia. For
  Grecian military training, two years of constant practice would
  be a _long_ time. It is not to be imagined that the Argeian
  democracy would have incurred the expense and danger of keeping
  up this select regiment during all the period of their long
  peace, just now coming to an end.

The discontent of the recusant Peloponnesian allies was now inducing
them to turn their attention towards Argos as a new chief. They had
mistrusted Sparta, even before the peace, well knowing that she had
separate interests from the confederacy, arising from desire to get
back her captives: in the terms of peace, it seemed as if Sparta and
Athens alone were regarded, the interests of the remaining allies,
especially those in Thrace, being put out of sight. Moreover, that
article in the treaty of peace whereby it was provided that Athens
and Sparta might by mutual consent add or strike out any article that
they chose, without consulting the allies, excited general alarm, as
if Sparta were meditating some treason in conjunction with Athens
against the confederacy.[19] And the alarm, once roused, was still
farther aggravated by the separate treaty of alliance between Sparta
and Athens, which followed so closely afterwards, as well as by the
restoration of the Spartan captives.

  [19] Thucyd. v, 29. μὴ μετὰ Ἀθηναίων σφᾶς βούλωνται Λακεδαιμόνιοι
  δουλώσασθαι: compare Diodorus, xii, 75.

Such general displeasure among the Peloponnesian states at the
unexpected combination of Athenians and Lacedæmonians, strengthened
in the case of each particular state by private interests of its own,
first manifested itself openly through the Corinthians. On retiring
from the conferences at Sparta,—where the recent alliance between
the Athenians and Spartans had just been made known, and where the
latter had vainly endeavored to prevail upon their allies to accept
the peace,—the Corinthians went straight to Argos to communicate
what had passed, and to solicit interference. They suggested to the
leading men in that city, that it was now the duty of Argos to step
forward as saviour of Peloponnesus, which the Lacedæmonians were
openly betraying to the common enemy, and to invite for that purpose,
into alliance for reciprocal defence, every autonomous Hellenic state
which would bind itself to give and receive amicable satisfaction in
all points of difference. They affirmed that many cities, from hatred
of Sparta, would gladly comply with such invitation; especially if a
board of commissioners in small number were named, with full powers
to admit all suitable applicants; so that, in case of rejection,
there might at least be no exposure before the public assembly in the
Argeian democracy. This suggestion—privately made by the Corinthians,
who returned home immediately afterwards—was eagerly adopted both
by leaders and people at Argos, as promising to realize their
long-cherished pretensions to headship. Twelve commissioners were
accordingly appointed, with power to admit any new allies whom they
might think eligible, except Athens and Sparta. With either of those
two cities, no treaty was allowed without the formal sanction of the
public assembly.[20]

  [20] Thucyd. v, 28.

Meanwhile, the Corinthians, though they had been the first to set the
Argeians in motion, nevertheless thought it right, before enrolling
themselves publicly in the new alliance, to invite a congress of
Peloponnesian malcontents to Corinth. It was the Mantineians who made
the first application to Argos under the notice just issued. And
here we are admitted to a partial view of the relations among the
secondary and interior states of Peloponnesus. Mantineia and Tegea,
being conterminous as well as the two most considerable states in
Arcadia, were in perpetual rivalry, which had shown itself only a
year and a half before in a bloody but indecisive battle.[21] Tegea,
situated on the frontiers of Laconia, and oligarchically governed,
was tenaciously attached to Sparta: while for that very reason, as
well as from the democratical character of her government, Mantineia
was less so, though she was still enrolled in and acted as a member
of the Peloponnesian confederacy. She had recently conquered for
herself[22] a little empire in her own neighborhood, composed of
village districts in Arcadia, reckoned as her subject allies, and
comrades in her ranks at the last battle with Tegea. This conquest
had been made even during the continuance of the war with Athens; a
period when the lesser states of Peloponnesus generally, and even
subject-states as against their own imperial states, were under
the guarantee of the confederacy, to which they were required to
render their unpaid service against the common enemy; so that she
was apprehensive of Lacedæmonian interference at the request and
for the emancipation of these subjects, who lay, moreover, near
to the borders of Laconia. Such interference would probably have
been invoked earlier; only that Sparta had been under pressing
embarrassments—and farther, had assembled no general muster of the
confederacy against Athens—ever since the disaster in Sphakteria. But
now she had her hands free, together with a good pretext as well as
motive for interference.

  [21] Thucyd. iv, 134.

  [22] Thucyd. v, 29. τοῖς γὰρ Μαντινεῦσι μέρος τι τῆς Ἀρκαδίας
  κατέστραπτο ὑπήκοον, ἔτι τοῦ πρὸς Ἀθηναίους πολέμου ὄντος, καὶ
  ἐνόμιζον οὐ περιόψεσθαι σφᾶς τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους ἄρχειν, ἐπειδὴ
  καὶ σχολὴν ἦγον.

  As to the way in which the agreement of the members of the
  confederacy modified the relations between subordinate and
  imperial states, see farther on, pages 25 and 26, in the case of
  Elis and Lepreum.

To maintain the autonomy of all the little states, and prevent any
of them from being mediatized or grouped into aggregations under the
ascendency of the greater, had been the general policy of Sparta;
especially since her own influence as general leader was increased by
insuring to every lesser state a substantive vote at the meetings of
the confederacy.[23] Moreover, the rivalry of Tegea would probably
operate here as an auxiliary motive against Mantineia. Under such
apprehensions, the Mantineians hastened to court the alliance and
protection of Argos, with whom they enjoyed the additional sympathy
of a common democracy. Such revolt from Sparta[24] (for so it was
considered) excited great sensation throughout Peloponnesus, together
with considerable disposition, amidst the discontent then prevalent,
to follow the example.

  [23] Thucyd. i, 125.

  [24] Thucyd. v, 29. ~Ἀποστάντων δὲ τῶν Μαντινέων~, καὶ ἡ ἄλλη
  Πελοπόννησος ἐς θροῦν καθίστατο ὡς καὶ σφίσι ποιητέον τοῦτο,
  νομίζοντες πλέον τέ τι εἰδότας μεταστῆναι αὐτοὺς, καὶ τοὺς
  Λακεδαιμονίους ἅμα δι’ ὀργῆς ἔχοντες, etc.

In particular, it contributed much to enhance the importance of
the congress at Corinth; whither the Lacedæmonians thought it
necessary to send special envoys to counteract the intrigues going
on against them. Their envoy addressed to the Corinthians strenuous
remonstrance, and even reproach, for the leading part which they
had taken in stirring up dissension among the old confederates, and
organizing a new confederacy under the presidency of Argos. “They
(the Corinthians) were thus aggravating the original guilt and
perjury which they had committed by setting at nought the formal
vote of a majority of the confederacy, and refusing to accept the
peace,—for it was the sworn and fundamental maxim of the confederacy,
that the decision of the majority should be binding on all,
except in such cases as involved some offence to gods or heroes.”
Encouraged by the presence of many sympathizing deputies, Bœotian,
Megarian, Chalkidian from Thrace,[25] etc., the Corinthians replied
with firmness. But they did not think it good policy to proclaim
their real ground for rejecting the peace, namely, that it had not
procured for themselves the restoration of Sollium and Anaktorium:
since, first, this was a question in which their allies present had
no interest; next, it did not furnish any valid excuse for their
resistance to the vote of the majority. Accordingly, they took their
stand upon a pretence at once generous and religious; upon that
reserve for religious scruples, which the Lacedæmonian envoy had
himself admitted, and which of course was to be construed by each
member with reference to his own pious feeling. “It _was_ a religious
impediment (the Corinthians contended) which prevented us from
acceding to the peace with Athens, notwithstanding the vote of the
majority; for we had previously exchanged oaths, ourselves apart from
the confederacy, with the Chalkidians of Thrace at the time when they
revolted from Athens: and we should have infringed those separate
oaths, had we accepted a treaty of peace in which these Chalkidians
were abandoned. As for alliance with Argos, we consider ourselves
free to adopt any resolution which we may deem suitable, after
consultation with our friends here present.” With this unsatisfactory
answer the Lacedæmonian envoys were compelled to return home. Yet
some Argeian envoys, who were also present in the assembly for the
purpose of urging the Corinthians to realize forthwith the hopes of
alliance which they had held out to Argos, were still unable on their
side to obtain a decided affirmative, being requested to come again
at the next conference.[26]

  [25] Thucyd. v, 30. Κορίνθιοι δὲ παρόντων σφίσι τῶν ξυμμάχων,
  ὅσοι οὐδ’ αὐτοὶ ἐδέξαντο τὰς σπονδάς (παρεκάλεσαν δὲ αὐτοὺς αὐτοὶ
  πρότερον) ἀντέλεγον τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις, ~ἃ μὲν ἠδικοῦντο, οὐ
  δηλοῦντες ἄντικρυς~, etc.

  [26] Thucyd. v, 30.

Though the Corinthians had themselves originated the idea of the new
Argeian confederacy and compromised Argos in an open proclamation,
yet they now hesitated about the execution of their own scheme.
They were restrained in part doubtless by the bitterness of
Lacedæmonian reproof; for the open consummation of this revolt,
apart from its grave political consequences, shocked a train of very
old feelings; but still more by the discovery that their friends,
who agreed with them in rejecting the peace, decidedly refused
all open revolt from Sparta and all alliance with Argos. In this
category were the Bœotians and Megarians. Both of these states—left
to their own impression and judgment by the Lacedæmonians, who did
not address to them any distinct appeal as they had done to the
Corinthians—spontaneously turned away from Argos, not less from
aversion towards the Argeian democracy than from sympathy with the
oligarchy at Sparta:[27] they were linked together by communion of
interest, not merely as being both neighbors and intense enemies of
Attica, but as each having a body of democratical exiles who might
perhaps find encouragement at Argos. Discouraged by the resistance of
these two important allies, the Corinthians hung back from visiting
Argos, until they were pushed forward by a new accidental impulse,
the application of the Eleians; who, eagerly embracing the new
project, sent envoys first to conclude alliance with the Corinthians,
and next to go on and enroll Elis as an ally of Argos. This incident
so confirmed the Corinthians in their previous scheme, that they
speedily went to Argos, along with the Chalkidians of Thrace, to join
the new confederacy.

  [27] Thucyd. v, 31. Βοιωτοὶ δὲ καὶ Μεγαρῆς τὸ αὐτὸ λέγοντες
  ἡσύχαζον, ~περιορώμενοι ὑπὸ τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων~, καὶ νομίζοντες
  σφίσι τὴν Ἀργείων δημοκρατίαν αὐτοῖς ὀλιγαρχουμένοις ἧσσον
  ξύμφορον εἶναι τῆς Λακεδαιμονίων πολιτείας.

  These words, περιορώμενοι ὑπὸ τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων, are not clear,
  and have occasioned much embarrassment to the commentators,
  as well as some propositions for altering the text. It would
  undoubtedly be an improvement in the sense, if we were permitted
  (with Dobree) to strike out the words ὑπὸ τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων as
  a gloss, and thus to construe περιορώμενοι as a middle verb,
  “waiting to see the event,” or literally, “keeping a look-out
  about them.” But taking the text as it now stands, the sense
  which I have given to it seems the best which can be elicited.

  Most of the critics translate περιορώμενοι “slighted or despised
  by the Lacedæmonians.” But in the first place, this is not true
  as a matter of fact: in the next place, if it were true, we
  ought to have an adversative conjunction instead of καὶ before
  νομίζοντες, since the tendency of the two motives indicated would
  then be in opposite directions. “The Bœotians, though despised
  by the Lacedæmonians, still thought a junction with the Argeian
  democracy dangerous.” And this is the sense which Haack actually
  proposes, though it does great violence to the word καὶ.

  Dr. Thirlwall and Dr. Arnold translate περιορώμενοι “feeling
  themselves slighted;” and the latter says, “The Bœotians and
  Megarians took neither side; not the Lacedæmonian, for they felt
  that the Lacedæmonians had slighted them; not the Argive, for
  they thought that the Argive democracy would suit them less than
  the constitution of Sparta.” But this again puts an inadmissible
  meaning on ἡσύχαζον, which means “stood as they were.” The
  Bœotians were not called upon to choose between two sides or two
  positive schemes of action: they were invited to ally themselves
  with Argos, and this they decline doing: they prefer to _remain
  as they are_, allies of Lacedæmon, but refusing to become parties
  to the peace. Moreover, in the sense proposed by Dr. Arnold, we
  should surely find an adversative conjunction in place of καὶ.

  I submit that the word περιορᾶν does not necessarily mean “to
  slight or despise,” but sometimes “to leave alone, to take
  no notice of, to abstain from interfering.” Thus, Thucyd. i,
  24. Ἐπιδάμνιοι—πέμπουσιν ἐς τὴν Κερκύραν πρέσβεις—δεόμενοι μὴ
  σφᾶς ~περιορᾶν~ φθειρομένους, etc. Again, i, 69, καὶ νῦν τοὺς
  Ἀθηναίους οὐχ ἑκάς ἀλλ’ ἐγγὺς ὄντας ~περιορᾶτε~, etc. The same
  is the sense of περιϊδεῖν and περιόψεσθαι, ii, 20. In all these
  passages there is no idea of _contempt_ implied in the word: the
  “leaving alone” or “abstaining from interference,” proceeds from
  feelings quite different from contempt.

  So in the passage here before us, περιορώμενοι seems the
  _passive_ participle in this sense. Thucydidês, having just
  described an energetic remonstrance sent by the Spartans to
  prevent Corinth from joining Argos, means to intimate (by the
  words here in discussion) that _no_ similar _interference_ was
  resorted to by them to prevent the Bœotians and Megarians from
  joining her: “The Bœotians and Megarians remained as they were,
  _left to themselves by the Lacedæmonians_, and thinking the
  Argeian democracy less suitable to them than the oligarchy of

The conduct of Elis, like that of Mantineia, in thus revolting from
Sparta, had been dictated by private grounds of quarrel, arising
out of relations with their dependent ally Lepreum. The Lepreates
had become dependent on Elis some time before the beginning of the
Peloponnesian war, in consideration of aid lent by the Eleians to
extricate them from a dangerous war against some Arcadian enemies.
To purchase such aid, they had engaged to cede to the Eleians half
their territory; but had been left in residence and occupation of it,
under the stipulation of paying one talent yearly as tribute to the
Olympian Zeus; in other words, to the Eleians as his stewards. When
the Peloponnesian war began,[28] and the Lacedæmonians began to call
for the unpaid service of the Peloponnesian cities generally, small
as well as great, against Athens, the Lepreates were, by the standing
agreement of the confederacy, exempted for the time from continuing
to pay their tribute to Elis. Such exemption ceased with the war; at
the close of which Elis became entitled, under the same agreement,
to resume the suspended tribute. She accordingly required that the
payment should then be recommenced: but the Lepreates refused, and
when she proceeded to apply force, threw themselves on the protection
of Sparta, by whose decision the Eleians themselves at first agreed
to abide, having the general agreement of the confederacy decidedly
in their favor. But it presently appeared that Sparta was more
disposed to carry out her general system of favoring the autonomy
of the lesser states, than to enforce the positive agreement of
the confederacy. Accordingly the Eleians, accusing her of unjust
bias, renounced her authority as arbitrator, and sent a military
force to occupy Lepreum. Nevertheless, the Spartans persisted in
their adjudication, pronounced Lepreum to be autonomous, and sent a
body of their own hoplites to defend it against the Eleians. The
latter loudly protested against this proceeding, and pronounced the
Lacedæmonians as having robbed them of one of their dependencies,
contrary to that agreement which had been adopted by the general
confederacy when the war began,—to the effect that each imperial city
should receive back at the end of the war all the dependencies which
it possessed at the beginning, on condition of waiving its title to
tribute and military service from them so long as the war lasted.
After fruitless remonstrances with Sparta, the Eleians eagerly
embraced the opportunity now offered of revolting from her, and of
joining the new league with Corinth and Argos.[29]

  [28] Thucyd. v, 31. Καὶ μέχρι τοῦ Ἀττικοῦ πολέμου ἀπέφερον·
  ἔπειτα παυσαμένων διὰ πρόφασιν τοῦ πολέμου, οἱ Ἠλεῖοι
  ἐπηνάγκαζον, οἱ δ’ ἐτράποντο πρὸς τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους.

  For the _agreement_ here alluded to, see a few lines forward.

  [29] Thucyd. v, 31. τὴν ξυνθήκην προφέροντες ἐν ᾗ εἴρητο, ἃ
  ἔχοντες ἐς τὸν Ἀττικὸν πόλεμον καθίσταντό τινες, ταῦτα ἔχοντας
  καὶ ἐξελθεῖν, ὡς οὐκ ἴσον ἔχοντες ἀφίστανται, etc.

  Of the agreement here alluded to among the members of the
  Peloponnesian confederacy, we hear only in this one passage.
  It was extremely important to such of the confederates as
  were imperial cities; that is, which had subordinates or

  Poppo and Bloomfield wonder that the Corinthians did not appeal
  to this agreement in order to procure the restitution of
  Sollium and Anaktorium. But they misconceive the scope of the
  agreement, which did not relate to captures made during the war
  by the common enemy. It would be useless for the confederacy to
  enter into a formal agreement that none of the members should
  lose anything through capture made by the enemy. This would
  be a question of superiority of force, for no agreement could
  bind the enemy. But the confederacy might very well make a
  covenant among themselves, as to the relations between their own
  imperial _immediate_ members, and the _mediate_ or subordinate
  dependencies of each. Each imperial state consented to forego
  the tribute or services of its dependency, so long as the latter
  was called upon to lend its aid in the general effort of the
  confederacy against the common enemy. But the confederacy at the
  same time gave its guarantee, that the imperial state should
  reënter upon these suspended rights, so soon as the war should
  be at an end. This guarantee was clearly violated by Sparta in
  the case of Elis and Lepreum. On the contrary, in the case of
  Mantineia, mentioned a few pages back, p. 19, the Mantineians had
  violated the maxim of the confederacy, and Sparta was justified
  in interfering at the request of their subjects to maintain the
  autonomy of the latter.

That new league, including Argos, Corinth, Elis, and Mantineia, had
now acquired such strength and confidence, that the Argeians and
Corinthians proceeded on a joint embassy to Tegea to obtain the
junction of that city, seemingly the most powerful in Peloponnesus
next to Sparta and Argos. What grounds they had for expecting success
we are not told. The mere fact of Mantineia having joined Argos,
seemed likely to deter Tegea, as the rival Arcadian power, from doing
the same: and so it proved, for the Tegeans decidedly refused the
proposal, not without strenuous protestations that they would stand
by Sparta in everything. The Corinthians were greatly disheartened
by this repulse, which they had by no means expected, having been
so far misled by general expressions of discontent against Sparta
as to believe that they could transfer nearly the whole body of
confederates to Argos. But they now began to despair of all farther
extension of Argeian headship, and even to regard their own position
as insecure on the side of Athens; with whom they were not at peace,
while by joining Argos they had forfeited their claim upon Sparta
and all her confederacy, including Bœotia and Megara. In this
embarrassment they betook themselves to the Bœotians, whom they again
entreated to join them in the Argeian alliance: a request already
once refused, and not likely to be now granted, but intended to usher
in a different request preferred at the same time. The Bœotians were
entreated to accompany the Corinthians to Athens, and obtain for them
from the Athenians an armistice terminable at ten days’ notice, such
as that which they had contracted for themselves. In case of refusal,
they were farther entreated to throw up their own agreement, and to
conclude no other without the concurrence of the Corinthians. So far
the Bœotians complied, as to go to Athens with the Corinthians, and
back their application for an armistice, which the Athenians declined
to grant, saying that the Corinthians were already included in the
general peace, if they were allies of Sparta. On receiving this
answer the Corinthians entreated the Bœotians, putting it as a matter
of obligation, to renounce their own armistice, and make common cause
as to all future compact. But this request was steadily refused. The
Bœotians maintained their ten days’ armistice; and the Corinthians
were obliged to acquiesce in their existing condition of peace _de
facto_, though not guaranteed by any pledge of Athens.[30]

  [30] Thucyd. v, 32. Κορινθίοις δὲ ἀνακωχὴ ἄσπονδος ἦν πρὸς

  Upon which Dr. Arnold remarks: “By ἄσπονδος is meant a mere
  agreement in words, not ratified by the solemnities of religion.
  And the Greeks, as we have seen, considered the breach of their
  word very different from the breach of their oath.”

  Not so much is here meant even as that which Dr. Arnold supposes.
  There was no agreement at all, either in words or by oath. There
  was a simple absence of hostilities, _de facto_, not arising out
  of any recognized pledge. Such is the meaning of ἀνακωχὴ, i, 66;
  iii, 25, 26.

  The answer here made by the Athenians to the application of
  Corinth is not easy to understand. They might, with much better
  reason, have declined to conclude the ten day’s armistice with
  the _Bœotians_, because these latter still remained allies of
  Sparta, though refusing to accede to the general peace; whereas
  the Corinthians, having joined Argos, had less right to be
  considered allies of Sparta. Nevertheless, we shall still find
  them attending the meetings at Sparta, and acting as allies of
  the latter.

Meanwhile the Lacedæmonians were not unmindful of the affront which
they had sustained by the revolt of Mantineia and Elis. At the
request of a party among the Parrhasii, the Arcadian subjects of
Mantineia, they marched under king Pleistoanax into that territory,
and compelled the Mantineians to evacuate the fort which they had
erected within it; which the latter were unable to defend, though
they received a body of Argeian troops to guard their city, and
were thus enabled to march their whole force to the threatened
spot. Besides liberating the Arcadian subjects of Mantineia,
the Lacedæmonians also planted an additional body of Helots and
Neodamodes at Lepreum, as a defence and means of observation on
the frontiers of Elis.[31] These were the Brasidean soldiers, whom
Klearidas had now brought back from Thrace. The Helots among them had
been manumitted as a reward, and allowed to reside where they chose.
But as they had imbibed lessons of bravery under their distinguished
commander, their presence would undoubtedly be dangerous among the
serfs of Laconia: hence the disposition of the Lacedæmonians to
plant them out. We may recollect that not very long before, they
had caused two thousand of the most soldierly Helots to be secretly
assassinated, without any ground of suspicion against these victims
personally, but simply from fear of the whole body and of course
greater fear of the bravest.[32]

  [31] Thucyd. v, 33, 34. The Neodamodes were Helots previously
  enfranchised, or the sons of such.

  [32] Thucyd. iv, 80.

It was not only against danger from the returning Brasidean Helots
that the Lacedæmonians had to guard, but also against danger—real
or supposed—from their own Spartan captives, liberated by Athens
at the conclusion of the recent alliance. Though the surrender of
Sphakteria had been untarnished by any dishonor, nevertheless these
men could hardly fail to be looked upon as degraded, in the eyes
of Spartan pride; or at least they might fancy that they were so
looked upon, and thus become discontented. Some of them were already
in the exercise of various functions, when the ephors contracted
suspicions of their designs, and condemned them all to temporary
disqualification for any official post, placing the whole of their
property under trust-management, and interdicting them, like minors,
from every act either of purchase or sale.[33] This species of
disfranchisement lasted for a considerable time; but the sufferers
were at length relieved from it, the danger being supposed to be
over. The nature of the interdict confirms, what we know directly
from Thucydidês, that many of these captives were among the first and
wealthiest families in the state, and the ephors may have apprehended
that they would employ their wealth in acquiring partisans and
organizing revolt among the Helots. We have no facts to enable
us to appreciate the situation; but the ungenerous spirit of the
regulation, as applied to brave warriors recently come home from a
long imprisonment—justly pointed out by modern historians—would not
weigh much with the ephors under any symptoms of public danger.

  [33] Thucyd. v, 34. Ἀτίμους ἐποίησαν, ἀτιμίαν δὲ τοιαύτην, ὥστε
  μήτε ἄρχειν, μήτε πριαμένους τι, ἢ πωλοῦντας, κυρίους εἶναι.

Of the proceedings of the Athenians during this summer we hear
nothing, except that the town of Skiônê at length surrendered to
them after a long-continued blockade, and that they put to death
the male population of military age, selling the women and children
into slavery. The odium of having proposed this cruel resolution two
years and a half before, belongs to Kleon; that of executing it,
nearly a year after his death, to the leaders who succeeded him,
and to his countrymen generally. The reader will, however, now be
sufficiently accustomed to the Greek laws of war not to be surprised
at such treatment against subjects revolted and reconquered. Skiônê
and its territory was made over to the Platæan refugees. The native
population of Delos, also, who had been removed from that sacred
spot during the preceding year, under the impression that they were
too impure for the discharge of the sacerdotal functions, were
now restored to their island. The subsequent defeat of Amphipolis
had created a belief at Athens that this removal had offended the
gods; under which impression, confirmed by the Delphian oracle,
the Athenians now showed their repentance by restoring the Delian
exiles.[34] They farther lost the towns of Thyssus on the peninsula
of Athos, and Mekyberna on the Sithonian gulf, which were captured by
the Chalkidians of Thrace.[35]

  [34] Thucyd. v, 32.

  [35] Thucyd. v, 35-39. I agree with Dr. Thirlwall and Dr. Arnold
  in preferring the conjecture of Poppo, Χαλκιδῆς, in this place.

Meanwhile the political relations throughout the powerful Grecian
states remained all provisional and undetermined. The alliance still
subsisted between Sparta and Athens, yet with continual complaints on
the part of the latter that the prior treaty remained unfulfilled.
The members of the Spartan confederacy were discontented; some had
seceded, and others seemed likely to do the same; while Argos,
ambitious to supplant Sparta, was trying to put herself at the head
of a new confederacy, though as yet with very partial success.
Hitherto, however, the authorities of Sparta—king Pleistoanax as well
as the ephors of the year—had been sincerely desirous to maintain
the Athenian alliance, so far as it could be done without sacrifice,
and without the real employment of force against recusants, of which
they had merely talked in order to amuse the Athenians. Moreover,
the prodigious advantage which they had gained by recovering the
prisoners, doubtless making them very popular at home, would attach
them the more firmly to their own measure. But at the close of the
summer—seemingly about the end of September or beginning of October,
B.C. 421—the year of these ephors expired, and new ephors were
nominated for the ensuing year. Under the existing state of things
this was an important revolution: for out of the five new ephors,
two—Kleobûlus and Xenarês—were decidedly hostile to peace with
Athens, and the remaining three apparently indifferent.[36] And we
may here remark, that this fluctuation and instability of public
policy, which is often denounced as if it were the peculiar attribute
of a democracy, occurs quite as much under the constitutional
monarchy of Sparta, the least popular government in Greece, both in
principle and detail.

  [36] Thucyd. v, 36.

The new ephors convened a special congress at Sparta for the
settlement of the pending differences, at which among the rest
Athenian, Bœotian, and Corinthian envoys were all present. But,
after prolonged debates, no approach was made to agreement; so that
the congress was on the point of breaking up, when Kleobûlus and
Xenarês, together with many of their partisans,[37] originated, in
concert with the Bœotian and Corinthian deputies, a series of private
underhand manœuvres for the dissolution of the Athenian alliance.
This was to be effected by bringing about a separate alliance between
Argos and Sparta, which the Spartans sincerely desired, and would
grasp at in preference, so these ephors affirmed, even if it cost
them the breach of their new tie with Athens. The Bœotians were
urged, first to become allies of Argos themselves, and then to bring
Argos into alliance with Sparta. But it was farther essential that
they should give up Panaktum to Sparta, so that it might be tendered
to the Athenians in exchange for Pylos; for Sparta could not easily
go to war with them while they remained masters of the latter.[38]

  [37] Thucyd. v, 37. ἐπεσταλμένοι ἀπό τε τοῦ Κλεοβούλου καὶ
  Ξενάρους καὶ ὅσοι φίλοι ἦσαν αὐτοῖς, etc.

  [38] Thucyd. v, 36.

Such were the plans which Kleobûlus and Xenarês laid with the
Corinthian and Bœotian deputies, and which the latter went home
prepared to execute. Chance seemed to favor the purpose at once: for
on their road home, they were accosted by two Argeians, senators
in their own city, who expressed an earnest anxiety to bring about
alliance between the Bœotians and Argos. The Bœotian deputies, warmly
encouraging this idea, urged the Argeians to send envoys to Thebes
as solicitors of the alliance; and communicated to the bœotarchs, on
their arrival at home, both the plans laid by the Spartan ephors and
the wishes of these Argeians. The bœotarchs also entered heartily
into the entire scheme; receiving the Argeian envoys with marked
favor, and promising, as soon as they should have obtained the
requisite sanction, to send envoys of their own and ask for alliance
with Argos.

That sanction was to be obtained from “the Four Senates of the
Bœotians;” bodies, of the constitution of which nothing is known.
But they were usually found so passive and acquiescent that the
bœotarchs, reckoning upon their assent as a matter of course,
even without any full exposition of reasons, laid all their plans
accordingly.[39] They proposed to these four Senates a resolution
in general terms, empowering themselves in the name of the Bœotian
federation to exchange oaths of alliance with any Grecian city which
might be willing to contract on terms mutually beneficial: their
particular object being, as they stated, to form alliance with
the Corinthians, Megarians, and Chalkidians of Thrace, for mutual
defence, and for war as well as peace with others only by common
consent. To this specific object they anticipated no resistance on
the part of the Senates, inasmuch as their connection with Corinth
had always been intimate, while the position of the four parties
named was the same, all being recusants of the recent peace. But
the resolution was advisedly couched in the most comprehensive
terms, in order that it might authorize them to proceed farther
afterwards, and conclude alliance on the part of the Bœotians and
Megarians with Argos; that ulterior purpose being however for the
present kept back, because alliance with Argos was a novelty which
might surprise and alarm the Senates. The manœuvre, skilfully
contrived for entrapping these bodies into an approval of measures
which they never contemplated, illustrates the manner in which an
oligarchical executive could elude the checks devised to control
its proceedings. But the bœotarchs, to their astonishment, found
themselves defeated at the outset: for the Senates would not even
hear of alliance with Corinth, so much did they fear to offend Sparta
by any special connection with a city which had revolted from her.
Nor did the bœotarchs think it safe to divulge their communications
with Kleobûlus and Xenarês, or to acquaint the Senates that the whole
plan originated with a powerful party in Sparta herself. Accordingly,
under this formal refusal on the part of the Senates, no farther
proceedings could be taken. The Corinthian and Chalkidian envoys left
Thebes, while the promise of sending Bœotian envoys to Argos remained

  [39] Thucyd. v, 38. οἰόμενοι τὴν βουλὴν, κἂν μὴ εἴπωσιν, οὐκ ἄλλα
  ψηφιεῖσθαι ἢ ἃ σφίσι προδιαγνόντες παραινοῦσιν ... ταῖς τέσσαρσι
  βουλαῖς τῶν Βοιωτῶν, αἵπερ ἅπαν τὸ κῦρος ἔχουσι.

  [40] Thucyd. v, 38.

But the anti-Athenian ephors at Sparta, though baffled in their
schemes for arriving at the Argeian alliance through the agency
of the Bœotians, did not the less persist in their views upon
Panaktum. That place—a frontier fortress in the mountainous range
between Attica and Bœotia, apparently on the Bœotian side of Phylê,
and on or near the direct road from Athens to Thebes which led
through Phylê[41]—had been an Athenian possession, until six months
before the peace, when it had been treacherously betrayed to the
Bœotians.[42] A special provision of the treaty between Athens
and Sparta, prescribed that it should be restored to Athens; and
Lacedæmonian envoys were now sent on an express mission to Bœotia,
to request from the Bœotians the delivery of Panaktum as well as
of their Athenian captives, in order that by tendering these to
Athens she might be induced to surrender Pylos. The Bœotians refused
compliance with this request, except on condition that Sparta should
enter into special alliance with them as she had done with the
Athenians. Now the Spartans stood pledged by their covenant with the
latter, either by its terms or by its recognized import, not to enter
into any new alliance without their consent. But they were eagerly
bent upon getting possession of Panaktum; while the prospect of
breach with Athens, far from being a deterring motive, was exactly
that which Kleobûlus and Xenarês desired. Under these feelings,
the Lacedæmonians consented to and swore the special alliance with
Bœotia. But the Bœotians, instead of handing over Panaktum for
surrender, as they had promised, immediately razed the fortress to
the ground; under pretence of some ancient oaths which had been
exchanged between their ancestors and the Athenians, to the effect
that the district round it should always remain without resident
inhabitants, as a neutral strip of borderland, and under common

  [41] See Colonel Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, vol. ii, ch.
  xvii, p. 370.

  [42] Thucyd. v, 3.

These negotiations, after having been in progress throughout
the winter, ended in the accomplishment of the alliance and the
destruction of Panaktum at the beginning of spring or about the
middle of March. And while the Lacedæmonian ephors thus seemed to
be carrying their point on the side of Bœotia, they were agreeably
surprised by an unexpected encouragement to their views from another
quarter. An embassy arrived at Sparta from Argos, to solicit renewal
of the peace just expiring. The Argeians found that they made no
progress in the enlargement of their newly-formed confederacy, while
their recent disappointment with the Bœotians made them despair of
realizing their ambitious projects of Peloponnesian headship. But
when they learned that the Lacedæmonians had concluded a separate
alliance with the Bœotians, and that Panaktum had been razed, their
disappointment was converted into positive alarm for the future.
Naturally inferring that this new alliance would not have been
concluded except in concert with Athens, they interpreted the whole
proceeding as indicating that Sparta had prevailed upon the Bœotians
to accept the peace with Athens, the destruction of Panaktum being
conceived as a compromise to obviate disputes respecting possession.
Under such a persuasion,—noway unreasonable in itself, when the two
contracting governments, both oligarchical and both secret, furnished
no collateral evidence to explain their real intent,—the Argeians saw
themselves excluded from alliance not merely with Bœotia, Sparta,
and Tegea, but also with Athens; which latter city they had hitherto
regarded as a sure resort in case of hostility with Sparta. Without
a moment’s delay, they despatched Eustrophus and Æson, two Argeians
much esteemed at Sparta, and perhaps proxeni of that city, to press
for a renewal of their expiring truce with the Spartans, and to
obtain the best terms they could.

To the Lacedæmonian ephors this application was eminently acceptable,
the very event which they had been manœuvring underhand to bring
about: and negotiations were opened, in which the Argeian envoys
at first proposed that the disputed possession of Thyrea should
be referred to arbitration. But they found their demand met by a
peremptory negative, the Lacedæmonians refusing to enter upon such
a discussion, and insisting upon simple renewal of the peace now at
an end. At last the Argeian envoys, eagerly bent upon keeping the
question respecting Thyrea open, in some way or other, prevailed upon
the Lacedæmonians to assent to the following singular agreement.
Peace was concluded between Athens and Sparta for fifty years; but
if at any moment within that interval, excluding either periods
of epidemic or periods of war, it should suit the views of either
party to provoke a combat by chosen champions of equal number for
the purpose of determining the right to Thyrea, there was to be full
liberty of doing so; the combat to take place within the territory of
Thyrea itself, and the victors to be interdicted from pursuing the
vanquished beyond the undisputed border of either territory. It will
be recollected, that about one hundred and twenty years before this
date, there had been a combat of this sort by three hundred champions
on each side, in which, after desperate valor on both sides, the
victory as well as the disputed right still remained undetermined.
The proposition made by the Argeians was a revival of this old
practice of judicial combat: nevertheless, such was the alteration
which the Greek mind had undergone during the interval, that it now
appeared a perfect absurdity, even in the eyes of the Lacedæmonians,
the most old-fashioned people in Greece.[43] Yet since they hazarded
nothing, practically, by so vague a concession, and were supremely
anxious to make their relations smooth with Argos, in contemplation
of a breach with Athens, they at last agreed to the condition, drew
up the treaty, and placed it in the hands of the envoys to carry back
to Argos. Formal acceptance and ratification, by the Argeian public
assembly, was necessary to give it validity: should this be granted,
the envoys were invited to return to Sparta at the festival of the
Hyakinthia, and there go through the solemnity of the oaths.

Amidst such strange crossing of purposes and interests, the Spartan
ephors seemed now to have carried all their points; friendship with
Argos, breach with Athens, and yet the means—through the possession
of Panaktum—of procuring from Athens the cession of Pylos. But they
were not yet on firm ground. For when their deputies, Andromedês
and two colleagues, arrived in Bœotia for the purpose of going on
to Athens and prosecuting the negotiation about Panaktum, at the
time when Eustrophus and Æson were carrying on their negotiation at
Sparta, they discovered for the first time that the Bœotians, instead
of performing their promise to hand over Panaktum, had razed it to
the ground. This was a serious blow to their chance of success at
Athens: nevertheless, Andromedês proceeded thither, taking with him
all the Athenian captives in Bœotia. These he restored at Athens,
at the same time announcing the demolition of Panaktum as a fact:
Panaktum as well as the prisoners was thus _restored_, he pretended;
for the Athenians would not now find a single enemy in the place: and
he claimed the cession of Pylos in exchange.[44]

  [43] Thucyd. v, 41. Τοῖς δὲ Λακεδαιμονίοις τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ἐδόκει
  μωρία εἶναι ταῦτα· ἔπειτα (ἐπεθύμουν γὰρ τὸ Ἄργος πάντως φίλιον
  ἔχειν) ξυνεχώρησαν ἐφ’ οἷς ἠξίουν, καὶ ξυνεγράψαντο.

  By the forms of treaty which remain, we are led to infer that
  the treaty was not subscribed by any signatures, but drawn up by
  the secretary or authorized officer, and ultimately engraved on
  a column. The names of those who take the oath are recorded, but
  seemingly no official signature.

  [44] Thucyd. v. 42.

But he soon found that the final term of Athenian compliance had been
reached. It was probably on this occasion that the separate alliance
concluded between Sparta and the Bœotians first became discovered at
Athens; since not only were the proceedings of these oligarchical
governments habitually secret, but there was a peculiar motive for
keeping this alliance concealed until the discussion about Panaktum
and Pylos had been brought to a close. Both this alliance, and the
demolition of Panaktum, excited among the Athenians the strongest
marks of disgust and anger; aggravated probably rather than softened
by the quibble of Andromedês, that demolition of the fort, being
tantamount to restitution, and precluding any farther tenancy by the
enemy, was a substantial satisfaction of the treaty; and aggravated
still farther by the recollection of all the other unperformed
items in the treaty. A whole year had now elapsed, amidst frequent
notes and protocols, to employ a modern phrase; yet not one of the
conditions favorable to Athens had yet been executed, except the
restitution of her captives, seemingly not many in number; while she
on her side had made to Sparta the capital cession on which almost
everything hinged. A long train of accumulated indignation, brought
to a head by this mission of Andromedês, discharged itself in the
harshest dismissal and rebuke of himself and his colleagues.[45]

  [45] Thucyd. v. 42.

Even Nikias, Lachês, and the other leading men, to whose improvident
facility and misjudgment the embarrassment of the moment was owing,
were probably not much behind the general public in exclamation
against Spartan perfidy, if it were only to divert attention from
their own mistake. But there was one of them—Alkibiadês son of
Kleinias—who took this opportunity of putting himself at the head of
the vehement anti-Laconian sentiment which now agitated the ekklesia,
and giving to it a substantive aim.

The present is the first occasion on which we hear of this remarkable
man as taking a prominent part in public life. He was now about
thirty-one or thirty-two years old, which in Greece was considered
an early age for a man to exercise important command. But such was
the splendor, wealth, and antiquity of his family, of Æakid lineage
through the heroes Eurysakês and Ajax, and such the effect of that
lineage upon the democratical public of Athens,[46] that he stepped
speedily and easily into a conspicuous station. Belonging also
through his mother Deinomachê to the gens of the Alkmæonidæ, he
was related to Periklês, who became his guardian when he was left
an orphan at about five years old, along with his younger brother
Kleinias. It was at that time that their father Kleinias was slain at
the battle of Koroneia, having already served with honor in a trireme
of his own at the sea-fight of Artemisium against the Persians. A
Spartan nurse named Amykla was provided for the young Alkibiadês, and
a slave named Zopyrus chosen by his distinguished guardian to watch
over him; but even his boyhood was utterly ungovernable, and Athens
was full of his freaks and enormities, to the unavailing regret of
Periklês and his brother Ariphron.[47] His violent passions, love of
enjoyment, ambition of preëminence, and insolence towards others,[48]
were manifested at an early age, and never deserted him throughout
his life. His finished beauty of person both as boy, youth, and
mature man, caused him to be much run after by women,[49] and even
by women of generally reserved habits. Moreover, even before the
age when such temptations were usually presented, the beauty of his
earlier youth, while going through the ordinary gymnastic training,
procured for him assiduous caresses, compliments, and solicitations
of every sort, from the leading Athenians who frequented the public
palæstræ. These men not only endured his petulance, but were
even flattered when he would condescend to bestow it upon them.
Amidst such universal admiration and indulgence, amidst corrupting
influences exercised from so many quarters and from so early an
age, combined with great wealth and the highest position, it was
not likely that either self-restraint or regard for the welfare of
others would ever acquire development in the mind of Alkibiadês. The
anecdotes which fill his biography reveal the utter absence of both
these constituent elements of morality; and though, in regard to the
particular stories, allowance must doubtless be made for scandal
and exaggeration, yet the general type of character stands plainly
marked and sufficiently established in all.

  [46] Thucyd. v. 43. Ἀλκιβιάδης ... ἀνὴρ ἡλικίᾳ μὲν ὢν ἔτι τότε
  νέος, ὡς ἐν ἄλλῃ πόλει, ἀξιώματι δὲ προγόνων τιμώμενος.

  The expression cf Plutarch, however, ἔτι μειράκιον, seems an
  exaggeration (Alkibiad. c. 10).

  Kritias and Chariklês, in reply to the question of Sokratês, whom
  they had forbidden to converse with or teach young men, defined a
  _young man_ to be one under thirty years of age, the senatorial
  age at Athens (Xenophon, Memor. i. 2. 35).

  [47] Plato, Protagoras, c. 10, p. 320; Plutarch, Alkibiad. c.
  2, 3, 4; Isokratês, De Bigis, Orat. xvi, p. 353, sect. 33, 34;
  Cornel. Nepos, Alkibiad. c. 1.

  [48] Πέπονθα δὲ πρὸς τοῦτον (Σωκράτη) μόνον ἀνθρώπων, ~ὃ οὐκ ἄν
  τις οἴοιτο ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐνεῖναι, τὸ αἰσχύνεσθαι ὁντινοῦν~.

  This is a part of the language which Plato puts into the mouth
  of Alkibiadês, in the Symposion, c. 32, p. 216; see also Plato,
  Alkibiad. i, c. 1, 2, 3.

  Compare his other contemporary, Xenophon, Memor. i, 2, 16-25.

  Φύσει δὲ πολλῶν ὄντων καὶ μεγάλων πάθων ἐν αὐτῷ τὸ φιλόνεικον
  ἰσχυρότατον ἦν καὶ τὸ φιλόπρωτον, ὡς δῆλόν ἐστι τοῖς παιδικοῖς
  ὑπομνήμασι (Plutarch, Alkib. c. 2).

  [49] I translate, with some diminution of the force of the words,
  the expression of a contemporary author, Xenophon, Memorab. i,
  2. 24. Ἀλκιβιάδης δ’ αὖ διὰ μὲν κάλλος ὑπὸ πολλῶν καὶ σεμνῶν
  γυναικῶν ~θηρώμενος~, etc.

A dissolute life, and an immoderate love of pleasure in all its
forms, is what we might naturally expect from a young man so
circumstanced; and it appears that with him these tastes were
indulged with an offensive publicity which destroyed the comfort
of his wife Hipparetê, daughter of Hipponikus who was slain at the
battle of Delium. She had brought him a large dowry of ten talents:
when she sought a divorce, as the law of Athens permitted, Alkibiadês
violently interposed to prevent her from obtaining the benefit of
the law, and brought her back by force to his house even from the
presence of the magistrate. It is this violence of selfish passion,
and reckless disregard of social obligation towards every one,
which forms the peculiar characteristic of Alkibiadês. He strikes
the schoolmaster whose house he happens to find unprovided with a
copy of Homer; he strikes Taureas,[50] a rival chorêgus, in the
public theatre, while the representation is going on; he strikes
Hipponikus, who afterwards became his father-in-law, out of a wager
of mere wantonness, afterwards appeasing him by an ample apology;
he protects the Thasian poet Hêgêmon, against whom an indictment
had been formally lodged before the archon, by effacing it with
his own hand from the published list in the public edifice, called
Metrôon; defying both magistrate and accuser to press the cause on
for trial.[51] Nor does it appear that any injured person ever dared
to bring Alkibiadês to trial before the dikastery, though we read
with amazement the tissue of lawlessness[52] which marked his private
life; a combination of insolence and ostentation with occasional
mean deceit when it suited his purpose. But amidst the perfect legal,
judicial, and constitutional equality, which reigned among the
citizens of Athens, there still remained great social inequalities
between one man and another, handed down from the times preceding
the democracy: inequalities which the democratical institutions
limited in their practical mischiefs, but never either effaced or
discredited, and which were recognized as modifying elements in the
current, unconscious vein of sentiment and criticism, by those whom
they injured as well as by those whom they favored. In the speech
which Thucydidês[53] ascribes to Alkibiadês before the Athenian
public assembly, we find the insolence of wealth and high social
position not only admitted as a fact, but vindicated as a just
morality; and the history of his life, as well as many other facts
in Athenian society, show that if not approved, it was at least
tolerated in practice to a serious extent, in spite of the restraints
of the democracy.

  [50] Demosthen. cont. Meidiam, c. 49; Thucyd. vi, 16; Antipho
  apud Athenæum, xii, p. 525.

  [51] Athenæus, ix, p. 407.

  [52] Thucyd. vi, 15. I translate the expression of Thucydidês,
  which is of great force and significance—φοβηθέντες γὰρ αὐτοῦ οἱ
  πολλοὶ τὸ μέγεθος τῆς τε κατὰ τὸ ἑαυτοῦ σῶμα ~παρανομίας~ ἐς τὴν
  δίαιταν, etc. The same word is repeated by the historian, vi, 28.
  τὴν ἄλλην αὐτοῦ ἐς τὰ ἐπιτηδεύματα οὐ δημοτικὴν ~παρανομίαν~.

  The same phrase is also found in the short extract from the
  λοιδορία of Antipho (Athenæus, xii, p. 525).

  The description of Alkibiadês, given in that Discourse called the
  Ἐρωτικὸς Λόγος, erroneously ascribed to Demosthenês (c. 12, p.
  1414), is more discriminating than we commonly find in rhetorical
  compositions. Τοῦτο δ’, Ἀλκιβιάδην εὑρήσεις φύσει μὲν πρὸς ἀρετὴν
  πολλῷ χεῖρον διακείμενον, καὶ τὰ μὲν ὑπερηφάνως, τὰ δὲ ταπεινῶς,
  τὰ δ’ ὑπεράκρως, ζῆν προῃρημένον· ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς Σωκράτους ὁμιλίας
  πολλὰ μὲν ἐπανορθωθέντα τοῦ βίου, τὰ δὲ λοιπὰ τῷ μεγέθει τῶν
  ἄλλων ἔργων ἐπικρυψάμενον.

  Of the three epithets, whereby the author describes the bad
  tendencies of Alkibiadês, full illustrations will be seen in his
  proceedings, hereafter to be described. The improving influence
  here ascribed to Sokratês is unfortunately far less borne out.

  [53] Plutarch, Alkibiad. c. 4; Cornel. Nepos, Alkibiad. c. 2;
  Plato, Protagoras, c. 1.

  I do not know how far the memorable narrative ascribed to
  Alkibiadês in the Symposium of Plato (c. 33, 34, pp. 216, 217)
  can be regarded as matter of actual fact and history, so far as
  Sokratês is concerned; but it is abundant proof in regard to the
  general relations of Alkibiadês with others: compare Xenophon,
  Memorab. i, 2, 29, 30; iv. 1-2.

  Several of the dialogues of Plato present to us striking pictures
  of the palæstra, with the boys, the young men, the gymnastic
  teachers, engaged in their exercises or resting from them, and
  the philosophers and spectators who came there for amusement
  and conversation. See particularly the opening chapters of the
  Lysis and the Charmidês; also the Rivales, where the scene is
  laid in the house of a γραμματιστὴς, or schoolmaster. In the
  Lysis, Sokratês professes to set his own conversation with
  these interesting youths as an antidote to the corrupting
  flatteries of most of those who sought to gain their good-will.
  Οὕτω χρὴ, ὦ Ἱππόθαλες, τοῖς παιδικοῖς διαλέγεσθαι, ταπεινοῦντα
  καὶ συστέλλοντα, ἀλλὰ μὴ, ὥσπερ σὺ, χαυνοῦντα καὶ διαθρύπτοντα
  (Lysis, c. 7, p. 210).

  See, in illustration of what is here said about Alkibiadês as
  a youth, Euripid. Supplic. 906 (about Parthenopæus), and the
  beautiful lines in the Atys of Catullus, 60-69.

  There cannot be a doubt that the characters of all the Greek
  youth of any pretensions were considerably affected by this
  society and conversation of their boyish years; though the
  subject is one upon which the full evidence cannot well be
  produced and discussed.

Amidst such unprincipled exorbitances of behavior, Alkibiadês stood
distinguished for personal bravery. He served as a hoplite in the
army under Phormion at the siege of Potidæa in 432 B.C. Though then
hardly twenty years of age, he was among the most forward soldiers
in the battle, received a severe wound, and was in great danger;
owing his life only to the exertions of Sokratês, who served in
the ranks along with him. Eight years afterwards, Alkibiadês also
served with credit in the cavalry at the battle of Delium, and
had the opportunity of requiting his obligation to Sokratês, by
protecting him against the Bœotian pursuers. As a rich young man,
also, choregy and trierarchy became incumbent upon him; expensive
duties, which, as we might expect, he discharged not merely with
sufficiency, but with ostentation. In fact, expenditure of this sort,
though compulsory up to a certain point upon all rich men, was so
fully repaid, to all those who had the least ambition, in the shape
of popularity and influence, that most of them spontaneously went
beyond the requisite minimum for the purpose of showing themselves
off. The first appearance of Alkibiadês in public life is said to
have been as a donor, for some special purpose, in the ekklesia, when
various citizens were handing in their contributions: and the loud
applause which his subscription provoked was at that time so novel
and exciting to him, that he suffered a tame quail which he carried
in his bosom to escape. This incident excited mirth and sympathy
among the citizens present: the bird was caught and restored to him
by Antiochus, who from that time forward acquired his favor, and in
after days became his pilot and confidential lieutenant.[54]

  [54] Plutarch, Alkibiadês, c. 10.

To a young man like Alkibiadês, thirsting for power and preëminence,
a certain measure of rhetorical facility and persuasive power was
indispensable. With a view to this acquisition, he frequented the
society of various sophistical and rhetorical teachers,[55] Prodikus,
Protagoras, and others; but most of all that of Sokratês. His
intimacy with Sokratês has become celebrated on many grounds, and
is commemorated both by Plato and Xenophon, though unfortunately
with less instruction than we could desire. We may readily believe
Xenophon, when he tells us that Alkibiadês—like the oligarchical
Kritias, of whom we shall have much to say hereafter—was attracted
to Sokratês by his unrivalled skill of dialectical conversation, his
suggestive influence over the minds of his hearers, in eliciting
new thoughts and combinations, his mastery of apposite and homely
illustrations, his power of seeing far beforehand the end of a long
cross-examination, his ironical affectation of ignorance, whereby
the humiliation of opponents was rendered only the more complete,
when they were convicted of inconsistency and contradiction out
of their own answers. The exhibitions of such ingenuity were in
themselves highly interesting, and stimulating to the mental
activity of listeners, while the faculty itself was one of peculiar
value to those who proposed to take the lead in public debate;
with which view both these ambitious young men tried to catch the
knack from Sokratês,[56] and to copy his formidable string of
interrogations. Both of them doubtless involuntarily respected the
poor, self-sufficing, honest, temperate, and brave citizen, in whom
this eminent talent resided; especially Alkibiadês, who not only owed
his life to the generous valor of Sokratês at Potidæa, but had also
learned in that service to admire the iron physical frame of the
philosopher in his armor, enduring hunger, cold, and hardship.[57]
But we are not to suppose that either of them came to Sokratês with
the purpose of hearing and obeying his precepts on matters of duty,
or receiving from him a new plan of life. They came partly to gratify
an intellectual appetite, partly to acquire a stock of words and
ideas, with facility of argumentative handling, suitable for their
after-purpose as public speakers. Subjects moral, political, and
intellectual, served as the theme sometimes of discourse, sometimes
of discussion, in the society of all these sophists, Prodikus and
Protagoras not less than Sokratês; for in the Athenian sense of
the word, Sokratês was a sophist as well as the others: and to the
rich youths of Athens, like Alkibiadês and Kritias, such society
was highly useful.[58] It imparted a nobler aim to their ambition,
including mental accomplishments as well as political success:
it enlarged the range of their understandings, and opened to them
as ample a vein of literature and criticism as the age afforded:
it accustomed them to canvass human conduct, with the causes and
obstructions of human well-being, both public and private: it even
suggested to them indirectly lessons of duty and prudence, from which
their social position tended to estrange them, and which they would
hardly have submitted to hear except from the lips of one whom they
intellectually admired. In learning to talk, they were forced to
learn more or less to think, and familiarized with the difference
between truth and error: nor would an eloquent lecturer fail to
enlist their feelings in the great topics of morals and politics.
Their thirst for mental stimulus and rhetorical accomplishments had
thus, as far as it went, a moralizing effect, though this was rarely
their purpose in the pursuit.[59]

  [55] See the description in the Protagoras of Plato, c. 8, p. 317.

  [56] See Xenophon, Memorab. i, 2, 12-24, 39-47.

  Κριτίας μὲν καὶ Ἀλκιβιάδης, οὐκ ἀρέσκοντος αὐτοῖς Σωκράτους
  ὡμιλησάτην, ὃν χρόνον ὡμιλείτην αὐτῷ, ἀλλ’ εὐθὺς ἐξ ἀρχῆς
  ὡρμηκότε προεστάναι τῆς πόλεως. Ἔτι γὰρ Σωκράτει ξυνόντες
  οὐκ ἄλλοις τισὶ μᾶλλον ἐπεχείρουν διαλέγεσθαι ἢ τοῖς μάλιστα
  πράττουσι τὰ πολιτικά.... Ἐπεὶ τοίνυν τάχιστα τῶν πολιτευομένων
  ὑπέλαβον κρείττονες εἶναι, Σωκράτει μὲν οὐκ ἔτι προσῄεσαν, οὐδὲ
  γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἄλλως ἤρεσκεν· εἴτε προσέλθοιεν, ὑπὲρ ὧν, ἡμάρτανον
  ἐλεγχόμενοι ἤχθοντο· τὰ δὲ τῆς πóλεως ἔπραττον, ὧνπερ ἕνεκεν καὶ
  Σωκράτει προσῆλθον. Compare Plato, Apolog. Sokrat. c. 10, p. 23;
  c. 22, p. 33.

  Xenophon represents Alkibiadês and Kritias as frequenting the
  society of Sokratês, for the same reason and with the same
  objects as Plato affirms that young men generally went to the
  Sophists: see Plato, Sophist. c. 20, p. 232 D.

  “Nam et Socrati (observes Quintilian, Inst. Or. ii, 16) objiciunt
  comici, docere cum, quomodo pejorem causam meliorem reddat; et
  contra Tisiam et Gorgiam similia dicit polliceri Plato.”

  The representation given by Plato of the great influence acquired
  by Sokratês over Alkibiadês, and of the deference and submission
  of the latter, is plainly not to be taken as historical, even if
  we had not the more simple and trustworthy picture of Xenophon.
  Isokratês goes so far as to say that Sokratês was never known by
  any one as teacher of Alkibiadês: which is an exaggeration in the
  other direction. Isokratês, Busiris, Or. xi. sect. 6, p. 222.

  [57] Plato, Symposium, c. 35-36, p. 220, etc.

  [58] See the representation, given in the Protagoras of Plato,
  of the temper in which the young and wealthy Hippokratês goes
  to seek instruction from Protagoras, and of the objects which
  Protagoras proposes to himself in imparting the instruction.
  Plato, Protagoras, c. 2, p. 310 D.; c. 8, p. 316 C.; c. 9, p.
  318, etc.: compare also Plato, Meno. p. 91, and Gorgias, c. 4. p.
  449 E., asserting the connection, in the mind of Gorgias, between
  teaching to speak and teaching to think—λέγειν καὶ φρονεῖν, etc.

  It would not be reasonable to repeat, as true and just, all the
  polemical charges against those who are called Sophists, even as
  we find them in Plato, without scrutiny and consideration. But
  modern writers on Grecian affairs run down the Sophists even more
  than Plato did, and take no notice of the admissions in their
  favor which he, though their opponent, is perpetually making.

  This is a very extensive subject, to which I hope to revert.

  [59] I dissent entirely from the judgment of Dr. Thirlwall, who
  repeats what is the usual representation of Sokratês and the
  Sophists, depicting Alkibiadês as “ensnared by the Sophists,”
  while Sokratês is described as a good genius preserving him from
  their corruptions (Hist. of Greece, vol. iii, ch. xxiv, pp.
  312, 313, 314). I think him also mistaken when he distinguishes
  so pointedly Sokratês from the Sophists; when he describes
  the Sophists as “pretenders to wisdom;” as “a new school;” as
  “teaching that there was no real difference between truth and
  falsehood, right and wrong,” etc.

  All the plausibility that there is in this representation, arises
  from a confusion between the original sense and the modern sense
  of the word Sophist; the latter seemingly first bestowed upon the
  word by Plato and Aristotle. In the common ancient acceptation
  of the word at Athens, it meant not a _school_ of persons
  professing common doctrines, but a _class_ of men bearing the
  same name, because they derived their celebrity from analogous
  objects of study and common intellectual occupation. The Sophists
  were men of similar calling and pursuits, partly speculative,
  partly professional; but they differed widely from each other,
  both in method and doctrine. (See for example Isokratês, cont.
  Sophistas, Orat. xiii; Plato, Meno. p. 87 B.) Whoever made
  himself eminent in speculative pursuits, and communicated his
  opinions by public lecture, discussion, or conversation, was
  called a Sophist, whatever might be the conclusions which he
  sought to expound or defend. The difference between taking money,
  and expounding gratuitously, on which Sokratês himself was so
  fond of dwelling (Xenoph. Memor. i, 6, 12), has plainly no
  essential bearing on the case. When Æschinês the orator reminds
  the dikasts, “Recollect that you Athenians put to death _the
  Sophist Sokratês_, because he was shown to have been the teacher
  of Kritias,” (Æschin. cont. Timarch. c. 34, p. 74,) he uses the
  word in its natural and true Athenian sense. He had no point to
  make against Sokratês, who had then been dead more than forty
  years; but he describes him by his profession or occupation, just
  as he would have said, _Hippokratês the physician_, _Pheidias
  the sculptor_, etc. Dionysius of Halikarn. calls both Plato and
  Isokratês sophists (Ars Rhetor. De Compos. Verborum, p. 208 R.).
  The Nubes of Aristophanês, and the defences put forth by Plato
  and Xenophon, show that Sokratês was not only called by the name
  Sophist, but regarded just in the same light as that in which
  Dr. Thirlwall presents to us what he calls “the new School of
  the Sophists;” as “a corruptor of youth, indifferent to truth or
  falsehood, right or wrong,” etc. See a striking passage in the
  Politicus of Plato, c. 38, p. 299 B. Whoever thinks, as I think,
  that these accusations were falsely advanced against Sokratês,
  will be careful how he advances them against the general
  profession to which Sokratês belonged.

  That there were unprincipled and immoral men among the class of
  Sophists—as there are and always have been among schoolmasters,
  professors, lawyers, etc., and all bodies of men—I do not
  doubt; in what proportion, we cannot determine. But the extreme
  hardship of passing a sweeping condemnation on the great body
  of intellectual teachers at Athens, and canonizing exclusively
  Sokratês and his followers, will be felt, when we recollect that
  the well-known Apologue, called the _Choice of Hercules_, was the
  work of the Sophist Prodikus, and his favorite theme of lecture
  (Xenophon, Memor. ii, 1, 21-34). To this day, that Apologue
  remains without a superior, for the impressive simplicity with
  which it presents one of the most important points of view of
  moral obligation: and it has been embodied in a greater number of
  books of elementary morality than anything of Sokratês, Plato,
  or Xenophon. To treat the author of that Apologue, and the
  class to which he belonged, as teaching “that there was no real
  difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood,” etc.,
  is a criticism not in harmony with the just and liberal tone of
  Dr. Thirlwall’s history.

  I will add that Plato himself, in a very important passage of
  the Republic (vi, c. 6, 7, pp. 492-493), refutes the imputation
  against the Sophists of being specially the corruptors of youth.
  He represents them as inculcating upon their youthful pupils that
  morality which was received as true and just in their age and
  society; nothing better, nothing worse. The grand corruptor, he
  says, is society itself; the Sophists merely repeat the voice
  and judgment of society. Without inquiring at present how far
  Plato or Sokratês were right in condemning the received morality
  of their countrymen, I most fully accept his assertion that the
  great body of the contemporary professional teachers taught what
  was considered good morality among the Athenian public: there
  were doubtless some who taught a better morality, others who
  taught a worse. And this may be said with equal truth of the
  great body of professional teachers in every age and nation.

  Xenophon enumerates various causes to which he ascribes the
  corruption of the character of Alkibiadês; wealth, rank, personal
  beauty, flatterers, etc.; but he does not name the Sophists among
  them (Memorab. i, 2. 24, 25).

Alkibiadês, full of impulse and ambition of every kind, enjoyed
the conversation of all the eminent talkers and lecturers to be
found in Athens, that of Sokratês most of all and most frequently.
The philosopher became greatly attached to him, and doubtless lost
no opportunity of inculcating on him salutary lessons, as far as
could be done, without disgusting the pride of a haughty and spoiled
youth who was looking forward to the celebrity of public life.
But unhappily his lessons never produced any serious effect, and
ultimately became even distasteful to the pupil. The whole life
of Alkibiadês attests how faintly the sentiment of obligation,
public or private, ever got footing in his mind; how much the ends
which he pursued were dictated by overbearing vanity and love of
aggrandizement. In the later part of life, Sokratês was marked out
to public hatred by his enemies, as having been the teacher of
Alkibiadês and Kritias. And if we could be so unjust as to judge of
the morality of the teacher by that of these two pupils, we should
certainly rank him among the worst of the Athenian sophists.

At the age of thirty-one or thirty-two, the earliest at which it
was permitted to look forward to an ascendent position in public
life, Alkibiadês came forward with a reputation stained by private
enormities, and with a number of enemies created by his insolent
demeanor. But this did not hinder him from stepping into that
position to which his rank, connections, and club-partisans, afforded
him introduction; nor was he slow in displaying his extraordinary
energy, decision, and capacity of command. From the beginning to
the end of his eventful political life, he showed a combination
of boldness in design, resource in contrivance, and vigor in
execution, not surpassed by any one of his contemporary Greeks: and
what distinguished him from all was his extraordinary flexibility
of character[60] and consummate power of adapting himself to new
habits, new necessities, and new persons, whenever circumstances
required. Like Themistoklês, whom he resembled as well in ability and
vigor as in want of public principle and in recklessness about means,
Alkibiadês was essentially a man of action. Eloquence was in him a
secondary quality, subordinate to action; and though he possessed
enough of it for his purposes, his speeches were distinguished
only for pertinence of matter, often imperfectly expressed, at
least according to the high standard of Athens.[61] But his career
affords a memorable example of splendid qualities, both for action
and command, ruined and turned into instruments of mischief by
the utter want of morality, public and private. A strong tide of
individual hatred was thus roused against him, as well from middling
citizens whom he had insulted, as from rich men whom his ruinous
ostentation outshone. For his exorbitant voluntary expenditure in
the public festivals, transcending the largest measure of private
fortune, satisfied discerning men that he would reimburse himself
by plundering the public, and even, if opportunity offered, by
overthrowing[62] the constitution to make himself master of the
persons and properties of his fellow-citizens. He never inspired
confidence or esteem in any one; and sooner or later, among a public
like that of Athens, so much accumulated odium and suspicion was sure
to bring a public man to ruin, in spite of the strongest admiration
for his capacity. He was always the object of very conflicting
sentiments: “The Athenians desired him, hated him, but still
wished to have him,” was said in the latter years of his life by a
contemporary poet; while we find also another pithy precept delivered
in regard to him: “You ought not to keep a lion’s whelp in your city
at all; but, if you choose to keep him, you must submit yourself to
his behavior.”[63] Athens had to feel the force of his energy, as an
exile and enemy, but the great harm which he did to her was in his
capacity of adviser; awakening in his countrymen the same thirst for
showy, rapacious, uncertain, perilous aggrandizement which dictated
his own personal actions.

  [60] Cornel. Nepos, Alkibiad. c. 1; Satyrus apud Athenæum, xii,
  p. 534; Plutarch, Alkibiad. c. 23.

  Οὗ γὰρ τοιούτων δεῖ, τοιοῦτος εἰμ’ ἐγώ, says Odysseus, in the
  Philoktêtês of Sophoklês.

  [61] I follow the criticism which Plutarch cites from
  Theophrastus, seemingly discriminating and measured: much
  more trustworthy than the vague eulogy of Nepos, or even of
  Demosthenês (of course not from his own knowledge), upon the
  eloquence of Alkibiadês (Plutarch, Alkib. c. 10); Plutarch,
  Reipubl. Gerend. Præcept. c. 8, p. 804.

  Antisthenês, companion and pupil of Sokratês, and originator of
  what is called the Cynic philosophy, contemporary and personally
  acquainted with Alkibiadês, was full of admiration for his
  extreme personal beauty, and pronounced him to be strong, manly,
  and audacious, but unschooled, ~ἀπαίδευτον~. His scandals about
  the lawless life of Alkibiadês, however, exceed what we can
  reasonably admit, even from a contemporary (Antisthenês ap.
  Athenæum, v, p. 220, xii, p. 534). Antisthenês had composed a
  dialogue called Alkibiadês (Diog. Laërt. vi, 15).

  See the collection of the Fragmenta Antisthenis (by A. G.
  Winckelmann, Zurich, 1842, pp. 17-19).

  The comic writers of the day—Eupolis, Aristophanês, Pherekratês,
  and others—seem to have been abundant in their jests and libels
  against the excesses of Alkibiadês, real or supposed. There was
  a tale, untrue, but current in comic tradition, that Alkibiadês,
  who was not a man to suffer himself to be insulted with impunity,
  had drowned Eupolis in the sea, in revenge, for his comedy of the
  Baptæ. See Meineke, Fragm. Com. Græ. Eupolidis Βάπται and Κόλακες
  (vol. ii, pp. 447-494), and Aristophanês Τριφαλῆς, p. 1166:
  also Meineke’s first volume, Historia Critica Comic. Græc. pp.
  124-136; and the Dissertat. xix, in Buttmann’s _Mythologus_, on
  the Baptæ and the Cotyttia.

  [62] Thucyd. vi, 15. Compare Plutarch, Reip. Ger. Præc. c. 4, p.
  800. The sketch which Plato draws in the first three chapters of
  the ninth Book of the Republic, of the citizen who erects himself
  into a despot and enslaves his fellow-citizens, exactly suits the
  character of Alkibiadês. See also the same treatise, vi, 6-8, pp.
  491-494, and the preface of Schleiermacher to his translation of
  the Platonic dialogue called Alkibiadês the first.

  [63] Aristophan. Ranæ, 1445-1453; Plutarch, Alkibiadês, c. 16;
  Plutarch, Nikias, c. 9.

Mentioning Alkibiadês now for the first time, I have somewhat
anticipated on future chapters, in order to present a general idea
of his character, hereafter to be illustrated. But at the moment
which we have now reached (March, 420 B.C.) the lion’s whelp was yet
young, and had neither acquired his entire strength nor disclosed his
full-grown claws.

He began to put himself forward as a party leader, seemingly not long
before the Peace of Nikias. The political traditions hereditary in
his family, as in that of his relation Periklês, were democratical:
his grandfather Alkibiadês had been vehement in his opposition
to the Peisistratids, and had even afterwards publicly renounced
an established connection of hospitality with the Lacedæmonian
government, from strong antipathy to them on political grounds. But
Alkibiadês himself, in commencing political life, departed from this
family tradition, and presented himself as a partisan of oligarchical
and philo-Laconian sentiment, doubtless far more consonant to his
natural temper than the democratical. He thus started in the same
general party with Nikias and Thessalus son of Kimôn, who afterwards
became his bitter opponents; and it was in part probably to put
himself on a par with them, that he took the marked step of trying to
revive the ancient family tie of hospitality with Sparta, which his
grandfather had broken off.[64]

  [64] Thucyd. v, 43, vi, 90; Isokratês, De Bigis, Or. xvi, p. 352,
  sect. 27-30.

  Plutarch (Alkibiad. c. 14) carelessly represents Alkibiadês as
  being actually proxenus of Sparta at Athens.

To promote this object, he displayed peculiar solicitude for the good
treatment of the Spartan captives, during their detention at Athens.
Many of them being of high family at Sparta, he naturally calculated
upon their gratitude, as well as upon the favorable sympathies of
their countrymen, whenever they should be restored. He advocated
both the peace and the alliance with Sparta, and the restoration
of her captives; and indeed not only advocated these measures, but
tendered his services, and was eager to be employed, as the agent
of Sparta for carrying them through at Athens. From these selfish
hopes in regard to Sparta, and especially from the expectation of
acquiring, through the agency of the restored captives, the title of
Proxenus of Sparta, Alkibiadês thus became a partisan of the blind
and gratuitous philo-Laconian concessions of Nikias. But the captives
on their return were either unable, or unwilling, to carry the point
which he wished; while the authorities at Sparta rejected all his
advances, not without a contemptuous sneer at the idea of confiding
important political interests to the care of a youth chiefly known
for ostentation, profligacy, and insolence. That the Spartans
should thus judge, is noway astonishing, considering their extreme
reverence both for old age and for strict discipline. They naturally
preferred Nikias and Lachês, whose prudence would commend, if it did
not originally suggest, their mistrust of the new claimant. Nor had
Alkibiadês yet shown the mighty movement of which he was capable.
But this contemptuous refusal of the Spartans stung him so to the
quick, that, making an entire revolution in his political course,[65]
he immediately threw himself into anti-Laconian politics with an
energy and ability which he was not before known to possess.

  [65] Thucyd. v, 43. Οὐ μέντοι ἀλλὰ καὶ φρονήματι φιλονεικῶν
  ἠναντιοῦτο, ὅτι Λακεδαιμόνιοι διὰ Νικίου καὶ Λάχητος ἔπραξαν τὰς
  σπονδὰς, αὐτὸν διὰ τὴν νεότητα ὑπεριδόντες καὶ κατὰ τὴν παλαιὰν
  προξενίαν ποτὲ οὖσαν οὐ τιμήσαντες, ἣν τοῦ πάππου ἀπειπόντος
  αὐτὸς τοὺς ἐκ τῆς νήσου αὐτῶν αἰχμαλώτους θεραπεύων διενοεῖτο
  ἀνανεώσασθαι. ~Πανταχόθεν τε νομίζων ἐλασσοῦσθαι~ τό τε πρῶτον
  ἀντεῖπεν, etc.

The moment was favorable, since the recent death of Kleon, for a new
political leader to espouse this side; and was rendered still more
favorable by the conduct of the Lacedæmonians. Month after month
passed, remonstrance after remonstrance was addressed, yet not one
of the restitutions prescribed by the treaty in favor of Athens had
yet been accomplished. Alkibiadês had therefore ample pretext for
altering his tone respecting the Spartans, and for denouncing them
as deceivers who had broken their solemn oaths, abusing the generous
confidence of Athens. Under his present antipathies, his attention
naturally turned to Argos, in which city he possessed some powerful
friends and family guests. The condition of that city, now free by
the expiration of the peace with Sparta, opened a possibility of
connection with Athens, and this policy was strongly recommended
by Alkibiadês, who insisted that Sparta was playing false with the
Athenians, merely in order to keep their hands tied until she had
attacked and put down Argos separately. This particular argument had
less force when it was seen that Argos acquired new and powerful
allies, Mantineia, Elis, and Corinth; but on the other hand, such
acquisitions rendered Argos positively more valuable as an ally to
the Athenians.

It was not so much, however, the inclination towards Argos, but the
growing wrath against Sparta, which furthered the philo-Argeian plans
of Alkibiadês; and when the Lacedæmonian envoy Andromedês arrived
at Athens from Bœotia, tendering to the Athenians the mere ruins of
Panaktum in exchange for Pylos; when it farther became known that
the Spartans had already concluded a special alliance with the
Bœotians without consulting Athens, the unmeasured expression of
displeasure in the Athenian ekklesia showed Alkibiadês that the time
was now come for bringing on a substantive decision. While he lent
his own voice to strengthen this discontent against Sparta, he at
the same time despatched a private intimation to his correspondents
at Argos, exhorting them, under assurances of success and promise of
his own strenuous aid, to send without delay an embassy to Athens
in conjunction with the Mantineians and Eleians, requesting to be
admitted as Athenian allies. The Argeians received this intimation
at the very moment when their citizens Eustrophus and Æson were
negotiating at Sparta for the renewal of the peace, having been sent
thither under great uneasiness lest Argos should be left without
allies to contend single-handed against the Lacedæmonians. But no
sooner was the unexpected chance held out to them of alliance with
Athens, a former friend, a democracy like their own, an imperial
state at sea, but not interfering with their own primacy in
Peloponnesus,—than they became careless of Eustrophus and Æson, and
despatched forthwith to Athens the embassy advised. It was a joint
embassy, Argeian, Eleian, and Mantineian:[66] the alliance between
these three cities had already been rendered more intimate by a
second treaty concluded since that treaty to which Corinth was a
party; but Corinth had refused all concern in the second.[67]

  [66] Thucyd. v, 43.

  [67] Thucyd. v, 48.

But the Spartans had been already alarmed by the harsh repulse of
their envoy Andromedês, and probably warned by reports from Nikias
and their other Athenian friends of the crisis impending respecting
alliance between Athens and Argos. Accordingly they sent off without
a moment’s delay three citizens extremely popular at Athens,[68]
Philocharidas, Leon, and Endius; with full powers to settle all
matters of difference. The envoys were instructed to deprecate all
alliance of Athens with Argos, to explain that the alliance of Sparta
with Bœotia had been concluded without any purpose or possibility of
evil to Athens, and at the same time to renew the demand that Pylos
should be restored to them in exchange for the demolished Panaktum.
Such was still the confidence of the Lacedæmonians in the strength
of assent at Athens, that they did not yet despair of obtaining
an affirmative, even to this very unequal proposition: and when
the three envoys, under the introduction and advice of Nikias, had
their first interview with the Athenian senate, preparatory to an
audience before the public assembly, the impression which they made,
on stating that they came with full powers of settlement, was highly
favorable. It was indeed so favorable, that Alkibiadês became alarmed
lest, if they made the same statement in the public assembly, holding
out the prospect of some trifling concessions, the philo-Laconian
party might determine public feeling to accept a compromise, and thus
preclude all idea of alliance with Argos.

  [68] Thucyd. v, 44. Ἀφίκοντο δὲ καὶ Λακεδαιμονίων πρέσβεις ~κατὰ
  τάχος~, etc.

To obviate such a defeat of his plans, he resorted to a singular
manœuvre. One of the Lacedæmonian envoys, Endius, was his private
guest, by an ancient and particular intimacy subsisting between their
two families.[69] This probably assisted in procuring for him a
secret interview with the envoys, and enabled him to address them
with greater effect, on the day before the meeting of the public
assembly, and without the knowledge of Nikias. He accosted them in
the tone of a friend of Sparta, anxious that their proposition should
succeed; but he intimated that they would find the public assembly
turbulent and angry, very different from the tranquil demeanor of
the senate: so that if they proclaimed themselves to have come with
full powers of settlement, the people would burst out with fury, to
act upon their fears and bully them into extravagant concessions.
He therefore strongly urged them to declare that they had come,
not with any full powers of settlement, but merely to explain,
discuss, and report: the people would then find that they could gain
nothing by intimidation, explanations would be heard, and disputed
points be discussed with temper, and he (Alkibiadês) would speak
emphatically in their favor. He would advise, and felt confident
that he could persuade, the Athenians to restore Pylos, a step which
his opposition had hitherto been the chief means of preventing.
He gave them his solemn pledge—confirmed by an oath, according to
Plutarch—that he would adopt this conduct, if they would act upon his
counsel.[70] The envoys were much struck with the apparent sagacity
of these suggestions,[71] and still more delighted to find that the
man from whom they anticipated the most formidable opposition was
prepared to speak in their favor. His language obtained with them,
probably, the more ready admission and confidence, inasmuch as he
had volunteered his services to become the political agent of Sparta
only a few months before; and he appeared now to be simply resuming
that policy. They were sure of the support of Nikias and his party,
under all circumstances; if, by complying with the recommendation of
Alkibiadês, they could gain _his_ strenuous advocacy and influence
also, they fancied that their cause was sure of success. Accordingly,
they agreed to act upon his suggestion, not only without consulting
but without even warning Nikias, which was exactly what Alkibiadês
desired, and had probably required them to promise.

  [69] Thucyd. viii, 6. Ἐνδίῳ τῷ ἐφορεύοντι πατρικὸς ἐς τὰ μάλιστα
  φίλος—ὅθεν καὶ τοὔνομα Λακωνικὸν ἡ οἰκία αὐτῶν κατὰ τὴν ξενίαν
  ἔσχεν· Ἔνδιος γὰρ Ἀλκιβιάδου ἐκαλεῖτο.

  I incline to suspect, from this passage, that the father of
  Endius was not named Alkibiadês, but that Endius himself was
  nevertheless named Ἔνδιος Ἀλκιβιάδου, in consequence of the
  peculiar intimacy of connection with the Athenian family in
  which that name occurred. If the father of Endius was really
  named Alkibiadês, Endius himself would naturally, pursuant to
  general custom, be styled Ἔνδιος Ἀλκιβιάδου: there would be
  nothing in this denomination to call for the particular remark
  of Thucydidês. But according to the view of the Scholiast and
  most commentators, all that Thucydidês wishes to explain here is,
  how the father of Endius came to receive the name of Alkibiadês.
  Now if he had meant this, he surely would not have used the
  terms which we read: the circumstance to be explained would then
  have reference to the father of Endius, not to Endius himself,
  nor to the family generally. His words imply that the family,
  that is, each successive individual of the family, derived his
  Laconian designation (not from the name of his father, but)
  from his intimate connection of hospitality with the Athenian
  family of Alkibiadês. Each successive individual attached to
  his own personal name the genitive case Ἀλκιβιάδου, instead of
  the genitive of his real father’s name. Doubtless this was an
  anomaly in Grecian practice; but on the present occasion, we are
  to expect something anomalous; had it not been such, Thucydidês
  would not have stepped aside to particularize it.

  [70] Thucyd. v, 45. Μηχανᾶται δὲ πρὸς αὐτοὺς τοῖονδέ τι ὁ
  Ἀλκιβιάδης· τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους πείθει, ~πίστιν αὐτοῖς δοὺς~,
  ἢν μὴ ὁμολογήσωσιν ἐν τῷ δήμῳ αὐτοκράτορες ἥκειν, Πύλον τε
  αὐτοῖς ἀποδώσειν (~πείσειν γὰρ αὐτὸς Ἀθηναίους~, ὥσπερ καὶ νῦν
  ἀντιλέγειν) καὶ τἄλλα ξυναλλάξειν. Βουλόμενος δὲ αὐτοὺς Νικίου τε
  ἀποστῆσαι ταῦτα ἔπραττε, καὶ ὅπως ~ἐν τῷ δήμῳ διαβαλὼν αὐτοὺς ὡς
  οὐδὲν ἀληθὲς ἐν νῷ ἔχουσιν, οὐδὲ λέγουσιν οὐδέποτε ταὐτὰ, τοὺς
  Ἀργείους ξυμμάχους ποιήσῃ~.

  [71] Plutarch (Alkibiad. c. 14). Ταῦτα δ’ εἰπὼν ~ὅρκους ἔδωκεν
  αὐτοῖς~, καὶ μετέστησεν ἀπὸ τοῦ Νικίου παντάπασι πιστεύοντας
  αὐτῷ, καὶ ~θαυμάζοντας ἅμα τὴν δεινότητα καὶ σύνεσιν~, ὡς οὐ τοῦ
  τυχόντος ἀνδρὸς οὖσαν. Again, Plutarch, Nikias, c. 10.

Next day, the public assembly met, and the envoys were introduced;
upon which Alkibiadês himself, in a tone of peculiar mildness, put
the question to them, upon what footing they came?[72] what powers
they brought with them? They immediately declared that they had
brought no full powers for treating and settlement, but only came
to explain and discuss. Nothing could exceed the astonishment with
which this declaration was heard. The senators present, to whom
these envoys a day or two before had publicly declared the distinct
contrary,—the assembled people, who, made aware of this previous
affirmation, had come prepared to hear the ultimatum of Sparta from
their lips,—lastly, most of all, Nikias himself,—their confidential
agent and probably their host at Athens,—who had doubtless announced
them as plenipotentiaries, and concerted with them the management
of their cases before the assembly,—all were alike astounded, and
none knew what to make of the words just heard. But the indignation
of the people equalled their astonishment: there was a unanimous
burst of wrath against the standing faithlessness and duplicity
of Lacedæmonians; never saying the same thing two days together.
To crown the whole, Alkibiadês himself affected to share all the
surprise of the multitude, and was even the loudest of them all in
invectives against the envoys; denouncing Lacedæmonian perfidy and
evil designs in language far more bitter than he had ever employed
before. Nor was this all:[73] he took advantage of the vehement
acclamation which welcomed these invectives to propose that the
Argeian envoys should be called in and the alliance with Argos
concluded forthwith. And this would certainly have been done, if a
remarkable phenomenon—an earthquake—had not occurred to prevent it;
causing the assembly to be adjourned to the next day, pursuant to a
religious scruple then recognized as paramount.

  [72] Plutarch, Alkib. c. 14. Ἐρωτώμενοι δ’ ὑπὸ τοῦ Ἀλκιβιάδου
  ~πάνυ φιλανθρώπως~, ἐφ’ οἷς ἀφιγμένοι τυγχάνουσιν, οὐκ ἔφασαν
  ἥκειν αὐτοκράτορες.

  [73] Thucyd. v, 45. Οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι οὐκέτι ἠνείχοντο, ἀλλὰ
  τοῦ Ἀλκιβιάδου ~πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἢ πρότερον καταβοῶντος τῶν
  Λακεδαιμονίων~, ἐσήκουόν τε καὶ ἑτοῖμοι ἦσαν εὐθὺς παραγαγεῖν
  τοὺς Ἀργείους, etc.

  Compare Plutarch, Alkib. c. 14; and Plutarch, Nikias, c. 10.

This remarkable anecdote comes in all its main circumstances from
Thucydidês. It illustrates forcibly that unprincipled character which
will be found to attach to Alkibiadês through life, and presents
indeed an unblushing combination of impudence and fraud, which we
cannot better describe than by saying that it is exactly in the vein
of Fielding’s Jonathan Wild. In depicting Kleon and Hyperbolus,
historians vie with each other in strong language to mark the
impudence which is said to have been their peculiar characteristic.
Now we have no particular facts before us to measure the amount
of truth in this, though as a general charge it is sufficiently
credible. But we may affirm, with full assurance, that none of
the much-decried demagogues of Athens—not one of those sellers of
leather, lamps, sheep, ropes, pollard, and other commodities, upon
whom Aristophanês heaps so many excellent jokes—ever surpassed, if
they ever equalled, the impudence of this descendant of Æakus and
Zeus in his manner of overreaching and disgracing the Lacedæmonian
envoys. These latter, it must be added, display a carelessness of
public faith and consistency, a facility in publicly unsaying what
they have just before publicly said, and a treachery towards their
own confidential agent, which is truly surprising, and goes far to
justify the general charge of habitual duplicity so often alleged
against the Lacedæmonian character.[74]

  [74] Euripid. Andromach. 445-455; Herodot. ix, 54.

The disgraced envoys would doubtless quit Athens immediately: but
this opportune earthquake gave Nikias a few hours to recover from
his unexpected overthrow. In the assembly of the next day, he still
contended that the friendship of Sparta was preferable to that of
Argos, and insisted on the prudence of postponing all consummation
of engagement with the latter until the real intentions of Sparta,
now so contradictory and inexplicable, should be made clear. He
contended that the position of Athens, in regard to the peace and
alliance, was that of superior honor and advantage; the position
of Sparta, one of comparative disgrace: Athens had thus a greater
interest than Sparta in maintaining what had been concluded. But he
at the same time admitted that a distinct and peremptory explanation
must be exacted from Sparta as to her intentions, and he requested
the people to send himself with some other colleagues to demand it.
The Lacedæmonians should be apprised that Argeian envoys were already
present in Athens with propositions, and that the Athenians might
already have concluded this alliance, if they could have permitted
themselves to do wrong to the existing alliance with Sparta. But
the Lacedæmonians, if their intentions were honorable, must show it
forthwith: 1. By restoring Panaktum, not demolished, but standing. 2.
By restoring Amphipolis also. 3. By renouncing their special alliance
with the Bœotians, unless the Bœotians on their side chose to become
parties to the peace with Athens.[75]

  [75] Thucyd. v, 46.

The Athenian assembly, acquiescing in the recommendation of Nikias,
invested him with the commission which he required: a remarkable
proof, after the overpowering defeat of the preceding day, how strong
was the hold which he still retained upon them, and how sincere their
desire to keep on the best terms with Sparta. This was a last chance
granted to Nikias and his policy; a perfectly fair chance, since all
that was asked of Sparta was just; but it forced him to bring matters
to a decisive issue with her, and shut out all farther evasion. His
mission to Sparta failed altogether: the influence of Kleobûlus and
Xenarês, the anti-Athenian ephors, was found predominant, so that
not one of his demands was complied with. And even when he formally
announced that unless Sparta renounced her special alliance with the
Bœotians or compelled the Bœotians to accept the peace with Athens,
the Athenians would immediately contract alliance with Argos, the
menace produced no effect. He could only obtain, and that too as a
personal favor to himself, that the oaths as they stood should be
formally renewed; an empty concession, which covered but faintly the
humiliation of his retreat to Athens. The Athenian assembly listened
to his report with strong indignation against the Lacedæmonians, and
with marked displeasure even against himself, as the great author and
voucher of this unperformed treaty; while Alkibiadês was permitted
to introduce the envoys—already at hand in the city—from Argos,
Mantineia, and Elis, with whom a pact was at once concluded.[76]

  [76] Thucyd. v, 46; Plutarch, Nikias, c. 10.

The words of this, which Thucydidês gives us doubtless from the
record on the public column, comprise two engagements; one for peace,
another for alliance.

The Athenians, Argeians, Mantineians, and Eleians, have concluded a
treaty of peace by sea and by land, without fraud or mischief, each
for themselves and for the allies over whom each exercise empire.[77]
[The express terms in which these states announce themselves as
imperial states and their allies as dependencies, deserve notice. No
such words appear in the treaty between Athens and Lacedæmon. I have
already mentioned that the main ground of discontent on the part of
Mantineia and Elis towards Sparta, was connected with their imperial

  [77] Thucyd. v, 47. ὑπὲρ σφῶν αὐτῶν καὶ τῶν ξυμμάχων ὧν ἄρχουσιν

Neither of them shall bear arms against the other for purposes of

The Athenians, Argeians, Mantineians, and Eleians, shall be allies
with each other for one hundred years. If any enemy shall invade
Attica, the three contracting cities shall lend the most vigorous aid
in their power at the invitation of Athens. Should the forces of the
invading city damage Attica and then retire, the three will proclaim
that city their enemy and attack it: neither of the four shall in
that case suspend the war, without consent of the others.

Reciprocal obligations imposed upon Athens, in case Argos, Mantineia,
or Elis, shall be attacked.

Neither of the four contracting powers shall grant passage to troops
through their own territory, or the territory of allies over whom
they may at the time be exercising command, either by land or sea,
unless upon joint resolution.[78]

  [78] Thucyd. v, 48. καὶ τῶν ξυμμάχων ~ὧν ἂν ἄρχουσιν~ ἕκαστοι.
  The tense and phrase here deserve notice, as contrasted with the
  phrase in the former part of the treaty—τῶν ξυμμάχων ὧν ~ἄρχουσιν~

  The clause imposing actual obligation to hinder the passage of
  troops, required to be left open for application to the actual

In case auxiliary troops shall be required and sent under this
treaty, the city sending shall furnish their maintenance for the
space of thirty days, from the day of their entrance upon the
territory of the city requiring. Should their services be needed for
a longer period, the city requiring shall furnish their maintenance,
at the rate of three Æginæan oboli for each hoplite, light-armed or
archer, and of one Æginæan drachma or six oboli for each horseman,
per day. The city requiring shall possess the command, so long as the
service required shall be in her territory. But if any expedition
shall be undertaken by joint resolution, then the command shall be
shared equally between all.

Such were the substantive conditions of the new alliance. Provision
was then made for the oaths,—by whom? where? when? in what words?
how often? they were to be taken. Athens was to swear on behalf of
herself and her allies; but Argos, Elis, and Mantineia, with their
respective allies, were to swear by separate cities. The oaths were
to be renewed every four years; by Athens, within thirty days before
each Olympic festival, at Argos, Elis, and Mantineia; by these three
cities, at Athens, ten days before each festival of the greater
Panathenæa. “The words of the treaty of peace and alliance, and the
oaths sworn, shall be engraven on stone columns, and put up in the
temples of each of the four cities; and also upon a brazen column, to
be put up by joint cost at Olympia, for the festival now approaching.”

“The four cities may, by joint consent, make any change they please
in the provisions of this treaty, without violating their oaths.”[79]

  [79] Thucyd. v, 47.

The conclusion of this new treaty introduced a greater degree of
complication into the grouping and association of the Grecian cities
than had ever before been known. The ancient Spartan confederacy,
and the Athenian empire still subsisted. A peace had been concluded
between them, ratified by the formal vote of the majority of the
confederates, yet not accepted by several of the minority. Not
merely peace, but also special alliance had been concluded between
Athens and Sparta; and a special alliance between Sparta and Bœotia.
Corinth, member of the Spartan confederacy, was also member of a
defensive alliance with Argos, Mantineia, and Elis; which three
states had concluded a more intimate alliance, first with each other
(without Corinth), and now recently with Athens. Yet both Athens and
Sparta still retained the alliance[80] concluded between themselves,
without formal rupture on either side, though Athens still complained
that the treaty had not been fulfilled. No relations whatever
subsisted between Argos and Sparta. Between Athens and Bœotia there
was an armistice terminable at ten days’ notice. Lastly, Corinth
could not be prevailed upon, in spite of repeated solicitation from
the Argeians, to join the new alliance of Athens with Argos: so
that no relations subsisted between Corinth and Athens; while the
Corinthians began, though faintly, to resume their former tendencies
towards Sparta.[81]

  [80] Thucyd. v, 48.

  [81] Thucyd. v, 48-50.

The alliance between Athens and Argos, of which particulars have
just been given, was concluded not long before the Olympic festival
of the 90th Olympiad, or 420 B.C.: the festival being about the
beginning of July, the treaty might be in May.[82] That festival
was memorable, on more than one ground. It was the first which had
been celebrated since the conclusion of the peace, the leading
clause of which had been expressly introduced to guarantee to all
Greeks free access to the great Pan-Hellenic temples, with liberty
of sacrificing, consulting the oracle, and witnessing the matches.
For the last eleven years, including two Olympic festivals, Athens
herself, and apparently all the numerous allies of Athens, had been
excluded from sending their solemn legation, or theôry, and from
attending as spectators, at the Olympic games.[83] Now that such
exclusion was removed, and that the Eleian heralds (who came to
announce the approaching games and proclaim the truce connected with
them) again trod the soil of Attica,—the Athenian visit was felt
both by themselves and by others as a novelty. Some curiosity was
entertained to see what figure the theôry of Athens would make as
to show and splendor. Nor were there wanting spiteful rumors, that
Athens had been so much impoverished by the war, as to be prevented
from appearing with appropriate magnificence at the altar and in the
presence of Olympic Zeus.

  [82] Καταθέντων δὲ καὶ Ὀλυμπίασι στήλην χαλκῆν κοινῇ ~Ὀλυμπίοις
  τοῖς νυνί~ (Thucyd. v, 47), words of the treaty.

  [83] Dorieus of Rhodes was victor in the Pankration, both in
  Olymp. 88 and 89, (428-424 B.C.). Rhodes was included among the
  tributary allies of Athens. But the athletes who came to contend
  were privileged and (as it were) sacred persons, who were never
  molested or hindered from coming to the festival, if they chose
  to come, under any state of war. Their inviolability was never
  disturbed even down to the harsh proceeding of Aratus (Plutarch,
  Aratus, c. 28).

  But this does not prove that Rhodian visitors generally, or a
  Rhodian theôry, could have come to Olympia between 431-421 in

  From the presence of individuals, even as spectators, little
  can be inferred: because, even at this very Olympic festival of
  420 B.C., Lichas the Spartan was present as a spectator, though
  all Lacedæmonians were formally excluded by proclamation of the
  Eleians (Thucyd. v, 50).

Alkibiadês took pride in silencing these surmises, as well as in
glorifying his own name and person, by a display more imposing than
had ever been previously beheld. He had already distinguished himself
in the local festivals and liturgies of Athens by an ostentation
surpassing Athenian rivals: but he now felt himself standing
forward as the champion and leader of Athens before Greece. He had
discredited his political rival Nikias, given a new direction to
the politics of Athens by the Argeian alliance, and was about to
commence a series of intra-Peloponnesian operations against the
Lacedæmonians. On all these grounds he determined that his first
appearance on the plain of Olympia should impose upon all beholders.
The Athenian theôry, of which he was a member, was set out with
first-rate splendor, and with the amplest show of golden ewers,
censers, etc., for the public sacrifice and procession.[84] But when
the chariot-races came on, Alkibiadês himself appeared as competitor
at his own cost,—not merely with one well-equipped chariot and four,
which the richest Greeks had hitherto counted as an extraordinary
personal glory, but with the prodigious number of seven distinct
chariots, each with a team of four horses. And so superior was their
quality, that one of his chariots gained a first prize, and another
a second prize, so that Alkibiadês was twice crowned with sprigs of
the sacred olive-tree, and twice proclaimed by the herald. Another of
his seven chariots also came in fourth: but no crown or proclamation,
it seems, was awarded to any after the second in order. We must
recollect that he had competitors from all parts of Greece to contend
against, not merely private men, but even despots and governments.
Nor was this all. The tent which the Athenian theôrs provided for
their countrymen, visitors to the games, was handsomely adorned;
but a separate tent, which Alkibiadês himself provided for a public
banquet to celebrate his triumph, together with the banquet itself,
was set forth on a scale still more stately and expensive. The rich
allies of Athens—Ephesus, Chios, and Lesbos—are said to have lent him
their aid in enhancing this display. It is highly probable that they
would be glad to cultivate his favor, as he had now become one of
the first men in Athens, and was in an ascendent course. But we must
farther recollect that they, as well as Athens, had been excluded
from the Olympic festival, so that their own feelings on first
returning might well prompt them to take a genuine interest in this
imposing reappearance of the Ionic race at the common sanctuary of

  [84] Of the taste and elegance with which these exhibitions were
  usually got up in Athens, surpassing generally every other city
  in Greece, see a remarkable testimony in Xenophon, Memorabil.
  iii, 3, 12.

Five years afterwards, on an important discussion which will be
hereafter described, Alkibiadês maintained publicly before the
Athenian assembly that his unparalleled Olympic display had produced
an effect upon the Grecian mind highly beneficial to Athens;[85]
dissipating the suspicions entertained that she was ruined by the
war, and establishing beyond dispute her vast wealth and power. He
was doubtless right to a considerable extent; though not sufficient
to repel the charge from himself, which it was his purpose to do,
both of overweening personal vanity, and of that reckless expenditure
which he would be compelled to try and overtake by peculation
or violence at the public cost. All the unfavorable impressions
suggested to prudent Athenians by his previous life, were aggravated
by this stupendous display; much more, of course, the jealousy and
hatred of personal competitors. And this feeling was not the less
real, though as a political man he was now in the full tide of public

  [85] Thucyd. vi, 16. Οἱ γὰρ Ἕλληνες καὶ ὑπὲρ δύναμιν μείζω ἡμῶν
  τὴν πόλιν ἐνόμισαν τῷ ἐμῷ διαπρεπεῖ τῆς Ὀλυμπίαζε θεωρίας,
  ~πρότερον ἐλπίζοντες αὐτὴν καταπεπολεμῆσθαι~· διότι ἅρματα
  μὲν ἑπτὰ καθῆκα, ὅσα οὐδείς πω ἰδιώτης πρότερον, ἐνίκησά τε,
  καὶ δεύτερος καὶ τέταρτος ἐγενόμην, καὶ τἄλλα ἀξίως τῆς νίκης

  The full force of this grandiose display cannot be felt unless
  we bring to our minds the special position both of Athens and
  the Athenian allies towards Olympia,—and of Alkibiadês himself
  towards Athens, Argos, and the rest of Greece,—in the first half
  of the year 420 B.C.

  Alkibiadês obtained from Euripidês the honor of an epinikian
  ode, or song of triumph, to celebrate this event; of which a few
  lines are preserved by Plutarch (Alkib. c. 11). It is curious
  that the poet alleges Alkibiadês to have been first, second, and
  _third_, in the course; while Alkibiadês himself, more modest
  and doubtless more exact, pretends only to first, second, and
  _fourth_. Euripidês informs us that Alkibiadês was crowned twice
  and proclaimed twice—δὶς στεφθέντ’ ἐλαίᾳ κάρυκι βοᾷν παραδοῦναι.
  Reiske, Coray, and Schäfer, have thought it right to alter this
  word δὶς to τρὶς, without any authority, which completely alters
  the asserted fact. Sintenis in his edition of Plutarch has
  properly restored the word δὶς.

  How long the recollection of this famous Olympic festival
  remained in the Athenian public mind, is attested partly by the
  Oratio de Bigis of Isokratês, composed in defence of the son
  of Alkibiadês at least twenty-five years afterwards, perhaps
  more. Isokratês repeats the loose assertion of Euripidês,
  πρῶτος, δεύτερος, and τρίτος (Or. xvi, p. 353, sect. 40). The
  spurious Oration called that of Andokidês against Alkibiadês
  also preserves many of the current tales, some of which I
  have admitted into the text, because I think them probable in
  themselves, and because that oration itself may reasonably be
  believed to be a composition of the middle of the fourth century
  B.C. That oration puts all the proceedings of Alkibiadês in a
  very invidious temper and with palpable exaggeration. The story
  of Alkibiadês having robbed an Athenian named Diomêdês of a fine
  chariot, appears to be a sort of variation on the story about
  Tisias, which figures in the oration of Isokratês; see Andokid.
  cont. Alkib. sect. 26: possibly Alkibiadês may have left one of
  the teams not paid for. The aid lent to Alkibiadês by the Chians,
  Ephesians, etc., as described in that oration, is likely to be
  substantially true, and may easily be explained. Compare Athenæ.
  i, p. 3.

  Our information about the arrangements of the chariot-racing at
  Olympia is very imperfect. We do not distinctly know how the
  seven chariots of Alkibiadês ran,—in how many races,—for all the
  seven could not, in my judgment, have run in one and the same
  race. There must have been many other chariots to run, belonging
  to other competitors: and it seems difficult to believe that ever
  a greater number than ten can have run in the same race, since
  the course involved going _twelve_ times round the goal (Pindar,
  Ol. iii, 33; vi, 75). Ten competing chariots run in the race
  described by Sophoklês (Electr. 708), and if we could venture to
  construe strictly the expression of the poet,—~δέκατον ἐκπληρῶν~
  ὄχον,—it would seem that ten was the extreme number permitted to
  run. Even so great a number as ten was replete with danger to
  the persons engaged, as may be seen by reading the description
  in Sophoklês (compare Demosth. Ἐρωτ. Λογ. p. 1410), who refers
  indeed to a Pythian and not an Olympic solemnity: but the main
  circumstances must have been common to both; and we know that the
  twelve turns (δωδεκάγναμπτον δωδεκάδρομον) _were_ common to both
  (Pindar, Pyth. v, 31).

  Alkibiadês was not the only person who gained a chariot victory
  at this 90th Olympiad, 420 B.C. Lichas the Lacedæmonian also
  gained one (Thucyd. v, 50), though the chariot was obliged to be
  entered in another name, since the Lacedæmonians were interdicted
  from attendance.

  Dr. Thirlwall (Hist. of Greece, vol. iii, ch. xxiv, p. 316)
  says: “We are not aware that the Olympiad, in which these
  chariot-victories of Alkibiadês were gained, can be distinctly
  fixed. But it was probably Olymp. 89, B.C. 424.”

  In my judgment, both Olymp. 88 (B.C. 428) and Olymp. 89 (B.C.
  424) are excluded from the possible supposition, by the fact that
  the general war was raging at both periods. To suppose that in
  the midst of the summer of these two fighting years, there was an
  Olympic truce for a month, allowing Athens and her allies to send
  thither their solemn legations, their chariots for competition,
  and their numerous individual visitors, appears to me contrary
  to all probability. The Olympic month of B.C. 424, would occur
  just about the time when Brasidas was at the Isthmus levying
  troops for his intended expedition to Thrace, and when he rescued
  Megara from the Athenian attack. This would not be a very quiet
  time for the peaceable Athenian visitors, with the costly display
  of gold and silver plate and the ostentatious theôry, to pass
  by, on its way to Olympia. During the time when the Spartans
  occupied Dekeleia, the solemn processions of communicants at the
  Eleusinian mysteries could never march along the Sacred Way from
  Athens to Eleusis. Xen. Hell. i, 4, 20.

  Moreover, we see that the very first article both of the Truce
  for one year and of the Peace of Nikias, expressly stipulate
  for liberty to all to attend the common temples and festivals.
  The first of the two relates to Delphi expressly: the second is
  general, and embraces Olympia as well as Delphi. If the Athenians
  had visited Olympia in 428 or 424 B.C. without impediment, these
  stipulations in the treaties would have no purpose nor meaning.
  But the fact of their standing in the front of the treaty, proves
  that they were looked upon as of much interest and importance.

  I have placed the Olympic festival wherein Alkibiadês contended
  with his seven chariots, in 420 B.C., in the peace, but
  immediately after the war. No other festival appears to me at all

  Dr. Thirlwall farther assumes, as a matter of course, that there
  was only _one_ chariot-race at this Olympic festival, that all
  the seven chariots of Alkibiadês ran in this one race, and that
  in the festival of 420 B.C., Lichas gained _the_ prize: thus
  implying that Alkibiadês could not have gained the prize at the
  same festival.

  I am not aware that there is any evidence to prove either of
  these three propositions. To me they all appear improbable and

  We know from Pausanias (vi, 13, 2) that even in the case of the
  stadiodromi, or runners who contended in the stadium, all were
  not brought out in one race. They were distributed into sets, or
  batches, of what number we know not. Each set ran its own heat,
  and the victors in each then competed with each other in a fresh
  heat; so that the victor who gained the grand final prize was
  sure to have won two heats.

  Now if this practice was adopted with the foot-runners, much
  more would it be likely to be adopted with the chariot-racers in
  case many chariots were brought to the same festival. The danger
  would be lessened, the sport would be increased, and the glory
  of the competitors enhanced. The Olympic festival lasted five
  days, a long time to provide amusement for so vast a crowd of
  spectators. Alkibiadês and Lichas may therefore both have gained
  chariot-victories at the same festival: of course only one of
  them can have gained the grand final prize, and which of the two
  that was it is impossible to say.

If the festival of the 90th Olympiad was peculiarly distinguished
by the reappearance of Athenians and those connected with them, it
was marked by a farther novelty yet more striking, the exclusion of
the Lacedæmonians. This exclusion was the consequence of the new
political interests of the Eleians, combined with their increased
consciousness of force arising out of the recent alliance with Argos,
Athens, and Mantineia. It has already been mentioned that since the
peace with Athens, the Lacedæmonians, acting as arbitrators in the
case of Lepreum, which the Eleians claimed as their dependency,
had declared it to be autonomous, and had sent a body of troops to
defend it. Probably the Eleians had recently renewed their attacks
upon the district, since the junction with their new allies; for
the Lacedæmonians had detached thither a fresh body of one thousand
hoplites immediately prior to the Olympic festival. Out of the
mission of this fresh detachment the sentence of exclusion arose. The
Eleians were privileged administrators of the festival, regulating
the details of the ceremony itself, and formally proclaiming by
heralds the commencement of the Olympic truce during which all
violation of the Eleian territory by an armed force was a sin against
the majesty of Zeus. On the present occasion they affirmed that the
Lacedæmonians had sent the one thousand hoplites into Lepreum, and
had captured a fort called Phyrkus, both Eleian possessions, after
the proclamation of the truce. They accordingly imposed upon Sparta
the fine prescribed by the “Olympian law,” of two minæ for each man,
two thousand minæ in all; a part to Zeus Olympius, a part to the
Eleians themselves. During the interval between the proclamation of
the truce and the commencement of the festival, the Lacedæmonians
sent to remonstrate against this fine, which they alleged to have
been unjustly imposed, inasmuch as the heralds had not yet proclaimed
the truce at Sparta when the hoplites reached Lepreum. The Eleians
replied that the truce had already at that time been proclaimed among
themselves (for they always proclaimed it first at home, before
their heralds crossed the borders), so that _they_ were interdicted
from all military operations; of which the Lacedæmonian hoplites
had taken advantage to commit their last aggressions. To which the
Lacedæmonians rejoined, that the behavior of the Eleians themselves
contradicted their own allegation, for they had sent the Eleian
heralds to Sparta to proclaim the truce after they knew of the
sending of the hoplites, thus showing that they did not consider the
truce to have been already violated. The Lacedæmonians added, that
after the herald reached Sparta, they had taken no farther military
measures. How the truth stood in this disputed question, we have no
means of deciding. But the Eleians rejected the explanation, though
offering, if the Lacedæmonians would restore to them Lepreum, to
forego such part of the fine as would accrue to themselves, and to
pay out of their own treasury on behalf of the Lacedæmonians the
portion which belonged to the god. This new proposition being alike
refused, was again modified by the Eleians. They intimated that they
would be satisfied if the Lacedæmonians, instead of paying the fine
at once, would publicly on the altar at Olympia, in presence of the
assembled Greeks, take an oath to pay it at a future date. But the
Lacedæmonians would not listen to the proposition either of payment
or of promise. Accordingly the Eleians, as judges under the Olympic
law, interdicted them from the temple of Olympic Zeus, from the
privilege of sacrificing there, and from attendance and competition
at the games; that is, from attendance in the form of the sacred
legation called theôry, occupying a formal and recognized place at
the solemnity.[86]

  [86] Thucyd. v, 49, 50.

As all the other Grecian states—with the single exception of
Lepreum—were present by their theôries[87] as well as by individual
spectators, so the Spartan theôry “shone by its absence” in a
manner painfully and insultingly conspicuous. So extreme, indeed,
was the affront put upon the Lacedæmonians, connected as they were
with Olympia by a tie ancient, peculiar, and never yet broken; so
pointed the evidence of that comparative degradation into which
they had fallen, through the peace with Athens coming at the back
of the Sphakterian disaster,[88] that they were supposed likely
to set the exclusion at defiance; and to escort their theôrs into
the temple at Olympia for sacrifice, under the protection of an
armed force. The Eleians even thought it necessary to put their
younger hoplites under arms, and to summon to their aid one thousand
hoplites from Mantineia as well as the same number from Argos, for
the purpose of repelling this probable attack: while a detachment
of Athenian cavalry were stationed at Argos during the festival,
to lend assistance in case of need. The alarm prevalent among the
spectators of the festival was most serious, and became considerably
aggravated by an incident which occurred after the chariot racing.
Lichas,[89] a Lacedæmonian of great wealth and consequence, had a
chariot running in the lists, which he was obliged to enter, not in
his own name, but in the name of the Bœotian federation. The sentence
of exclusion hindered him from taking any ostensible part, but it did
not hinder him from being present as a spectator; and when he saw
his chariot proclaimed victorious under the title of Bœotian, his
impatience to make himself known became uncontrollable. He stepped
into the midst of the lists, and placed a chaplet on the head of
the charioteer, thus advertising himself as the master. This was a
flagrant indecorum and known violation of the order of the festival:
accordingly, the official attendants with their staffs interfered at
once in performance of their duty, chastising and driving him back to
his place with blows.[90] Hence arose an increased apprehension of
armed Lacedæmonian interference. None such took place, however: the
Lacedæmonians, for the first and last time in their history, offered
their Olympic sacrifice at home, and the festival passed off without
any interruption.[91] The boldness of the Eleians in putting this
affront upon the most powerful state in Greece is so astonishing,
that we can hardly be mistaken in supposing their proceeding to have
been suggested by Alkibiadês and encouraged by the armed aid from the
allies. He was at this moment not less ostentatious in humiliating
Sparta than in showing off Athens.

  [87] Thucyd. v, 50. Λακεδαιμόνιοι μὲν εἴργοντο τοῦ ἱεροῦ, θυσίας
  καὶ ἀγώνων, καὶ οἴκοι ἔθυον· οἱ δὲ ἄλλοι Ἕλληνες ἐθεώρουν, πλὴν

  [88] Thucyd. v, 28. Κατὰ γὰρ τὸν χρόνον τοῦτον ἥ τε Λακεδαίμων
  μάλιστα δὴ κακῶς ἤκουσε, καὶ ὑπερώφθη διὰ τὰς ξυμφορὰς, οἵ τε
  Ἀργεῖοι ἄριστα ἔσχον τοῖς πᾶσι, etc.

  [89] See a previous note, p. 56.

  [90] Thucyd. v, 50. Λίχας ὁ Ἀρκεσιλάου Λακεδαιμόνιος ἐν τῷ ἀγῶνι
  ὑπὸ τῶν ῥαβδούχων πληγὰς ἔλαβεν, ὅτι νικῶντος τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ ζεύγους,
  καὶ ἀνακηρυχθέντος Βοιωτῶν δημοσίου κατὰ τὴν οὐκ ἐξουσίαν τῆς
  ἀγωνίσεως προελθὼν ἐς τὸν ἀγῶνα ἀνέδησε τὸν ἡνίοχον, βουλόμενος
  δηλῶσαι ὅτι ἑαυτοῦ ἦν τὸ ἅρμα.

  We see by comparison with this incident how much less rough and
  harsh was the manner of dealing at Athens, and in how much more
  serious a light blows to the person were considered. At the
  Athenian festival of the Dionysia, if a person committed disorder
  or obtruded himself into a place not properly belonging to him
  in the theatre, the archon or his officials were both empowered
  and required to repress the disorder by turning the person out,
  and fining him, if necessary. But they were upon no account to
  strike him. If they did, they were punishable themselves by the
  dikastery afterwards (Demosth. cont. Meidiam, c. 49).

  [91] It will be seen, however, that the Lacedæmonians remembered
  and revenged themselves upon the Eleians for this insult twelve
  years afterwards during the plenitude of their power (Xenoph.
  Hellen. iii, 2, 21; Diodor. xiv, 17).

Of the depressed influence and estimation of Sparta, a farther
proof was soon afforded by the fate of her colony, the Trachinian
Herakleia, established near Thermopylæ, in the third year of the
war. That colony—though at first comprising a numerous body of
settlers, in consequence of the general trust in Lacedæmonian power,
and though always under the government of a Lacedæmonian harmost—had
never prospered. It had been persecuted from the beginning by
the neighboring tribes, and administered with harshness as well
as peculation by its governors. The establishment of the town had
been regarded from the beginning by the neighbors, especially
the Thessalians, as an invasion of their territory; and their
hostilities, always vexatious, had, in the winter succeeding the
Olympic festival just described, been carried to a greater point of
violence than ever. They had defeated the Herakleots in a ruinous
battle, and slain Xenarês the Lacedæmonian governor. But though the
place was so reduced as to be unable to maintain itself without
foreign aid, Sparta was too much embarrassed by Peloponnesian enemies
and waverers to be able to succor it; and the Bœotians, observing her
inability, became apprehensive that the interference of Athens would
be invoked. Accordingly they thought it prudent to occupy Herakleia
with a body of Bœotian troops, dismissing the Lacedæmonian governor
Hegesippidas for alleged misconduct. Nor could the Lacedæmonians
prevent this proceeding, though it occasioned them to make indignant

  [92] Thucyd. v, 51, 52.



Shortly after the remarkable events of the Olympic festival described
in my last chapter, the Argeians and their allies sent a fresh
embassy to invite the Corinthians to join them. They thought it a
promising opportunity, after the affront just put upon Sparta, to
prevail upon the Corinthians to desert her: but Spartan envoys were
present also, and though the discussions were much protracted, no new
resolution was adopted. An earthquake—possibly an earthquake not
real, but simulated for convenience—abruptly terminated the congress.
The Corinthians—though seemingly distrusting Argos, now that she was
united with Athens, and leaning rather towards Sparta—were unwilling
to pronounce themselves in favor of one so as to make an enemy of the

  [93] Thucyd. v, 48-50.

In spite of this first failure, the new alliance of Athens and
Argos manifested its fruits vigorously in the ensuing spring. Under
the inspirations of Alkibiadês, Athens was about to attempt the
new experiment of seeking to obtain intra-Peloponnesian followers
and influence. At the beginning of the war, she had been maritime,
defensive, and simply conservative, under the guidance of Periklês.
After the events of Sphakteria, she made use of that great advantage
to aim at the recovery of Megara and Bœotia, which she had before
been compelled to abandon by the thirty years’ truce, at the
recommendation of Kleon. In this attempt she employed the eighth year
of the war, but with signal ill-success; while Brasidas during that
period broke open the gates of her maritime empire, and robbed her of
many important dependencies. The grand object of Athens then became,
to recover these lost dependencies, especially Amphipolis: Nikias and
his partisans sought to effect such recovery by making peace, while
Kleon and his supporters insisted that it could never be achieved
except by military efforts. The expedition under Kleon against
Amphipolis had failed, the peace concluded by Nikias had failed also:
Athens had surrendered her capital advantage, without regaining
Amphipolis; and if she wished to regain it, there was no alternative
except to repeat the attempt which had failed under Kleon. And this
perhaps she might have done, as we shall find her projecting to do in
the course of about four years forward, if it had not been, first,
that the Athenian mind was now probably sick and disheartened about
Amphipolis, in consequence of the prodigious disgrace so recently
undergone there; next, that Alkibiadês, the new chief adviser or
prime minister of Athens—if we may be allowed to use an inaccurate
expression, which yet suggests the reality of the case—was prompted
by his personal impulses to turn the stream of Athenian ardor into
a different channel. Full of antipathy to Sparta, he regarded the
interior of Peloponnesus as her most vulnerable point, especially in
the present disjointed relations of its component cities. Moreover,
his personal thirst for glory was better gratified amidst the centre
of Grecian life than by undertaking an expedition into a distant and
barbarous region: lastly, he probably recollected with discomfort
the hardships and extreme cold, insupportable to all except the iron
frame of Sokrates, which he had himself endured at the blockade of
Potidæa twelve years before,[94] and which any armament destined
to conquer Amphipolis would have to go through again. It was under
these impressions that he now began to press his intra-Peloponnesian
operations against Lacedæmon, with the view of organizing a
counter-alliance under Argos sufficient to keep her in check, and
at any rate to nullify her power of carrying invasion beyond the
Isthmus. All this was to be done without ostensibly breaking the
peace and alliance between Athens and Lacedæmon, which stood in
conspicuous letters on pillars erected in both cities.

  [94] Plato, Symposion, c. 35, p. 220. δεινοὶ γὰρ αὐτόθι χειμῶνες,
  πάγου οἵου δεινοτάτου, etc.

Coming to Argos at the head of a few Athenian hoplites and bowmen,
and reinforced by Peloponnesian allies, Alkibiadês exhibited the
spectacle of an Athenian general traversing the interior of the
peninsula, and imposing his own arrangements in various quarters, a
spectacle at that moment new and striking.[95] He first turned his
attention to the Achæan towns in the northwest, where he persuaded
the inhabitants of Patræ to ally themselves with Athens, and even to
undertake the labor of connecting their town with the sea by means of
long walls, so as to place themselves within the protection of Athens
from seaward. He farther projected the erection of a fort and the
formation of a naval station at the extreme point of Cape Rhium, just
at the narrow entrance of the Corinthian gulf; whereby the Athenians,
who already possessed the opposite shore by means of Naupaktus, would
have become masters of the commerce of the gulf. But the Corinthians
and Sikyonians, to whom this would have been a serious mischief,
despatched forces enough to prevent the consummation of the scheme,
and probably also to hinder the erection of the walls at Patræ.[96]
Yet the march of Alkibiadês doubtless strengthened the anti-Laconian
interest throughout the Achæan coast.

  [95] Thucyd. v, 52. Isokratês (De Bigis, sect. 17, p. 349)
  speaks of this expedition of Alkibiadês in his usual loose and
  exaggerated language: but he has a right to call attention to it
  as something very memorable at the time.

  [96] Thucyd. v, 52.

He then returned to take part with the Argeians in a war against
Epidaurus. To acquire possession of this city would much facilitate
the communication between Athens and Argos, since it was not
only immediately opposite to the island of Ægina now occupied by
the Athenians, but also opened to the latter an access by land,
dispensing with the labor of circumnavigating Cape Skyllæum, the
southeastern point of the Argeian and Epidaurian peninsula, whenever
they sent forces to Argos. Moreover, the territory of Epidaurus
bordered to the north on that of Corinth, so that the possession
of it would be an additional guarantee for the neutrality of the
Corinthians. Accordingly it was resolved to attack Epidaurus, for
which a pretext was easily found. As presiding and administering
state of the temple of Apollo Pythäeus (situated within the walls
of Argos), the Argeians enjoyed a sort of religious supremacy over
Epidaurus and other neighboring cities, seemingly the remnant of
that extensive supremacy, political as well as religious, which in
early times had been theirs.[97] The Epidaurians owed to this temple
certain sacrifices and other ceremonial obligations, one of which,
arising out of some circumstance which we cannot understand, was now
due and unperformed: at least so the Argeians alleged. Such default
imposed upon them the duty of getting together a military force to
attack the Epidaurians and enforce the obligation.

  [97] Thucyd. v, 53, with Dr. Arnold’s note.

Their invading march, however, was for a time suspended by the news
that king Agis with the full force of Lacedæmon and her allies had
advanced as far as Leuktra, one of the border towns of Laconia on
the northwest, towards Mount Lykæum and the Arcadian Parrhasii. What
this movement meant was known only to Agis himself, who did not even
explain the purpose to his own soldiers or officers, or allies.[98]
But the sacrifice constantly offered before passing the border was
found so unfavorable, that he abandoned his march for the present
and returned home. The month Karneius, a period of truce as well as
religious festival among the Dorian states, being now at hand, he
directed the allies to hold themselves prepared for an out-march as
soon as that month had expired.

  [98] Thucyd. v, 54. ᾔδει δὲ οὐδεὶς ὅποι στρατεύουσιν οὐδὲ αἱ
  πόλεις ἐξ ὧν ἐπέμφθησαν.

  This incident shows that Sparta employed the military force
  of her allies without any regard to their feelings, quite as
  decidedly as Athens; though there were some among them too
  powerful to be thus treated.

On being informed that Agis had dismissed his troops, the Argeians
prepared to execute their invasion of Epidaurus. The day on which
they set out was already the twenty-sixth of the month preceding
the Karneian month, so that there remained only three days before
the commencement of that latter month with its holy truce, binding
upon the religious feelings of the Dorian states generally, to which
Argos, Sparta, and Epidaurus all belonged. But the Argeians made
use of that very peculiarity of the season, which was accounted
likely to keep them at home, to facilitate their scheme, by
playing a trick with the calendar, and proclaiming one of those
arbitrary interferences with the reckoning of time which the Greeks
occasionally employed to correct the ever-recurring confusion of
their lunar system. Having begun their march on the twenty-sixth
of the month before Karneius, the Argeians called each succeeding
day still the twenty-sixth, thus disallowing the lapse of time,
and pretending that the Karneian month had not yet commenced. This
proceeding was farther facilitated by the circumstance, that their
allies of Athens, Elis, and Mantineia, not being Dorians, were
under no obligation to observe the Karneian truce. Accordingly, the
army marched from Argos into the territory of Epidaurus, and spent
seemingly a fortnight or three weeks in laying it waste; all this
time being really, according to the reckoning of the other Dorian
states, part of the Karneian truce, which the Argeians, adopting
their own arbitrary computation of time, professed not to be
violating. The Epidaurians, unable to meet them single-handed in the
field, invoked the aid of their allies: who, however, had already
been summoned by Sparta for the succeeding month, and did not choose,
any more than the Spartans, to move during the Karneian month itself.
Some allies, however, perhaps the Corinthians, came as far as the
Epidaurian border, but did not feel themselves strong enough to lend
aid by entering the territory alone.[99]

  [99] Thucyd. v, 54. Ἀργεῖοι δ’ ἀναχωρησάντων αὐτῶν (the
  Lacedæmonians), τοῦ πρὸ τοῦ Καρνείου μηνὸς ἐξελθόντες τετράδι
  φθίνοντος, ~καὶ ἄγοντες τὴν ἡμέραν ταύτην πάντα τὸν χρόνον~,
  ἐσέβαλον ἐς τὴν Ἐπιδαυρίαν καὶ ~ἐδῄουν~· Ἐπιδαύριοι δὲ τοὺς
  ξυμμάχους ἐπεκαλοῦντο· ὧν οἱ μὲν ~τὸν μῆνα προυφασίσαντο~, οἱ δὲ
  καὶ ἐς μεθορίαν τῆς Ἐπιδαυρίας ἐλθόντες ἡσύχαζον.

  In explaining this passage, I venture to depart from the views
  of all the commentators; with the less scruple, as it seems
  to me that even the best of them are here embarrassed and

  The meaning which I give to the words is the most strict and
  literal possible: “The Argeians, having set out on the 26th of
  the month before Karneius, and _keeping that day during the whole
  time_, invaded the Epidaurian territory, and went on ravaging
  it.” By “during the whole time” is meant, during the whole time
  that this expedition lasted. That is, in my judgment, they
  kept the twenty-sixth day of the antecedent month for a whole
  fortnight or so; they called each successive day by the same
  name; they stopped the computed march of time; the twenty-seventh
  was never admitted to have arrived. Dr. Thirlwall translates
  it (Hist. Gr. vol. iii, ch. xxiv, p. 331): “They began their
  march on a day which they had _always_ been used to keep holy.”
  But surely the words πάντα τὸν χρόνον must denote some definite
  interval of time, and can hardly be construed as equivalent
  to ἀεί. Moreover the words, as Dr. Thirlwall construes them,
  introduce a new fact which has no visible bearing on the main
  affirmation of the sentence.

  The meaning which I give may perhaps be called in question on the
  ground that such tampering with the calendar is too absurd and
  childish to have been really committed. Yet it is not more absurd
  than the two votes of the Athenian assembly (in 290 B.C.), who
  being in the month of Munychion, first passed a vote that that
  month should be the month Anthestêrion; next, that it should be
  the month Boêdromion; in order that Demetrius Poliorkêtês might
  be initiated both in the lesser and greater mysteries of Dêmêtêr,
  both at once and at the same time. Demetrius arrived at Athens in
  the month Munychion, and went through both ceremonies with little
  or no delay; the religious scruple, and the dignity of the Two
  Goddesses being saved by altering the name of the month twice
  (Plutarch, Demetrius, c. 26).

  Besides, if we look to the conduct of the Argeians themselves at
  a subsequent period (B.C. 389, Xenophon, Hellen. iv, 7, 2, 5; v,
  1, 29), we shall see them playing an analogous trick with the
  calendar in order to get the benefit of the sacred truce. When
  the Lacedæmonians invaded Argos, the Argeians despatched heralds
  with wreaths and the appropriate insignia, to warn them off on
  the ground of its being the period of the holy truce,—though it
  _really was not so_,—~οὐχ ὅποτε κάθηκοι ὁ χρόνος, ἀλλ’ ὅποτε
  ἐμβάλλειν μέλλοιεν Λακεδαιμόνιοι, τότε ὑπέφερον τοὺς μῆνας~—Οἱ
  δ’ Ἀργεῖοι ἐπεὶ ἔγνωσαν οὐ δυνησόμενοι κωλύειν, ἔπεμψαν, ὥσπερ
  εἰώθεσαν, ἐστεφανωμένους δύο κήρυκας ~ὑποφέροντας σπονδάς~.
  On more than one occasion, this stratagem was successful: the
  Lacedæmonians did not dare to act in defiance of the summons of
  the heralds, who affirmed that it _was_ the time of the truce,
  though in reality it was not so. At last, the Spartan king
  Agesipolis actually went both to Olympia and Delphi, to put
  the express question to those oracles, whether he was bound to
  accept the truce at any moment, right or wrong, when it might
  suit the convenience of the Argeians to bring it forward as a
  sham plea (ὑποφέρειν). The oracles both told him that he was
  under no obligation to submit to such a pretence; accordingly, he
  sent back the heralds, refusing to attend to their summons, and
  invaded the Argeian territory.

  Now here is a case exactly in point, with this difference; that
  the Argeians, when they are invaders of Epidaurus, falsify the
  calendar in order to blot out the holy truce where it really
  ought to have come: whereas when they are the party invaded, they
  commit similar falsification in order to introduce the truce
  where it does not legitimately belong. I conceive, therefore,
  that such an analogous incident completely justifies the
  interpretation which I have given of the passage now before us in

  But even if I were unable to produce a case so exactly parallel,
  I should still defend the interpretation. Looking to the state
  of the ancient Grecian calendars, the proceeding imputed to the
  Argeians ought not to be looked on as too preposterous and absurd
  for adoption, with the same eyes as we should regard it now.

  With the exception of Athens, we do not know completely the
  calendar of a single other Grecian city: but we know that the
  months of all were lunar months, and that the practice followed
  in regard to intercalation, for the prevention of inconvenient
  divergence between lunar and solar time, was different in each
  different city. Accordingly, the lunar month of one city did not,
  except by accident, either begin or end at the same time as the
  lunar month of another. M. Boeckh observes (ad Corp. Inscr. t. i,
  p. 734): “Variorum populorum menses, qui sibi secundum legitimos
  annorum cardines respondent, non quovis conveniunt anno, nisi
  cyclus intercalationum utrique populi idem sit: sed ubi differunt
  cycli, altero populo prius intercalante mensem dum non intercalat
  alter, eorum qui non intercalarunt mensis certus cedit jam in eum
  mensem alterorum qui præcedit illum cui vulgo respondet certus
  iste mensis: quod tamen negligere solent chronologi.” Compare
  also the valuable Dissertation of K. F. Hermann, Ueber die
  Griechische Monatskunde, Götting. 1844, pp. 21-27, where all that
  is known about the Grecian names and arrangement of months is
  well brought together.

  The names of the Argeian months we hardly know at all (see K. F.
  Hermann, pp. 84-124): indeed, the only single name resting on
  positive proof, is that of a month _Hermæus_. How far the months
  of Argos agreed with those of Epidaurus or Sparta we do not
  know, nor have we any right to presume that they did agree. Nor
  is it by any means clear that every city in Greece had what may
  properly be called a _system_ of intercalation, so correct as to
  keep the calendar right without frequent arbitrary interferences.
  Even at Athens, it is not yet satisfactorily proved that the
  Metonic calendar was ever actually received into civil use.
  Cicero, in describing the practice of the Sicilian Greeks about
  reckoning of time, characterizes their interferences for the
  purpose of correcting the calendar as occasional rather than
  systematic. Verres took occasion from these interferences to make
  a still more violent change, by declaring the Ides of January to
  be the calends of March (Cicero, Verr. ii, 52, 129).

  Now where a people are accustomed to get wrong in their calendar,
  and to see occasional interferences introduced by authority
  to set them right, the step which I here suppose the Argeians
  to have taken about the invasion of Epidaurus will not appear
  absurd and preposterous. The Argeians would pretend that the
  real time for celebrating the festival of Karneia had not yet
  arrived. On that point, they were not bound to follow the views
  of other Dorian states, since there does not seem to have been
  any recognized authority for proclaiming the commencement of the
  Karneian truce, as the Eleians proclaimed the Olympic and the
  Corinthians the Isthmiac truce. In saying, therefore, that the
  twenty-sixth of the month preceding Karneius should be repeated,
  and that the twenty-seventh should not be recognized as arriving
  for a fortnight or three weeks, the Argeian government would
  only be employing an expedient the like of which had been before
  resorted to; though, in the case before us, it was employed for a
  fraudulent purpose.

  The Spartan month _Hekatombeus_ appears to have corresponded
  with the Attic month Hekatombæon; the Spartan month following
  it, _Karneius_, with the Attic month Metageitnion (Hermann, p.
  112), our months July and August; such correspondence being by
  no means exact or constant. Both Dr. Arnold and Göller speak of
  Hekatombeus as if it were the _Argeian_ month preceding Karneius:
  but we only know it as a _Spartan_ month. Its name does not
  appear among the months of the Dorian cities in Sicily, among
  whom nevertheless Karneius seems universal. See Franz, Comm. ad
  Corp. Inscript. Græc. No. 5475, 5491, 5640. Part xxxii, p. 640.

  The tricks played with the calendar at Rome, by political
  authorities for party purposes, are well known to every one. And
  even in some states of Greece, the course of the calendar was so
  uncertain as to serve as a proverbial expression for inextricable
  confusion. See Hesychius—~Ἐν Κέῳ τις ἡμέρα~; Ἐπὶ τῶν οὐκ
  εὐγνώστον· οὐδεὶς γὰρ οἶδεν ἐν Κέῳ τις ἡ ἡμέρα, ὅτι οὐκ ἑστᾶσιν
  αἱ ἡμέραι, ἀλλ’ ὡς ἕκαστοι θέλουσιν ἄγουσι. See also Aristoph.
  Nubes, 605.

Meanwhile the Athenians had convoked another congress of deputies
at Mantineia, for the purpose of discussing propositions of peace:
perhaps this may have been a point carried by Nikias at Athens, in
spite of Alkibiadês. What other deputies attended we are not told;
but Euphamidas, coming as envoy from Corinth, animadverted even at
the opening of the debates upon the inconsistency of assembling
a peace congress while war was actually raging in the Epidaurian
territory. So much were the Athenian deputies struck with this
observation, that they departed, persuaded the Argeians to retire
from Epidaurus, and then came back to resume negotiations. Still,
however, the pretensions of both parties were found irreconcilable,
and the congress broke up; upon which the Argeians again returned
to renew their devastation in Epidaurus, while the Lacedæmonians,
immediately on the expiration of the Karneian month, marched out
again, as far as their border town of Karyæ, but were again arrested
and forced to return by unfavorable border-sacrifices. Intimation
of their out-march, however, was transmitted to Athens; upon which
Alkibiadês, at the head of one thousand Athenian hoplites, was sent
to join the Argeians. But before he arrived, the Lacedæmonian army
had been already disbanded; so that his services were no longer
required, and the Argeians carried their ravages over one-third of
the territory of Epidaurus before they at length evacuated it.[100]

  [100] Thucyd. v, 55. καὶ Ἀθηναίων αὐτοῖς χίλιοι ἐβοήθησαν
  ὁπλῖται καὶ Ἀλκιβιάδης στρατηγὸς: πυθόμενοι τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους
  ἐξεστρατεῦσθαι· καὶ ὡς οὐδὲν ἔτι αὐτῶν ἔδει, ἀπῆλθον. This is the
  reading which Portus, Bloomfield, Didot, and Göller, either adopt
  or recommend; leaving out the particle δὲ which stands in the
  common text after πυθόμενοι.

  If we do not adopt this reading, we must construe ἐξεστρατεῦσθαι,
  as Dr. Arnold and Poppo construe it, in the sense of “had already
  completed their expedition and returned home.” But no authority
  is produced for putting such a meaning upon the verb ἐκστρατεύω:
  and the view of Dr. Arnold, who conceives that this meaning
  exclusively belongs to the preterite or pluperfect tense, is
  powerfully contradicted by the use of the word ἐξεστρατευμένων
  (ii, 7), the same verb and the same tense, yet in a meaning
  contrary to that which he assigns.

  It appears to me the least objectionable proceeding of the two,
  to dispense with the particle δέ.

The Epidaurians were reinforced about the end of September by a
detachment of three hundred Lacedæmonian hoplites under Agesippidas,
sent by sea without the knowledge of the Athenians. Of this, the
Argeians preferred loud complaints at Athens; and they had good
reason to condemn the negligence of the Athenians as allies, for not
having kept better naval watch at their neighboring station of Ægina,
and for having allowed this enemy to enter the harbor of Epidaurus.
But they took another ground of complaint, somewhat remarkable. In
the alliance between Athens, Argos, Elis, and Mantineia, it had been
stipulated that neither of the four should suffer the passage of
troops through its territory, without the joint consent of all. Now
the sea was accounted a part of the territory of Athens: so that the
Athenians had violated this article of the treaty by permitting the
Lacedæmonians to send troops by sea to Epidaurus. And the Argeians
now required Athens, in compensation for this wrong, to carry back
the Messenians and Helots from Kephallenia to Pylos, and allow them
to ravage Laconia. The Athenians, under the persuasion of Alkibiadês,
complied with their requisition; inscribing, at the foot of the
pillar on which their alliance with Sparta stood recorded, that the
Lacedæmonians had not observed their oaths. Nevertheless, they still
abstained from formally throwing up their treaty with Lacedæmon, or
breaking it in any other way.[101] The relations between Athens and
Sparta thus remained in name, peace and alliance, so far as concerns
direct operations against each other’s territory; in reality, hostile
action as well as hostile manœuvring, against each other, as allies
respectively of third parties.

  [101] Thucyd. v, 56.

The Argeians, after having prolonged their incursions on the
Epidaurian territory throughout all the autumn, made in the winter
an unavailing attempt to take the town itself by storm. Though there
was no considerable action, but merely a succession of desultory
attacks, in some of which the Epidaurians even had the advantage,
yet they still suffered serious hardship, and pressed their case
forcibly on the sympathy of Sparta. Thus importuned, and mortified as
well as alarmed by the increasing defection or coldness which they
now experienced throughout Peloponnesus, the Lacedæmonians determined
during the course of the ensuing summer to put forth their strength
vigorously, and win back their lost ground.[102]

  [102] Thucyd. v, 37.

Towards the month of June (B.C. 418) they marched with their full
force, freemen as well as Helots, under king Agis, against Argos.
The Tegeans and other Arcadian allies joined them on the march,
while their other allies near the Isthmus,—Bœotians, Megarians,
Corinthians, Sikyonians, Phliasians, etc., were directed to
assemble at Phlius. The number of these latter allies were very
considerable, for we hear of five thousand Bœotian hoplites, and two
thousand Corinthian: the Bœotians had with them also five thousand
light-armed, five hundred horsemen, and five hundred foot-soldiers,
who ran alongside of the horsemen. The numbers of the rest, or of
Spartans themselves, we do not know; nor probably did Thucydidês
himself know: for we find him remarking elsewhere the impenetrable
concealment of the Lacedæmonians on all public affairs, in reference
to the numbers at the subsequent battle of Mantineia. Such muster of
the Lacedæmonian alliance was no secret to the Argeians, who marching
first to Mantineia, and there taking up the force of that city as
well as three thousand Eleian hoplites who came to join them, met the
Lacedæmonians in their march at Methydrium in Arcadia. The two armies
being posted on opposite hills, the Argeians had resolved to attack
Agis the next day, so as to prevent him from joining his allies at
Phlius. But he eluded this separate encounter by decamping in the
night, reached Phlius, and operated his junction in safety. We do not
hear that there was in the Lacedæmonian army any commander of lochus,
who, copying the unreasonable punctilio of Amompharetus before the
battle of Platæa, refused to obey the order of retreat before the
enemy, to the imminent risk of the whole army. And the fact, that
no similar incident occurred now, may be held to prove that the
Lacedæmonians had acquired greater familiarity with the exigencies of
actual warfare.

As soon as the Lacedæmonian retreat was known in the morning, the
Argeians left their position also, and marched with their allies,
first to Argos itself; next, to Nemea, on the ordinary road from
Corinth and Phlius to Argos, by which they imagined that the
invaders would approach. But Agis acted differently. Distributing
his force into three divisions, he himself with the Lacedæmonians
and Arcadians, taking a short, but very rugged and difficult road,
crossed the ridge of the mountains and descended straight into the
plain near Argos. The Corinthians, Pellenians, and Phliasians, were
directed to follow another mountain road, which entered the same
plain upon a different point; while the Bœotians, Corinthians, and
Sikyonians, followed the longer, more even, and more ordinary route,
by Nemea. This route, though apparently frequented and convenient,
led for a considerable distance along a narrow ravine, called the
Trêtus, bounded on each side by mountains. The united army under Agis
was much superior in number to the Argeians: but if all had marched
in one line by the frequented route through the narrow Trêtus,
their superiority of number would have been of little use, whilst
the Argeians would have had a position highly favorable to their
defence. By dividing his force, and taking the mountain road with his
own division, Agis got into the plain of Argos in the rear of the
Argeian position at Nemea. He anticipated that when the Argeians saw
him devastating their properties near the city, they would forthwith
quit the advantageous ground near Nemea, to come and attack him in
the plain: the Bœotian division would thus find the road by Nemea
and the Trêtus open, and would be able to march without resistance
into the plain of Argos, where their numerous cavalry would act with
effect against the Argeians engaged in attacking Agis. This triple
march was executed. Agis with his division, and the Corinthians with
theirs, got across the mountains into the Argeian plain during the
night; while the Argeians,[103] hearing at daybreak that he was near
their city, ravaging Saminthus and other places, left their position
at Nemea to come down to the plain and attack him. In their march
they had a partial skirmish with the Corinthian division, which had
reached a high ground immediately above the Argeian plain, and which
lay nearly in the road. But this affair was indecisive, and they soon
found themselves in the plain near to Agis and the Lacedæmonians, who
lay between them and their city.

  [103] Thucyd. v, 58. Οἱ δὲ Ἀργεῖοι γνόντες ἐβοήθουν ~ἡμέρας ἤδη~
  ἐκ τῆς Νεμέας, etc.

On both sides, the armies were marshalled, and order taken for
battle. But the situation of the Argeians was in reality little
less than desperate: for while they had Agis and his division in
their front, the Corinthian detachment was near enough to take
them in flank, and the Bœotians marching along the undefended road
through the Trêtus would attack them in the rear. The Bœotian
cavalry too would act with full effect upon them in the plain, since
neither Argos, Elis, nor Mantineia, seemed to have possessed any
horsemen; a description of force which ought to have been sent from
Athens, though from some cause which does not appear, the Athenian
contingent had not yet arrived. Nevertheless, in spite of this very
critical position, both the Argeians and their allies were elate
with confidence and impatient for battle; thinking only of the
division of Agis immediately in their front, which appeared to be
inclosed between them and their city, and taking no heed to the other
formidable enemies in their flank and rear. But the Argeian generals
were better aware than their soldiers of the real danger; and just
as the two armies were about to charge, Alkiphron, proxenus of the
Lacedæmonians at Argos, accompanied Thrasyllus, one of the five
generals of the Argeians, to a separate parley with Agis, without
the least consultation or privity on the part of their own army.
They exhorted Agis not to force on a battle, assuring him that the
Argeians were ready both to give and receive equitable satisfaction,
in all matters of complaint which the Lacedæmonians might urge
against them, and to conclude a just peace for the future. Agis,
at once acquiescing in the proposal, granted them a truce of four
months to accomplish what they had promised. He on his part also
took this step without consulting either his army or his allies,
simply addressing a few words of confidential talk to one of the
official Spartans near him. Immediately, he gave the order for
retreat, and the army, instead of being led to battle, was conducted
out of the Argeian territory, through the Nemean road whereby the
Bœotians had just been entering. But it required all the habitual
discipline of Lacedæmonian soldiers to make them obey this order
of the Spartan king, alike unexpected and unwelcome.[104] For the
army were fully sensible both of the prodigious advantages of their
position, and of the overwhelming strength of the invading force,
so that all the three divisions were loud in their denunciations of
Agis, and penetrated with shame at the thoughts of so disgraceful
a retreat. And when they all saw themselves in one united body at
Nemea, previous to breaking up and going home,—so as to have before
their eyes their own full numbers and the complete equipment of one
of the finest Hellenic armies which had ever been assembled,—the
Argeian body of allies, before whom they were now retiring, appeared
contemptible in the comparison, and they separated with yet warmer
and more universal indignation against the king who had betrayed
their cause.

  [104] Thucyd. v, 60. Οἱ δὲ Λακεδαιμόνιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι εἵποντο
  μὲν ὡς ἡγεῖτο διὰ τὸν νόμον, ἐν αἰτίᾳ δὲ εἶχον κατ’ ἀλλήλους
  πολλῇ τὸν Ἆγιν, etc.

On returning home, Agis incurred not less blame from the Spartan
authorities than from his own army, for having thrown away so
admirable an opportunity of subduing Argos. This was assuredly
no more than he deserved: but we read with no small astonishment
that the Argeians and their allies on returning were even more
exasperated against Thrasyllus,[105] whom they accused of having
traitorously thrown away a certain victory. They had indeed good
ground, in the received practice, to censure him for having concluded
a truce without taking the sense of the people. It was their custom
on returning from a march, to hold a public court-martial before
entering the city, at a place called the Charadrus, or winter torrent
near the walls, for the purpose of adjudicating on offences and
faults committed in the army. Such was their wrath on this occasion
against Thrasyllus, that they would scarcely be prevailed upon even
to put him upon his trial, but began to stone him. He was forced to
seek personal safety at the altar; upon which the soldiers tried
him, and he was condemned to have his property confiscated.[106]

  [105] Thucyd. v, 60. Ἀργεῖοι δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔτι ἐν πολλῷ πλέονι
  αἰτίᾳ εἶχον ~τοὺς σπεισαμένους ἄνευ τοῦ πλήθους~, etc.

  [106] Thucyd. v, 60.

Very shortly afterwards the expected Athenian contingent arrived,
which probably ought to have come earlier: one thousand hoplites,
with three hundred horsemen, under Lachês and Nikostratus. Alkibiadês
came as ambassador, probably serving as a soldier also among the
horsemen. The Argeians, notwithstanding their displeasure against
Thrasyllus, nevertheless felt themselves pledged to observe the truce
which he had concluded, and their magistrates accordingly desired the
newly-arrived Athenians to depart. Nor was Alkibiadês even permitted
to approach and address the public assembly, until the Mantineian and
Eleian allies insisted that thus much at least should not be refused.
An assembly was therefore convened, in which these allies took part,
along with the Argeians. Alkibiadês contended strenuously that the
recent truce with the Lacedæmonians was null and void; since it had
been contracted without the privity of all the allies, distinctly at
variance with the terms of the alliance. He therefore called upon
them to resume military operations forthwith, in conjunction with
the reinforcement now seasonably arrived. His speech so persuaded
the assembly, that the Mantineians and Eleians consented at once to
join him in an expedition against the Arcadian town of Orchomenus;
the Argeians, also, though at first reluctant, very speedily followed
them thither. Orchomenus was a place important to acquire, not merely
because its territory joined that of Mantineia on the northward, but
because the Lacedæmonians had deposited therein the hostages which
they had taken from Arcadian townships and villages as guarantee
for fidelity. Its walls were however in bad condition, and its
inhabitants, after a short resistance, capitulated. They agreed to
become allies of Mantineia, to furnish hostages for faithful adhesion
to such alliance, and to deliver up the hostages deposited with them
by Sparta.[107]

  [107] Thucyd. v, 62.

Encouraged by first success, the allies debated what they should
next undertake; the Eleians contending strenuously for a march
against Lepreum, while the Mantineians were anxious to attack their
enemy and neighbor Tegea. The Argeians and Athenians preferred
the latter, incomparably the more important enterprise of the two:
but such was the disgust of the Eleians at the rejection of their
proposition, that they abandoned the army altogether, and went home.
Notwithstanding their desertion, however, the remaining allies
continued together at Mantineia, organizing their attack upon Tegea,
in which city they had a strong favorable party, who had actually
laid their plans, and were on the point of proclaiming the revolt
of the city from Sparta,[108] when the philo-Laconian Tegeans just
saved themselves by despatching the most urgent message to Sparta,
and receiving the most rapid succor. The Lacedæmonians, filled with
indignation at the news of the surrender of Orchomenus, vented anew
all their displeasure against Agis, whom they now threatened with
the severe punishment of demolishing his house and fining him in
the sum of one hundred thousand drachmæ, or about twenty-seven and
two-thirds Attic talents. He urgently entreated that an opportunity
might be afforded to him of redeeming by some brave deed the ill name
which he had incurred: if he failed in doing so, then they might
inflict on him what penalty they chose. The penalty was accordingly
withdrawn: but a restriction, new to the Spartan constitution, was
now placed upon the authority of the king. It had been before a part
of his prerogative to lead out the army single-handed and on his
own authority; but a council of ten was now named, without whose
concurrence he was interdicted from exercising such power.[109]

  [108] Thucyd. v, 64. ὅσον οὐκ ἀφέστηκεν, etc.

  [109] Thucyd. v, 63.

To the great good fortune of Agis, a pressing message now arrived
announcing the imminent revolt of Tegea, the most important ally of
Sparta, and close upon her border. Such was the alarm occasioned by
this news that the whole military population instantly started off
to relieve the place, Agis at their head, the most rapid movement
ever known to have been made by Lacedæmonian soldiers.[110] When they
arrived at Orestheium in Arcadia, in their way, perhaps hearing that
the danger was somewhat less pressing, they sent back to Sparta
one-sixth part of the forces, for home defence, the oldest as well
as the youngest men. The remainder marched forward to Tegea, where
they were speedily joined by their Arcadian allies. They farther sent
messages to the Corinthians and Bœotians, as well as to the Phocians
and Lokrians, invoking the immediate presence of these contingents
in the territory of Mantineia. The arrival of such reinforcements,
however, even with all possible zeal on the part of the cities
contributing, could not be looked for without some lapse of time; the
rather, as it appears, that they could not get into the territory
of Mantineia except by passing through that of Argos,[111] which
could not be safely attempted until they had all formed a junction.
Accordingly Agis, impatient to redeem his reputation, marched at once
with the Lacedæmonians and the Arcadian allies present, into the
territory of Mantineia, and took up a position near the Herakleion,
or temple of Hêraklês,[112] from whence he began to ravage the
neighboring lands. The Argeians and their allies presently came forth
from Mantineia, planted themselves near him, but on very rugged and
impracticable ground, and thus offered him battle. Nothing daunted
by the difficulties of the position, he marshalled his army and led
it up to attack them. His rashness on the present occasion might
have produced as much mischief as his inconsiderate concession to
Thrasyllus near Argos, had not an ancient Spartan called out to him
that he was now merely proceeding “to heal mischief by mischief.” So
forcibly was Agis impressed either with this timely admonition, or by
the closer view of the position which he had undertaken to assault,
that he suddenly halted the army and gave orders for retreat, though
actually within distance no greater than the cast of a javelin from
the enemy.[113]

  [110] Thucyd. v, 64. ἐνταῦθα δὴ βοήθεια τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων
  γίγνεται αὐτῶν τε καὶ τῶν Εἱλώτων πανδημεὶ ὀξεῖα καὶ οἵα οὔπω
  πρότερον. The out-march of the Spartans just before the battle of
  Platæa (described in Herodot. vii, 10) seems, however, to have
  been quite as rapid and instantaneous.

  [111] Thucyd. v, 64. ξυνέκλῃε γὰρ διὰ μέσου.

  [112] The Lacedæmonian kings appear to have felt a sense of
  protection in encamping near a temple of Hêraklês, their heroic
  progenitor (see Xenophon, Hellen. vii, 1, 31).

  [113] Thucyd. v, 65. See an exclamation by an old Spartan
  mentioned as productive of important consequences, at the moment
  when a battle was going to commence, in Xenophon, Hellen. vii, 4,

His march was now intended to draw the Argeians away from the
difficult ground which they occupied. On the frontier between
Mantineia and Tegea—both situated on a lofty but inclosed plain,
drained only by katabothra, or natural subterranean channels in the
mountains—was situated a head of water, the regular efflux of which
seems to have been kept up by joint operations of both cities for
their mutual benefit. Thither Agis now conducted his army, for the
purpose of turning the water towards the side of Mantineia, where
it would occasion serious damage; calculating that the Mantineians
and their allies would certainly descend from their position to
hinder it. No stratagem however was necessary to induce the latter
to adopt this resolution. For so soon as they saw the Lacedæmonians,
after advancing to the foot of the hill, first suddenly halt, next
retreat, and lastly disappear, their surprise was very great: and
this surprise was soon converted into contemptuous confidence and
impatience to pursue the flying enemy. The generals not sharing such
confidence, hesitated at first to quit their secure position: upon
which the troops became clamorous, and loudly denounced them for
treason in letting the Lacedæmonians quietly escape a second time,
as they had before done near Argos. These generals would probably
not be the same with those who had incurred, a short time before,
so much undeserved censure for their convention with Agis: but the
murmurs on the present occasion, hardly less unreasonable, drove
them, not without considerable shame and confusion, to give orders
for advance. They abandoned the hill, marched down into the plain
so as to approach the Lacedæmonians, and employed the next day in
arranging themselves in good battle order, so as to be ready to fight
at a moment’s notice.

Meanwhile it appears that Agis had found himself disappointed in his
operations upon the water. He had either not done so much damage, or
not spread so much terror, as he had expected: and he accordingly
desisted, putting himself again in march to resume his position
at the Herakleion, and supposing that his enemies still retained
their position on the hill. But in the course of this march he
came suddenly upon the Argeian and allied army where he was not in
the least prepared to see them: they were not only in the plain,
but already drawn up in perfect order of battle. The Mantineians
occupied the right wing, the post of honor, because the ground was in
their territory: next to them stood their dependent Arcadian allies:
then the chosen Thousand-regiment of Argos, citizens of wealth and
family, trained in arms at the cost of the state: alongside of them,
the remaining Argeian hoplites, with their dependent allies of Kleônæ
and Orneæ: last of all, on the left wing, stood the Athenians, their
hoplites as well as their horsemen.

It was with the greatest surprise that Agis and his army beheld this
unexpected apparition. To any other Greeks than Lacedæmonians, the
sudden presentation of a formidable enemy would have occasioned a
feeling of dismay from which they would have found it difficult to
recover; and even the Lacedæmonians, on this occasion, underwent
a momentary shock unparalleled in their previous experience.[114]
But they now felt the full advantage of their rigorous training
and habit of military obedience, as well as of that subordination
of officers which was peculiar to themselves in Greece. In other
Grecian armies orders were proclaimed to the troops in a loud voice
by a herald, who received them personally from the general: each
_taxis_, or company, indeed, had its own taxiarch, but the latter
did not receive his orders separately from the general, and seems
to have had no personal responsibility for the execution of them by
his soldiers. Subordinate and responsible military authority was not
recognized. Among the Lacedæmonians, on the contrary, there was a
regular gradation of military and responsible authority, “commanders
of commanders,” each of whom had his special duty in insuring the
execution of orders.[115] Every order emanated from the Spartan king
when he was present, and was given to the polemarchs (each commanding
a mora, the largest military division), who intimated it to the
lochagi, or colonels, of the respective lochi. These again gave
command to each pentekontêr, or captain of a pentekosty; lastly,
he to the enômotarch, who commanded the lowest subdivision, called
an enômoty. The soldier thus received no immediate orders except
from the enômotarch, who was in the first instance responsible for
his enômoty; but the pentekontêr and the lochage were responsible
also each for his larger division; the pentekosty including four
enômoties, and the lochus four pentekosties, at least so the numbers
stood on this occasion. All the various military manœuvres were
familiar to the Lacedæmonians from their unremitting drill, so
that their armies enjoyed the advantage of readier obedience along
with more systematic command. Accordingly, though thus taken by
surprise, and called on now for the first time in their lives, to
form in the presence of an enemy, they only manifested the greater
promptitude[116] and anxious haste in obeying the orders of Agis,
transmitted through the regular series of officers. The battle array
was attained with regularity as well as with speed.

  [114] Thucyd. v, 66. μάλιστα δὴ Λακεδαιμόνιοι ἐς ὃ ἐμέμνηντο,
  ἐν τούτῳ τῷ καιρῷ ἐξεπλάγησαν· διὰ βραχείας γὰρ μελλήσεως ἡ
  παρασκευὴ αὐτοῖς ἐγίγνετο, etc.

  [115] Thucyd. v, 66. Σχεδὸν γάρ τι πᾶν, πλὴν ὀλίγου, τὸ
  στρατόπεδον τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων ἄρχοντες ἀρχόντων εἰσὶ, καὶ τὸ
  ἐπιμελὲς τοῦ δρωμένου πολλοῖς προσήκει.

  Xenophon, De Republ. Laced. xi, 5. Αἱ παραγωγαὶ ὥσπερ ὑπὸ κήρυκος
  ὑπὸ τοῦ ἐνωμοτάρχου λόγῳ δηλοῦνται: compare xi, 8, τῷ ἐνωμοτάρχῃ
  παρεγγυᾶται εἰς μέτωπον παρ’ ἄσπιδα καθίστασθαι, etc.

  [116] Thucyd. v, 66. εὐθὺς ὑπὸ σπουδῆς καθίσταντο ~ἐς κόσμον τὸν
  ἑαυτῶν~, Ἄγιδος τοῦ βασιλέως ἕκαστα ἐξηγουμένου κατὰ τὸν νόμον,

The extreme left of the Lacedæmonian line belonged by ancient
privilege to the Skiritæ; mountaineers of the border district of
Laconia, skirting the Arcadian Parrhasii, seemingly east of the
Eurotas, near its earliest and highest course. These men, originally
Arcadians, now constituted a variety of Laconian Periœki, with
peculiar duties as well as peculiar privileges. Numbered among the
bravest and most active men in Peloponnesus, they generally formed
the vanguard in an advancing march; and the Spartans stand accused
of having exposed them to danger as well as toil with unbecoming
recklessness.[117] Next to the Skiritæ, who were six hundred in
number, stood the enfranchised Helots, recently returned from serving
with Brasidas in Thrace, and the Neodamôdes, both probably summoned
home from Lepreum, where we were told before that they had been
planted. After them, in the centre of the entire line, came the
Lacedæmonian lochi, seven in number, with the Arcadian dependent
allies, Heræan and Mænalian, near them. Lastly, in the right wing,
stood the Tegeans, with a small division of Lacedæmonians occupying
the extreme right, as the post of honor. On each flank there were
some Lacedæmonian horsemen.[118]

  [117] Xenophon, Cyrop. iv, 2. 1: see Diodor. xv, c. 32; Xenophon,
  Rep. Laced. xiii, 6.

  [118] Thucyd. v, 67.

Thucydidês, with a frankness which enhances the value of his
testimony wherever he gives it positively, informs us that he cannot
pretend to set down the number of either army. It is evident that
this silence is not for want of having inquired; but none of the
answers which he received appeared to him trustworthy: the extreme
secrecy of Lacedæmonian politics admitted of no certainty about
_their_ numbers, while the empty numerical boasts of other Greeks
were not less misleading. In the absence of assured information about
aggregate number, the historian gives us some general information
accessible to every inquirer, and some facts visible to a spectator.
From his language it is conjectured, with some probability, by Dr.
Thirlwall and others, that he was himself present at the battle,
though in what capacity we cannot determine, as he was an exile
from his country. First, he states that the Lacedæmonian army
_appeared_ more numerous than that of the enemy. Next he tells us,
that independent of the Skiritæ on the left, who were six hundred in
number, the remaining Lacedæmonian front, to the extremity of their
right wing, consisted of four hundred and forty-eight men, each
enômoty having four men in front. In respect to depth, the different
enômoties were not all equal; but for the most part, the files were
eight deep. There were seven lochi in all (apart from the Skiritæ);
each lochus comprised four pentekosties, each pentekosty contained
four enômoties.[119] Multiplying four hundred and forty-four by
eight, and adding the six hundred Skiritæ, this would make a total
of four thousand one hundred and eighty-four hoplites, besides a few
horsemen on each flank. Respecting light-armed, nothing is said.
I have no confidence in such an estimate—but the total is smaller
than we should have expected, considering that the Lacedæmonians
had marched out from Sparta with their entire force on a pressing
emergency, and that they had only sent home one-sixth of their total,
their oldest and youngest soldiers.

  [119] Very little can be made out respecting the structure of the
  Lacedæmonian army. We know that the enômoty was the elementary
  division, the military unit: that the pentekosty was composed
  of a definite (not always the same) number of enômoties: that
  the lochus also was composed of a definite (not always the same)
  number of pentekosties. The mora appears to have been a still
  larger division, consisting of so many lochi (according to
  Xenophon, of four lochi): but Thucydidês speaks as if he knew no
  division larger than the lochus.

  Beyond this very slender information, there seems no other
  fact certainly established about the Lacedæmonian military
  distribution. Nor ought we reasonably to expect to find that
  these words _enômoty_, _pentekosty_, lochus, etc., indicate
  any fixed number of men: our own names _regiment_, _company_,
  _troop_, _brigade_, _division_, etc., are all more or less
  indefinite as to positive numbers and proportion to each other.

  That which was peculiar to the Lacedæmonian drill, was, the
  teaching a small number of men like an enômoty (twenty-five,
  thirty-two, thirty-six men, as we sometimes find it), to perform
  its evolutions under the command of its enômotarch. When this
  was once secured, it is probable that the combination of these
  elementary divisions was left to be determined in every case by

  Thucydidês states two distinct facts. 1. Each enômoty had _four
  men in front_. 2. Each enômoty _varied in depth_, according as
  every lochagus chose. Now Dobree asks, with much reason, how
  these two assertions are to be reconciled? Given the number of
  men in front, the depth of the enômoty is of course determined,
  without any reference to the discretion of any one. These two
  assertions appear distinctly contradictory; unless we suppose
  (what seems very difficult to believe) that the lochage might
  make one or two of the four files of the same enômoty deeper
  than the rest. Dobree proposes, as a means of removing this
  difficulty, to expunge some words from the text. One cannot have
  confidence, however, in the conjecture.

It does not appear that the generals on the Argeian side made any
attempt to charge while the Lacedæmonian battle-array was yet
incomplete. It was necessary for them, according to Grecian practice,
to wind up the courage of their troops by some words of exhortation
and encouragement: and before these were finished, the Lacedæmonians
may probably have attained their order. The Mantineian officers
reminded their countrymen that the coming battle would decide whether
Mantineia should continue to be a free and imperial city, with
Arcadian dependencies of her own, as she now was, or should again
be degraded into a dependency of Lacedæmon. The Argeian leaders
dwelt upon the opportunity which Argos now had of recovering her
lost ascendency in Peloponnesus, and of revenging herself upon her
worst enemy and neighbor. The Athenian troops were exhorted to show
themselves worthy of the many brave allies with whom they were now
associated, as well as to protect their own territory and empire by
vanquishing their enemy in Peloponnesus.

It illustrates forcibly the peculiarity of Lacedæmonian character,
that to them no similar words of encouragement were addressed either
by Agis or any of the officers. “They knew (says the historian[120])
that long practice beforehand in the business of war, was a better
preservative than fine speeches on the spur of the moment.” As among
professional soldiers, bravery was assumed as a thing of course,
without any special exhortation: but mutual suggestions were heard
among them with a view to get their order of battle and position
perfect, which at first it probably was not, from the sudden and
hurried manner in which they had been constrained to form. Moreover,
various war-songs, perhaps those of Tyrtæus, were chanted in the
ranks. At length the word was given to attack: the numerous pipers
in attendance—an hereditary caste at Sparta—began to play, while the
slow, solemn, and equable march of the troops adjusted itself to the
time given by these instruments without any break or wavering in the
line. A striking contrast to this deliberate pace was presented by
the enemy: who having no pipers or other musical instruments, rushed
forward to the charge with a step vehement and even furious,[121]
fresh from the exhortations just addressed to them.

  [120] Thucyd. v, 69. Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ καθ’ ἑκάστους τε καὶ
  μετὰ τῶν πολεμικῶν νόμων ἐν σφίσιν αὐτοῖς ὧν ἠπίσταντο τὴν
  παρακέλευσιν τῆς μνήμης ἀγαθοῖς οὖσιν ἐποιοῦντο, εἰδότες ἔργων ἐκ
  πολλοῦ μελέτην πλείω σώζουσαν ἢ λόγων δι’ ὀλίγου καλῶς ῥηθέντων

  [121] Thucyd. v, 70. Ἀργεῖοι μὲν καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι, ἐντόνως καὶ
  ὀργῇ χωροῦντες, Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ, βραδέως καὶ ὑπὸ αὐλητῶν πολλῶν
  νόμῳ ἐγκαθεστώτων, οὐ τοῦ θείου χάριν, ἀλλ’ ἵνα ὁμαλῶς μετὰ
  ῥυθμοῦ βαίνοντες προσέλθοιεν καὶ μὴ διασπασθείη αὐτῶν ἡ τάξις,
  ὅπερ φιλεῖ τὰ μεγάλα στρατόπεδα ἐν ταῖς προσόδοις ποιεῖν.

It was the natural tendency of all Grecian armies, when coming into
conflict, to march not exactly straight forward, but somewhat
aslant towards the right. The soldiers on the extreme right of
both armies set the example of such inclination, in order to avoid
exposing their own unshielded side; while for the same reason every
man along the line took care to keep close to the shield of his
right-hand neighbor. We see from hence that, with equal numbers,
the right was not merely the post of honor, but also of comparative
safety. So it proved on the present occasion, even the Lacedæmonian
discipline being noway exempt from this cause of disturbance. Though
the Lacedæmonian front, from their superior numbers, was more
extended than that of the enemy, still their right files did not
think themselves safe without slanting still farther to the right,
and thus outflanked very greatly the Athenians on the opposite left
wing; while on the opposite side the Mantineians who formed the
right wing, from the same disposition to keep the left shoulder
forward, outflanked, though not in so great a degree, the Skiritæ and
Brasideians on the Lacedæmonian left. King Agis, whose post was with
the lochi in the centre, saw plainly that when the armies closed,
his left would be certainly taken in flank and perhaps even in the
rear. Accordingly, he thought it necessary to alter his dispositions
even at this critical moment, which he relied upon being able to
accomplish through the exact discipline, practised evolutions, and
slow march, of his soldiers.

The natural mode of meeting the impending danger would have been to
bring round a division from the extreme right, where it could well be
spared, to the extreme left against the advancing Mantineians. But
the ancient privilege of the Skiritæ, who always fought by themselves
on the extreme left, forbade such an order.[122] Accordingly, Agis
gave signal to the Brasideians and Skiritæ to make a flank movement
on the left so as to get on equal front with the Mantineians; while
in order to fill up the vacancy thus created in his line, he sent
orders to the two polemarchs Aristoklês and Hipponoidas, who had
their lochi on the extreme right of the line, to move to the rear
and take post on the right of the Brasideians, so as again to close
up the line. But these two polemarchs, who had the safest and most
victorious place in the line, chose to keep it, disobeying his
express orders: so that Agis, when he saw that they did not move,
was forced to send a second order countermanding the flank movement
of the Skiritæ, and directing them to fall in upon the centre, back
into their former place. But it had now become too late to execute
this second command before the hostile armies closed: and the Skiritæ
and Brasideians were thus assailed while in disorder and cut off from
their own centre. The Mantineians, finding them in this condition,
defeated and drove them back; while the chosen Thousand of Argos,
breaking in by the vacant space between the Brasideians and the
Lacedæmonian centre, took them on the right flank and completed their
discomfiture. They were routed and pursued even to the Lacedæmonian
baggage-wagons in the rear; some of the elder troops who guarded the
wagons being slain, and the whole Lacedæmonian left wing altogether

  [122] Thucyd. v, 67. Τότε δὲ κέρας μὲν εὐώνυμον Σκιρῖται αὐτοῖς
  καθίσταντο, ~ἀεὶ ταύτην τὴν τάξιν μόνοι Λακεδαιμονίων ἐπὶ σφῶν
  αὐτῶν ἔχοντες~, etc.

  The strong and precise language, which Thucydidês here
  uses, shows that this was a privilege pointedly noted and
  much esteemed: among the Lacedæmonians, especially, ancient
  routine was more valued than elsewhere. And it is essential to
  take notice of the circumstance, in order to appreciate the
  generalship of Agis, which has been rather hardly criticized.

But the victorious Mantineians and their comrades, thinking only
of what was immediately before them, wasted thus a precious time
when their aid was urgently needed elsewhere. Matters passed very
differently on the Lacedæmonian centre and right; where Agis, with
his body-guard of three hundred chosen youths called Hippeis, and
with the Spartan lochi, found himself in front conflict with the
centre and left of the enemy;—with the Argeians, their elderly troops
and the so-called Five Lochi, with the Kleonæans and Orneates,
dependent allies of Argos, and with the Athenians. Over all these
troops they were completely victorious, after a short resistance,
indeed, on some points with no resistance at all. So formidable was
the aspect and name of the Lacedæmonians, that the opposing troops
gave way without crossing spears; and even with a panic so headlong,
that they trod down each other in anxiety to escape.[123] While
thus defeated in front, they were taken in flank by the Tegeans
and Lacedæmonians on the right of Agis’s army, and the Athenians
here incurred serious hazard of being all cut to pieces, had they
not been effectively aided by their own cavalry close at hand.
Moreover Agis, having decidedly beaten and driven them back was
less anxious to pursue them than to return to the rescue of his own
defeated left wing; so that even the Athenians, who were exposed
both in flank and front, were enabled to effect their retreat in
safety. The Mantineians and the Argeian Thousand, though victorious
on their part of the line, yet seeing the remainder of their army
in disorderly flight, had little disposition to renew the combat
against Agis and the conquering Lacedæmonians. They sought only to
effect their retreat, which however could not be done without severe
loss, especially on the part of the Mantineians; and which Agis
might have prevented altogether, had not the Lacedæmonian system,
enforced on this occasion by the counsels of an ancient Spartan named
Pharax, enjoyed abstinence from prolonged pursuit against a defeated

  [123] Thucyd. v, 72. (Οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι τοὺς Ἀργείους) Ἔτρεψαν
  οὐδὲ ἐς χεῖρας τοὺς πολλοὺς ὑπομείναντας, ἀλλ’ ὡς ἐπῇσαν οἱ
  Λακεδαιμόνιοι εὐθὺς ἐνδόντας, καὶ ἐστὶν οὓς καὶ καταπατηθέντας,
  τοῦ μὴ φθῆναι τὴν ἐγκατάληψιν.

  The last words of this sentence present a difficulty which has
  perplexed all the commentators, and which none of them have yet
  satisfactorily cleared up.

  They all admit that the expressions, ~τοῦ, τοῦ μὴ~, preceding the
  infinitive mood as here, signify _design_ or _purpose_; ἕνεκα
  being understood. But none of them can construe the sentence
  satisfactorily with this meaning: accordingly they here ascribe
  to the words a different and exceptional meaning. See the notes
  of Poppo, Göller, and Dr. Arnold, in which notes the views of
  other critics are cited and discussed.

  Some say that τοῦ μὴ in this place means the same as ὥστε μή:
  others affirm, that it is identical with διὰ τὸ μὴ or with τῷ
  μή. “Formula ~τοῦ, τοῦ μὴ~ (say Bauer and Göller), plerumque
  _consilium_ significat: interdum _effectum_ (_i. e._ ὥστε μή);
  hic _causam_ indicat (i. e. διὰ τὸ μὴ, or τῷ μή).” But I agree
  with Dr. Arnold in thinking that the last of these three alleged
  meanings is wholly unauthorized; while the second, which is
  adopted by Dr. Arnold himself, is sustained only by feeble and
  dubious evidence; for the passage of Thucydidês (ii, 4. τοῦ μὴ
  ἐκφεύγειν) may be as well construed, as Poppo’s note thereupon
  suggests, without any such supposed exceptional sense of the

  Now it seems to me quite possible to construe the words τοῦ μὴ
  φθῆναι here in their regular and legitimate sense of ~ἕνεκα τοῦ~,
  or _consilium_. But first an error must be cleared up which
  pervades the view of most of the commentators. They suppose that
  those Argeians, who are here affirmed to have been “_trodden
  under foot_,” were so trodden down by _the Lacedæmonians_
  in their advance. But this is in every way improbable. The
  Lacedæmonians were particularly slow in their motions, regular
  in their ranks, and backward as to pursuit, qualities which are
  dwelt upon by Thucydidês in regard to this very battle. They were
  not at all likely to overtake such terrified men as were only
  anxious to run away: moreover, if they did overtake them, they
  would spear them, not trample them under foot.

  To be trampled under foot, though possible enough from the
  numerous Persian cavalry (Herodot. vii, 173; Xenoph. Hellen.
  iii, 4, 12), is not the treatment which defeated soldiers meet
  with from victorious hostile infantry in the field, especially
  Lacedæmonian infantry. But it is precisely the treatment which
  they meet with, if they be in one of the hinder ranks, from their
  own panic-stricken comrades in the front rank, who find the enemy
  closing upon them, and rush back madly to get away from him. Of
  course it was the Argeians in the front rank who were seized
  with the most violent panic, and who thus fell back upon their
  own comrades in the rear ranks, overthrowing and treading them
  down to secure their own escape. It seems quite plain that it
  was the Argeians in front—not the Lacedæmonians—who trod down
  their comrades in the rear (there were probably six or eight
  men in every file), in order to escape themselves before the
  Lacedæmonians should be upon them: compare Xen. Hellenic. iv, 4,
  11; Œconomic. viii, 5.

  There are therefore in the whole scene which Thucydidês
  describes, three distinct subjects: 1. The Lacedæmonians 2.
  The Argeians soldiers, who were trodden down. 3. Other Argeian
  soldiers, who trod them down in order to get away themselves. Out
  of these three he only specifies the first two; but the third
  is present to his mind, and is implied in his narrative, just
  as much as if he had written καταπατηθέντας ~ὑπ’ ἄλλων~, or ὑπ’
  ἀλλήλων, as in Xenoph. Hellen. iv. 4, 11.

  Now it is to this third subject, implied in the narrative, but
  not formally specified (_i. e._ those Argeians who trod down
  their comrades in order to get away themselves), or rather to the
  second and third conjointly and confusedly, that the _design_ or
  _purpose_ (_consilium_) in the words τοῦ μὴ φθῆναι refers.

  Farther, the commentators all construe τοῦ μὴ φθῆναι τὴν
  ἐγκατάληψιν, as if the last word were an accusative case coming
  _after_ φθῆναι and governed by it. But there is also another
  construction, equally good Greek, and much better for the sense.
  In my judgment, τὴν ἐγκατάληψιν is here the accusative case
  coming _before_ φθῆναι and forming the _subject_ of it. The words
  will thus read (ἕνεκα) τοῦ τὴν ἐγκατάληψιν μὴ φθῆναι (ἐπελθοῦσαν
  αὐτοῖς): “in order that the actual grasp of the Lacedæmonians
  might not be beforehand in coming upon them;” “might not come
  upon them too soon,” _i. e._ “sooner than they could get away.”
  And since the word ἐγκατάληψις is an abstract active substantive,
  so, in order to get at the real meaning here, we may substitute
  the concrete words with which it correlates, _i. e._ τοὺς
  Λακεδαιμονίους ἐγκαταλαβόντας, subject as well as attribute, for
  the active participle is here essentially involved.

  The sentence would then read, supposing the ellipsis filled up
  and the meaning expressed in full and concrete words—ἔστιν οὓς
  καὶ καταπατηθέντας ὑπ’ ἀλλήλων φευγόντων (or βιαζομένων), ἕνεκα
  τοῦ τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους μὴ φθῆναι ἐγκαταλαβόντας αὐτοὺς (τοὺς
  φεύγοντας): “As soon as the Lacedæmonians approached near, the
  Argeians gave way at once, without staying for hand-combat:
  and some were even trodden down by each other, or by their own
  comrades running away in order that the Lacedæmonians might not
  be beforehand in catching them sooner than they could escape.”

  Construing in this way the sentence as it now stands, we have τοῦ
  μὴ φθῆναι used in its regular and legitimate sense of _purpose_,
  or _consilium_. We have moreover a plain and natural state of
  facts, in full keeping with the general narrative. Nor is there
  any violence put upon the words. Nothing more is done than to
  expand a very elliptical sentence, and to fill up that entire
  sentence which was present to the writer’s own mind. To do this
  properly is the chief duty, as well as the chief difficulty, of
  an expositor of Thucydidês.

  [124] Thucyd. v, 73; Diodor. xii, 79.

There fell in this battle seven hundred men of the Argeians,
Kleonæans, and Orneates; two hundred Athenians, together with both
the generals Lachês and Nikostratus; and two hundred Mantineians.
The loss of the Lacedæmonians, though never certainly known, from
the habitual secrecy of their public proceedings, was estimated at
about three hundred men. They stripped the enemy’s dead, spreading
out to view the arms thus acquired, and selecting some for a trophy;
then picked up their own dead and carried them away for burial at
Tegea, granting the customary burial-truce to the defeated enemy.
Pleistoanax, the other Spartan king, had advanced as far as Tegea
with a reinforcement composed of the elder and younger citizens; but
on hearing of the victory, he returned back home.[125]

  [125] Thucyd. v, 73.

Such was the important battle of Mantineia, fought in the month
of June 418 B.C. Its effect throughout Greece was prodigious. The
numbers engaged on both sides were very considerable for a Grecian
army of that day, though seemingly not so large as at the battle
of Delium five years before: the number and grandeur of the states
whose troops were engaged was, however, greater than at Delium. But
what gave peculiar value to the battle was, that it wiped off at
once the preëxisting stain upon the honor of Sparta. The disaster
in Sphakteria, disappointing all previous expectation, had drawn
upon her the imputation of something like cowardice; and there were
other proceedings which, with far better reason, caused her to be
stigmatized as stupid and backward. But the victory of Mantineia
silenced all such disparaging criticism, and replaced Sparta in her
old position of military preëminence before the eyes of Greece. It
worked so much the more powerfully because it was entirely the fruit
of Lacedæmonian courage, with little aid from that peculiar skill and
tactics, which was generally seen concomitant, but had in the present
case been found comparatively wanting. The manœuvre of Agis, in
itself not ill-conceived, for the purpose of extending his left wing,
had failed through the disobedience of the two refractory polemarchs:
but in such a case the shame of failure falls more or less upon all
parties concerned; nor could either general or soldiers be considered
to have displayed at Mantineia any of that professional aptitude
which caused the Lacedæmonians to be styled “artists in warlike
affairs.” So much the more conspicuously did Lacedæmonian courage
stand out to view. After the left wing had been broken, and when the
Argeian Thousand had penetrated into the vacant space between the
left and centre, so that they might have taken the centre in flank,
and ought to have done so, had they been well advised, the troops in
the centre, instead of being daunted as most Grecian soldiers would
have been, had marched forward against the enemies in their front,
and gained a complete victory. The consequences of the battle were
thus immense in reëstablishing the reputation of the Lacedæmonians,
and in exalting them again to their ancient dignity of chiefs of

  [126] Thucyd. v, 75. Καὶ τὴν ὑπὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων τοτε ἐπιφερομένην
  αἰτίαν ἔς τε μαλακίαν διὰ τὴν ἐν τῇ νήσῳ ξυμφορὰν, καὶ ἐς τὴν
  ἄλλην ἀβουλίαν τε καὶ βραδύτητα, ἑνὶ ἔργῳ τούτῳ ἀπελύσαντο· τύχῃ
  μέν, ὡς ἐδόκουν, κακιζόμενοι, γνώμῃ δὲ, οἱ αὐτοὶ ἀεὶ ὄντες.

We are not surprised to hear that the two polemarchs, Aristoklês and
Hipponoidas, whose disobedience had wellnigh caused the ruin of the
army, were tried and condemned to banishment as cowards, on their
return to Sparta.[127]

  [127] Thucyd. v, 72.

Looking at the battle from the point of view of the other side, we
may remark, that the defeat was greatly occasioned by the selfish
caprice of the Eleians in withdrawing their three thousand men
immediately before the battle, because the other allies, instead
of marching against Lepreum, preferred to attempt the far more
important town of Tegea: an additional illustration of the remark
of Periklês at the beginning of the war, that numerous and equal
allies could never be kept in harmonious coöperation.[128] Shortly
after the defeat, the three thousand Eleians came back to the
aid of Mantineia,—probably regretting their previous untoward
departure,—together with a reinforcement of one thousand Athenians.
Moreover, the Karneian month began, a season which the Lacedæmonians
kept rigidly holy; even despatching messengers to countermand their
extra-Peloponnesian allies, whom they had invoked prior to the late
battle,[129] and remaining themselves within their own territory,
so that the field was for the moment left clear for the operations
of a defeated enemy. Accordingly, the Epidaurians, though they
had made an inroad into the territory of Argos during the absence
of the Argeian main force at the time of the late battle, and had
gained a partial success, now found their own territory overrun
by the united Eleians, Mantineians, and Athenians, who were bold
enough even to commence a wall of circumvallation round the town of
Epidaurus itself. The entire work was distributed between them to
be accomplished; but the superior activity and perseverance of the
Athenians was here displayed in a conspicuous manner. For while the
portion of work committed to them—the fortification of the cape on
which the Heræum or temple of Hêrê was situated—was indefatigably
prosecuted and speedily brought to completion, their allies, both
Eleians and Mantineians, abandoned the tasks respectively allotted
to them in impatience and disgust. The idea of circumvallation being
for this reason relinquished, a joint garrison was left in the new
fort at Cape Heræum, after which the allies evacuated the Epidaurian

  [128] Thucyd. i, 141.

  [129] Thucyd. v, 75.

  [130] Thucyd. v, 75.

So far, the Lacedæmonians appeared to have derived little positive
benefit from their late victory: but the fruits of it were soon
manifested in the very centre of their enemy’s force, at Argos. A
material change had taken place since the battle in the political
tendencies of that city. There had been within it always an
opposition party, philo-Laconian and anti-democratical: and the
effect of the defeat of Mantineia had been to strengthen this party
as much as it depressed their opponents. The democratical leaders,
who, in conjunction with Athens and Alkibiades, had aspired to
maintain an ascendency in Peloponnesus hostile and equal, if not
superior to Sparta, now found their calculations overthrown and
exchanged for the discouraging necessities of self-defence against a
victorious enemy. And while these leaders thus lost general influence
by so complete a defeat of their foreign policy, the ordinary
democratical soldiers of Argos brought back with them from the field
of Mantineia, nothing but humiliation and terror of the Lacedæmonian
arms. But the chosen Argeian Thousand-regiment returned with very
different feelings. Victorious over the left wing of their enemies,
they had not been seriously obstructed in their retreat even by the
Lacedæmonian centre. They had thus reaped positive glory,[131] and
doubtless felt contempt for their beaten fellow-citizens. Now it has
been already mentioned that these Thousand were men of rich families,
and the best military age, set apart by the Argeian democracy to
receive permanent training at the public expense, just at a time
when the ambitious views of Argos first began to dawn, after the
Peace of Nikias. So long as Argos was likely to become or continue
the imperial state of Peloponnesus, these Thousand wealthy men would
probably find their dignity sufficiently consulted in upholding her
as such, and would thus acquiesce in the democratical government. But
when the defeat of Mantineia reduced Argos to her own limits, and
threw her upon the defensive, there was nothing to counterbalance
their natural oligarchical sentiments, so that they became decided
opponents of the democratical government in its distress. The
oligarchical party in Argos, thus encouraged and reinforced, entered
into a conspiracy with the Lacedæmonians to bring the city into
alliance with Sparta as well as to overthrow the democracy.[132]

  [131] Aristotle (Politic. v, 4, 9) expressly notices the credit
  gained by the oligarchical force of Argos in the battle of
  Mantineia, as one main cause of the subsequent revolution,
  notwithstanding that the Argeians generally were beaten: ~Οἱ
  γνώριμοι εὐδοκιμήσαντες~ ἐν Μαντινείᾳ, etc.

  An example of contempt entertained by victorious troops over
  defeated fellow-countrymen, is mentioned by Xenophon in the
  Athenian army under Alkibiadês and Thrasyllus, in one of the
  later years of the Peloponnesian war: see Xenophon, Hellen. i, 2,

  [132] Thucyd. v, 76; Diodor. xii, 80.

As the first step towards the execution of this scheme, the
Lacedæmonians, about the end of September, marched out their
full forces as far as Tegea, thus threatening invasion, and
inspiring terror at Argos. From Tegea they sent forward as envoy
Lichas, proxenus of the Argeians at Sparta, with two alternative
propositions: one for peace, which he was instructed to tender and
prevail upon the Argeians to accept, if he could; another, in case
they refused, of a menacing character. It was the scheme of the
oligarchical faction first to bring the city into alliance with
Lacedæmon and dissolve the connection with Athens, before they
attempted any innovation in the government. The arrival of Lichas
was the signal for them to manifest themselves by strenuously
pressing the acceptance of his pacific proposition. But they had
to contend against a strong resistance; since Alkibiadês, still in
Argos, employed his utmost energy to defeat their views. Nothing
but the presence of the Lacedæmonian army at Tegea, and the general
despondency of the people, at length enabled them to carry their
point, and to procure acceptance of the proposed treaty; which being
already adopted by the ekklesia at Sparta, was sent ready prepared to
Argos, and there sanctioned without alteration. The conditions were
substantially as follows:—

“The Argeians shall restore the boys whom they have received as
hostages from Orchomenus, and the men-hostages from the Mænalii.
They shall restore to the Lacedæmonians the men now in Mantineia,
whom the Lacedæmonians had placed as hostages for safe custody in
Orchomenus, and whom the Argeians and Mantineians have carried away
from that place. They shall evacuate Epidaurus, and raze the fort
recently erected near it. The Athenians, unless they also forthwith
evacuate Epidaurus, shall be proclaimed as enemies to Lacedæmon as
well as to Argos, and to the allies of both. The Lacedæmonians shall
restore all the hostages whom they now have in keeping, from whatever
place they may have been taken. Respecting the sacrifice alleged
to be due to Apollo by the Epidaurians, the Argeians will consent
to tender to them an oath, which if they swear, they shall clear
themselves.[133] Every city in Peloponnesus, small or great, shall be
autonomous and at liberty to maintain its own ancient constitution.
If any extra-Peloponnesian city shall come against Peloponnesus with
mischievous projects, Lacedæmon and Argos will take joint counsel
against it, in the manner most equitable for the interest of the
Peloponnesians generally. The extra-Peloponnesian allies of Sparta
shall be in the same position with reference to this treaty as the
allies of Lacedæmon and Argos in Peloponnesus, and shall hold their
own in the same manner. The Argeians shall show this treaty to their
allies, who shall be admitted to subscribe to it, if they think fit.
But if the allies desire anything different, the Argeians shall send
them home about their business.”[134]

  [133] Thucyd. v, 77. The text of Thucydidês is incurably corrupt,
  in regard to several words of this clause; though the general
  sense appears sufficiently certain, that the Epidaurians are to
  be allowed to clear themselves in respect to this demand by an
  oath. In regard to this purifying oath, it seems to have been
  essential that the oath should be _tendered_ by one litigant
  party and _taken_ by the other: perhaps therefore σέμεν or θέμεν
  λῇν (Valckenaer’s conjecture) might be preferable to εἶμεν λῇν.

  To Herodot. vi, 86, and Aristotel. Rhetoric. i, 16, 6, which Dr.
  Arnold and other commentators notice in illustration of this
  practice, we may add the instructive exposition of the analogous
  practice in the procedure of Roman law, as given by Von Savigny,
  in his System des heutigen Römischen Rechts, sects. 309-313,
  vol. vii, pp. 53-83. It was an oath tendered by one litigant
  party to the opposite, in hopes that the latter would refuse to
  take it; if taken, it had the effect of a judgment in favor of
  the swearer. But the Roman lawyers laid down many limits and
  formalities, with respect to this _jusjurandum delatum_, which
  Von Savigny sets forth with his usual perspicuity.

  [134] Thucyd. v, 77. Ἐπιδείξαντας δὲ τοῖς ξυμμάχοις ξυμβαλέσθαι,
  αἴ κα αὐτοῖς δοκῇ· αἰ δέ τι καὶ ἄλλο δοκῇ τοῖς ξυμμάχοις, ~οἴκαδ’
  ἀπιάλλειν~. See Dr. Arnold’s note, and Dr. Thirlwall, Hist. Gr.
  ch. xxiv. vol. iii, p. 342.

  One cannot be certain about the meaning of these two last words,
  but I incline to believe that they express a peremptory and
  almost a hostile sentiment, such as I have given in the text.
  The allies here alluded to are Athens, Elis, and Mantineia; all
  hostile in feeling to Sparta. The Lacedæmonians could not well
  decline admitting these cities to share in this treaty as it
  stood; but would probably think it suitable to repel them even
  with rudeness, if they desired any change.

  I rather imagine, too, that this last clause (ἐπιδείξαντας)
  has reference exclusively to the Argeians, and not to the
  Lacedæmonians also. The form of the treaty is, that of a
  resolution already taken at Sparta, and sent for approval to

Such was the agreement sent ready prepared by the Lacedæmonians to
Argos, and there literally accepted. It presented a reciprocity
little more than nominal, imposing one obligation of no importance
upon Sparta; though it answered the purpose of the latter by
substantially dissolving the alliance of Argos with its three

But this treaty was meant by the oligarchical party in Argos only
as preface to a series of ulterior measures. As soon as it was
concluded, the menacing army of Sparta was withdrawn from Tegea, and
was exchanged for free and peaceful intercommunication between the
Lacedæmonians and Argeians. Probably Alkibiadês at the same time
retired, while the renewed visits and hospitalities of Lacedæmonians
at Argos strengthened the interest of their party more than ever.
They were soon powerful enough to persuade the Argeian assembly
formally to renounce the alliance with Athens, Elis, and Mantineia,
and to conclude a special alliance with Sparta, on the following

“There shall be peace and alliance for fifty years between the
Lacedæmonians and the Argeians—upon equal terms—each giving amicable
satisfaction, according to its established constitution, to all
complaints preferred by the other. On the same condition, also, the
other Peloponnesian cities shall partake in this peace and alliance,
holding their own territory, laws, and separate constitution. All
extra-Peloponnesian allies of Sparta shall be put upon the same
footing as the Lacedæmonians themselves. The allies of Argos shall
also be put upon the same footing as Argos herself, holding their
own territory undisturbed. Should occasion arise for common military
operations on any point, the Lacedæmonians and Argeians shall take
counsel together, determining in the most equitable manner they can
for the interest of their allies. If any one of the cities hereunto
belonging, either in or out of Peloponnesus, shall have disputes
either about boundaries or other topics, she shall be held bound
to enter upon amicable adjustment.[135] If any allied city shall
quarrel with another allied city, the matter shall be referred to
some third city satisfactory to both. Each city shall render justice
to her own citizens according to her own ancient constitution.”

  [135] Thucyd. v, 79. Αἰ δέ τινι τᾶν πολίων ᾖ ἀμφίλογα, ἢ τᾶν
  ἐντὸς ἢ τᾶν ἐκτὸς Πελοποννάσου, αἴτε περὶ ὅρων αἴτε περὶ ἄλλου
  τινὸς, διακριθῆμεν.

  The object of this clause I presume to be, to provide that the
  joint forces of Lacedæmon and Argos should not be bound to
  interfere for every separate dispute of each single ally with a
  foreign state, not included in the alliance. Thus, there were
  at this time standing disputes between Bœotia and Athens, and
  between Megara and Athens: the Argeians probably would not choose
  to pledge themselves to interfere for the maintenance of the
  alleged rights of Bœotia and Megara in these disputes. They guard
  themselves against such necessity in this clause.

  M. H. Meier, in his recent Dissertation (Die Privat.
  Schiedsrichter und die öffentlichen Diäteten Athens (Halle,
  1846), sect. 19, p. 41), has given an analysis and explanation of
  this treaty which seems to me on many points unsatisfactory.

It will be observed that in this treaty of alliance, the disputed
question of headship is compromised or evaded. Lacedæmon and
Argos are both put upon an equal footing, in respect to taking
joint counsel for the general body of allies: they two alone are
to decide, without consulting the other allies, though binding
themselves to have regard to the interests of the latter. The policy
of Lacedæmon also pervades the treaty, that of insuring autonomy
to all the lesser states of Peloponnesus, and thus breaking up the
empire of Elis, Mantineia, or any other larger state which might
have dependencies.[136] And accordingly the Mantineians, finding
themselves abandoned by Argos, were constrained to make their
submission to Sparta, enrolling themselves again as her allies,
renouncing all command over their Arcadian subjects, and delivering
up the hostages of these latter, according to the stipulation in
the treaty between Lacedæmon and Argos.[137] The Lacedæmonians do
not seem to have meddled farther with Elis. Being already possessed
of Lepreum,—through the Brasideian settlers planted there,—they
perhaps did not wish again to provoke the Eleians, from fear of being
excluded a second time from the Olympic festival.

  [136] All the smaller states in Peloponnesus are pronounced
  by this treaty to be (if we employ the language employed
  with reference to the Delphians peculiarly in the Peace of
  Nikias) αὐτονόμους, αὐτοτελεῖς, αὐτοδίκους, Thucyd. v, 19.
  The last clause of this treaty guarantees αὐτοδικíαν to all,
  though in language somewhat different, τοῖς δὲ ἔταις κατὰ
  πάτρια δικάζεσθαι. The expression in this treaty αὐτοπόλιες is
  substantially equivalent to αὐτοτελεῖς in the former.

  It is remarkable that we never find in Thucydidês the very
  convenient Herodotean word δωσίδικοι (Herodot. vi, 42), though
  there are occasions in these fourth and fifth books on which it
  would be useful to his meaning.

  [137] Thucyd. v. 81; Diodor. xii, 81.

Meanwhile the conclusion of the alliance with Lacedæmon—about
November or December, 418 B.C.—had still farther depressed the
popular leaders at Argos. The oligarchical faction, and the chosen
regiment of the Thousand, all men of wealth and family, as well as
bound together by their common military training, now saw their way
clearly to the dissolution of the democracy by force, and to the
accomplishment of a revolution. Instigated by such ambitious views,
and flattered by the idea of admitted headship jointly with Sparta,
they espoused the new policy of the city with extreme vehemence, and
began immediately to multiply occasions of collision with Athens.
Joint Lacedæmonian and Argeian envoys were despatched to Thrace and
Macedonia. With the Chalkidians of Thrace, the revolted subjects
of Athens, the old alliance was renewed and even new engagements
concluded; while Perdikkas of Macedonia was urged to renounce
his covenants with Athens, and join the new confederacy. In that
quarter the influence of Argos was considerable; for the Macedonian
princes prized very highly their ancient descent from Argos, which
constituted them brethren of the Hellenic family. Accordingly,
Perdikkas consented to the demand and concluded the new treaty;
insisting, however, with his habitual duplicity, that the step
should for the moment be kept secret from Athens.[138] In farther
pursuance of the new tone of hostility to that city, joint envoys
were also sent thither, to require that the Athenians should quit
Peloponnesus, and especially that they should evacuate the fort
recently erected near Epidaurus. It seems to have been held jointly
by Argeians, Mantineians, Eleians, and Athenians; and as the latter
were only a minority of the whole, the Athenians in the city judged
it prudent to send Dêmosthenês to bring them away. That general not
only effected the retreat, but also contrived a stratagem, which
gave to it the air almost of an advantage. On his first arrival in
the fort, he proclaimed a gymnastic match outside of the gates for
the amusement of the whole garrison, contriving to keep back the
Athenians within until all the rest had marched out: then hastily
shutting the gates, he remained master of the place.[139] Having no
intention, however, of keeping it, he made it over presently to the
Epidaurians themselves, with whom he renewed the truce to which they
had been parties jointly with the Lacedæmonians five years before,
two years before the Peace of Nikias.[140]

  [138] Compare Thucyd. v, 80, and v, 83.

  [139] The instances appear to have been not rare, wherein Grecian
  towns changed masters, by the citizens thus going out of the
  gates all together, or most part of them, for some religious
  festival. See the case of Smyrna (Herodot. i, 150), and the
  precautionary suggestions of the military writer Æneas, in his
  treatise called Poliorketicus, c. 17.

  [140] Thucyd. v, 80. Καὶ ὕστερον Ἐπιδαυρίοις ~ἀνανεωσάμενοι~ τὰς
  σπονδὰς, αὐτοὶ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι ἀπέδοσαν τὸ τείχισμα. We are here told
  that the Athenians RENEWED their truce with the Epidaurians: but
  I know no truce previously between them except the general truce
  for a year, which the Epidaurians swore to, in conjunction with
  Sparta (iv, 119), in the beginning of B.C. 423.

The mode of proceeding here resorted to by Athens, in respect to
the surrender of the fort, seems to have been dictated by a desire
to manifest her displeasure against the Argeians. This was exactly
what the Argeian leaders and oligarchical party, on their side, most
desired; the breach with Athens had become irreparable, and their
plans were now matured for violently subverting their own democracy.
They concerted with Sparta a joint military expedition, of one
thousand hoplites from each city,—the first joint expedition under
the new alliance,—against Sikyôn, for the purpose of introducing more
thorough-paced oligarchy into the already oligarchical Sikyônian
government. It is possible that there may have been some democratical
opposition gradually acquiring strength at Sikyôn: but that city
seems to have been, as far as we know, always oligarchical in policy,
and passively faithful to Sparta. Probably, therefore, the joint
enterprise against Sikyôn was nothing more than a pretext to cover
the introduction of one thousand Lacedæmonian hoplites into Argos,
whither the joint detachment immediately returned, after the business
at Sikyôn had been accomplished. Thus reinforced, the oligarchical
leaders and the chosen Thousand at Argos put down by force the
democratical constitution in that city, slew the democratical
leaders, and established themselves in complete possession of the

  [141] Thucyd. v, 81. Καὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι καὶ Ἀργεῖοι, χίλιοι
  ἑκάτεροι, ξυστρατεύσαντες τά τ’ ἐν Σικυῶνι ἐς ὀλίγους μᾶλλον
  κατέστησαν αὐτοὶ οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι ἐλθόντες, καὶ μετ’ ἐκεῖνα
  ξυναμφότεροι ἤδη καὶ τὸν ἐν Ἄργει δῆμον κατέλυσαν, καὶ ὀλιγαρχία
  ἐπιτηδεία τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις κατέστη: compare Diodor. xii, 80.

This revolution, accomplished about February, B.C. 417, the result of
the victory of Mantineia and the consummation of a train of policy
laid by Sparta, raised her ascendency in Peloponnesus to a higher and
more undisputed point than it had ever before attained. The towns in
Achaia were as yet not sufficiently oligarchical for her purpose,
perhaps since the march of Alkibiadês thither, two years before;
accordingly, she now remodelled their governments in conformity with
her own views. The new rulers of Argos were subservient to her, not
merely from oligarchical sympathy, but from need of her aid to keep
down internal rising against themselves: so that there was neither
enemy, nor even neutral, to counter-work her or to favor Athens,
throughout the whole peninsula.

But the Spartan ascendency at Argos was not destined to last.
Though there were many cities in Greece, in which oligarchies long
maintained themselves unshaken, through adherence to a traditional
routine and by being usually in the hands of men accustomed to
govern, yet an oligarchy erected by force upon the ruins of a
democracy was rarely of long duration. The angry discontent of
the people, put down by temporary intimidation, usually revived,
and threatened the security of the rulers enough to render them
suspicious and probably cruel. Nor was such cruelty their only fault:
they found their emancipation from democratical restraints too
tempting to be able to control either their lust or their rapacity.
With the population of Argos, comparatively coarse and brutal in all
ranks, and more like Korkyra than like Athens, such abuse was pretty
sure to be speedy as well as flagrant. Especially the chosen regiment
of the Thousand—men in the vigor of their age, and proud of their
military prowess as well as of their wealthier station—construed
the new oligarchical government which they had helped to erect as a
period of individual license to themselves. The behavior and fate of
their chief, Bryas, illustrates the general demeanor of the troop.
After many other outrages against persons of poorer condition, he one
day met in the streets a wedding procession, in which the person of
the bride captivated his fancy. He caused her to be violently torn
from her company, carried her to his house, and possessed himself
of her by force. But in the middle of the night, this high-spirited
woman revenged herself for the outrage by putting out the eyes of the
ravisher while he was fast asleep:[142] a terrible revenge, which
the pointed clasp-pins of the feminine attire sometimes enabled
women[143] to take upon those who wronged them. Having contrived to
make her escape, she found concealment among her friends, as well as
protection among the people generally against the indignant efforts
of the chosen Thousand to avenge their leader.

  [142] Pausanias, ii, 20, 1.

  [143] See Herodot. v, 87; Euripid. Hecub. 1152, and the note of
  Musgrave on line 1135 of that drama.

From incidents such as this, and from the multitude of petty insults
which so flagitious an outrage implies as coexistent, we are not
surprised to learn that the Demos of Argos soon recovered their lost
courage, and resolved upon an effort to put down their oligarchical
oppressors. They waited for the moment when the festival called the
Gymnopædiæ was in course of being solemnized at Sparta,—a festival at
which the choric performances of men and boys were so interwoven with
Spartan religion as well as bodily training, that the Lacedæmonians
would make no military movement until they were finished. At this
critical moment, the Argeian Demos rose in insurrection, and after
a sharp contest gained a victory over the oligarchy, some of whom
were slain, while others only saved themselves by flight. Even at the
first instant of danger, pressing messages had been sent to Sparta
for aid. But the Lacedæmonians at first peremptorily refused to move
during the period of their festival: nor was it until messenger after
messenger had arrived to set forth the pressing necessity of their
friends, that they reluctantly put aside their festival to march
towards Argos. They were too late: the precious moment had already
passed by. They were met at Tegea by an intimation that their friends
were overthrown, and Argos in possession of the victorious people.
Nevertheless, various exiles who had escaped still promised them
success, urgently entreating them to proceed, but the Lacedæmonians
refused to comply, returned to Sparta, and resumed their intermitted

  [144] Thucyd. v, 82; Diodor. xii, 80.

Thus was the oligarchy of Argos overthrown, after a continuance of
about four months,[145] from February to June, 417 B.C., and the
chosen Thousand-regiment either dissolved or destroyed. The movement
excited great sympathy in several Peloponnesian cities,[146] who
were becoming jealous of the exorbitant preponderance of Sparta.
Nevertheless, the Argeian Demos, though victorious within the city,
felt so much distrust of being able to maintain themselves, that they
sent envoys to Sparta to plead their cause and to entreat favorable
treatment: a proceeding which proves the insurrection to have been
spontaneous, not fomented by Athens. But the envoys of the expelled
oligarchs were there to confront them, and the Lacedæmonians, after
a lengthened discussion, adjudging the Demos to have been guilty of
wrong, proclaimed the resolution of sending forces to put them down.
Still, the habitual tardiness of Lacedæmonian habits prevented any
immediate or separate movement. Their allies were to be summoned,
none being very zealous in the cause, and least of all at this
moment, when the period of harvest was at hand; so that about three
months intervened before any actual force was brought together.

  [145] Diodorus (xii, 80) says that it lasted eight months:
  but this, if correct at all, must be taken as beginning from
  the alliance between Sparta and Argos, and not from the first
  establishment of the oligarchy. The narrative of Thucydidês does
  not allow more than four months for the duration of the latter.

  [146] Thucyd. v, 82. ξυνῄδεσαν δὲ τὸν τειχισμὸν καὶ τῶν ἐν
  Πελοποννήσῳ τινὲς πόλεων.

This important interval was turned to account by the Argeian Demos,
who, being plainly warned that they were to look on Sparta only as
an enemy, immediately renewed their alliance with Athens. Regarding
her as their main refuge, they commenced the building of long walls
to connect their city with the sea, in order that the road might
always be open for supplies and reinforcement from Athens, in case
they should be confined to their walls by a superior Spartan force.
The whole Argeian population—men and women, free and slave—set about
the work with the utmost ardor: while Alkibiadês brought assistance
from Athens,[147] especially skilled masons and carpenters, of whom
they stood in much need. The step may probably have been suggested
by himself, as it was the same which, two years before, he had
urged upon the inhabitants of Patræ. But the construction of walls
adequate for defence, along the line of four miles and a half
between Argos and the sea,[148] required a long time. Moreover,
the oligarchical party within the town, as well as the exiles
without,—a party defeated but not annihilated,—strenuously urged
the Lacedæmonians to put an end to the work, and even promised them
a counter-revolutionary movement in the town as soon as they drew
near to assist; the same intrigue which had been entered into by the
oligarchical party at Athens forty years before, when the walls down
to Peiræus were in course of erection.[149] Accordingly about the end
of September, 417 B.C., king Agis conducted an army of Lacedæmonians
and allies against Argos, drove the population within the city, and
destroyed so much of the long walls as had been already raised.
But the oligarchical party within were not able to realize their
engagements of rising in arms, so that he was obliged to retire after
merely ravaging the territory and taking the town of Hysiæ, where
he put to death all the freemen who fell into his hands. After his
departure, the Argeians retaliated these ravages upon the neighboring
territory of Phlius, where the exiles from Argos chiefly resided.[150]

  [147] Thucyd. v, 82. Καὶ οἱ μὲν Ἀργεῖοι πανδημεὶ, καὶ αὐτοὶ καὶ
  γυναῖκες καὶ οἰκέται, ἐτείχιζον, etc. Plutarch, Alkibiad. c. 15.

  [148] Pausanias, ii, 36, 3.

  [149] Thucyd. i, 107.

  [150] Thucyd. v, 83. Diodorus inaccurately states that the
  Argeians _had already_ built their long walls down to the
  sea—πυθόμενοι τοὺς Ἀργείους ~ᾠκοδομηκέναι τὰ μακρὰ τείχη μέχρι
  τῆς θαλάσσης~ (xii, 81). Thucydidês uses the participle of the
  present tense—~τὰ οἰκοδομούμενα~ τείχη ἐλόντες καὶ κατασκάψαντες,

The close neighborhood of such exiles, together with the declared
countenance of Sparta, and the continued schemes of the oligarchical
party within the walls, kept the Argeian democracy in perpetual
uneasiness and alarm throughout the winter, in spite of their recent
victory and the suppression of the dangerous regiment of a Thousand.
To relieve them in part from embarrassment, Alkibiadês was despatched
thither early in the spring with an Athenian armament and twenty
triremes. His friends and guests appear to have been now in the
ascendency, as leaders of the democratical government; and in concert
with them, he selected three hundred marked oligarchical persons,
whom he carried away and deposited in various Athenian islands, as
hostages for the quiescence of the party, B.C. 416. Another ravaging
march was also undertaken by the Argeians into the territory of
Phlius, wherein, however, they sustained nothing but loss. And
again, about the end of September, the Lacedæmonians gave the word
for a second expedition against Argos. But having marched as far as
the borders, they found the sacrifices—always offered previous to
leaving their own territory—so unfavorable, that they returned back
and disbanded their forces. The Argeian oligarchical party, in spite
of the hostages recently taken from them, had been on the watch for
this Lacedæmonian force, and had projected a rising; or at least
were suspected of doing so, to such a degree that some of them were
seized and imprisoned by the government, while others made their
escape.[151] Later in the same winter, however, the Lacedæmonians
became more fortunate with their border sacrifices, entered the
Argeian territory in conjunction with their allies (except the
Corinthians, who refused to take part), and established the Argeian
oligarchical exiles at Orneæ: from which town these latter were
again speedily expelled, after the retirement of the Lacedæmonian
army, by the Argeian democracy with the aid of an Athenian

  [151] Thucyd. v, 116. Λακεδαιμόνιοι, ~μελλήσαντες~ ἐς τὴν Ἀργείαν
  στρατεύειν ... ἀνεχώρησαν. Καὶ Ἀργεῖοι διὰ τὴν ἐκείνων ~μέλλησιν~
  τῶν ἐν τῇ πόλει τινὰς ὑποτοπήσαντες, τοὺς μὲν ξυνέλαβον, οἱ δ’
  αὐτοὺς καὶ διέφυγον.

  I presume μέλλησιν here is not used in its ordinary meaning of
  _loitering delay_, but is to be construed by the previous verb
  μελλήσαντες, and agreeably to the analogy of iv, 126—“prospect of
  action immediately impending:” compare Diodor. xii, 81.

  [152] Thucyd. vi, 7.

To maintain the renewed democratical government of Argos, against
enemies both internal and external, was an important policy to
Athens, as affording the basis, which might afterwards be extended,
of an anti-Laconian party in Peloponnesus. But at the present time
the Argeian alliance was a drain and an exhaustion rather than a
source of strength to Athens: very different from the splendid hopes
which it had presented prior to the battle of Mantineia, hopes of
supplanting Sparta in her ascendency within the Isthmus. It is
remarkable, that in spite of the complete alienation of feeling
between Athens and Sparta,—and continued reciprocal hostilities, in
an indirect manner, so long as each was acting as ally of some third
party,—nevertheless, neither the one nor the other would formally
renounce the sworn alliance, nor obliterate the record inscribed
on its stone column. Both parties shrank from proclaiming the real
truth, though each half year brought them a step nearer to it in
fact. Thus during the course of the present summer (416 B.C.) the
Athenian and Messenian garrison at Pylos became more active than ever
in their incursions on Laconia, and brought home large booty; upon
which the Lacedæmonians, though still not renouncing the alliance,
publicly proclaimed their willingness to grant what we may call
letters of marque, to any one, for privateering against Athenian
commerce. The Corinthians also, on private grounds of quarrel,
commenced hostilities against the Athenians.[153] Yet still Sparta
and her allies remained in a state of formal peace with Athens: the
Athenians resisted all the repeated solicitations of the Argeians
to induce them to make a landing on any part of Laconia and commit
devastation.[154] Nor was the license of free intercourse for
individuals as yet suspended. We cannot doubt that the Athenians were
invited to the Olympic festival of 416 B.C. (the 91st Olympiad), and
sent thither their solemn legation along with those of Sparta and
other Dorian Greeks.

  [153] Thucyd. v, 115.

  [154] Thucyd. vi, 105. The author of the loose and inaccurate
  Oratio de Pace, ascribed to Andokidês, affirms that the war
  was resumed by Athens against Sparta on the persuasion of the
  Argeians (Orat. de Pac. c. 1, 6, 3, 31, pp. 93-105). This
  assertion is indeed partially true: the alliance with Argos was
  one of the causes of the resumption of war, but only one among
  others, some of them more powerful. Thucydidês tells us that the
  _persuasions_ of Argos, to induce Athens to throw up her alliance
  with Sparta were repeated and unavailing.

Now that they had again become allies of Argos, the Athenians
probably found out, more fully than they had before known, the
intrigue carried on by the former Argeian government with the
Macedonian Perdikkas. The effects of these intrigues, however, had
made themselves felt even earlier in the conduct of that prince, who,
having as an ally of Athens engaged to coöperate with an Athenian
expedition projected under Nikias for the spring or summer of 417
B.C. against the Chalkidians of Thrace and Amphipolis, now withdrew
his concurrence, receded from the alliance of Athens, and frustrated
the whole scheme of expedition. The Athenians accordingly placed the
ports of Macedonia under naval blockade, proclaiming Perdikkas an

  [155] Thucyd. v, 83.

Nearly five years had elapsed since the defeat of Kleon, without
any fresh attempt to recover Amphipolis: the project just alluded
to appears to have been the first. The proceedings of the Athenians
with regard to this important town afford ample proof of that want
of wisdom on the part of their leading men Nikias and Alkibiades,
and of erroneous tendencies on the part of the body of the citizens,
which we shall gradually find conducting their empire to ruin. Among
all their possessions out of Attica, there was none so valuable as
Amphipolis: the centre of a great commercial and mining region,
situated on a large river and lake which the Athenian navy could
readily command, and claimed by them with reasonable justice, since
it was their original colony, planted by their wisest statesman,
Periklês. It had been lost only through unpardonable negligence on
the part of their generals; and when lost, we should have expected
to see the chief energies of Athens directed to the recovery of it;
the more so, as, if once recovered, it admitted of being made sure
and retained as a future possession. Kleon is the only leading man
who at once proclaims to his countrymen the important truth that it
never can be recovered except by force. He strenuously urges his
countrymen to make the requisite military effort, and prevails upon
them in part to do so, but the attempt disgracefully fails; partly
through his own incompetence as commander, whether his undertaking
of that duty was a matter of choice or of constraint, partly through
the strong opposition and antipathy against him from so large a
portion of his fellow-citizens, which rendered the military force
not hearty in the enterprise. Next, Nikias, Lachês, and Alkibiadês,
all concur in making peace and alliance with the Lacedæmonians, with
express promise and purpose to procure the restoration of Amphipolis.
But after a series of diplomatic proceedings, which display as much
silly credulity in Nikias as selfish deceit in Alkibiadês, the result
becomes evident, as Kleon had insisted, that peace will not restore
to them Amphipolis, and that it can only be regained by force. The
fatal defect of Nikias is now conspicuously seen: his inertness
of character and incapacity of decided or energetic effort. When
he discovered that he had been out-manœuvred by the Lacedæmonian
diplomacy, and had fatally misadvised his countrymen into making
important cessions on the faith of equivalents to come, we might
have expected to find him spurred on by indignant repentance for
this mistake, and putting forth his own strongest efforts, as well
as those of his country, in order to recover those portions of her
empire which the peace had promised, but did not restore. Instead of
which he exhibits no effective movement, while Alkibiadês begins to
display the defects of his political character, yet more dangerous
than those of Nikias, the passion for showy, precarious, boundless,
and even perilous novelties. It is only in the year 417 B.C., after
the defeat of Mantineia had put an end to the political speculations
of Alkibiadês in the interior of Peloponnesus, that Nikias projects
an expedition against Amphipolis; and even then it is projected
only contingent upon the aid of Perdikkas, a prince of notorious
perfidy. It was not by any half-exertions of force that the place
could be regained, as the defeat of Kleon had sufficiently proved.
We obtain from these proceedings a fair measure of the foreign
politics of Athens at this time, during what is called the Peace of
Nikias, preparing us for that melancholy catastrophe which will be
developed in the coming chapters, where she is brought near to ruin
by the defects of Nikias and Alkibiadês combined for, by singular
misfortune, she does not reap the benefit of the good qualities of

It was in one of the three years between 420-416 B.C., though we do
not know in which, that the vote of ostracism took place, arising
out of the contention between Nikias and Alkibiadês.[156] The
political antipathy between the two having reached a point of great
violence, it was proposed that a vote of ostracism should be taken,
and this proposition—probably made by the partisans of Nikias, since
Alkibiadês was the person most likely to be reputed dangerous—was
adopted by the people. Hyperbolus the lamp-maker, son of Cheremês, a
speaker of considerable influence in the public assembly, strenuously
supported it, hating Nikias not less than Alkibiadês. Hyperbolus is
named by Aristophanês as having succeeded Kleon in the mastership
of the rostrum in the Pnyx:[157] if this were true, his supposed
demagogic preëminence would commence about September 422 B.C., the
period of the death of Kleon. Long before that time, however, he
had been among the chief butts of the comic authors, who ascribe
to him the same baseness, dishonesty, impudence, and malignity in
accusation, as that which they fasten upon Kleon, though in language
which seems to imply an inferior idea of his power. And it may be
doubted whether Hyperbolus ever succeeded to the same influence as
had been enjoyed by Kleon, when we observe that Thucydidês does not
name him in any of the important debates which took place at and
after the Peace of Nikias. Thucydidês only mentions him once, in 411
B.C., while he was in banishment under sentence of ostracism, and
resident at Samos. He terms him, “one Hyperbolus, a low busy-body,
who had been ostracized, not from fear of dangerous excess of dignity
and power, but through his wickedness and his being felt as a
disgrace to the city.”[158] This sentence of Thucydidês is really the
only evidence against Hyperbolus: for it is not less unjust in his
case than in that of Kleon to cite the jests and libels of comedy as
if they were so much authentic fact and trustworthy criticism. It was
at Samos that Hyperbolus was slain by the oligarchical conspirators
who were aiming to overthrow the democracy at Athens. We have no
particular facts respecting him to enable us to test the general
character given by Thucydidês.

  [156] Dr. Thirlwall (History of Greece, vol. iii, ch. xxiv, p.
  360) places this vote of ostracism in midwinter or early spring
  of 415 B.C., immediately before the Sicilian expedition.

  His grounds for this opinion are derived from the Oration called
  Andokidês against Alkibiadês, the genuineness of which he seems
  to accept (see his Appendix ii, on that subject, vol. iii, p.
  494, _seq._).

  The more frequently I read over this Oration, the more do I
  feel persuaded that it is a spurious composition of one or two
  generations after the time to which it professes to refer. My
  reasons for this opinion have been already stated in previous
  notes, nor do I think that Dr. Thirlwall’s Appendix is successful
  in removing the objections against the genuineness of the speech.
  See my preceding vol. vi, ch. xlvii, p. 6, note.

  [157] Aristophan. Pac. 680.

  [158] Thucyd. viii, 73. ~Ὑπέρβολόν τέ τινα τῶν~ Ἀθηναίων,
  μοχθηρὸν ἄνθρωπον, ὠστρακισμένον οὐ διὰ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀξιώματος
  φόβον, ἀλλὰ διὰ πονηρίαν καὶ αἰσχύνην τῆς πόλεως. According to
  Androtion (Fragm. 48, ed. Didot.)—ὠστρακισμένον διὰ φαυλότητα.

  Compare about Hyperbolus, Plutarch, Nikias, c. 11; Plutarch,
  Alkibiadês, c. 13; Ælian. V. H. xii, 43; Theopompus, Fragm. 102,
  103, ed. Didot.

At the time when the resolution was adopted at Athens, to take a
vote of ostracism suggested by the political dissension between
Nikias and Alkibiadês, about twenty-four years had elapsed since
a similar vote had been resorted to; the last example having been
that of Periklês and Thucydidês son of Melêsius, the latter of whom
was ostracized about 442 B.C. The democratical constitution had
become sufficiently confirmed to lessen materially the necessity for
ostracism as a safeguard against individual usurpers: moreover, there
was now full confidence in the numerous dikasteries as competent to
deal with the greatest of such criminals, thus abating the necessity
as conceived in men’s minds, not less than the real necessity, for
such precautionary intervention. Under such a state of things,
altered reality as well as altered feeling, we are not surprised
to find that the vote of ostracism now invoked, though we do not
know the circumstances which immediately preceded it, ended in an
abuse, or rather in a sort of parody, of the ancient preventive. At
a moment of extreme heat of party dispute, the friends of Alkibiadês
probably accepted the challenge of Nikias and concurred in supporting
a vote of ostracism; each hoping to get rid of the opponent. The
vote was accordingly decreed, but before it actually took place,
the partisans of both changed their views, and preferred to let
the political dissension proceed without closing it by separating
the combatants. But the ostracizing vote, having been formally
pronounced, could not now be prevented from taking place: it was
always, however, perfectly general in its form, admitting of any
citizen being selected for temporary banishment. Accordingly, the
two opposing parties, each doubtless including various clubs, or
hetæries, and according to some accounts the friends of Phæax also,
united to turn the vote against some one else: and they fixed upon
a man whom all of them jointly disliked, Hyperbolus.[159] By thus
concurring, they obtained a sufficient number of votes against him
to pass the sentence, and he was sent into temporary banishment. But
such a result was in no one’s contemplation when the vote was decreed
to take place, and Plutarch even represents the people as clapping
their hands at it as a good joke. It was presently recognized by
every one, seemingly even by the enemies of Hyperbolus, as a gross
abuse of the ostracism. And the language of Thucydidês himself
distinctly implies this; for if we even grant that Hyperbolus fully
deserved the censure which that historian bestows, no one could
treat his presence as dangerous to the commonwealth; nor was the
ostracism introduced to meet low dishonesty or wickedness. It was,
even before, passing out of the political morality of Athens; and
this sentence consummated its extinction, so that we never hear of
it as employed afterwards. It had been extremely valuable in earlier
days, as a security to the growing democracy against individual
usurpation of power, and against dangerous exaggeration of rivalry
between individual leaders: but the democracy was now strong enough
to dispense with such exceptional protection. Yet if Alkibiadês
had returned as victor from Syracuse, it is highly probable that
the Athenians would have had no other means than the precautionary
antidote of ostracism to save themselves from him as despot.

  [159] Plutarch, Alkibiad. c. 13; Plutarch, Nikias, c. 11.
  Theophrastus says that the violent opposition at first, and the
  coalition afterwards, was not between Nikias and Alkibiadês, but
  between Phæax and Alkibiadês.

  The coalition of votes and parties may well have included all

It was in the beginning of summer (416 B.C.) that the Athenians
undertook the siege and conquest of the Dorian island of Mêlos,
one of the Cyclades, and the only one, except Thêra, which was not
already included in their empire. Mêlos and Thêra were both ancient
colonies of Lacedæmon, with whom they had strong sympathies of
lineage. They had never joined the confederacy of Delos, nor been
in any way connected with Athens; but at the same time, neither had
they ever taken part in the recent war against her, nor given her
any ground of complaint,[160] until she landed and attacked them
in the sixth year of the recent war. She now renewed her attempt,
sending against the island a considerable force under Kleomêdês and
Tisias: thirty Athenian triremes, with six Chian and two Lesbian,
twelve hundred Athenian hoplites, and fifteen hundred hoplites from
the allies, with three hundred bowmen and twenty horse-bowmen. These
officers, after disembarking their forces, and taking position, sent
envoys into the city summoning the government to surrender, and to
become a subject-ally of Athens.

  [160] Thucyd. iii, 91.

It was a practice, frequent, if not universal, in Greece, even in
governments not professedly democratical—to discuss propositions for
peace or war before the assembly of the people. But on the present
occasion the Melian leaders departed from this practice, and admitted
the envoys only to a private conversation with their executive
council. Of this conversation Thucydidês professes to give a detailed
and elaborate account, at surprising length, considering his general
brevity. He sets down thirteen distinct observations, with as many
replies, interchanged between the Athenian envoys and the Melians; no
one of them separately long, and some very short; but the dialogue
carried on is dramatic, and very impressive. There is, indeed, every
reason for concluding that what we here read in Thucydidês is in far
larger proportion his own and in smaller proportion authentic report,
than any of the other speeches which he professes to set down. For
this was not a public harangue, in respect to which he might have
had the opportunity of consulting the recollection of many different
persons: it was a private conversation, wherein three or four
Athenians, and perhaps ten or a dozen Melians, may have taken part.
Now as all the Melian population were slain immediately after the
capture of the town, there remained only the Athenian envoys through
whose report Thucydidês could possibly have heard what really passed.
That he did hear either from or through them the general character of
what passed, I make no doubt: but there is no ground for believing
that he received from them anything like the consecutive stream of
debate, which, together with part of the illustrative reasoning, we
must refer to his dramatic genius and arrangement.

The Athenian begins by restricting the subject of discussion to the
mutual interests of both parties in the peculiar circumstances in
which they now stand, in spite of the disposition of the Melians
to enlarge the range of topics, by introducing considerations of
justice and appealing to the sentiment of impartial critics. He will
not multiply words to demonstrate the just origin of the Athenian
empire, erected on the expulsion of the Persians, or to set forth
injury suffered, as pretext for the present expedition. Nor will he
listen to any plea on the part of the Melians, that they, though
colonists of Sparta, have never fought alongside of her or done
Athens wrong. He presses upon them to aim at what is attainable
under existing circumstances, since they know as well as he that
justice in the reasoning of mankind is settled according to equal
compulsion on both sides; the strong doing what their power allows,
and the weak submitting to it.[161] To this the Melians reply,
that—omitting all appeal to justice, and speaking only of what was
expedient—they hold it to be even expedient for Athens not to break
down the common moral sanction of mankind, but to permit that equity
and justice shall still remain as a refuge for men in trouble, with
some indulgence even towards those who may be unable to make out a
case of full and strict right. Most of all was this the interest of
Athens herself, inasmuch as her ruin, if it ever occurred, would be
awful both as punishment to herself and as lesson to others.—“We
are not afraid of _that_ (rejoined the Athenian) even if our empire
should be overthrown. It is not imperial cities like Sparta who
deal harshly with the conquered. Moreover, our present contest is
not undertaken against Sparta; it is a contest to determine whether
subjects shall by their own attack prevail over their rulers. This
is a risk for us to judge of: in the mean time, let us remind you
that we come here for the advantage of our own empire, and that we
are now speaking with a view to your safety; wishing to get you under
our empire without trouble to ourselves, and to preserve you for the
mutual benefit of both of us.”—“Cannot you leave us alone, and let
us be your friends instead of enemies, but neither allies of you nor
of Sparta?” said the Melians.—“No (is the reply); your friendship
does us more harm than your enmity: your friendship is a proof of
our weakness, in the eyes of our subject-allies; your enmity will
give a demonstration of our power.”—“But do your subjects really
take such a measure of equity, as to put us, who have no sort of
connection with you, on the same footing with themselves, most of
whom are your own colonists, while many of them have even revolted
from you and been reconquered?”—“They do: for they think that both
one and the other have fair ground for claiming independence, and
that if you are left independent, this arises only from your power
and from our fear to attack you. So that your submission will not
only enlarge our empire, but strengthen our security throughout the
whole; especially as you are islanders, and feeble islanders too,
while we are lords of the sea.”—“But surely that very circumstance is
in other ways a protection to you, as evincing your moderation: for
if you attack us, you will at once alarm all neutrals, and convert
them into enemies.”—“We are in little fear of continental cities,
who are out of our reach and not likely to take part against us, but
only of islanders; either yet unincorporated in our empire, like you,
or already in our empire and discontented with the constraint which
it imposes. It is such islanders who by their ill-judged obstinacy
are likely, with their eyes open, to bring both us and themselves
into peril.”—“We know well (said the Melians, after some other
observations had been interchanged) how terrible it is to contend
against your superior power, and your good fortune; nevertheless, we
trust that in point of fortune we shall receive fair treatment from
the gods, since we stand upon grounds of right against injustice;
and as to our inferior power, we trust that the deficiency will be
made up by our ally Sparta, whose kindred race will compel her from
very shame to aid us.”—“We too (replied the Athenians) think that we
shall not be worse off than others in regard to the divine favor. For
we neither advance any claim, nor do any act, overpassing that which
men believe in regard to the gods, and wish in regard to themselves.
What we believe about the gods is the same as that which we see
to be the practice of men: the impulse of nature inclines them of
necessity to rule over what is inferior in force to themselves. This
is the principle on which we now proceed,—not having been the first
either to lay it down or to follow it, but finding it established
and likely to continue for ever,—and knowing well too that you or
others in our position would do as much. As for your expectations
from the Lacedæmonians, founded on the disgrace of their remaining
deaf to your call, we congratulate you indeed on your innocent
simplicity, but we at the same time deprecate such foolishness.
For the Lacedæmonians are indeed most studious of excellence in
regard to themselves and their own national customs. But looking at
their behavior towards others, we affirm roundly, and can prove by
many examples of their history, that they are of all men the most
conspicuous in construing what is pleasing as if it were honorable,
and what is expedient as if it were just. Now that is not the state
of mind which you require, to square with your desperate calculations
of safety.”

  [161] In reference to this argumentation of the Athenian envoy,
  I call attention to the attack and bombardment of Copenhagen by
  the English government in 1807, together with the language used
  by the English envoy to the Danish Prince Regent on the subject.
  We read as follows in M. Thiers’s Histoire du Consulat et de

  “L’agent choisi étoit digne de sa mission. C’étoit M. Jackson
  qui avait été autrefois chargé d’affaires en France, avant
  l’arrivée de Lord Whitworth, à Paris, mais qu’on n’avoit pas pû
  y laisser, à cause du mauvais esprit qu’il manifestoit en toute
  occasion. Introduit auprès du régent, il allégua de prétendues
  stipulations secrètes, en vertu desquelles le Danemark devoit,
  (disoit on) de gré ou de force, faire partie d’une coalition
  contre l’Angleterre: il donna comme raison d’agir la necessité
  où se trouvoit le cabinet Britannique de prendre des précautions
  pour que les forces navales du Danemark et le passage du Sund
  ne tombassent pas au pouvoir des François: et en conséquence
  il demanda au nom de son gouvernement, qu’on livrât à l’armée
  Angloise la forteresse de Kronenberg qui commande de Sund, le
  port de Copenhague, et enfin la flotte elle-même—promettant de
  garder le tout en dépôt, pour le compte du Danemark, qui seroit
  remis en possession de ce qu’on alloit lui enlever, dès que
  le danger seroit passé. M. Jackson assura que le Danemark ne
  perdroit rien, que l’on se conduiroit chez lui en auxiliaires
  et en amis—que les troupes Britanniques payeroient tout ce
  qu’elles consommeroient.—Et avec quoi, répondit le prince
  indigné, payeriez vous notre honneur perdu, si nous adhérions
  à cette infame proposition?—Le prince continuant, et opposant
  à cette perfide intention la conduite loyale du Danemark, qui
  n’avoit pris aucune précaution contre les Anglois, qui les avoit
  toutes prises contre les François, ce dont on abusoit pour le
  surprendre—_M. Jackson répondit à cette juste indignation par
  une insolente familiarité, disant que la guerre étoit la guerre,
  qu’il falloit se résigner à ces nécessités, et céder au plus
  fort quand on étoit le plus foible_. Le prince congédia l’agent
  Anglois avec des paroles fort dures, et lui déclara qu’il alloit
  se transporter à Copenhague, pour y remplir ses devoirs de prince
  et de citoyen Danois.” (Thiers, Histoire du Consulat et de
  l’Empire, tome viii, livre xxviii, p. 190.)

After various other observations interchanged in a similar tenor, the
Athenian envoys, strenuously urging upon the Melians to reconsider
the matter more cautiously among themselves, withdrew, and after a
certain interval were recalled by the Melian council to hear the
following words: “We hold to the same opinion, as at first, men of
Athens: we shall not surrender the independence of a city which
has already stood for seven hundred years; we shall yet make an
effort to save ourselves, relying on that favorable fortune which
the gods have hitherto vouchsafed to us, as well as upon aid from
men, and especially from the Lacedæmonians. We request that we may
be considered as your friends, but as hostile to neither party, and
that you will leave the island after concluding such a truce as may
be mutually acceptable.”—“Well (said the Athenian envoys), you alone
seem to consider future contingencies as clearer than the facts
before your eyes, and to look at an uncertain distance, through your
own wishes, as if it were present reality. You have staked your all
upon the Lacedæmonians, upon fortune, and upon fond hopes; and, with
your all, you will come to ruin.”

The siege was forthwith commenced. A wall of circumvallation,
distributed in portions among the different allies of Athens, was
constructed round the town; which was left under full blockade, both
by sea and land, while the rest of the armament retired home. The
town remained blocked up for several months. During the course of
that time, the besieged made two successful sallies, which afforded
them some temporary relief, and forced the Athenians to send an
additional detachment, under Philokratês. At length the provisions
within were exhausted; plots for betrayal commenced among the
Melians themselves, so that they were constrained to surrender at
discretion. The Athenians resolved to put to death all the men of
military age and to sell the women and children as slaves. Who the
proposer of this barbarous resolution was, Thucydidês does not say;
but Plutarch and others inform us that Alkibiadês[162] was strenuous
in supporting it. Five hundred Athenian settlers were subsequently
sent thither, to form a new community: apparently not as kleruchs, or
out-citizens of Athens, but as new Melians.[163]

  [162] Plutarch, Alkibiadês, c. 16. This is doubtless one of the
  statements which the composer of the Oration of Andokidês against
  Alkibiadês found current in respect to the conduct of the latter
  (sect. 123). Nor is there any reason for questioning the truth of

  [163] Thucyd. v, 106. τὸ δὲ χωρίον αὐτοὶ ᾤκησαν, ἀποίκους ὕστερον
  πεντακοσίους πέμψαντες. Lysander restored some Melians to the
  island after the battle of Ægospotami (Xenoph. Hellen. ii, 2, 9):
  some, therefore, must have escaped or must have been spared.

Taking the proceedings of the Athenians towards Mêlos from the
beginning to the end, they form one of the grossest and most
inexcusable pieces of cruelty combined with injustice which Grecian
history presents to us. In appreciating the cruelty of such
wholesale executions, we ought to recollect that the laws of war
placed the prisoner altogether at the disposal of his conqueror,
and that an Athenian garrison, if captured by the Corinthians in
Naupaktus, Nisæa, or elsewhere, would assuredly have undergone the
same fate, unless in so far as they might be kept for exchange.
But the treatment of the Melians goes beyond all rigor of the laws
of war; for they had never been at war with Athens, nor had they
done anything to incur her enmity. Moreover, the acquisition of the
island was of no material value to Athens; not sufficient to pay the
expenses of the armament employed in its capture. And while the gain
was thus in every sense slender, the shock to Grecian feeling by the
whole proceeding seems to have occasioned serious mischief to Athens.
Far from tending to strengthen her entire empire, by sweeping in this
small insular population, who had hitherto been neutral and harmless,
it raised nothing but odium against her, and was treasured up in
after times as among the first of her misdeeds.

To gratify her pride of empire by a new conquest—easy to effect,
though of small value—was doubtless her chief motive; probably also
strengthened by pique against Sparta, between whom and herself a
thoroughly hostile feeling subsisted, and by a desire to humiliate
Sparta through the Melians. This passion for new acquisition,
superseding the more reasonable hopes of recovering the lost portions
of her empire, will be seen in the coming chapters breaking out with
still more fatal predominance.

Both these two points, it will be observed, are prominently marked
in the dialogue set forth by Thucydidês. I have already stated that
this dialogue can hardly represent what actually passed, except
as to a few general points, which the historian has followed out
into deductions and illustrations,[164] thus dramatizing the given
situation in a powerful and characteristic manner. The language put
into the mouth of the Athenian envoys is that of pirates and robbers,
as Dionysius of Halikarnassus[165] long ago remarked; intimating his
suspicion that Thucydidês had so set out the case for the purpose
of discrediting the country which had sent him into exile. Whatever
may be thought of this suspicion, we may at least affirm that the
arguments which he here ascribes to Athens are not in harmony even
with the defects of the Athenian character. Athenian speakers are
more open to the charge of equivocal wording, multiplication of false
pretences, softening down the bad points of their case, putting an
amiable name upon vicious acts, employing what is properly called
_sophistry_, where their purpose needs it.[166] Now the language of
the envoy at Mêlos, which has been sometimes cited as illustrating
the immorality of the class or profession—falsely called a
school—named Sophists at Athens, is above all things remarkable for
a sort of audacious frankness; a disdain not merely of sophistry,
in the modern sense of the word, but even of such plausible excuse
as might have been offered. It has been strangely argued, as if
“_The good old plan, that they should take who have the power, and
they should keep who can_,” had been first discovered and openly
promulgated by Athenian sophists; whereas the true purpose and value
of sophists, even in the modern and worst sense of the word—putting
aside the perversion of applying that sense to the persons called
sophists at Athens—is, to furnish plausible matter of deceptive
justification, so that the strong man may be enabled to act upon
this “good old plan” as much as he pleases, but without avowing
it, and while professing fair dealing or just retaliation for some
imaginary wrong. The wolf in Æsop’s fable (of the Wolf and the Lamb)
speaks like a sophist; the Athenian envoy at Mêlos speaks in a manner
totally unlike a sophist, either in the Athenian sense or in the
modern sense of the word; we may add, unlike an Athenian at all, as
Dionysius has observed.

  [164] Such is also the opinion of Dr. Thirlwall, Hist. Gr. vol.
  iii, ch. xxiv, p. 348.

  [165] Dionys. Hal. Judic. de Thucydid. c. 37-42, pp. 906-920,
  Reisk: compare the remarks in his Epistol. ad Cn. Pompeium, de
  Præcipuis Historicis, p. 774, Reisk.

  [166] Plutarch, Alkibiad. 16. τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἀεὶ τὰ πραότατα τῶν
  ὀνομάτων τοῖς ἁμαρτήμασι τιθεμένους, παιδιὰς καὶ φιλανθρωπίας. To
  the same purpose Plutarch, Solon, c. 15.

As a matter of fact and practice, it is true that stronger states, in
Greece and in the contemporary world, did habitually tend, as they
have tended throughout the course of history down to the present day,
to enlarge their power at the expense of the weaker. Every territory
in Greece, except Attica and Arcadia, had been seized by conquerors
who dispossessed or enslaved the prior inhabitants. We find Brasidas
reminding his soldiers of the good sword of their forefathers, which
had established dominion over men far more numerous than themselves,
as matter of pride and glory:[167] and when we come to the times of
Philip and Alexander of Macedon, we shall see the lust of conquest
reaching a pitch never witnessed among free Greeks. Of right thus
founded on simple superiority of force, there were abundant examples
to be quoted, as parallels to the Athenian conquest of Mêlos: but
that which is unparalleled is the mode adopted by the Athenian envoy
of justifying it, or rather of setting aside all justification,
looking at the actual state of civilization in Greece. A barbarous
invader casts his sword into the scale in lieu of argument: a
civilized conqueror is bound by received international morality to
furnish some justification,—a good plea, if he can,—a false plea, or
sham plea, if he has no better. But the Athenian envoy neither copies
the contemptuous silence of the barbarian nor the smooth lying of the
civilized invader. Though coming from the most cultivated city in
Greece, where the vices prevalent were those of refinement and not of
barbarism, he disdains the conventional arts of civilized diplomacy
more than would have been done by an envoy even of Argos or Korkyra.
He even disdains to mention, what might have been said with perfect
truth as a matter of fact, whatever may be thought of its sufficiency
as a justification, that the Melians had enjoyed for the last fifty
years the security of the Ægean waters at the cost of Athens and her
allies, without any payment of their own.

  [167] Compare also what Brasidas says in his speech to the
  Akanthians, v, 86 ~ἴσχυος δικαιώσει~, ἣν ἡ τύχη ἔδωκεν, etc.

So at least he is made to do in the Thucydidean dramatic
fragment,—Μήλου Ἅλωσις (The Capture of Melos),—if we may parody the
title of the lost tragedy of Phrynichus “The Capture of Miletus.”
And I think a comprehensive view of the history of Thucydidês will
suggest to us the explanation of this drama, with its powerful and
tragical effect. The capture of Mêlos comes immediately before the
great Athenian expedition against Syracuse, which was resolved upon
three or four months afterwards, and despatched during the course
of the following summer. That expedition was the gigantic effort
of Athens, which ended in the most ruinous catastrophe known to
ancient history. From such a blow it was impossible for Athens to
recover. Though thus crippled, indeed, she struggled against its
effects with surprising energy; but her fortune went on, in the main,
declining,—yet with occasional moments of apparent restoration,—until
her complete prostration and subjugation by Lysander. Now Thucydidês,
just before he gets upon the plane of this descending progress,
makes a halt, to illustrate the sentiment of Athenian power in
its most exaggerated, insolent, and cruel manifestation, by this
dramatic fragment of the envoys at Mêlos. It will be recollected that
Herodotus, when about to describe the forward march of Xerxês into
Greece, destined to terminate in such fatal humiliation, impresses
his readers with an elaborate idea of the monarch’s insolence and
superhuman pride, by various conversations between him and the
courtiers about him, as well as by other anecdotes, combined with the
overwhelming specifications of the muster at Doriskus. Such moral
contrasts and juxtapositions, especially that of ruinous reverse
following upon overweening good fortune, were highly interesting to
the Greek mind. And Thucydidês—having before him an act of great
injustice and cruelty on the part of Athens, committed exactly at
this point of time—has availed himself of the form of dialogue, for
once in his history, to bring out the sentiments of a disdainful and
confident conqueror in dramatic antithesis. They are, however, his
own sentiments, conceived as suitable to the situation; not those of
the Athenian envoy,—still less, those of the Athenian public,—least
of all, those of that much-calumniated class of men, the Athenian



In the preceding chapters, I have brought down the general history of
the Peloponnesian war to the time immediately preceding the memorable
Athenian expedition against Syracuse, which changed the whole face
of the war. At this period, and for some time to come, the history
of the Peloponnesian Greeks becomes intimately blended with that of
the Sicilian Greeks. But hitherto the connection between the two has
been merely occasional, and of little reciprocal effect: so that I
have thought it for the convenience of the reader to keep the two
streams entirely separate, omitting the proceedings of Athens in
Sicily during the first ten years of the war. I now proceed to fill
up this blank: to recount as much as can be made out of Sicilian
events during the interval between 461-416 B.C., and to assign the
successive steps whereby the Athenians entangled themselves in
ambitious projects against Syracuse, until they at length came to
stake the larger portion of their force upon that fatal hazard.

The extinction of the Gelonian dynasty at Syracuse,[168] followed by
the expulsion or retirement of all the other despots throughout the
island, left the various Grecian cities to reorganize themselves in
free and self-constituted governments. Unfortunately, our memorials
respecting this revolution are miserably scanty; but there is
enough to indicate that it was something much more than a change
from single-headed to popular government. It included, farther,
transfers on the largest scale both of inhabitants and of property.
The preceding despots had sent many old citizens into exile,
transplanted others from one part of Sicily to another, and provided
settlements for numerous emigrants and mercenaries devoted to their
interest. Of these proceedings much was reversed, when the dynasties
were overthrown, so that the personal and proprietary revolution
was more complicated and perplexing than the political. After a
period of severe commotion, an accommodation was concluded, whereby
the adherents of the expelled dynasty were planted partly in the
territory of Messêne, partly in the reëstablished city of Kamarina in
the eastern portion of the southern coast, bordering on Syracuse.[169]

  [168] See above, vol. v, ch. xliii, pp. 204-239, for the history
  of these events. I now take up the thread from that chapter.

  [169] Mr. Mitford, in the spirit which is usual with him, while
  enlarging upon the suffering occasioned by this extensive
  revolution both of inhabitants and of property throughout Sicily,
  takes no notice of the cause in which it originated, namely,
  the number of foreign mercenaries whom the Gelonian dynasty had
  brought in and enrolled as new citizens (Gelon alone having
  brought in ten thousand, Diodor. xi, 72), and the number of
  exiles whom they had banished and dispossessed.

  I will here notice only one of his misrepresentations respecting
  the events of this period, because it is definite as well as
  important (vol. iv, p. 9, chap. xviii, sect. 1).

  “But thus (he says) in every little state, lands were left to
  become public property, or to be assigned to new individual
  owners. _Everywhere, then, that favorite measure of democracy,
  the equal division of the lands of the state, was resolved upon_:
  a measure impossible to be perfectly executed; impossible to be
  maintained as executed; and of very doubtful advantage, if it
  could be perfectly executed and perfectly maintained.”

  Again, sect. iii, p. 23, he speaks of “that incomplete and
  iniquitous partition of lands,” etc.

  Now, upon this we may remark:—

  1. The _equal division of the lands_ of the state, here affirmed
  by Mr. Mitford, is a pure fancy of his own. He has no authority
  for it whatever. Diodorus says (xi, 76) κατεκληρούχησαν τὴν
  χώραν, etc.; and again (xi, 86) he speaks of τὸν ἀναδασμὸν
  τῆς χώρας: the _redivision_ of the territory; but respecting
  _equality of division_, not one word does he say. Nor can
  any principle of division in this case be less probable than
  equality; for one of the great motives of the redivision was
  to provide for those exiles who had been dispossessed by the
  Gelonian dynasty: and these men would receive lots, greater or
  less, on the ground of compensation for loss, greater or less as
  it might have been. Besides, immediately after the redivision, we
  find rich and poor mentioned, just as before (xi, 86).

  2. Next, Mr. Mitford calls “the equal division of all the lands
  of the state” the _favorite measure of democracy_. This is an
  assertion not less incorrect. Not a single democracy in Greece,
  so far as my knowledge extends, can be produced, in which such
  equal partition is ever known to have been carried into effect.
  In the Athenian democracy, especially, not only there existed
  constantly great inequality of landed property, but the oath
  annually taken by the popular heliastic judges had a special
  clause, protesting emphatically against _redivision of the land
  or extinction of debts_.

But though peace was thus reëstablished, these large mutations
of inhabitants first begun by the despots,—and the incoherent
mixture of races, religious institutions, dialects, etc., which
was brought about unavoidably during the process,—left throughout
Sicily a feeling of local instability, very different from the long
traditional tenures in Peloponnesus and Attica, and numbered by
foreign enemies among the elements of its weakness.[170] The wonder
indeed rather is, that such real and powerful causes of disorder were
soon so efficaciously controlled by the popular governments, that the
half century now approaching was decidedly the most prosperous and
undisturbed period in the history of the island.

  [170] Thucyd. vi, 17.

The southern coast of Sicily was occupied, beginning from the
westward by Selinus, Agrigentum, Gela, and Kamarina. Then came
Syracuse, possessing the southeastern cape, and the southern portion
of the eastern coast: next, on the eastern coast, Leontini, Katana,
and Naxos: Messênê, on the strait adjoining Italy. The centre of the
island, and even much of the northern coast, was occupied by the
non-Hellenic Sikels and Sikans: on this coast, Himera was the only
Grecian city. Between Himera and Cape Lilybæum, the western corner
of the island was occupied by the non-Hellenic cities of Egesta and
Eryx, and by the Carthaginian seaports, of which Panormus (Palermo)
was the principal.

Of these various Grecian cities, all independent, Syracuse was the
first in power, Agrigentum the second. The causes above noticed,
disturbing the first commencement of popular governments in all of
them, were most powerfully operative at Syracuse. We do not know
the particulars of the democratical constitution which was there
established, but its stability was threatened by more than one
ambitious pretender, eager to seize the sceptre of Gelo and Hiero.
The most prominent among these pretenders was Tyndarion, who employed
a considerable fortune in distributing largesses and procuring
partisans among the poor. His political designs were at length so
openly manifested, that he was brought to trial, condemned, and put
to death; yet not without an abortive insurrection of his partisans
to rescue him. After several leading citizens had tried, and failed
in a similar manner, the people thought it expedient to pass a law
similar to the Athenian ostracism, authorizing the infliction of
temporary preventive banishment.[171] Under this law several powerful
citizens were actually and speedily banished; and such was the abuse
of the new engine, by the political parties in the city, that men
of conspicuous position are said to have become afraid of meddling
with public affairs. Thus put in practice, the institution is said
to have given rise to new political contentions not less violent
than those which it checked, insomuch that the Syracusans found
themselves obliged to repeal the law not long after its introduction.
We should have been glad to learn some particulars concerning this
political experiment, beyond the meagre abstract given by Diodorus,
and especially to know the precautionary securities by which the
application of the ostracizing sentence was restrained at Syracuse.
Perhaps no care was taken to copy the checks and formalities
provided by Kleisthenês at Athens. Yet under all circumstances, the
institution, though tutelary, if reserved for its proper emergencies,
was eminently open to abuse, so that we have no reason to wonder
that abuse occurred, especially at a period of great violence and
discord. The wonder rather is, that it was so little abused at Athens.

  [171] Diodor. xi, 86, 87. The institution at Syracuse was called
  the _petalism_; because, in taking the votes, the name of the
  citizen intended to be banished was written upon a leaf of olive,
  instead of a shell or potsherd.

Although the ostracism, or petalism, at Syracuse was speedily
discontinued, it may probably have left a salutary impression behind,
as far as we can judge from the fact that new pretenders to despotism
are not hereafter mentioned. The republic increases in wealth, and
manifests an energetic action in foreign affairs. The Syracusan
admiral Phaӱllus was despatched with a powerful fleet to repress the
piracies of the Tyrrhenian maritime towns, and after ravaging the
island of Elba, returned home, under the suspicion of having been
bought off by bribes from the enemy; on which accusation he was tried
and banished, a second fleet of sixty triremes under Apellês being
sent to the same regions. The new admiral not only plundered many
parts of the Tyrrhenian coast, but also carried his ravages into the
island of Corsica, at that time a Tyrrhenian possession, and reduced
the island of Elba completely. His return was signalized by a large
number of captives and a rich booty.[172]

  [172] Diodor. xi. 87, 88.

Meanwhile the great antecedent revolutions, among the Grecian cities
in Sicily had raised a new spirit among the Sikels of the interior,
and inspired the Sikel prince Duketius, a man of spirit and ability,
with large ideas of aggrandizement. Many exiled Greeks having
probably sought service with him, it was either by their suggestion,
or from having himself caught the spirit of Hellenic improvement,
that he commenced the plan of bringing the petty Sikel communities
into something like city life and collective coöperation. Having
acquired glory by the capture of the Grecian town of Morgantina, he
induced all the Sikel communities, with the exception of Hybla, to
enter into a sort of federative compact. Next, in order to obtain a
central point for the new organization, he transferred his own little
town from the hill-top, called Menæ, down to a convenient spot of the
neighboring plain, near to the sacred precinct of the gods called
Paliki.[173] As the veneration paid to these gods, determined in
part by the striking volcanic manifestations in the neighborhood,
rendered this plain a suitable point of attraction for Sikels
generally, Duketius was enabled to establish a considerable new city
of Palikê, with walls of large circumference, and an ample range of
adjacent land which he distributed among a numerous Sikel population,
probably with some Greeks intermingled.

  [173] Diodor. xi, 78, 88, 90. The proceeding of Duketius is
  illustrated by the description of Dardanus in the Iliad, xx, 216:—

  Κτίσσε δὲ Δαρδανίην, ἐπεὶ οὔπω Ἴλιος ἱρὴ
  Ἐν πεδίῳ πεπόλιστο, πόλις μερόπων ἀνθρώπων,
  Ἀλλ’ ἔθ’ ὑπωρείας ᾤκουν πολυπιδάκου Ἴδης.

  Compare Plato, de Legg. iii, pp. 681, 682.

The powerful position which Duketius had thus acquired is attested
by the aggressive character of his measures, intended gradually
to recover a portion at least of that ground which the Greeks had
appropriated at the expense of the indigenous population. The Sikel
town of Ennesia had been seized by the Hieronian Greeks expelled from
Ætna, and had received from them the name of Ætna:[174] Duketius
now found means to reconquer it, after ensnaring by stratagem the
leading magistrate. He was next bold enough to invade the territory
of the Agrigentines, and to besiege one of their country garrisons
called Motyum. We are impressed with a high idea of his power, when
we learn that the Agrigentines, while marching to relieve the place,
thought it necessary to invoke aid from the Syracusans, who sent to
them a force under Bolkon. Over this united force Duketius gained a
victory, in consequence of the treason or cowardice of Bolkon, as
the Syracusans believed, insomuch that they condemned him to death.
In the succeeding year, however, the good fortune of the Sikel
prince changed. The united army of these two powerful cities raised
the blockade of Motyum, completely defeated him in the field, and
dispersed all his forces. Finding himself deserted by his comrades
and even on the point of being betrayed, he took the desperate
resolution of casting himself upon the mercy of the Syracusans. He
rode off by night to the gates of Syracuse, entered the city unknown,
and sat down as a suppliant on the altar in the agora, surrendering
himself together with all his territory. A spectacle thus unexpected
brought together a crowd of Syracuse citizens, exciting in them
the strongest emotions: and when the magistrates convened the
assembly for the purpose of deciding his fate, the voice of mercy
was found paramount, in spite of the contrary recommendations of
some of the political leaders. The most respected among the elder
citizens—earnestly recommending mild treatment towards a foe thus
fallen and suppliant, coupled with scrupulous regard not to bring
upon the city the avenging hand of Nemesis—found their appeal to the
generous sentiment of the people welcomed by one unanimous cry of
“Save the suppliant.”[175] Duketius, withdrawn from the altar, was
sent off to Corinth, under his engagement to live there quietly for
the future; the Syracusans providing for his comfortable maintenance.

  [174] Diodor. xi, 76.

  [175] Diodor. xi, 91, 92. Ὁ δὲ δῆμος ὥσπερ τινὶ μιᾷ φωνῇ σώζειν
  ἅπαντες ἐβόων τὸν ἱκέτην.

Amidst the cruelty habitual in ancient warfare, this remarkable
incident excites mingled surprise and admiration. Doubtless the
lenient impulse of the people mainly arose from their seeing Duketius
actually before them in suppliant posture at their altar, instead
of being called upon to determine his fate in his absence,—just as
the Athenian people were in like manner moved by the actual sight of
the captive Dorieus, and induced to spare his life, on an occasion
which will be hereafter recounted.[176] If in some instances the
assembled people, obeying the usual vehemence of multitudinous
sentiment, carried severities to excess,—so, in other cases, as well
as in this, the appeal to their humane impulses will be found to have
triumphed over prudential regard for future security. Such was the
fruit which the Syracusans reaped for sparing Duketius, who, after
residing a year or two at Corinth, violated his parole. Pretending
to have received an order from the oracle, he assembled a number of
colonists, whom he conducted into Sicily to found a city at Kalê Aktê
on the northern coast belonging to the Sikels. We cannot doubt that
when the Syracusans found in what manner their lenity was requited,
the speakers who had recommended severe treatment would take great
credit on the score of superior foresight.[177]

  [176] Xenophon, Hellen. i, 5, 19; Pausanias, vi, 7, 2.

  [177] Mr. Mitford recounts as follows the return of Duketius
  to Sicily: “The Syracusan chiefs brought back Duketius from
  Corinth, apparently to make him instrumental to their own views
  for advancing the power of their commonwealth. They permitted,
  or rather encouraged him to establish a colony of mixed people,
  Greeks and Sicels, at Calé Acté, on the northern coast of the
  island,” (ch. xviii, sect. i, vol. iv, p. 13.)

  The statement that “the Syracusans brought back Duketius, or
  encouraged him to come back, or to found the colony of Kalê
  Aktê,” is a complete departure from Diodorus on the part of
  Mr. Mitford; who transforms a breach of parole on the part of
  the Sikel _prince_ into an ambitious manœuvre on the part of
  Syracusan _democracy_. The words of Diodorus, the only authority
  in the case, are as follows (xii, 8): Οὗτος δὲ (Duketius)
  ὀλίγον χρόνον μείνας ἐν τῇ Κορίνθῳ, ~τὰς ὁμολογίας ἔλυσε~, καὶ
  προσποιησάμενος χρησμὸν ὑπὸ τῶν θεῶν ἑαυτῷ δεδόσθαι, κτίσαι τὴν
  Καλὴν Ἀκτὴν ἐν Σικελίᾳ, κατέπλευσεν εἰς τὴν νῆσον μετὰ πολλῶν
  οἰκητόρων· συνεπελάβοντο δὲ καὶ τῶν Σικελῶν τινες, ἐν οἷς ἦν
  καὶ Ἀρχωνίδης, ὁ τῶν Ἑρβιταίων δυναστεύων. Οὗτος μὲν οὖν περὶ
  τὸν οἰκισμὸν τῆς Καλῆς Ἀκτῆς ἐγίνετο· Ἀκραγαντῖνοι δὲ, ἅμα μὲν
  φθονοῦντες τοῖς Συρακοσίοις, ἅμα δ’ ἐγκαλοῦντες αὐτοῖς ὅτι
  Δουκέτιον ὄντα κοινὸν πολέμιον ~διέσωσαν ἄνευ τῆς Ἀκραγαντίνων
  γνώμης~, πόλεμον ἐξήνεγκαν τοῖς Συρακοσίοις.

But the return of this energetic enemy was not the only mischief
which the Syracusans suffered. Their resolution to spare Duketius
had been adopted without the concurrence of the Agrigentines, who
had helped to conquer him; and the latter, when they saw him again
in the island, and again formidable, were so indignant that they
declared war against Syracuse. A standing jealousy prevailed between
these two great cities, the first and second powers in Sicily. War
actually broke out between them, wherein other Greek cities took
part. After lasting some time, with various acts of hostility, and
especially a serious defeat of the Agrigentines at the river Himera,
these latter solicited and obtained peace.[178] The discord between
the two cities, however, had left leisure to Duketius to found the
city of Kalê Aktê, and to make some progress in reëstablishing his
ascendency over the Sikels, in which operation he was overtaken by
death. He probably left no successor to carry on his plans, so that
the Syracusans, pressing their attacks vigorously, reduced many of
the Sikel townships in the island, regaining his former conquest,
Morgantinê, and subduing even the strong position and town called
Trinakia,[179] after a brave and desperate resistance on the part of
the inhabitants.

  [178] Diodor. xii, 8.

  [179] Diodor. xii, 29. For the reconquest of Morgantinê, see
  Thucyd. iv, 65.

  Respecting this town of Trinakia, known only from the passage
  of Diodorus here, Paulmier (as cited in Wesseling’s note), as
  well as Mannert (Geographie der Griechen und Römer, b. x, ch.
  xv, p. 446), intimate some skepticism; which I share so far as
  to believe that Diodorus has greatly overrated its magnitude and

  Nor can it be true, as Diodorus affirms, that Trinakia was _the
  only_ Sikel township remaining unsubdued by the Syracusans, and
  that, after conquering that place, they had subdued them all.
  We know that there were no inconsiderable number of independent
  Sikels, at the time of the Athenian invasion of Sicily (Thucyd.
  vi, 88; vii, 2).

By this large accession both of subjects and of tribute, combined
with her recent victory over Agrigentum, Syracuse was elevated to
the height of power, and began to indulge schemes for extending
her ascendency throughout the island: with which view her horsemen
were doubled in number, and one hundred new triremes were
constructed.[180] Whether any, or what, steps were taken to realize
her designs our historian does not tell us. But the position of
Sicily remains the same at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war:
Syracuse, the first city as to power, indulging in ambitious dreams,
if not in ambitious aggressions; Agrigentum, a jealous second, and
almost a rival; the remaining Grecian states maintaining their
independence, yet not without mistrust and apprehension.

  [180] Diodor. xii, 30.

Though the particular phenomena of this period, however, have not
come to our knowledge, we see enough to prove that it was one of
great prosperity for Sicily. The wealth, commerce, and public
monuments of Agrigentum, especially appear to have even surpassed
those of the Syracusans. Her trade with Carthage and the African
coast was both extensive and profitable; for at this time neither
the vine nor the olive were much cultivated in Libya, and the
Carthaginians derived their wine and oil from the southern territory
of Sicily,[181] particularly that of Agrigentum. The temples of the
city, among which that of Olympic Zeus stood foremost, were on the
grandest scale of magnificence, surpassing everything of the kind
in Sicily. The population of the city, free as well as slave, was
very great: the number of rich men keeping chariots and competing
for the prize at the Olympic games was renowned, not less than the
accumulation of works of art, statues and pictures,[182] with
manifold insignia of ornament and luxury. All this is particularly
brought to our notice because of the frightful catastrophe which
desolated Agrigentum in 406 B.C. from the hands of the Carthaginians.
It was in the interval which we are now describing that this
prosperity was accumulated; doubtless not in Agrigentum alone, but
more or less throughout all the Grecian cities of the island.

  [181] Diodor. xiii, 81.

  [182] Diodor. xiii. 82, 83, 90.

Nor was it only in material prosperity that they were distinguished.
At this time, the intellectual movement in some of the Italian and
Sicilian towns was very considerable. The inconsiderable town of Elea
in the gulf of Poseidonia nourished two of the greatest speculative
philosophers in Greece, Parmenidês and Zeno. Empedoklês of Agrigentum
was hardly less eminent in the same department, yet combining with
it a political and practical efficiency. The popular character of
the Sicilian governments stimulated the cultivation of rhetorical
studies, wherein not only Empedoklês and Pôlus at Agrigentum, but
Tisias and Korax at Syracuse, and still more, Gorgias at Leontini,
acquired great reputation.[183] The constitution established at
Agrigentum after the dispossession of the Theronian dynasty was at
first not thoroughly democratical, the principal authority residing
in a large Senate of One Thousand members. We are told even that an
ambitious club of citizens were aiming at the reëstablishment of
a despotism, when Empedoklês, availing himself of wealth and high
position, took the lead in a popular opposition; so as not only
to defeat this intrigue, but also to put down the Senate of One
Thousand, and render the government completely democratical. His
influence over the people was enhanced by the vein of mysticism, and
pretence to miraculous or divine endowments, which accompanied his
philosophical speculations, in a manner similar to Pythagoras.[184]
The same combination of rhetoric with physical speculation appears
also in Gorgias of Leontini, whose celebrity as a teacher throughout
Greece was both greater and earlier than that of any one else. It
was a similar demand for popular speaking in the assembly and the
judicatures which gave encouragement to the rhetorical teachers
Tisias and Korax at Syracuse.

  [183] See Aristotle as cited by Cicero, Brut. c. 12; Plato,
  Phædr. p. 267, c. 113, 114; Dionys. Halic. Judicium de Isocrate,
  p. 534 R. and Epist. ii, ad Ammæum, p. 792; also Quintilian,
  iii, 1, 125. According to Cicero (de Inventione, ii, 2), the
  treatises of these ancient rhetoricians, “usque a principe illo
  et inventore Tisiâ,” had been superseded by Aristotle, who had
  collected them carefully, “nominatim,” and had improved upon
  their expositions. Dionysius laments that they had been so
  superseded (Epist. ad Ammæ. p. 722).

  [184] Diogen. Laërt. viii, 64-71; Seyfert, Akragas und
  sein Gebiet, sect. ii, p. 70; Ritter, Geschichte der Alten
  Philosophie, vol. i. ch. vi, p. 533, _seqq._

In this state of material prosperity, popular politics, and
intellectual activity, the Sicilian towns were found at the breaking
out of the great struggle between Athens and the Peloponnesian
confederacy in 431 B.C. In that struggle the Italian and Sicilian
Greeks had no direct concern, nor anything to fear from the ambition
of Athens; who, though she had founded Thurii in 443 B.C., appears
to have never aimed at any political ascendency even over that town,
much less anywhere else on the coast. But the Sicilian Greeks, though
forming a system apart in their own island, from which it suited the
dominant policy of Syracuse to exclude all foreign interference,[185]
were yet connected, by sympathy, and on one side even by alliances,
with the two main streams of Hellenic politics. Among the allies
of Sparta were numbered all or most of the Dorian cities of
Sicily,—Syracuse, Kamarina, Gela, Agrigentum, Selinus, perhaps
Himera and Messênê,—together with Lokri and Tarentum in Italy: among
the allies of Athens, perhaps the Chalkidic or Ionic Rhegium in
Italy.[186] Whether the Ionic cities in Sicily—Naxos, Katana, and
Leontini—were at this time united with Athens by any special treaty,
is very doubtful. But if we examine the state of politics prior to
the breaking out of the war, it will be found that the connection of
the Sicilian cities on both sides with Central Greece was rather one
of sympathy and tendency than of pronounced obligation and action.
The Dorian Sicilians, though doubtless sharing the antipathy of the
Peloponnesian Dorians to Athens, had never been called upon for any
coöperation with Sparta; nor had the Ionic Sicilians yet learned
to look to Athens for protection against their powerful neighbor

  [185] Thucyd. iv. 61-64. This is the tenor of the speech
  delivered by Hermokratês at the congress of Gela in the eighth
  year of the Peloponnesian war. His language is remarkable: he
  calls all non-Sicilian Greeks ἀλλοφύλους.

  [186] The inscription in Boeckh’s Corpus Inscriptt. (No. 74,
  part i, p. 112) relating to the alliance between Athens and
  Rhegium, conveys little certain information. Boeckh refers it
  to a covenant concluded in the archonship of Apseudês at Athens
  (Olymp. 86, 4, B.C. 433-432, the year before the Peloponnesian
  war), renewing an alliance which was even then of old date. But
  it appears to me that the supposition of a renewal is only his
  own conjecture; and even the name of the archon, _Apseudês_,
  which he has restored by a plausible conjecture, can hardly be
  considered as certain.

  If we could believe the story in Justin iv, 3, Rhegium must have
  ceased to be Ionic before the Peloponnesian war. He states,
  that in a sedition at Rhegium, one of the parties called in
  auxiliaries from Himera. These Himeræan exiles having first
  destroyed the enemies against whom they were invoked, next
  massacred the friends who had invoked them: “ausi facinus nulli
  tyranno comparandum.” They married the Rhegine women, and seized
  the city for themselves.

  I do not know what to make of this story, which neither appears
  noticed in Thucydidês, nor seems to consist with what he does
  tell us.

It was the memorable quarrel between Corinth and Korkyra, and
the intervention of Athens in that quarrel (B.C. 433-432), which
brought the Sicilian parties one step nearer to coöperation in the
Peloponnesian quarrel, in two different ways; first, by exciting
the most violent anti-Athenian war spirit in Corinth, with whom
the Sicilian Dorians held their chief commerce and sympathy,—next,
by providing a basis for the action of Athenian maritime force in
Italy and Sicily, which would have been impracticable without an
established footing in Korkyra. But Plutarch—whom most historians
have followed—is mistaken, and is contradicted by Thucydidês, when
he ascribes to the Athenians at this time ambitious projects in
Sicily of the nature of those which they came to conceive seven
or eight years afterwards. At the outbreak, and for some years
before the outbreak, of the war, the policy of Athens was purely
conservative, and that of her enemies aggressive, as I have shown
in a former chapter. At that moment, Sparta and Corinth anticipated
large assistance from the Sicilian Dorians, in ships of war, in
money, and in provisions; while the value of Korkyra as an ally
of Athens consisted in affording facilities for obstructing such
reinforcements, far more than from any anticipated conquests.[187]

  [187] Thucyd. i, 36.

In the spring of 431 B.C., the Spartans, then organizing their first
invasion of Attica, and full of hope that Athens would be crushed
in one or two campaigns, contemplated the building of a vast fleet
of five hundred ships of war among the confederacy. A considerable
portion of this charge was imposed upon the Italian and Sicilian
Dorians, and a contribution in money besides; with instructions to
refrain from any immediate declaration against Athens until their
fleet should be ready.[188] Of such expected succor, indeed, little
was ever realized in any way; in ships, nothing at all. But the
expectations and orders of Sparta, show that here as elsewhere
she was then on the offensive, and Athens only on the defensive.
Probably the Corinthians had encouraged the expectation of ample
reinforcements from Syracuse and the neighboring towns, a hope which
must have contributed largely to the confidence with which they
began the struggle. What were the causes which prevented it from
being realized, we are not distinctly told; and we find Hermokratês
the Syracusan reproaching his countrymen fifteen years afterwards,
immediately before the great Athenian expedition against Syracuse,
with their antecedent apathy.[189] But it is easy to see, that as the
Sicilian Greeks had no direct interest in the contest,—neither wrongs
to avenge, nor dangers to apprehend, from Athens,—nor any habit of
obeying requisitions from Sparta, so they might naturally content
themselves with expressions of sympathy and promises of aid in case
of need, without taxing themselves to the enormous extent which it
pleased Sparta to impose, for purposes both aggressive and purely
Peloponnesian. Perhaps the leading men in Syracuse, from attachment
to Corinth, may have sought to act upon the order. But no similar
motive would be found operative either at Agrigentum or at Gela or

  [188] Thucyd. ii, 7. Καὶ Λακεδαιμονίοις μὲν, πρὸς ταῖς αὐτοῦ
  ὑπαρχούσαις, ἐξ Ἰταλίας καὶ Σικελίας τοῖς τἀκείνων ἑλομένοις,
  ναῦς ἐπετάχθησαν ποιεῖσθαι κατὰ μέγεθος τῶν πόλεων, ὡς ἐς τὸν
  πάντα ἀριθμὸν πεντακοσίων νεῶν ἐσόμενον, etc.

  Respecting the construction of this perplexing passage, read the
  notes of Dr. Arnold, Poppo, and Göller: compare Poppo, ad Thucyd.
  vol. i, ch. xv, p. 181.

  I agree with Dr. Arnold and Göller in rejecting the construction
  of αὐτοῦ with ἐξ Ἰταλίας καὶ Σικελίας, in the sense of “those
  ships which were in Peloponnesus from Italy and Sicily.” This
  would be untrue in point of fact, as they observe: there were no
  Sicilian ships of war in Peloponnesus.

  Nevertheless I think, differing from them, that αὐτοῦ is not
  a pronoun referring to ἐξ Ἰταλίας καὶ Σικελίας, but is used
  in contrast with those words, and really means, “in or about
  Peloponnesus.” It was contemplated that new ships should be built
  in Sicily and Italy, of sufficient number to make the total
  fleet of the Lacedæmonian confederacy, including the triremes
  already in Peloponnesus, equal to five hundred sail. But it
  was never contemplated that the triremes in Italy and Sicily
  _alone_ should amount to five hundred sail, as Dr. Arnold, in my
  judgment, erroneously imagines. Five hundred sail for the entire
  confederacy would be a prodigious total: five hundred sail for
  Sicily and Italy alone, would be incredible.

  To construe the sentence as it stands now, putting aside the
  conjecture of νῆες instead of ναῦς, or ἐπετάχθη instead of
  ἐπετάχθησαν, which would make it run smoothly, we must admit the
  supposition of a break or double construction, such as sometimes
  occurs in Thucydidês. The sentence begins with one form of
  construction and concludes with another. We must suppose, with
  Göller, that αἱ πόλεις understood as the nominative case to
  ἐπετάχθησαν. The dative cases (Λακεδαιμονίοις—ἑλομένοις) are to
  be considered, I apprehend, as governed by νῆες ἐπετάχθησαν: that
  is, these dative cases belong to the first form of construction,
  which Thucydidês has not carried out. The sentence is begun as if
  νῆες ἐπετάχθησαν were intended to follow.

  [189] Thucyd. vi, 34: compare iii, 86.

Though the order was not executed, however, there can be little
doubt that it was publicly announced and threatened, thus becoming
known to the Ionic cities in Sicily as well as to Athens; and that
it weighed materially in determining the latter afterwards to
assist those cities, when they sent to invoke her aid. Instead of
despatching their forces to Peloponnesus, where they had nothing
to gain, the Sicilian Dorians preferred attacking the Ionic cities
in their own island, whose territory they might have reasonable
hopes of conquering and appropriating,—Naxos, Katana, and Leontini.
These cities doubtless sympathized with Athens in her struggle
against Sparta; yet, far from being strong enough to assist her
or to threaten their Dorian neighbors, they were unable to defend
themselves without Athenian aid. They were assisted by the Dorian
city of Kamarina, which was afraid of her powerful border city
Syracuse, and by Rhegium in Italy; while Lokri in Italy, the bitter
enemy of Rhegium, sided with Syracuse against them. In the fifth
summer of the war, finding themselves blockaded by sea and confined
to their walls, they sent to Athens, both to entreat succor, as
allies[190] and Ionians, and to represent that, if Syracuse succeeded
in crushing them, she and the other Dorians in Sicily would forthwith
send over the positive aid which the Peloponnesians had so long been
invoking. The eminent rhetor Gorgias of Leontini, whose peculiar
style of speaking is said to have been new to the Athenian assembly,
and to have produced a powerful effect, was at the head of this
embassy. It is certain that this rhetor procured for himself numerous
pupils and large gains, not merely in Athens but in many other towns
of Central Greece,[191] though it is exaggeration to ascribe to his
pleading the success of the present application.

  [190] Thucyd. vi, 86.

  [191] Thucyd. iii, 86; Diodor. xii, 53; Plato, Hipp. Maj. p. 282,
  B. It is remarkable that Thucydidês, though he is said, with much
  probability, to have been among the pupils of Gorgias, makes no
  mention of that rhetor personally as among the envoys. Diodorus
  probably copied from Ephorus, the pupil of Isokratês. Among the
  writers of the Isokratean school, the persons of distinguished
  rhetors, and their supposed political efficiency, counted for
  much more than in the estimation of Thucydidês. Pausanias (vi,
  17, 3) speaks of Tisias also as having been among the envoys in
  this celebrated legation.

Now the Athenians had a real interest as well in protecting these
Ionic Sicilians from being conquered by the Dorians in the island,
as in obstructing the transport of Sicilian corn to Peloponnesus:
and they sent twenty triremes under Lachês and Charœadês, with
instructions, while accomplishing these objects, to ascertain the
possibility of going beyond the defensive, and making conquests.
Taking station at Rhegium, Lachês did something towards rescuing
the Ionic cities in part from their maritime blockade, and even
undertook an abortive expedition against the Lipari isles, which
were in alliance with Syracuse.[192] Throughout the ensuing year,
he pressed the war in the neighborhood of Rhegium and Messênê, his
colleague Charœadês being slain. Attacking Mylæ in the Messenian
territory, he was fortunate enough to gain so decisive an advantage
over the troops of Messênê, that that city itself capitulated to him,
gave hostages, and enrolled itself as ally of Athens and the Ionic
cities.[193] He also contracted an alliance with the non-Hellenic
city of Egesta, in the northwest portion of Sicily, and he invaded
the territory of Lokri, capturing one of the country forts on the
river Halex:[194] after which, in a second debarkation, he defeated
a Lokrian detachment under Proxenus. But he was unsuccessful in an
expedition into the interior of Sicily against Inêssus. This was a
native Sikel township, held in coercion by a Syracusan garrison in
the acropolis; which the Athenians vainly attempted to storm, being
repulsed with loss.[195] Lachês concluded his operations in the
autumn by an ineffective incursion on the territory of Himera and on
the Lipari isles. On returning to Rhegium at the beginning of the
ensuing year (B.C. 425), he found Pythodôrus already arrived from
Athens to supersede him.[196]

  [192] Thucyd. iii, 88; Diodor. xii, 54.

  [193] Thucyd. iii, 90; vi, 6.

  [194] Thucyd. iii, 99.

  [195] Thucyd. iii, 103.

  [196] Thucyd. iii, 115.

That officer had come as the forerunner of a more considerable
expedition, intended to arrive in the spring, under Eurymedon and
Sophoklês, who were to command in conjunction with himself. The Ionic
cities in Sicily, finding the squadron under Lachês insufficient to
render them a match for their enemies at sea, had been emboldened
to send a second embassy to Athens, with request for farther
reinforcements, at the same time making increased efforts to enlarge
their own naval force. It happened that at this moment the Athenians
had no special employment elsewhere for their fleet, which they
desired to keep in constant practice. They accordingly resolved to
send to Sicily forty additional triremes, in full hopes of bringing
the contest to a speedy close.[197]

  [197] Thucyd. iii, 115.

Early in the ensuing spring, Eurymedon and Sophoklês started from
Athens for Sicily in command of this squadron, with instructions to
afford relief at Korkyra in their way, and with Demosthenês on board
to act on the coast of Peloponnesus. It was this fleet which, in
conjunction with the land-forces under the command of Kleon, making a
descent almost by accident on the Laconian coast at Pylos, achieved
for Athens the most signal success of the whole war, the capture
of the Lacedæmonian hoplites in Sphakteria.[198] But the fleet was
so long occupied, first in the blockade of that island, next in
operations at Korkyra, that it did not reach Sicily until about the
month of September.[199]

  [198] See the preceding vol. vi, ch. lii.

  [199] Thucyd. iv, 48.

Such delay, eminently advantageous for Athens generally, was fatal
to her hopes of success in Sicily during the whole summer. For
Pythodôrus, acting only with the fleet previously commanded by Lachês
at Rhegium, was not merely defeated in a descent upon Lokri, but
experienced a more irreparable loss by the revolt of Messênê, which
had surrendered to Lachês a few months before; and which, together
with Rhegium, had given to the Athenians the command of the strait.
Apprized of the coming Athenian fleet, the Syracusans were anxious to
deprive them of this important base of operations against the island;
and a fleet of twenty sail—half Syracusan, half Lokrian—was enabled
by the concurrence of a party in Messênê to seize the town. It would
appear that the Athenian fleet was then at Rhegium, but that town was
at the same time threatened by the entrance of the entire land-force
of Lokri, together with a body of Rhegine exiles: these latter were
even not without hopes of obtaining admission by means of a favorable
party in the town. Though such hopes were disappointed, yet the
diversion prevented all succor from Rhegium to Messênê. The latter
town now served as a harbor for the fleet hostile to Athens,[200]
which was speedily reinforced to more than thirty sail, and began
maritime operations forthwith, in hopes of crushing the Athenians
and capturing Rhegium, before Eurymedon should arrive. But the
Athenians, though they had only sixteen triremes together with eight
others from Rhegium, gained a decided victory, in an action brought
on accidentally for the possession of a merchantman sailing through
the strait. They put the enemy’s ships to flight, and drove them
to seek refuge, some under protection of the Syracusan land-force
at Cape Pelôrus near Messênê, others under the Lokrian force near
Rhegium, each as they best could, with the loss of one trireme.[201]
This defeat so broke up the scheme of Lokrian operations against
the latter place, that their land-force retired from the Rhegine
territory, while the whole defeated squadron was reunited on the
opposite coast under Cape Pelôrus. Here the ships were moored close
on shore under the protection of the land-force, when the Athenians
and Rhegines came up to attack them; but without success, and even
with the loss of one trireme, which the men on shore contrived to
seize and detain by a grappling-iron; her crew escaping by swimming
to the vessels of their comrades. Having repulsed the enemy, the
Syracusans got aboard, and rowed close along-shore, partly aided by
tow-ropes, to the harbor of Messênê, in which transit they were again
attacked, but the Athenians were a second time beaten off with the
loss of another ship. Their superior seamanship was of no avail in
this along-shore fighting.[202]

  [200] Thucyd. iii, 115; iv, 1.

  [201] Thucyd. iv, 24. Καὶ νικηθέντες ὑπὸ τῶν Ἀθηναίων διὰ τάχους
  ἀπέπλευσαν, ὡς ἕκαστοι ἔτυχον, ἐς τὰ οἰκεῖα στρατόπεδα, τό τε ἐν
  τῇ Μεσσήνῃ καὶ ἐν τῷ Ῥηγίῳ, μίαν ναῦν ἀπολέσαντες, etc.

  I concur in Dr. Arnold’s explanation of this passage, yet
  conceiving that the words ὡς ἕκαστοι ἔτυχον designate the flight
  as disorderly, insomuch that _all_ the Lokrian ships did not get
  back to the Lokrian station, nor _all_ the Syracusan ships to the
  Syracusan station: but each separate ship fled to either one or
  the other, as it best could.

  [202] Thucyd. iv, 25. ἀποσιμωσάντων ἐκείνων καὶ προεμβαλόντων.

  I do not distinctly understand the nautical movement which
  is expressed by ἀποσιμωσάντων, in spite of the notes of the
  commentators. And I cannot but doubt the correctness of Dr.
  Arnold’s explanation, when he says “The Syracusans, on a sudden,
  threw off their towing-ropes, made their way to the open sea by
  a lateral movement, and thus became the assailants,” etc. The
  open sea was what the Athenians required, in order to obtain the
  benefit of their superior seamanship.

The Athenian fleet was now suddenly withdrawn in order to prevent an
intended movement in Kamarina, where a philo-Syracusan party under
Archias threatened revolt: and the Messenian forces, thus left free,
invaded the territory of their neighbor, the Chalkidic city of Naxos,
sending their fleet round to the mouth of the Akesinês near that
city. They were ravaging the lands, and were preparing to storm the
town, when a considerable body of the indigenous Sikels were seen
descending the neighboring hills to succor the Naxians: upon which
the latter, elate with the sight, and mistaking the new comers for
their Grecian brethren from Leontini, rushed out of the gates and
made a vigorous sally at a moment when their enemies were unprepared.
The Messenians were completely defeated, with the loss of no less
than one thousand men, and with a still greater loss sustained in
their retreat home from the pursuit of the Sikels. Their fleet
went back also to Messênê, from whence such of the ships as were
not Messenian returned home. So much was the city weakened by its
recent defeat, that a Lokrian garrison was sent for its protection
under Demomelês, while the Leontines and Naxians, together with
the Athenian squadron on returning from Kamarina, attacked it by
land and sea in this moment of distress. A well-timed sally of the
Messenians and Lokrians, however, dispersed the Leontine land-force;
but the Athenian force, landing from their ships, attacked the
assailants while in the disorder of pursuit, and drove them back
within the walls. The scheme against Messênê, however, had now
become impracticable, so that the Athenians crossed the strait to

  [203] Thucyd. iv, 25.

Thus indecisive was the result of operations in Sicily, during the
first half of the seventh year of the Peloponnesian war: nor does it
appear that the Athenians undertook anything considerable during the
autumnal half, though the full fleet under Eurymedon had then joined
Pythodôrus.[204] Yet while the presence of so large an Athenian fleet
at Rhegium would produce considerable effect upon the Syracusan mind,
the triumphant promise of Athenian affairs, and the astonishing
humiliation of Sparta during the months immediately following the
capture of Sphakteria, probably struck much deeper. In the spring
of the eighth year of the war, Athens was not only in possession
of the Spartan prisoners, but also of Pylos and Kythêra, so that a
rising among the Helots appeared noway improbable. She was in the
full swing of hope, while her discouraged enemies were all thrown on
the defensive. Hence the Sicilian Dorians, intimidated by a state of
affairs so different from that in which they had begun the war three
years before, were now eager to bring about a pacification in their
island.[205] The Dorian city of Kamarina, which had hitherto acted
along with the Ionic or Chalkidic cities, was the first to make a
separate accommodation with its neighboring city of Gela; at which
latter place deputies were invited to attend from all the cities in
the island, with a view to the conclusion of peace.[206]

  [204] Thucyd. iv, 48.

  [205] Compare a similar remark made by the Syracusan Hermokratês,
  nine years afterwards, when the great Athenian expedition against
  Syracuse was on its way, respecting the increased disposition
  to union among the Sicilian cities, produced by common fear of
  Athens (Thucyd. vi, 33).

  [206] Thucyd. iv, 58.

This congress met in the spring of 424 B.C., when Syracuse, the most
powerful city in Sicily, took the lead in urging the common interest
which all had in the conclusion of peace. The Syracusan Hermokratês,
chief adviser of this policy in his native city, now appeared to
vindicate and enforce it in the congress. He was a well-born, brave,
and able man, clear-sighted in regard to the foreign interests of his
country; but at the same time of pronounced oligarchical sentiments,
mistrusted by the people, seemingly with good reason, in regard to
their internal constitution. The speech which Thucydidês places
in his mouth, on the present occasion, sets forth emphatically
the necessity of keeping Sicily at all cost free from foreign
intervention, and of settling at home all differences which might
arise between the various Sicilian cities. Hermokratês impressed upon
his hearers that the aggressive schemes of Athens, now the greatest
power in Greece, were directed against all Sicily, and threatened
all cities alike, Ionians not less than Dorians. If they enfeebled
one another by internal quarrels, and then invited the Athenians
as arbitrators, the result would be ruin and slavery to all. The
Athenians were but too ready to encroach everywhere, even without
invitation: they had now come, with a zeal outrunning all obligation,
under pretence of aiding the Chalkidic cities who had never aided
them, but in the real hope of achieving conquest for themselves. The
Chalkidic cities must not rely upon their Ionic kindred for security
against evil designs on the part of Athens: as Sicilians, they had a
paramount interest in upholding the independence of the island. If
possible, they ought to maintain undisturbed peace; but if that were
impossible, it was essential at least to confine the war to Sicily,
apart from any foreign intruders. Complaints should be exchanged,
and injuries redressed, by all, in a spirit of mutual forbearance;
of which Syracuse—the first city in the island, and best able to
sustain the brunt of war—was prepared to set the example, without
that foolish over-valuation of favorable chances so ruinous even to
first-rate powers, and with full sense of the uncertainty of the
future. Let them all feel that they were neighbors, inhabitants of
the same island, and called by the common name of Sikeliots; and
let them all with one accord repel the intrusion of aliens in their
affairs, whether as open assailants or as treacherous mediators.[207]

  [207] See the speech of Hermokratês, Thucyd. iv, 59-64. One
  expression in this speech indicates that it was composed by
  Thucydidês many years after its proper date, subsequently to the
  great expedition of the Athenians against Syracuse in 415 B.C.;
  though I doubt not that Thucydidês collected the memoranda for it
  at the time.

  Hermokratês says: “The Athenians are now near us with _a few
  ships_, lying in wait for our blunders,”—οἱ δύναμιν ἔχοντες
  μεγίστην τῶν Ἑλλήνων τάς τε ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν τηροῦσιν, ~ὀλίγαις
  ναυσὶ παρόντες~, etc. (iv, 60).

  Now the fleet under the command of Eurymedon and his colleagues
  at Rhegium included all or most of the ships which had acted
  at Sphakteria and Korkyra, together with those which had been
  previously at the strait of Messina under Pythodôrus. It could
  not have been less than fifty sail, and may possibly have been
  sixty sail. It is hardly conceivable that any Greek, speaking in
  the early spring of 424 B.C., should have alluded to this as a
  _small_ fleet: assuredly, Hermokratês would not thus allude to
  it, since it was for the interest of his argument to exaggerate
  rather than extenuate, the formidable manifestations of Athens.

  But Thucydidês, composing the speech after the great Athenian
  expedition of 415 B.C., so much more numerous and commanding
  in every respect, might not unnaturally represent the fleet
  of Eurymedon as “a few ships,” when he tacitly compared the
  two. This is the only way that I know, of explaining such an

  The Scholiast observes that some of the copies in his time
  omitted the words ὀλίγαις ναυσὶ: probably they noticed the
  contradiction which I have remarked; and the passage _may_
  certainly be construed without those words.

This harangue from Hermokratês, and the earnest dispositions of
Syracuse for peace, found general sympathy among the Sicilian cities,
Ionic as well as Doric. All of them doubtless suffered by the war,
and the Ionic cities, who had solicited the intervention of the
Athenians as protectors against Syracuse, conceived from the evident
uneasiness of the latter a fair assurance of her pacific demeanor
for the future. Accordingly, the peace was accepted by all the
belligerent parties, each retaining what they possessed, except that
the Syracusans agreed to cede Morgantinê to Kamarina, on receipt of
a fixed sum of money.[208] The Ionic cities stipulated that Athens
should be included in the pacification; a condition agreed to by all,
except the Epizephyrian Lokrians.[209] They then acquainted Eurymedon
and his colleagues with the terms; inviting them to accede to the
pacification in the name of Athens, and then to withdraw their fleet
from Sicily. Nor had these generals any choice but to close with the
proposition. Athens thus was placed on terms of peace with all the
Sicilian cities, with liberty of access reciprocally to any single
ship of war, but no armed force to cross the sea between Sicily and
Peloponnesus. Eurymedon then sailed with his fleet home.[210]

  [208] Thucyd. iv, 65. We learn from Polybius (Fragm. xii, 22,
  23, one of the Excerpta recently published by Maii, from the
  Cod. Vatic.) that Timæus had in his twenty-first book described
  the congress of Gela at considerable length, and had composed an
  elaborate speech for Hermokratês: which speech Polybius condemns,
  as a piece of empty declamation.

  [209] Thucyd. v, 5.

  [210] Thucyd. vi, 13-52.

On reaching Athens, however, he and his colleagues were received
by the people with much displeasure. He himself was fined, and his
colleagues Sophoklês and Pythodôrus banished, on the charge of having
been bribed to quit Sicily, at a time when the fleet—so the Athenians
believed—was strong enough to have made important conquests. Why the
three colleagues were differently treated we are not informed.[211]
This sentence was harsh and unmerited; for it does not seem that
Eurymedon had it in his power to prevent the Ionic cities from
concluding peace, while it is certain that without them he could have
achieved nothing serious. All that seems unexplained in his conduct,
as recounted by Thucydidês, is, that his arrival at Rhegium with
the entire fleet in September, 425 B.C., does not seem to have been
attended with any increased vigor or success, in the prosecution
of the war. But the Athenians—besides an undue depreciation of
the Sicilian cities, which we shall find fatally misleading them
hereafter—were at this moment at the maximum of extravagant hopes,
counting upon new triumphs everywhere, impatient of disappointment,
and careless of proportion between the means intrusted to, and the
objects expected from, their commanders. Such unmeasured confidence
was painfully corrected in the course of a few months, by the battle
of Delium and the losses in Thrace. But at the present moment,
it was probably not less astonishing than grievous to the three
generals, who had all left Athens prior to the success in Sphakteria.

  [211] Thucyd. iv, 65.

The Ionic cities in Sicily were soon made to feel that they had been
premature in sending away the Athenians. Dispute between Leontini
and Syracuse, the same cause which had occasioned the invocation
of Athens three years before, broke out afresh soon after the
pacification of Gela. The democratical government of Leontini came
to the resolution of strengthening their city by the enrolment of
many new citizens; and a redivision of the territorial property of
the state was projected in order to provide lots of land for these
new-comers. But the aristocracy of the town upon whom the necessity
would thus be imposed of parting with a portion of their lands,
forestalled the project, seemingly before it was even formally
decided, by entering into a treasonable correspondence with Syracuse,
bringing in a Syracusan army, and expelling the Demos.[212] While
these exiles found shelter as they could in other cities, the rich
Leontines deserted and dismantled their own city, transferred their
residence to Syracuse, and were enrolled as Syracusan citizens. To
them the operation was exceedingly profitable, since they became
masters of the properties of the exiled Demos in addition to their
own. Presently, however, some of them, dissatisfied with their
residence in Syracuse, returned to the abandoned city, and fitted up
a portion of it called Phokeis, together with a neighboring strong
post called Brikinnies. Here, after being joined by a considerable
number of the exiled Demos, they contrived to hold out for some
time against the efforts of the Syracusans to expel them from their

  [212] Thucyd. v, 4. Λεοντῖνοι γὰρ, ἀπελθόντων Ἀθηναίων ἐκ
  Σικελίας μετὰ τὴν ξύμβασιν, πολίτας τε ἐπεγράψαντο πολλοὺς, καὶ
  ὁ δῆμος τὴν γῆν ἐπενόει ἀναδάσασθαι. Οἱ δὲ δυνατοὶ αἰσθόμενοι
  Συρακοσίους τε ἐπάγονται καὶ ἐκβάλλουσι τὸν δῆμον. Καὶ οἱ μὲν
  ἐπλανήθησαν ὡς ἕκαστοι, etc.

  Upon this Dr. Arnold observes: “The principle on which this
  ἀναδασμὸς γῆς was redemanded, was this; that every citizen was
  entitled to his portion, κλῆρος, of the land of the state, and
  that the admission of new citizens rendered a redivision of
  the property of the state a matter at once of necessity and of
  justice. It is not probable that in any case the actual κλῆροι
  (properties) of the old citizens were required to be shared
  with the new members of the state; but only, as at Rome, the
  ager publicus, or land still remaining to the state itself,
  and not apportioned out to individuals. This land, however,
  being beneficially enjoyed by numbers of the old citizens,
  either as common pasture, or as being farmed by different
  individuals on very advantageous terms, a division of it among
  the newly-admitted citizens, although not, strictly speaking,
  a spoliation of private property, was yet a serious shock to
  a great mass of existing interests, and was therefore always
  regarded as a revolutionary measure.”

  I transcribe this note of Dr. Arnold rather from its intrinsic
  worth than from any belief that analogy of agrarian relations
  existed between Rome and Leontini. The ager publicus at Rome was
  the product of successive conquests from foreign enemies of the
  city: there may, indeed, have been originally a similar ager
  publicus in the peculiar domain of Rome itself, anterior to all
  conquests; but this must at any rate have been very small, and
  had probably been all absorbed and assigned in private property
  before the agrarian disputes began.

  We cannot suppose that the Leontines had any ager publicus
  acquired by conquest, nor are we entitled to presume that they
  had any at all, capable of being divided. Most probably the lots
  for the new citizens were to be provided out of private property.
  But unfortunately we are not told how, nor on what principles and
  conditions. Of what class of men were the new emigrants? Were
  they individuals altogether poor, having nothing but their hands
  to work with; or did they bring with them any amount of funds,
  to begin their settlement on the fertile and tempting plain of
  Leontini? (compare Thucyd. i, 27, and Plato de Legib. v, p. 744,
  A.) If the latter, we have no reason to imagine that they would
  be allowed to acquire their new lots gratuitously. Existing
  proprietors would be forced to sell at a fixed price, but not
  to yield their properties without compensation. I have already
  noticed, that to a small self-working proprietor, who had no
  slaves, it was almost essential that his land should be near the
  city; and provided this were insured, it might be a good bargain
  for a new resident having some money, but no land elsewhere, to
  come in and buy.

  We have no means of answering these questions: but the few words
  of Thucydidês do not present this measure as revolutionary, or
  as intended against the rich, or for the benefit of the poor.
  It was proposed, on public grounds, to strengthen the city by
  the acquisition of new citizens. This might be wise policy,
  in the close neighborhood of a doubtful and superior city,
  like Syracuse; though we cannot judge of the policy of the
  measure without knowing more. But most assuredly Mr. Mitford’s
  representation can be noway justified from Thucydidês: “Time and
  circumstances had greatly altered the state of property in all
  the Sicilian commonwealths, since _that incomplete and iniquitous
  partition of lands_, which had been made, on the general
  establishment of democratical government, after the expulsion of
  the family of Gelon. In other cities, the poor rested under their
  lot; but in Leontini, they were warm in project _for a fresh and
  equal partition_; and to strengthen themselves against the party
  of the wealthy, they carried, in the general assembly, a decree
  for associating a number of new citizens.” (Mitford, H. G. ch.
  xviii, sect. ii, vol. iv, p. 23.)

  I have already remarked, in a previous note, that Mr. Mitford
  has misrepresented the redivision of lands which took place
  after the expulsion of the Gelonian dynasty. That redivision had
  not been upon the principle of equal lots: it is not therefore
  correct to assert, as Mr. Mitford does, that the present
  movement at Leontini arose from the innovation made by time and
  circumstances in that equal division: as little is it correct to
  say, that the poor at Leontini now desired “a fresh and equal
  partition.” Thucydidês says _not one word about equal partition_.
  He puts forward the enrolment of new citizens as the substantive
  and primary resolution, actually taken by the Leontines; the
  redivision of the lands, as a measure consequent and subsidiary
  to this, and as yet existing only in project (ἐπενόει). Mr.
  Mitford states the fresh and equal division to have been the real
  object of desire, and the enrolment of new citizens to have been
  proposed with a view to attain it. His representation is greatly
  at variance with that of Thucydidês.

The new enrolment of citizens, projected by the Leontine democracy,
seems to date during the year succeeding the pacification of Gela,
and was probably intended to place the city in a more defensible
position in case of renewed attacks from Syracuse, thus compensating
for the departure of the Athenian auxiliaries. The Leontine Demos,
in exile and suffering, doubtless bitterly repenting that they had
concurred in dismissing these auxiliaries, sent envoys to Athens with
complaints, and renewed prayers for help.[213]

  [213] Justin (iv, 4) surrounds the Sicilian envoys at Athens with
  all the insignia of misery and humiliation, while addressing the
  Athenian assembly: “Sordidâ veste, capillo barbâque promissis, et
  omni squaloris habitu ad misericordiam commovendam conquisito,
  concionem deformes adeunt.”

But Athens was then too much pressed to attend to their call; her
defeat at Delium and her losses in Thrace had been followed by
the truce for one year; and even during that truce, she had been
called upon for strenuous efforts in Thrace to check the progress
of Brasidas. After the expiration of that truce, she sent Phæax and
two colleagues to Sicily (B.C. 422) with the modest force of two
triremes. He was directed to try and organize an anti-Syracusan
party in the island, for the purpose of reëstablishing the Leontine
Demos. In passing along the coast of Italy, he concluded amicable
relations with some of the Grecian cities, especially with Lokri,
which had hitherto stood aloof from Athens; and his first addresses
in Sicily appeared to promise success. His representations of danger
from Syracusan ambition were well received both at Kamarina and
Agrigentum. For on the one hand, that universal terror of Athens,
which had dictated the pacification of Gela, had now disappeared;
while on the other hand, the proceeding of Syracuse in regard
to Leontini was well calculated to excite alarm. We see by that
proceeding that sympathy between democracies in different towns was
not universal: the Syracusan democracy had joined with the Leontine
aristocracy to expel the Demos, just as the despot Gelon had combined
with the aristocracy of Megara and Eubœa, sixty years before, and
had sold the Demos of those towns into slavery. The birthplace of
the famous rhetor Gorgias was struck out of the list of inhabited
cities; its temples were deserted; and its territory had become
a part of Syracuse. All these were circumstances so powerfully
affecting Grecian imagination, that the Kamarinæans, neighbors of
Syracuse on the other side, might well fear lest the like unjust
conquest, expulsion, and absorption, should soon overtake them.
Agrigentum, though without any similar fear, was disposed from
policy, and jealousy of Syracuse, to second the views of Phæax. But
when the latter proceeded to Gela, in order to procure the adhesion
of that city in addition to the other two, he found himself met by
so resolute an opposition that his whole scheme was frustrated, nor
did he think it advisable even to open his case at Selinus or Himera.
In returning, he crossed the interior of the island through the
territory of the Sikels to Katana, passing in his way by Brikinnies,
where the Leontine Demos were still maintaining a precarious
existence. Having encouraged them to hold out by assurances of aid,
he proceeded on his homeward voyage. In the strait of Messina, he
struck upon some vessels conveying a body of expelled Lokrians from
Messênê to Lokri. The Lokrians had got possession of Messênê after
the pacification of Gela, by means of an internal sedition; but
after holding it some time, they were now driven out by a second
revolution. Phæax, being under agreement with Lokri, passed by these
vessels without any act of hostility.[214]

  [214] Thucyd. v, 4, 5.

The Leontine exiles at Brikinnies, however, received no benefit from
his assurances, and appear soon afterwards to have been completely
expelled. Nevertheless, Athens was noway disposed, for a considerable
time, to operations in Sicily. A few months after the visit of
Phæax to that island, came the Peace of Nikias: the consequences
of that peace occupied her whole attention in Peloponnesus, while
the ambition of Alkibiadês carried her on for three years in
intra-Peloponnesian projects and coöperation with Argos against
Sparta. It was only in the year 417 B.C., when these projects
had proved abortive, that she had leisure to turn her attention
elsewhere. During that year, Nikias had contemplated an expedition
against Amphipolis in conjunction with Perdikkas, whose desertion
frustrated the scheme. The year 416 B.C. was that in which Mêlos was
besieged and taken.

Meanwhile the Syracusans had cleared and appropriated all the
territory of Leontini, which city now existed only in the talk
and hopes of its exiles. Of these latter a portion seem to have
continued at Athens, pressing their entreaties for aid, which began
to obtain some attention about the year 417 B.C., when another
incident happened to strengthen their chance of success. A quarrel
broke out between the neighboring cities of Selinus (Hellenic) and
Egesta (non-Hellenic) in the western corner of Sicily; partly about
a piece of land on the river which divided the two territories,
partly about some alleged wrong in cases of internuptial connection.
The Selinuntines, not satisfied with their own strength, obtained
assistance from the Syracusans their allies, and thus reduced
Egesta to considerable straits by land as well as by sea.[215] Now
the Egestæans had allied themselves with Lachês ten years before,
during the first expedition sent by the Athenians to Sicily; upon
the strength of which alliance they sent to Athens, to solicit her
intervention for their defence, after having in vain applied both
to Agrigentum and to Carthage. It may seem singular that Carthage
did not at this time readily embrace the pretext for interference,
considering that, ten years afterwards, she interfered with such
destructive effect against Selinus. At this time, however, the fear
of Athens and her formidable navy appears to have been felt even at
Carthage,[216] thus protecting the Sicilian Greeks against the most
dangerous of their neighbors.

  [215] Thucyd. vi, 6; Diodor. xii, 82. The statement of
  Diodorus—that the Egestæans applied not merely to Agrigentum
  but also to Syracuse—is highly improbable. The war which he
  mentions as having taken place some years before between Egesta
  and Lilybæum (xi, 86) in 454 B.C., may probably have been a war
  between Egesta and Selinus.

  [216] Thucyd. vi, 34.

The Egestæan envoys reached Athens in the spring of 416 B.C.,
at a time when the Athenians had no immediate project to occupy
their thoughts, except the enterprise against Mêlos, which could
not be either long or doubtful. Though urgent in setting forth
the necessities of their position, they at the same time did not
appear, like the Leontines, as mere helpless suppliants, addressing
themselves to Athenian compassion. They rested their appeal chiefly
on grounds of policy. The Syracusans, having already extinguished
one ally of Athens (Leontini), were now hard pressing upon a second
(Egesta), and would thus successively subdue them all: as soon as
this was completed, there would be nothing left in Sicily except an
omnipotent Dorian combination, allied to Peloponnesus both by race
and descent, and sure to lend effective aid in putting down Athens
herself. It was therefore essential for Athens to forestall this
coming danger by interfering forthwith to uphold her remaining allies
against the encroachments of Syracuse. If she would send a naval
expedition adequate to the rescue of Egesta, the Egestæans themselves
engaged to provide ample funds for the prosecution of the war.[217]

  [217] Thucyd. vi, 6; Diodor. xii, 83.

Such representations from the envoys, and fears of Syracusan
aggrandizement as a source of strength to Peloponnesus, worked along
with the prayers of the Leontines in rekindling the appetite of
Athens for extending her power in Sicily. The impression made upon
the Athenian public, favorable from the first, was wound up to a
still higher pitch by renewed discussion. The envoys were repeatedly
heard in the public assembly,[218] together with those citizens who
supported their propositions. At the head of these was Alkibiadês,
who aspired to the command of the intended expedition, tempting alike
to his love of glory, of adventure, and of personal gain. But it is
plain from these renewed discussions that at first the disposition of
the people was by no means decided, much less unanimous, and that a
considerable party sustained Nikias in a prudential opposition. Even
at last, the resolution adopted was not one of positive consent, but
a mean term such as perhaps Nikias himself could not resist. Special
envoys were despatched to Egesta, partly to ascertain the means of
the town to fulfil its assurance of defraying the costs of war,
partly to make investigations on the spot and report upon the general
state of affairs.

  [218] Thucyd. vi, 6. ὧν ἀκούοντες οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις
  τῶν τε Ἐγεσταίων ~πολλάκις λεγόντων~ καὶ τῶν ξυναγορευόντων
  αὐτοῖς ἐψηφίσαντο, etc.

  Mr. Mitford takes no notice of all these previous debates, when
  he imputes to the Athenians hurry and passion in the ultimate
  decision (ch. xviii. sect. ii, vol. iv, p. 30.)

Perhaps the commissioners despatched were men themselves friendly
to the enterprise; nor is it impossible that some of them may
have been individually bribed by the Egestæans; at least such a
supposition is not forbidden by the average state of Athenian public
morality. But the most honest or even suspicious men could hardly
be prepared for the deep-laid stratagems put in practice to delude
them, on their arrival at Egesta. They were conducted to the rich
temple of Aphroditê on Mount Eryx, where the plate and donatives
were exhibited before them; abundant in number, and striking
to the eye, yet composed mostly of silver-gilt vessels, which,
though falsely passed off as solid gold, were in reality of little
pecuniary value. Moreover, the Egestæan citizens were profuse in
their hospitalities and entertainments both to the commissioners and
to the crews of the triremes.[219] They collected together all the
gold and silver vessels, dishes, and goblets, of Egesta, which they
farther enlarged by borrowing additional ornaments of the same kind
from the neighboring cities, Hellenic as well as Carthaginian. At
each successive entertainment, every Egestæan host exhibited all
this large stock of plate as his own property, the same stock being
transferred from house to house for the occasion. A false appearance
was thus created, of the large number of wealthy men in Egesta; and
the Athenian seamen, while their hearts were won by the caresses,
saw with amazement this prodigious display of gold and silver, and
were thoroughly duped by the fraud.[220] To complete the illusion, by
resting it on a basis of reality and prompt payment, sixty talents
of uncoined silver were at once produced as ready for the operations
of war. With this sum in hand, the Athenian commissioners, after
finishing their examination, and the Egestæan envoys also, returned
to Athens, which they reached in the spring of 415 B.C.,[221] about
three months after the capture of Mêlos.

  [219] Thucyd. vi, 46. ἰδίᾳ ξενίσεις ποιούμενοι τῶν τριηριτῶν, τά
  τε ἐξ αὐτῆς Ἐγέστης ἐκπώματα καὶ χρυσᾶ καὶ ἀργυρᾶ ξυλλέξαντες,
  καὶ τὰ ἐκ τῶν ἐγγὺς πόλεων καὶ Φοινικικῶν καὶ Ἑλληνίδων
  αἰτησάμενοι, ἐσέφερον ἐς τὰς ἑστιάσεις ὡς οἰκεῖα ἕκαστοι. Καὶ
  πάντων ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολὺ τοῖς αὐτοῖς χρωμένων, καὶ πανταχοῦ πολλῶν
  φαινομένων, μεγάλην τὴν ἔκπληξιν τοῖς ἐκ τῶν τριήρων Ἀθηναίοις
  παρεῖχον, etc.

  Such loans of gold and silver plate betoken a remarkable degree
  of intimacy among the different cities.

  [220] Thucyd. vi, 46; Diodor. xii, 83.

  [221] To this winter or spring, perhaps, we may refer the
  representation of the lost comedy Τριφάλης of Aristophanês.
  Iberians were alluded to in it, to be introduced by Aristarchus;
  seemingly, Iberian mercenaries, who were among the auxiliaries
  talked of at this time by Alkibiadês and the other prominent
  advisers of the expedition, as a means of conquest in Sicily
  (Thucyd. vi, 90). The word Τριφάλης was a nickname (not difficult
  to understand) applied to Alkibiadês, who was just now at the
  height of his importance, and therefore likely enough to be
  chosen as the butt of a comedy. See the few fragments remaining
  of the Τριφάλης, in Meineke, Fragm. Comic. Gr. vol. ii, pp.

The Athenian assembly being presently convened to hear their report,
the deluded commissioners drew a magnificent picture of the wealth,
public and private, which they had actually seen and touched at
Egesta, and presented the sixty talents—one month’s pay for a fleet
of sixty triremes—as a small instalment out of the vast stock
remaining behind. While they thus officially certified the capacity
of the Egestæans to perform their promise of defraying the cost
of the war, the seamen of their trireme, addressing the assembly
in their character of citizens,—beyond all suspicion of being
bribed,—overflowing with sympathy for the town in which they had
just been so cordially welcomed, and full of wonder at the display
of wealth which they had witnessed, would probably contribute still
more effectually to kindle the sympathies of their countrymen.
Accordingly, when the Egestæan envoys again renewed their petitions
and representations, confidently appealing to the scrutiny which
they had undergone,—when the distress of the suppliant Leontines was
again depicted,—the Athenian assembly no longer delayed coming to a
final decision. They determined to send forthwith sixty triremes to
Sicily, under three generals with full powers,—Nikias, Alkibiadês,
and Lamachus; for the purpose, first, of relieving Egesta; next,
as soon as that primary object should have been accomplished, of
reëstablishing the city of Leontini; lastly, of furthering the
views of Athens in Sicily, by any other means which they might find
practicable.[222] Such resolution being passed, a fresh assembly was
appointed for the fifth day following, to settle the details.

  [222] Thucyd. vi, 8; Diodor. xii, 83.

We cannot doubt that this assembly, in which the reports from Egesta
were first delivered, was one of unqualified triumph to Alkibiadês
and those who had from the first advocated the expedition, as well as
of embarrassment and humiliation to Nikias, who had opposed it. He
was probably more astonished than any one else at the statements of
the commissioners and seamen, because he did not believe in the point
which they went to establish. Yet he could not venture to contradict
eye-witnesses speaking in evident good faith, and as the assembly
went heartily along with them, he labored under great difficulty
in repeating his objections to a scheme now so much strengthened
in public favor. Accordingly, his speech was probably hesitating
and ineffective; the more so, as his opponents, far from wishing
to make good any personal triumph against himself, were forward
in proposing his name first on the list of generals, in spite of
his own declared repugnance.[223] But when the assembly broke up,
he became fearfully impressed with the perilous resolution which
it had adopted, and at the same time conscious that he had not
done justice to his own case against it. He therefore resolved to
avail himself of the next assembly, four days afterwards, for the
purpose of reopening the debate, and again denouncing the intended
expedition. Properly speaking, the Athenians might have declined to
hear him on this subject; indeed, the question which he raised could
not be put without illegality: the principle of the measure had been
already determined, and it remained only to arrange the details, for
which special purpose the coming assembly had been appointed. But he
was heard, and with perfect patience; and his harangue, a valuable
sample, both of the man and of the time, is set forth at length by
Thucydidês. I give here the chief points of it, not confining myself
to the exact expressions.

  [223] Thucyd. vi, 8. Ὁ δὲ Νικίας, ἀκούσιος μὲν ᾑρημένος ἄρχειν,
  etc. The reading ἀκούσιος appears better sustained by MSS.,
  and intrinsically more suitable, than ἀκούσας, which latter
  word probably arose from the correction of some reader who was
  surprised that Nikias made in the second assembly a speech
  which properly belonged to the first, and who explained this by
  supposing that Nikias had not been present at the first assembly.
  That he was not present, however, is highly improbable. The
  matter, nevertheless, does require some explanation; and I have
  endeavored to supply one in the text.

“Though we are met to-day, Athenians, to settle the particulars
of the expedition already pronounced against Sicily, yet I think
we ought to take farther counsel whether it be well to send that
expedition at all; nor ought we thus hastily to plunge, at the
instance of aliens, into a dangerous war noway belonging to us. To
myself personally, indeed, your resolution has offered an honorable
appointment, and for my own bodily danger I care as little as any
man: yet no considerations of personal dignity have ever before
prevented me, nor shall now prevent me, from giving you my honest
opinion, however it may clash with your habitual judgments. I tell
you, then, that in your desire to go to Sicily, you leave many
enemies here behind you, and that you will bring upon yourselves new
enemies from thence to help them. Perhaps you fancy that your truce
with Sparta is an adequate protection. In name, indeed (though only
in name, thanks to the intrigues of parties both here and there),
that truce may stand, so long as your power remains unimpaired; but
on your first serious reverses, the enemy will eagerly take the
opportunity of assailing you. Some of your most powerful enemies
have never even accepted the truce; and if you divide your force
as you now propose, they will probably set upon you at once along
with the Sicilians, whom they would have been too happy to procure
as coöperating allies at the beginning of the war. Recollect that
your Chalkidian subjects in Thrace are still in revolt, and have
never yet been conquered: other continental subjects, too, are not
much to be trusted; and you are going to redress injuries offered
to Egesta, before you have yet thought of redressing your own. Now
your conquests in Thrace, if you make any, can be maintained; but
Sicily is so distant, and the people so powerful, that you will
never be able to maintain permanent ascendency; and it is absurd
to undertake an expedition wherein conquest cannot be permanent,
while failure will be destructive. The Egestæans alarm you by the
prospect of Syracusan aggrandizement. But to me it seems that the
Sicilian Greeks, even if they become subjects of Syracuse, will be
less dangerous to you than they are at present: for as matters stand
now, they might possibly send aid to Peloponnesus, from desire on the
part of each to gain the favor of Lacedæmon, but imperial Syracuse
would have no motive to endanger her own empire for the purpose of
putting down yours. You are now full of confidence, because you have
come out of the war better than you at first feared. But do not trust
the Spartans: they, the most sensitive of all men to the reputation
of superiority, are lying in wait to play you a trick in order to
repair their own dishonor: their oligarchical machinations against
you demand all your vigilance, and leave you no leisure to think of
these foreigners at Egesta. Having just recovered ourselves somewhat
from the pressure of disease and war, we ought to reserve this
newly-acquired strength for our own purposes, instead of wasting it
upon the treacherous assurances of desperate exiles from Sicily.”

Nikias then continued, doubtless turning towards Alkibiadês: “If any
man, delighted to be named to the command, though still too young
for it, exhorts you to this expedition in his own selfish interests,
looking to admiration for his ostentation in chariot-racing, and to
profit from his command, as a means of making good his extravagances,
do not let such a man gain celebrity for himself at the hazard of the
entire city. Be persuaded that such persons are alike unprincipled in
regard to the public property and wasteful as to their own, and that
this matter is too serious for the rash counsels of youth. I tremble
when I see before me this band sitting, by previous concert, close
to their leader in the assembly; and I in my turn exhort the elderly
men, who are near them, not to be shamed out of their opposition by
the fear of being called cowards. Let them leave to these men the
ruinous appetite for what is not within reach, in the conviction that
few plans ever succeed from passionate desire; many, from deliberate
foresight. Let them vote against the expedition; maintaining
undisturbed our present relations with the Sicilian cities, and
desiring the Egestæans to close the war against Selinus, as they
have begun it, without the aid of Athens.[224] Nor be thou afraid,
prytanis (Mr. President), to submit this momentous question again to
the decision of the assembly, seeing that breach of the law, in the
presence of so many witnesses, cannot expose thee to impeachment,
while thou wilt afford opportunity for the correction of a perilous

  [224] Thucyd. vi, 9-14. Καὶ σὺ, ὦ πρύτανι, ταῦτα, εἴπερ ἡγεῖ
  σοι προσήκειν κήδεσθαί τε τῆς πόλεως, καὶ βούλει γενέσθαι
  πολίτης ἀγαθός, ἐπιψήφιζε, καὶ γνώμας προτίθει αὖθις Ἀθηναίοις,
  νομίσας, εἰ ὀῤῥωδεῖς τὸ ἀναψηφίσαι, τὸ μὲν λύειν τοὺς νόμους
  μὴ μετὰ τοσῶνδ’ ἂν μαρτύρων αἰτίαν σχεῖν, τῆς δὲ πόλεως κακῶς
  βουλευσαμένης ἰατρὸς ἂν γενέσθαι, etc.

  I cannot concur in the remarks of Dr. Arnold, either on this
  passage or upon the parallel case of the renewed debate in
  the Athenian assembly, on the subject of the punishment to be
  inflicted on the Mitylenæans (see above, vol. vi, ch. 1, p. 338,
  and Thucyd. iii, 36). It appears to me that Nikias was here
  asking the prytanis to do an illegal act, which might well expose
  him to accusation and punishment. Probably he _would_ have been
  accused on this ground, if the decision of the second assembly
  had been different from what it actually turned out; if they had
  reversed the decision of the former assembly, but only by a small

  The distinction taken by Dr. Arnold between what was _illegal_
  and what was merely _irregular_, was little marked at Athens:
  both were called _illegal_, τοὺς νόμους λύειν. The rules which
  the Athenian assembly, a sovereign assembly, laid down for its
  own debates and decisions, were just as much _laws_ as those
  which it passed for the guidance of private citizens. The English
  House of Commons is not a sovereign assembly, but only a portion
  of the sovereign power: accordingly, the rules which it lays down
  for its debates are not _laws_, but orders of the House: a breach
  of these orders, therefore, in debating any particular subject,
  would not be illegal, but merely irregular or informal. The same
  was the case with the French Chamber of Deputies, prior to the
  revolution of February, 1848: the rules which it laid down for
  its own proceedings were not laws, but simply _le réglement de la
  Chambre_. It is remarkable that the present National Assembly now
  sitting (March, 1849) has retained this expression, and adopted
  a _réglement_ for its own business; though it is in point of
  fact a sovereign assembly, and the rules which it sanctions are,
  properly speaking, _laws_.

  Both in this case, and in the Mitylenæan debate, I think the
  Athenian prytanis committed an illegality. In the first case,
  every one is glad of the illegality, because it proved the
  salvation of so many Mitylenæan lives. In the second case,
  the illegality was productive of practical bad consequences,
  inasmuch as it seems to have brought about the immense extension
  of the scale upon which the expedition was projected. But there
  will occur in a few years a third incident, the condemnation
  of the six generals after the battle of Arginusæ, in which the
  prodigious importance of a strict observance of forms will appear
  painfully and conspicuously manifest.

Such were the principal points in the speech of Nikias on this
memorable occasion. It was heard with attention, and probably made
some impression, since it completely reopened the entire debate, in
spite of the formal illegality. Immediately after he sat down, while
his words were yet fresh in the ears of the audience, Alkibiadês rose
to reply. The speech just made, bringing the expedition again into
question, endangered his dearest hopes both of fame and of pecuniary
acquisition; for his dreams went farther than those of any man in
Athens; not merely to the conquest of all Sicily, but also to that
of Carthage and the Carthaginian empire. Opposed to Nikias, both in
personal character and in political tendencies, he had pushed his
rivalry to such a degree of bitterness that at one moment a vote
of ostracism had been on the point of deciding between them. That
vote had indeed been turned aside by joint consent, and discharged
upon Hyperbolus; yet the hostile feeling still continued on both
sides, and Nikias had just manifested it by a parliamentary attack
of the most galling character; all the more galling because it was
strictly accurate and well deserved. Provoked as well as alarmed,
Alkibiadês started up forthwith, his impatience breaking loose from
the formalities of an exordium.

“Athenians, I both have better title than others to the post of
commander,—for the taunts of Nikias force me to begin here,—and I
count myself fully worthy of it. Those very matters with which he
reproaches me are sources not merely of glory to my ancestors and
myself, but of positive advantage to my country. For the Greeks,
on witnessing my splendid theôry at Olympia, were induced to rate
the power of Athens even above the reality, having before regarded
it as broken down by the war; when I sent into the lists seven
chariots, being more than any private individual had ever sent
before, winning the first prize, coming in also second and fourth,
and performing all the accessories in a manner suitable to an Olympic
victory. Custom attaches honor to such exploits, but the power of
the performers is at the same time brought home to the feelings of
spectators. My exhibitions at Athens, too, choregic and others, are
naturally viewed with jealousy by my rivals here; but in the eyes
of strangers they are evidences of power. Such so-called folly is
by no means useless, when a man at his own cost serves the city as
well as himself. Nor is it unjust, when a man has an exalted opinion
of himself, that he should not conduct himself towards others as if
he were their equal; for the man in misfortune finds no one to bear
a share of it. Just as, when we are in distress, we find no one to
speak to us, in like manner let a man lay his account to bear the
insolence of the prosperous, or else let him give equal dealing to
the low, and then claim to receive it from the high. I know well
that such exalted personages, and all who have in any way attained
eminence, have been during their lifetime unpopular, chiefly in
society with their equals, and to a certain extent with others
also; while after their decease, they have left such a reputation
as to make people claim kindred with them falsely, and to induce
their country to boast of them, not as though they were aliens or
wrongdoers, but as her own citizens and as men who did her honor. It
is this glory which I desire, and in pursuit of which I incur such
reproaches for my private conduct. Yet look at my public conduct,
and see whether it will not bear comparison with that of any other
citizen. I brought together the most powerful states in Peloponnesus
without any serious cost or hazard to you, and made the Lacedæmonians
peril their all at Mantineia on the fortune of one day: a peril so
great, that, though victorious, they have not even yet regained their
steady belief in their own strength.”

“Thus did my youth, and my so-called monstrous folly, find suitable
words to address the Peloponnesian powers, and earnestness to give
them confidence and obtain their coöperation. Be not now, therefore,
afraid of this youth of mine: but so long an I possess it in full
vigor, and so long as Nikias retains his reputation for good fortune,
turn us each to account in our own way.”[225]

  [225] Thucyd. vi, 16, 17.

Having thus vindicated himself personally, Alkibiadês went on to
deprecate any change of the public resolution already taken. The
Sicilian cities, he said, were not so formidable as was represented.
Their population was numerous, indeed, but fluctuating, turbulent,
often on the move, and without local attachment. No man there
considered himself as a permanent resident, nor cared to defend the
city in which he dwelt; nor were there arms or organization for such
a purpose. The native Sikels, detesting Syracuse, would willingly
lend their aid to her assailants. As to the Peloponnesians, powerful
as they were, they were not more desperate enemies now than they had
been in former days:[226] they might invade Attica by land whether
the Athenians sailed to Sicily or not; but they could do no mischief
by sea, for Athens would still have in reserve a navy sufficient
to restrain them. What valid ground was there, therefore, to evade
performing obligations which Athens had sworn to her Sicilian allies?
To be sure, _they_ could bring no help to Attica in return; but
Athens did not want them on her own side of the water; she wanted
them in Sicily, to prevent her Sicilian enemies from coming over to
attack her. She had originally acquired her empire by a readiness
to interfere wherever she was invited; nor would she have made any
progress, if she had been backward or prudish in scrutinizing such
invitations. She could not now set limits to the extent of her
imperial sway; she was under a necessity not merely to retain her
present subjects, but to lay snares for new subjects, on pain of
falling into dependence herself if she ceased to be imperial. Let
her then persist in the resolution adopted, and strike terror into
the Peloponnesians by undertaking this great expedition. She would
probably conquer all Sicily; at least she would humble Syracuse: in
case even of failure, she could always bring back her troops, from
her unquestionable superiority at sea. The stationary and inactive
policy recommended by Nikias was not less at variance with the
temper, than with the position, of Athens, and would be ruinous to
her if pursued. Her military organization would decline, and her
energies would be wasted in internal rub and conflict, instead of
that steady activity and acquisition which had become engrafted upon
her laws and habits, which could not be now renounced, even if bad in
itself, without speedy destruction.[227]

  [226] Thucyd. vi, 17. Καὶ νῦν οὔτε ἀνέλπιστοί πω μᾶλλον
  Πελοποννήσιοι ἐς ἡμᾶς ἐγένοντο, εἴτε καὶ πάνυ ἔῤῥωνται, etc.

  The construction of ἀνέλπιστοι here is not certain: yet I cannot
  think that the meaning which Dr. Arnold and others assign to it
  is the most suitable. It rather seems to mean the same as in vii,
  4, and vii, 47: “enemies beyond our hopes of being able to deal

  [227] Thucyd. vi, 16-19.

Such was substantially the reply of Alkibiadês to Nikias. The debate
was now completely reopened, so that several speakers addressed the
assembly on both sides; more, however, decidedly in favor of the
expedition than against it. The alarmed Egestæans and Leontines
renewed their supplications, appealing to the plighted faith of the
city: probably also those Athenians who had visited Egesta, again
stood forward to protest against what they would call the ungenerous
doubts and insinuations of Nikias. By all these appeals, after
considerable debate, the assembly was so powerfully moved, that
their determination to send the fleet became more intense than ever;
and Nikias, perceiving that farther direct opposition was useless,
altered his tactics. He now attempted a manœuvre, designed indirectly
to disgust his countrymen with the plan, by enlarging upon its
dangers and difficulties, and insisting upon a prodigious force as
indispensable to surmount them. Nor was he without hopes that they
might be sufficiently disheartened by such prospective hardships,
to throw up the scheme altogether. At any rate, if they persisted,
he himself as commander would thus be enabled to execute it with
completeness and confidence.

Accepting the expedition, therefore, as the pronounced fiat of the
people, he reminded them that the cities which they were about to
attack, especially Syracuse and Selinus, were powerful, populous,
free: well prepared in every way with hoplites, horsemen, light-armed
troops, ships of war, plenty of horses to mount their cavalry, and
abundant corn at home. At best, Athens could hope for no other
allies in Sicily except Naxus and Katana, from their kindred with
the Leontines. It was no mere fleet, therefore, which could cope
with enemies like these on their own soil. The fleet indeed must
be prodigiously great, for the purpose not merely of maritime
combat, but of keeping open communication at sea, and insuring the
importation of subsistence. But there must besides be a large force
of hoplites, bowmen, and slingers, a large stock of provisions in
transports, and, above all an abundant amount of money: for the funds
promised by the Egestæans would be found mere empty delusion. The
army must be not simply a match for the enemy’s regular hoplites and
powerful cavalry, but also independent of foreign aid from the first
day of their landing.[228] If not, in case of the least reverse, they
would find everywhere nothing but active enemies, without a single
friend. “I know (he concluded) that there are many dangers against
which we must take precaution, and many more in which we must trust
to good fortune, serious as it is for mere men to do so. But I choose
to leave as little as possible in the power of fortune, and to have
in hand all means of reasonable security at the time when I leave
Athens. Looking merely to the interests of the commonwealth, this is
the most assured course; while to us who are to form the armament, it
is indispensable for preservation. If any man thinks differently, I
resign to him the command.”[229]

  [228] Thucyd. vi, 22.

  [229] Thucyd. vi, 23. ὅπερ ἐγὼ φοβούμενος, καὶ εἰδὼς πολλὰ
  μὲν ἡμᾶς δέον βουλεύσασθαι, ἔτι δὲ πλείω εὐτυχῆσαι (~χαλεπὸν
  δὲ ἀνθρώπους ὄντας~), ὅτι ἐλάχιστα τῇ τύχῃ παραδοὺς ἐμαυτὸν
  βούλομαι ἐκπλεῖν, παρασκευῇ δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν εἰκότων ἀσφαλὴς ἐκπλεῦσαι.
  Ταῦτα γὰρ τῇ τε ξυμπάσῃ πόλει βεβαιότατα ἡγοῦμαι, καὶ ἡμῖν τοῖς
  στρατευσομένοις σωτήρια· εἰ δέ τῳ ἄλλως δοκεῖ, παρίημι αὐτῷ τὴν

The effect of this second speech of Nikias on the assembly, coming
as it did after a long and contentious debate, was much greater
than that which had been produced by his first. But it was an
effect totally opposite to that which he himself had anticipated
and intended. Far from being discouraged or alienated from the
expedition by those impediments which he had studiously magnified,
the people only attached themselves to it with yet greater obstinacy.
The difficulties which stood in the way of Sicilian conquest served
but to endear it to them the more, calling forth increased ardor
and eagerness for personal exertion in the cause. The people not
only accepted, without hesitation or deduction, the estimate which
Nikias had laid before them of risk and cost, but warmly extolled
his frankness not less than his sagacity, as the only means of making
success certain. They were ready to grant without reserve everything
which he asked, with an enthusiasm and unanimity such as was rarely
seen to reign in an Athenian assembly. In fact, the second speech of
Nikias had brought the two dissentient veins of the assembly into
a confluence and harmony, all the more welcome because unexpected.
While his partisans seconded it as the best way of neutralizing the
popular madness, his opponents—Alkibiadês, the Egestæans, and the
Leontines—caught at it with acclamation, as realizing more than
they had hoped for, and more than they could ever have ventured to
propose. If Alkibiadês had demanded an armament on so vast a scale,
the people would have turned a deaf ear. But such was their respect
for Nikias—on the united grounds of prudence, good fortune, piety,
and favor with the gods—that his opposition to their favorite scheme
had really made them uneasy; and when he made the same demand, they
were delighted to purchase his concurrence by adopting all such
conditions as he imposed.[230]

  [230] Plutarch. Compare Nikias and Crassus, c. 3.

It was thus that Nikias, quite contrary to his own purpose, not only
imparted to the enterprise a gigantic magnitude which its projectors
had never contemplated, but threw into it the whole soul of Athens,
and roused a burst of ardor beyond all former example. Every man
present, old as well as young, rich and poor, of all classes and
professions, was eager to put down his name for personal service.
Some were tempted by the love of gain, others by the curiosity of
seeing so distant a region, others again by the pride and supposed
safety of enlisting in so irresistible an armament. So overpowering
was the popular voice in calling for the execution of the scheme,
that the small minority who retained their objections were afraid
to hold up their hands, for fear of incurring the suspicion of want
of patriotism. When the excitement had somewhat subsided, an orator
named Demostratus, coming forward as spokesman of this sentiment,
urged Nikias to declare at once, without farther evasion, what force
he required from the people. Disappointed as Nikias was, yet being
left without any alternative, he sadly responded to the appeal;
saying, that he would take farther counsel with his colleagues,
but that speaking on his first impression, he thought the triremes
required must be not less than one hundred, nor the hoplites less
than five thousand, Athenians and allies together. There must farther
be a proportional equipment of other forces and accompaniments,
especially Kretan bowmen and slingers. Enormous as this requisition
was, the vote of the people not only sanctioned it without delay, but
even went beyond it. They conferred upon the generals full power to
fix both the numbers of the armament and every other matter relating
to the expedition, just as they might think best for the interest of

Pursuant to this momentous resolution, the enrolment and preparation
of the forces was immediately begun. Messages were sent to summon
sufficient triremes from the nautical allies, as well as to invite
hoplites from Argos and Mantineia, and to hire bowmen and slingers
elsewhere. For three months, the generals were busily engaged in this
proceeding, while the city was in a state of alertness and bustle,
fatally interrupted, however, by an incident which I shall recount in
the next chapter.

Considering the prodigious consequences which turned on the
expedition of Athens against Sicily, it is worth while to bestow
a few reflections on the preliminary proceedings of the Athenian
people. Those who are accustomed to impute all the misfortunes of
Athens to the hurry, passion, and ignorance of democracy, will not
find the charge borne out by the facts which we have been just
considering. The supplications of Egestæans and Leontines, forwarded
to Athens about the spring or summer of 416 B.C., undergo careful and
repeated discussion in the public assembly. They at first meet with
considerable opposition, but the repeated debates gradually kindle
both the sympathies and the ambition of the people. Still, however,
no decisive step is taken without more ample and correct information
from the spot, and special commissioners are sent to Egesta for
the purpose. These men bring back a decisive report, triumphantly
certifying all that the Egestæans had promised: nor can we at all
wonder that the people never suspected the deep-laid fraud whereby
their commissioners had been duped.

Upon the result of that mission to Egesta, the two parties for and
against the projected expedition had evidently joined issue; and
when the commissioners returned, bearing testimony so decisive in
favor of the former, the party thus strengthened thought itself
warranted in calling for a decision immediately, after all the
previous debates. Nevertheless, the measure still had to surmount the
renewed and hearty opposition of Nikias, before it became finally
ratified. It was this long and frequent debate, with opposition often
repeated but always outreasoned, which working gradually deeper and
deeper conviction in the minds of the people, brought them all into
hearty unanimity to support it, and made them cling to it with that
tenacity which the coming chapters will demonstrate. In so far as the
expedition was an error, it certainly was not error arising either
from hurry, or want of discussion, or want of inquiry. Never in
Grecian history was any measure more carefully weighed beforehand, or
more deliberately and unanimously resolved.

The position of Nikias in reference to the measure is remarkable. As
a dissuasive and warning counsellor, he took a right view of it; but
in that capacity he could not carry the people along with him. Yet
such was their steady esteem for him personally, and their reluctance
to proceed in the enterprise without him, that they eagerly embraced
any conditions which he thought proper to impose. And the conditions
which he named had the effect of exaggerating the enterprise into
such gigantic magnitude as no one in Athens had ever contemplated;
thus casting into it so prodigious a proportion of the blood of
Athens, that its discomfiture would be equivalent to the ruin of the
commonwealth. This was the first mischief occasioned by Nikias, when,
after being forced to relinquish his direct opposition, he resorted
to the indirect manœuvre of demanding more than he thought the people
would be willing to grant. It will be found only the first among a
sad series of other mistakes, fatal to his country as well as to

Giving to Nikias, however, for the present, full credit for the
wisdom of his dissuasive counsel and his skepticism about the
reports from Egesta, we cannot but notice the opposite quality in
Alkibiadês. His speech is not merely full of overweening insolence,
as a manifestation of individual character, but of rash and ruinous
instigations in regard to the foreign policy of his country. The
arguments whereby he enforces the expedition against Syracuse are
indeed more mischievous in their tendency than the expedition
itself, for the failure of which Alkibiades is not to be held
responsible. It might have succeeded in its special object, had
it been properly conducted; but even if it had succeeded, the
remark of Nikias is not the less just, that Athens was aiming at
an unmeasured breadth of empire, which it would be altogether
impossible for her to preserve. When we recollect the true political
wisdom with which Periklês had advised his countrymen to maintain
strenuously their existing empire, but by no means to grasp at any
new acquisitions while they had powerful enemies in Peloponnesus,
we shall appreciate by contrast the feverish system of never-ending
aggression inculcated by Alkibiadês, and the destructive principles
which he lays down, that Athens must forever be engaged in new
conquests, on pain of forfeiting her existing empire and tearing
herself to pieces by internal discord. Even granting the necessity
for Athens to employ her military and naval force, as Nikias had
truly observed, Amphipolis and the revolted subjects in Thrace were
still unsubdued; and the first employment of Athenian force ought
to be directed against them, instead of being wasted in distant
hazards and treacherous novelties, creating for Athens a position
in which she could never permanently maintain herself. The parallel
which Alkibiadês draws, between the enterprising spirit whereby
the Athenian empire had been first acquired, and the undefined
speculations which he was himself recommending, is altogether
fallacious. The Athenian empire took its rise from Athenian
enterprise, working in concert with a serious alarm and necessity
on the part of all the Grecian cities in or round the Ægean sea.
Athens rendered an essential service by keeping off the Persians, and
preserving that sea in a better condition than it had ever been in
before: her empire had begun by being a voluntary confederacy, and
had only passed by degrees into constraint; while the local situation
of all her subjects was sufficiently near to be within the reach of
her controlling navy. Her new career of aggression in Sicily, was
in all these respects different. Nor is it less surprising to find
Alkibiadês asserting that the multiplication of subjects in that
distant island, employing a large portion of the Athenian naval force
to watch them, would impart new stability to the preëxisting Athenian
empire; to read the terms in which he makes light of enemies both in
Peloponnesus and in Sicily, the Sicilian war being a new enterprise
hardly less in magnitude and hazard than the Peloponnesian,[231] and
to notice the credit which he claims to himself for his operations
in Peloponnesus and the battle of Mantineia,[232] although it had
ended in complete failure; restoring the ascendency of Sparta to the
maximum at which it had stood before the events of Sphakteria! There
is in fact no speech in Thucydidês so replete with rash misguiding,
and fallacious counsels, as this harangue of Alkibiadês.

  [231] Thucyd. vi, 1. οὐ πολλῷ τινι ὑποδεέστερον πόλεμον, etc.:
  compare vii, 28.

  [232] Compare Plutarch, Præcept. Reipubl. Gerend. p. 804.

As a man of action, Alkibiadês was always brave, vigorous, and
full of resource; as a politician and adviser, he was especially
mischievous to his country, because he addressed himself exactly to
their weak point, and exaggerated their sanguine and enterprising
temper into a temerity which overlooked all permanent calculation.
The Athenians had now contracted the belief that they, as lords of
the sea, were entitled to dominion and receipt of tribute from all
islands; a belief which they had not only acted upon, but openly
professed, in their attack upon Mêlos during the preceding autumn.
As Sicily was an island, it seemed to fall naturally under this
category of subjects; nor ought we to wonder, amidst the inaccurate
geographical data current in that day, that they were ignorant how
much larger Sicily was[233] than the largest island in the Ægean.
Yet they seem to have been aware that it was a prodigious conquest
to struggle for; as we may judge from the fact, that the object was
one kept back rather than openly avowed, and that they acceded to
all the immense preparations demanded by Nikias.[234] Moreover, we
shall see presently, that even the armament which was despatched had
conceived nothing beyond vague and hesitating ideas of something
great to be achieved in Sicily. But if the Athenian public were rash
and ignorant, in contemplating the conquest of Sicily, much more
extravagant were the views of Alkibiadês, who looked even beyond
Sicily to the conquest of Carthage and her empire. Nor was it merely
ambition which he desired to gratify; he was not less eager for the
immense private gains which would be consequent upon success, in
order to supply those deficiencies which his profligate expenditure
had occasioned.[235]

  [233] Thucyd. v, 99; vi, 1-6.

  [234] Thucyd. vi, 6. ἐφιέμενοι μὲν τῇ ἀληθεστάτῃ προφάσει, τῆς
  πάσης (Σικελίας) ἄρξειν, βοηθεῖν δὲ ἅμα εὐπρεπῶς βουλόμενοι τοῖς
  ἑαυτῶν ξυγγένεσι καὶ τοῖς προσγεγενημένοις ξυμμάχοις.

  Even in the speech of Alkibiadês, the conquest of Sicily is only
  once alluded to, and that indirectly; rather as a favorable
  possibility, than as a result to be counted upon.

  [235] Thucyd. vi, 15. Καὶ μάλιστα στρατηγῆσαί τε ἐπιθυμῶν καὶ
  ἐλπίζων Σικελίαν τε δι’ αὐτοῦ καὶ Καρχηδόνα λήψεσθαι, καὶ τὰ ἴδια
  ἅμα εὐτυχήσας χρήμασί τε καὶ δόξῃ ὠφελήσειν. Ὢν γὰρ ἐν ἀξιώματι
  ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀστῶν, ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις μείζοσιν ἢ κατὰ τὴν ὑπάρχουσαν
  οὐσίαν ἐχρῆτο ἔς τε τὰς ἱπποτροφίας καὶ τὰς ἄλλας δαπάνας, etc.

  Compare vi, 90. Plutarch (Alkib. c. 19; Nikias, c. 12). Plutarch
  sometimes speaks as if, not Alkibiadês alone (or at least in
  conjunction with a few partisans), but the Athenians generally,
  set out with an expectation of conquering Carthage as well as
  Sicily. In the speech which Alkibiadês made at Sparta after his
  banishment (Thucyd. vi, 90), he does indeed state this as the
  general purpose of the expedition. But it seems plain that he
  is here describing, to his countrymen generally, plans which
  were only fermenting in his own brain, as we may discern from a
  careful perusal of the first twenty chapters of the sixth book of

  In the inaccurate Oratio de Pace ascribed to Andokidês (sect.
  30), it is alleged that the Syracusans sent an embassy to Athens,
  a little before this expedition, entreating to be admitted as
  allies of the Athenians, and affirming that Syracuse would be
  a more valuable ally to Athens than Egesta or Katana. This
  statement is wholly untrue.

When we recollect how loudly the charges have been preferred against
Kleon, of presumption, of rash policy, and of selfish motive, in
reference to Sphakteria, to the prosecution of the war generally, and
to Amphipolis; and when we compare these proceedings with the conduct
of Alkibiadês as here described, we shall see how much more forcibly
such charges attach to the latter than the former. It will be seen
before this volume is finished, that the vices of Alkibiadês, and the
defects of Nikias, were the cause of far greater ruin to Athens than
either Kleon or Hyperbolus, even if we regard the two latter with the
eyes of their worst enemies.



For the two or three months immediately succeeding the final
resolution taken by the Athenians to invade Sicily, described in the
last chapter, the whole city was elate and bustling with preparation.
I have already mentioned that this resolution, though long opposed by
Nikias with a considerable minority, had at last been adopted—chiefly
through the unforeseen working of that which he intended as a
counter-manœuvre—with a degree of enthusiasm and unanimity, and upon
an enlarged scale, which surpassed all the anticipations of its
promoters. The prophets, circulators of oracles, and other accredited
religious advisers, announced generally the favorable dispositions of
the gods, and promised a triumphant result.[236] All classes in the
city, rich and poor,—cultivators, traders, and seamen, old and young,
all embraced the project with ardor; as requiring a great effort, yet
promising unparalleled results, both of public aggrandizement and
individual gain. Each man was anxious to put down his own name for
personal service; so that the three generals, Nikias, Alkibiadês, and
Lamachus, when they proceeded to make their selection of hoplites,
instead of being forced to employ constraint and incur ill-will,
as happened when an expedition was unpopular, had only to choose
the fittest among a throng of eager volunteers. Every man provided
himself with his best arms and with bodily accoutrements, useful as
well as ostentatious, for a long voyage and for the exigencies of a
varied land-and-sea-service. Among the trierarchs, or rich citizens,
who undertook each in his turn the duty of commanding a ship of war,
the competition was yet stronger. Each of them accounted it an honor
to be named, and vied with his comrades to exhibit his ship in the
most finished state of equipment. The state, indeed, furnished both
the trireme with its essential tackle and oars, and the regular pay
for the crew; but the trierarch, even in ordinary cases, usually
incurred various expenses besides, to make the equipment complete
and to keep the crew together. Such additional outlay, neither
exacted nor defined by law, but only by custom and general opinion,
was different in every individual case, according to temper and
circumstances. But on the present occasion, zeal and forwardness
were universal: each trierarch tried to procure for his own ship the
best crew, by offers of additional reward to all, but especially to
the thranitæ or rowers on the highest of the three tiers:[237] and
it seems that the seamen were not appointed specially to one ship,
but were at liberty to accept these offers, and to serve in any ship
they preferred. Each trierarch spent more than had ever been known
before in pay, outfit, provision, and even external decoration of his
vessel. Besides the best crews which Athens herself could furnish,
picked seamen were also required from subject-allies, and were bid
for in the same way by the trierarchs.[238]

  [236] Thucyd. viii, 1.

  [237] Thucyd. vi, 31. ἐπιφοράς τε πρὸς τῷ ἐκ δημοσίου μισθῷ
  διδόντων τοῖς θρανίταις τῶν ναυτῶν καὶ ~ταῖς ὑπηρεσίαις~, καὶ
  τἄλλα σημείοις καὶ κατασκευαῖς πολυτελέσι χρησαμένων, etc.

  Dobree and Dr. Arnold explain ὑπηρεσίαις to mean _the petty
  officers_, such as κυβερνήτης, κελευστὴς, etc. Göller and Poppo
  construe it to mean “_the servants of the sailors_.” Neither
  of the two seems to me satisfactory. I think the word means
  “to the crews generally;” the word ὑπερησία being a perfectly
  general word comprising all who received pay in the ship. All the
  examples produced in the notes of the commentators testify this
  meaning, which also occurs in the text itself two lines before.
  To construe ταῖς ὑπηρεσίαις as meaning “the crews generally, or
  the remaining crews, along with the thranitæ,” is doubtless more
  or less awkward. But it departs less from ordinary construction
  than either of the two senses which the commentators propose.

  [238] Thucyd. vii, 13. οἱ ξένοι, οἱ μὲν ἀναγκαστοὶ ἐσβάντες, etc.

Such efforts were much facilitated by the fact, that five years had
now elapsed since the Peace of Nikias, without any considerable
warlike operations. While the treasury had become replenished with
fresh accumulations,[239] and the triremes increased in number, the
military population, reinforced by additional numbers of youth, had
forgotten both the hardships of the war and the pressure of epidemic
disease. Hence the fleet now got together, while it surpassed in
number all previous armaments of Athens, except a single one in the
second year of the previous war under Periklês, was incomparably
superior even to that, and still more superior to all the rest,
in the other ingredients of force, material as well as moral; in
picked men, universal ardor, ships as well as arms in the best
condition, and accessories of every kind in abundance. Such was
the confidence of success, that many Athenians went prepared for
trade as well as for combat; so that the private stock thus added
to the public outfit, and to the sums placed in the hands of the
generals, constituted an unparalleled aggregate of wealth. Much of
this was visible to the eye, contributing to heighten that general
excitement of Athenian imagination which pervaded the whole city
while the preparations were going forward: a mingled feeling of
private sympathy and patriotism,—a dash of uneasiness from reflection
on the distant and unknown region wherein the fleet was to act,—yet
an elate confidence in Athenian force, such as had never before been
entertained.[240] We hear of Sokratês the philosopher, and Meton the
astronomer, as forming exceptions to this universal tone of sanguine
anticipation: the familiar genius which constantly waited upon the
philosopher is supposed to have forewarned him of the result. Nor is
it impossible that he may have been averse to the expedition, though
the fact is less fully certified than we could wish. Amidst a general
predominance of the various favorable religious signs and prophecies,
there were also some unfavorable. Usually, on all public matters of
risk or gravity, there were prophets who gave assurances in opposite
ways: those which turned out right were treasured up: the rest were
at once forgotten, or never long remembered.[241]

  [239] Thucyd. vi, 26. I do not trust the statement given in
  Æschinês, De Fals. Legat. c. 54, p. 302, and in Andokidês, De
  Pace, sect. 8, that seven thousand talents were laid by as an
  accumulated treasure in the acropolis during the Peace of Nikias,
  and that four hundred triremes, or three hundred triremes, were
  newly built. The numerous historical inaccuracies in those
  orations, concerning the facts prior to 400 B.C., are such as to
  deprive them of all authority, except where they are confirmed
  by other testimony; even if we admitted the oration ascribed to
  Andokidês as genuine, which in all probability it is not.

  But there exists an interesting Inscription which proves that
  the sum of three thousand talents at least must have been laid
  by, during the interval between the conclusion of the Peace of
  Nikias and the Sicilian Expedition, in the acropolis; and that
  over and above this accumulated fund, the state was in condition
  to discharge, out of the current receipts, various sums which it
  had borrowed during the previous war from the treasury of various
  temples, and seems to have had besides a surplus for docks and
  fortifications. The Inscription above named records the vote
  passed for discharging these debts, and for securing the sums so
  paid in the opisthodomus, or back-chamber, of the Parthenon, for
  account of those gods to whom they respectively belonged. See
  Boeckh’s Corp. Inscr. part ii, Inscr. Att. No. 76, p. 117; also
  the Staats-haushaltung der Athener of the same author, vol. ii,
  p. 198. This Inscription belongs unquestionably to one of the
  years between 421-415 B.C., to which year we cannot say.

  [240] Thucyd. vi, 31; Diodor. xiii, 2, 3.

  [241] Plutarch (Nikias, c. 12, 13; Alkibiad. c. 17). Immediately
  after the catastrophe at Syracuse, the Athenians were very angry
  with those prophets who had promised them success (Thucyd. viii,

After between two and three months of active preparations, the
expedition was almost ready to start, when an event happened which
fatally poisoned the prevalent cheerfulness of the city. This was the
mutilation of the Hermæ, one of the most extraordinary events in all
Grecian history.

These Hermæ, or half-statues of the god Hermês, were blocks of marble
about the height of the human figure. The upper part was cut into a
head, face, neck, and bust; the lower part was left as a quadrangular
pillar, broad at the base, without arms, body, or legs, but with the
significant mark of the male sex in front. They were distributed in
great numbers throughout Athens, and always in the most conspicuous
situations; standing beside the outer doors of private houses as well
as of temples, near the most frequented porticos, at the intersection
of cross ways, in the public agora. They were thus present to the
eye of every Athenian in all his acts of intercommunion, either
for business or pleasure, with his fellow-citizens. The religious
feelings of the Greeks considered the god to be planted or
domiciliated where his statue stood,[242] so that the companionship,
sympathy, and guardianship of Hermês became associated with most of
the manifestations of conjunct life at Athens,—political, social,
commercial, or gymnastic. Moreover, the quadrangular fashion of
these statues, employed occasionally for other gods besides Hermês,
was a most ancient relic handed down from the primitive rudeness
of Pelasgian workmanship and was popular in Arcadia as well as
peculiarly frequent in Athens.[243]

  [242] Cicero, Legg. ii, 11. “Melius Græci atque nostri; qui,
  ut augerent pietatem in Deos, easdem illos urbes, quas nos,
  _incolere_ voluerunt.”

  How much the Grecian mind was penetrated with the idea of the
  god as an actual inhabitant of the town, may be seen illustrated
  in the Oration of Lysias, cont. Andokid. sects. 15-46: compare
  Herodotus, v, 67; a striking story, as illustrated in this
  History, vol. iii, ch. ix, p. 34; also Xenophon, Hellen. vi, 4-7;
  Livy, xxxviii, 43.

  In an Inscription in Boeckh’s Corp. Insc. (part ii, No. 190, p.
  320) a list of the names of Prytaneis, appears, at the head of
  which list figures the name of Athênê Polias.

  [243] Pausanias, i, 24, 3; iv, 33, 4; viii, 31, 4; viii, 48,
  4; viii, 41, 4; Plutarch, An Seni sit Gerenda Respubl. ad
  finem; Aristophan. Plut. 1153, and Schol.: compare O. Müller,
  Archäologie der Kunst, sect. 67; K. F. Hermann, Gottesdienstl.
  Alterth. der Griechen, sect. 15; Gerhard, De Religione Hermarum.
  Berlin, 1845.

About the end of May, 415 B.C., in the course of one and the same
night, all these Hermæ, one of the most peculiar marks of the city,
were mutilated by unknown hands. Their characteristic features were
knocked off or levelled, so that nothing was left except a mass of
stone with no resemblance to humanity or deity. All were thus dealt
with in the same way, save and except very few: nay, Andokidês
affirms, and I incline to believe him, that there was but _one_ which
escaped unharmed.[244]

  [244] Thucyd. vi, 27. ὅσοι Ἑρμαῖ ἦσαν λίθινοι ἐν τῇ πόλει τῇ
  Ἀθηναίων ... ~μιᾷ νυκτὶ οἱ πλεῖστοι~ περιεκόπησαν τὰ πρόσωπα.

  Andokidês (De Myst. sect. 63) expressly states that only a single
  one was spared—καὶ διὰ ταῦτα ὁ Ἑρμῆς ὃν ὁρᾶτε πάντες, ὁ παρὰ τὴν
  πατρῷαν οἰκίαν τὴν ἡμετέραν, οὐ περιεκόπη, ~μόνος τῶν Ἑρμῶν τῶν

  Cornelius Nepos (Alkibiad. c. 3) and Plutarch (Alkib. c. 13)
  copy Andokidês: in his life of Nikias (c. 18) the latter uses
  the expression of Thucydidês—οἱ πλεῖστοι. This expression is
  noway at variance with Andokidês, though it stops short of his
  affirmation. There is great mixture of truth and falsehood in the
  Oration of Andokidês; but I think that he is to be trusted as to
  this point.

  Diodorus (xiii, 2) says that _all_ the Hermæ were mutilated, not
  recognizing a single exception. Cornelius Nepos, by a singular
  inaccuracy, talks about the Hermæ as having been all _thrown
  down_ (dejicerentur).

It is of course impossible for any one to sympathize fully with the
feelings of a religion not his own: indeed, the sentiment with
which, in the case of persons of different creeds, each regards
the strong emotions growing out of causes peculiar to the other,
is usually one of surprise that such trifles and absurdities can
occasion any serious distress or excitement.[245] But if we take
that reasonable pains, which is incumbent on those who study the
history of Greece, to realize in our minds the religious and
political associations of the Athenians,[246] noted in ancient
times for their superior piety, as well as for their accuracy and
magnificence about the visible monuments embodying that feeling,—we
shall in part comprehend the intensity of mingled dismay, terror,
and wrath, which beset the public mind on the morning after this
nocturnal sacrilege, alike unforeseen and unparalleled. Amidst all
the ruin and impoverishment which had been inflicted by the Persian
invasion of Attica, there was nothing which was so profoundly felt
or so long remembered as the deliberate burning of the statues and
temples of the gods.[247] If we could imagine the excitement of
a Spanish or Italian town, on finding that all the images of the
Virgin had been defaced during the same night, we should have a
parallel, though a very inadequate parallel, to what was now felt
at Athens, where religious associations and persons were far more
intimately allied with all civil acts and with all the proceedings
of every-day life; where, too, the god and his efficiency were more
forcibly localized, as well as identified with the presence and
keeping of the statue. To the Athenians, when they went forth on the
following morning, each man seeing the divine guardian at his doorway
dishonored and defaced, and each man gradually coming to know that
the devastation was general, it would seem that the town had become
as it were godless; that the streets, the market-place, the porticos,
were robbed of their divine protectors; and what was worse still,
that these protectors, having been grossly insulted, carried away
with them alienated sentiments, wrathful and vindictive instead of
tutelary and sympathizing. It was on the protection of the gods, that
all their political constitution as well as the blessings of civil
life depended; insomuch that the curses of the gods were habitually
invoked as sanction and punishment for grave offences, political as
well as others:[248] an extension and generalization of the feeling
still attached to the judicial oath. This was, in the minds of the
people of Athens, a sincere and literal conviction, not simply a
form of speech to be pronounced in prayers and public harangues,
without being ever construed as a reality in calculating consequences
and determining practical measures. Accordingly, they drew from
the mutilation of the Hermæ the inference, not less natural than
terrifying, that heavy public misfortune was impending over the city,
and that the political constitution to which they were attached was
in imminent danger of being subverted.[249]

  [245] It is truly astonishing to read the account given of this
  mutilation of the Hermæ, and its consequences, by Wachsmuth,
  Hellen. Alterthümer, vol. ii, sect. 65, pp. 191-196. While he
  denounces the Athenian people, for their conduct during the
  subsequent inquiry, in the most unmeasured language, you would
  suppose that the incident which plunged them into this mental
  distraction, at a moment of overflowing hope and confidence, was
  a mere trifle: so briefly does he pass it over, without taking
  the smallest pains to show in what way it profoundly wounded the
  religious feeling of Athens.

  Büttner (Geschichte der politischen Hetærieen zu Athen. p. 65),
  though very brief, takes a fairer view than Wachsmuth.

  [246] Pausanias, i, 17, 1; i, 24, 3; Harpokration v, Ἑρμαῖ. See
  Sluiter, Lectiones Andocideæ, cap. 2.

  Especially the ἀγυιατίδες θεραπεῖαι (Eurip. Ion. 187) were noted
  at Athens: ceremonial attentions towards the divine persons who
  protected the public streets, a function performed by Apollo
  Aguieus, as well as by Hermes.

  [247] Herodot. viii, 144; Æschylus, Pers. 810; Æschyl. Agam.
  339. The wrath for any indignity offered to the statue of a
  god or goddess, and impatience to punish it capitally, is
  manifested as far back as the ancient epic poem of Arktinus:
  see the argument of the Ἰλίου Πέρσις in Proclus, and Welcker,
  Griechische Tragödien, _Sophoklês_, sect. 21, vol. i, p. 162.
  Herodotus cannot explain the indignities offered by Kambyses to
  the Egyptian statues and holy customs upon any other supposition
  than that of stark madness, ἐμάνη μεγάλως; Herod. iii, 37-38.

  Timæus the Sicilian historian (writing about 320-290 B.C.)
  represented the subsequent defeat of the Athenians as a divine
  punishment for the desecration of the Hermæ, inflicted chiefly by
  the Syracusan Hermokratês, son of Hermon and descendant of the
  god Hermes (Timæi Fragm. 103-104, ed. Didot; Longinus, de Sublim.
  iv, 3).

  The etymological thread of connection, between the Hermæ and
  Hermokratês, is strange enough: but what is of importance to
  remark, is the deep-seated belief that such an act must bring
  after it divine punishment, and that the Athenians as a people
  were collectively responsible, unless they could appease the
  divine displeasure. If this was the view taken by the historian
  Timæus a century and more after the transaction, much more keenly
  was it present to the minds of the Athenians of that day.

  [248] Thucyd. viii, 97; Plato, Legg. ix, pp. 871 _b_, 881 _d_.
  ἡ τοῦ νόμου ἄρα, etc. Demosthen. Fals. Legat. p. 363, c. 24, p.
  404, c. 60; Plutarch, Solon, c. 24.

  [249] Dr. Thirlwall observes, in reference to the feeling at
  Athens after the mutilation of the Hermæ:—

  “We indeed see so little connection between acts of daring
  impiety and designs against the state, that we can hardly
  understand how they could have been associated together as
  they were in the minds of the Athenians. But perhaps the
  difficulty may not without reason have appeared much less to the
  contemporaries of Alcibiadês, who were rather disposed by their
  views of religion to regard them as inseparable.” (Hist. Gr. ch.
  xxv, vol. iii, p. 394.)

  This remark, like so many others in Dr. Thirlwall’s history,
  indicates a tone of liberality forming a striking contrast
  with Wachsmuth; and rare indeed among the learned men who have
  undertaken to depict the democracy of Athens. It might, however,
  have been stated far more strongly; for an Athenian citizen
  would have had quite as much difficulty in comprehending our
  _disjunction_ of the two ideas, as we have in comprehending his
  _association_ of the two.

Such was the mysterious incident which broke in upon the eager
and bustling movement of Athens, a few days before the Sicilian
expedition was in condition for starting. In reference to that
expedition it was taken to heart as a most depressing omen.[250]
It would doubtless have been so determined, had it been a mere
undesigned accident happening to any venerated religious object,
just as we are told that similar misgivings were occasioned by the
occurrence, about this same time, of the melancholy festival of the
Adonia, wherein the women loudly bewailed the untimely death of
Adonis.[251] The mutilation of the Hermæ, however, was something
much more ominous than the worst accident. It proclaimed itself as
the deliberate act of organized conspirators, not inconsiderable in
number, whose names and final purpose were indeed unknown, but who
had begun by committing sacrilege of a character flagrant and unheard
of. For intentional mutilation of a public and sacred statue, where
the material afforded no temptation to plunder, is a case to which we
know no parallel: much more mutilation by wholesale, spread by one
band and in one night throughout an entire city. Though neither the
parties concerned, nor their purposes, were ever more than partially
made out, the concert and conspiracy itself is unquestionable.

  [250] Thucyd. vi, 27. Καὶ τὸ πρᾶγμα μειζόνως ἐλάμβανον· τοῦ τε
  γὰρ ἐκπλοῦ οἰωνὸς ἐδόκει εἶναι, καὶ ἐπὶ ξυνωμοσίᾳ ἅμα νεωτέρων
  πραγμάτων καὶ δήμου καταλύσεως γεγενῆσθαι.

  Cornelius Nepos, Alcibiad. c. 3. “Hoc quum appareret non sine
  magnimultorum consensione esse factam,” etc.

  [251] Plutarch, Alkibiad. c. 18; Pherekratês, Fr. Inc. 84, ed.
  Meineke; Fragment. Comic. Græc. vol. ii, p. 358, also p. 1164;
  Aristoph. Frag. Inc. 120.

It seems probable, as far as we can form an opinion, that the
conspirators had two objects, perhaps some of them one and some the
other: to ruin Alkibiadês, to frustrate or delay the expedition. How
they pursued the former purpose, will be presently seen: towards the
latter, nothing was ostensibly done, but the position of Teukrus,
and other metics implicated, renders it more likely that they were
influenced by sympathies with Corinth and Megara,[252] prompting
them to intercept an expedition which was supposed to promise great
triumphs to Athens, rather than corrupted by the violent antipathies
of intestine politics. Indeed, the two objects were intimately
connected with each other; for the prosecution of the enterprise,
while full of prospective conquest to Athens, was yet more pregnant
with future power and wealth to Alkibiadês himself. Such chances
would disappear if the expedition could be prevented; nor was it at
all impossible that the Athenians, under the intense impression of
religious terror consequent on the mutilation of the Hermæ, might
throw up the scheme altogether. Especially Nikias, exquisitely
sensitive in his own religious conscience, and never hearty in his
wish for going, a fact perfectly known to the enemy,[253] would
hasten to consult his prophets, and might reasonably be expected
to renew his opposition on the fresh ground offered to him, or
at least to claim delay until the offended gods should have been
appeased. We may judge how much such a proceeding was in the line of
his character, and of the Athenian character, when we find him, two
years afterwards, with the full concurrence of his soldiers, actually
sacrificing the last opportunity of safe retreat for the half-ruined
Athenian army in Sicily, and refusing even to allow the proposition
to be debated, in consequence of an eclipse of the moon; and when we
reflect that Spartans and other Greeks frequently renounced public
designs if an earthquake happened before the execution.[254]

  [252] Plutarch, Alkib. c. 18; Pseudo-Plutarch, Vit. X, Orator.
  p. 834, who professes to quote from Kratippus, an author nearly
  contemporary. The Pseudo-Plutarch, however, asserts, what cannot
  be true, that the Corinthians employed Leontine and Egestæan
  agents to destroy the Hermæ. The Leontines and Egestæans were
  exactly the parties who had greatest interest in getting the
  Sicilian expedition to start: they are the last persons whom the
  Corinthians would have chosen as instruments. The fact is, that
  no foreigners could well have done the deed: it required great
  familiarity with all the buildings, highways, and byways of

  The Athenian Philochorus (writing about the date 310-280 B.C.)
  ascribed the mutilation of the Hermæ to the Corinthians; if we
  may believe the scholiast on Aristophanês; who, however, is not
  very careful, since he tells us that _Thucydidês_ ascribed that
  act to Alkibiadês and his friends; which is not true (Philochor.
  Frag. 110, ed. Didot; Schol. Aristoph. Lysistr. 1094).

  [253] Thucyd. vi, 34.

  [254] See Thucyd. v, 45; v, 50; viii, 5. Xenophon, Hellen. iv, 7,

But though the chance of setting aside the expedition altogether
might reasonably enter into the plans of the conspirators, as a
likely consequence of the intense shock inflicted on the religious
mind of Athens, and especially of Nikias, this calculation was not
realized. Probably matters had already proceeded too far even for
Nikias to recede. Notice had been sent round to all the allies;
forces were already on their way to the rendezvous at Korkyra; the
Argeian and Mantineian allies were arriving at Peiræus to embark. So
much the more eagerly did the conspirators proceed in the other part
of their plan, to work that exaggerated religious terror, which they
had themselves artificially brought about, for the ruin of Alkibiadês.

Few men in Athens either had or deserved to have a greater number of
enemies, political as well as private, than Alkibiades; many of them
being among the highest citizens, whom he offended by his insolence,
and whose liturgies and other customary exhibitions he outshone by
his reckless expenditure. His importance had been already so much
increased, and threatened to be so much more increased, by the
Sicilian enterprise, that they no longer observed any measures in
compassing his ruin. That which the mutilators of the Hermæ seem to
have deliberately planned, his other enemies were ready to turn to

Amidst the mournful dismay spread by the discovery of so unparalleled
a sacrilege, it appeared to the Athenian people,—as it would
have appeared to the ephors at Sparta, or to the rulers in every
oligarchical city of Greece,—that it was their paramount and
imperative duty to detect and punish the authors. So long as these
latter were walking about unknown and unpunished, the temples were
defiled by their presence, and the whole city was accounted under
the displeasure of the gods, who would inflict upon it heavy public
misfortunes.[255] Under this displeasure every citizen felt himself
comprehended, so that the sense of public security as well as of
private comfort were alike unappeased, until the offenders should be
discovered and atonement made by punishing or expelling them. Large
rewards were accordingly proclaimed to any person who could give
information, and even impunity to any accomplice whose confession
might lay open the plot. Nor did the matter stop here. Once under
this painful shock of religious and political terror, the Athenians
became eager talkers and listeners on the subject of other recent
acts of impiety. Every one was impatient to tell all that he knew,
and more than he knew, about such incidents; while to exercise
any strict criticism upon the truth of such reports, would argue
weakness of faith and want of religious zeal, rendering the critic
himself a suspected man, “metuunt dubitasse videri.” To rake out
and rigorously visit all such offenders, and thus to display an
earnest zeal for the honor of the gods, was accounted one auxiliary
means of obtaining absolution from them for the recent outrage.
Hence an additional public vote was passed, promising rewards and
inviting information from all witnesses,—citizens, metics, or even
slaves,—respecting any previous acts of impiety which might have
come within their cognizance,[256] but at the same time providing
that informers who gave false depositions should be punished

  [255] See the remarkable passage in the contemporary pleading of
  Antiphon on a trial for homicide (Orat. ii. Tetralog. 1. 1, 10).

  Ἀσύμφορόν θ’ ὑμῖν ἐστὶ τόνδε μιαρὸν καὶ ἄναγνον ὄντα εἰς τὰ
  τεμένη τῶν θεῶν εἰσιόντα μιαίνειν τὴν ἁγνείαν αὐτῶν ἐπί τε
  τὰς αὐτὰς τραπέζας ἰόντα ~συγκαταπιμπλάναι τοὺς ἀναιτίους· ἐκ
  γὰρ τούτων αἵ τε ἀφορίαι γίγνονται δυστυχεῖς θ’ αἱ πράξεις
  καθίστανται~. ~Οἰκείαν~ οὖν χρὴ τὴν ~τιμωρίαν ἡγησαμένους~, αὐτῷ
  τούτῳ τὰ τούτου ἀσεβήματα ἀναθέντας, ἰδίαν μὲν τὴν συμφορὰν
  καθαρὰν δὲ τὴν πόλιν καταστῆσαι.

  Compare Antiphon, De Cæde Herodis, sect. 83 and Sophoklês, Œdip.
  Tyrann. 26, 96, 170, as to the miseries which befell a country,
  so long as the person guilty of homicide remained to pollute
  the soil and until he was slain or expelled. See also Xenophon,
  Hiero. iv, 4, and Plato, Legg. x, p. 885-910, at the beginning
  and the end of the tenth book. Plato ranks (ὕβρις) outrage
  against sacred objects as the highest and most guilty species
  of ὕβρις; deserving the severest punishment. He considers that
  the person committing such impiety, unless he be punished or
  banished, brings evil and the anger of the gods upon the whole

  [256] Thucyd. vi, 27.

  [257] Andokidês de Mysteriis, sect. 20.

The Senate of Five Hundred were invested with full powers of action;
while Diognêtus, Peisander, Chariklês, and others, were named
commissioners for receiving and prosecuting inquiries, and public
assemblies were held nearly every day to receive reports.[258] The
first informations received, however, did not relate to the grave
and recent mutilation of the Hermæ, but to analogous incidents of
older date; to certain defacements of other statues, accomplished in
drunken frolic; and above all, to ludicrous ceremonies celebrated
in various houses,[259] by parties of revellers caricaturing and
divulging the Eleusinian mysteries. It was under this latter head
that the first impeachment was preferred against Alkibiadês.

  [258] Andokidês de Mysteriis, sects. 14, 15, 36; Plutarch,
  Alkibiad. c. 18.

  [259] Those who are disposed to imagine that the violent feelings
  and proceedings at Athens by the mutilation of the Hermæ were
  the consequence of her democratical government, may be reminded
  of an analogous event of modern times from which we are not yet
  separated by a century.

  In the year 1766, at Abbeville in France, two young gentlemen
  of good family—the Chevalier d’Etallonde and Chevalier de la
  Barre—were tried, convicted, and condemned for having injured
  a wooden crucifix which stood on the bridge of that town: in
  aggravation of this offence they were charged with having
  sung indecent songs. The evidence to prove these points was
  exceedingly doubtful; nevertheless, both were condemned to
  have their tongues cut out by the roots, to have their right
  hands cut off at the church gate, then to be tied to a post
  in the market-place with an iron chain, and burnt by a slow
  fire. This sentence, after being submitted by way of appeal to
  the Parliament of Paris, and by them confirmed, was actually
  executed upon the Chevalier de la Barre—d’Etallonde having
  escaped—in July, 1766; with this mitigation, that he was allowed
  to be decapitated before he was burnt; but at the same time
  with this aggravation, that he was put to the torture, ordinary
  and extraordinary, to compel him to disclose his accomplices
  (Voltaire, Relation de la Mort du Chevalier de la Barre, Œuvres,
  vol. xlii, pp. 361-379, ed. Beuchot: also Voltaire, Le Cri du
  Sang Innocent, vol. xii, p. 133).

  I extract from this treatise a passage showing how—as in this
  mutilation of the Hermæ at Athens—the occurrence of one act of
  sacrilege turns men’s imagination, belief, and talk, to others,
  real or imaginary:—

  “Tandis que Belleval ourdissoit sécrètement cette trame, il
  arriva malheureusement que le crucifix de bois, posé sur le pont
  d’Abbeville, étoit endommagé, et l’on soupçonna que des soldats
  ivres avoient commis cette insolence impie.

  “Malheureusement l’evêque d’Amiens, étant aussi evêque
  d’Abbeville, donna à cette aventure une célébrité et une
  importance qu’elle ne méritoit pas. Il fit lancer des monitoires:
  il vint faire une procession solennelle auprès du crucifix; _et
  on ne parla en Abbeville que de sacrilèges pendant une année
  entière_. On disoit qu’il se formoit une nouvelle secte qui
  brisoit les crucifix, qui jettoit par terre toutes les hosties,
  et les perçoit à coups de couteaux. On assuroit qu’ils avoient
  répandu beaucoup de sang. Il y eut des femmes qui crurent en
  avoir été témoins. On renouvela tous les contes calomnieux
  répandus contre les Juifs dans tant de villes de l’Europe. Vous
  connoissez, Monsieur, jusqu’à quel point la populace porte la
  credulité et le fanatisme, toujours encouragé par les moines.

  “La procédure une fois commencée, il y eut une foule de
  délations. Chacun disoit ce qu’il avoit vu ou cru voir—ce qu’il
  avoit entendu ou cru entendre.”

  It will be recollected that the sentence on the Chevalier de
  la Barre was passed, not by the people, nor by any popular
  judicature, but by a limited court of professional judges sitting
  at Abbeville, and afterwards confirmed by the Parlement de Paris,
  the first tribunal of professional judges in France.

So fully were the preparations of the armament now complete, that
the trireme of Lamachus—who was doubtless more diligent about the
military details than either of his two colleagues—was already moored
in the outer harbor, and the last public assembly was held for the
departing officers,[260] who probably laid before their countrymen
an imposing account of the force assembled, when Pythonikus rose to
impeach Alkibiadês. “Athenians,” said he, “you are going to despatch
this great force and incur all this hazard, at a moment when I am
prepared to show you that your general Alkibiadês is one of the
profaners of the holy mysteries, in a private house. Pass a vote of
impunity, and I will produce to you forthwith a slave of one here
present, who, though himself not initiated in the mysteries, shall
repeat to you what they are. Deal with me in any way you choose,
if my statement prove untrue.” While Alkibiadês strenuously denied
the allegation, the prytanes—senators presiding over the assembly,
according to the order determined by lot for that year among the ten
tribes—at once made proclamation for all uninitiated citizens to
depart from the assembly, and went to fetch the slave—Andromachus by
name—whom Pythonikus had indicated. On being introduced, Andromachus
deposed before the assembly that he had been with his master in the
house of Polytion, when Alkibiadês, Nikiadês, and Melêtus, went
through the sham celebration of the mysteries; many other persons
being present, and especially three other slaves besides himself. We
must presume that he verified this affirmation by describing what
the mysteries were which he had seen, the test which Pythonikus had

  [260] Andokidês (De Myster. s. 11) marks this time minutely—Ἦν
  μὲν γὰρ ἐκκλησία τοῖς στρατηγοῖς τοῖς εἰς Σικελίαν, Νικίᾳ καὶ
  Λαμάχῳ καὶ Ἀλκιβιάδῃ, καὶ τριήρης ἡ στρατηγὶς ἤδη ἐξώρμει ἡ
  Λαμάχου· ἀναστὰς δὲ Πυθόνικος ἐν τῷ δήμῳ εἶπεν, etc.

  [261] Andokid. de Myster. s. 11-13.

Such was the first direct attack made upon Alkibiadês by his enemies.
Pythonikus, the demagogue Androklês, and other speakers, having
put in evidence this irreverent proceeding,—probably in substance
true,—enlarged upon it with the strongest invective, imputed to him
many other acts of the like character, and even denounced him as
cognizant of the recent mutilation of the Hermæ. All had been done,
they said, with a view to accomplish his purpose of subverting the
democracy, when bereft of its divine protectors; a purpose manifested
by the constant tenor of his lawless, overbearing, antipopular
demeanor. Infamous as this calumny was, so far as regarded the
mutilation of the Hermæ,—for whatever else Alkibiadês may have done,
of that act he was unquestionably innocent, being the very person
who had most to lose by it, and whom it ultimately ruined,—they
calculated upon the reigning excitement to get it accredited, and
probably to procure his deposition from the command, preparatory
to public trial. But in spite of all the disquietude arising from
the recent sacrilege, their expectations were defeated. The
strenuous denial of Alkibiadês, aided by his very peculiar position
as commander of the armament, as well as by the reflection that
the recent outrage tended rather to spoil his favorite projects in
Sicily, found general credence. The citizens enrolled to serve,
manifested strong disposition to stand by him; the allies from Argos
and Mantineia were known to have embraced the service chiefly at his
instigation; the people generally had become familiar with him as
the intended conqueror in Sicily, and were loth to be balked of this
project. From all these circumstances, his enemies, finding little
disposition to welcome the accusations which they preferred, were
compelled to postpone them until a more suitable time.[262]

  [262] Thucyd. vi, 29. Isokratês (Orat. xvi, De Bigis, sects. 7,
  8) represents these proceedings before the departure for Sicily,
  in a very inaccurate manner.

But Alkibiadês saw full well the danger of having such charges
hanging over his head, and the peculiar advantage which he derived
from his accidental position at the moment. He implored the people
to investigate the charges at once; proclaiming his anxiety to
stand trial and even to suffer death, if found guilty,—accepting
the command only in case he should be acquitted,—and insisting
above all things on the mischief to the city, of sending him on
such an expedition with the charge undecided, as well as on the
hardship to himself, of being aspersed by calumny during his absence,
without power of defence. Such appeals, just and reasonable in
themselves, and urged with all the vehemence of a man who felt that
the question was one of life or death to his future prospects, were
very near prevailing. His enemies could only defeat them by the
trick of putting up fresh speakers, less notorious for hostility
to Alkibiadês. These men affected a tone of candor, deprecated the
delay which would be occasioned in the departure of the expedition,
if he were put upon his trial forthwith, and proposed deferring the
trial until a certain number of days after his return.[263] Such was
the determination ultimately adopted; the supporters of Alkibiadês
probably not fully appreciating its consequences, and conceiving
that the speedy departure of the expedition was advisable even for
his interest, as well as agreeable to their own feelings. And thus
his enemies, though baffled in their first attempt to bring on his
immediate ruin, carried a postponement which insured to them leisure
for thoroughly poisoning the public mind against him, and choosing
their own time for his trial. They took care to keep back all farther
accusation until he and the armament had departed.[264]

  [263] Thucyd. vi, 29. Οἱ δ’ ἐχθροὶ, δεδιότες τό τε στράτευμα,
  μὴ εὔνουν ἔχῃ, ἢν ἤδη ἀγωνίζηται, ὅ τε δῆμος μὴ μαλακίζηται,
  θεραπεύων ὅτι δι’ ἐκεῖνον οἵ τ’ Ἀργεῖοι ξυνεστράτευον καὶ τῶν
  Μαντινέων τινες, ἀπέτρεπον καὶ ἀπέσπευδον, ~ἄλλους ῥήτορας
  ἐνιέντες~, οἳ ἔλεγον νῦν μὲν πλεῖν αὐτὸν καὶ μὴ κατασχεῖν τὴν
  ἀγωγὴν, ἐλθόντα δὲ κρίνεσθαι ἐν ἡμέραις ῥηταῖς, βουλόμενοι
  ἐκ μείζονος διαβολῆς, ἣν ἔμελλον ῥᾷον αὐτοῦ ἀπόντος ποριεῖν,
  μετάπεμπτον κομισθέντα αὐτὸν ἀγωνίσασθαι.

  Compare Plutarch, Alkib. c. 19.

  [264] The account which Andokidês gives of the first accusation
  against Alkibiadês by Pythonikus, in the assembly, prior to
  the departure of the fleet, presents the appearance of being
  substantially correct, and I have followed it in the text. It
  is in harmony with the more brief indications of Thucydidês.
  But when Andokidês goes on to say, that “in consequence of this
  information, Polystratus was seized and put to death, while the
  rest of the parties denounced fled, and were condemned to death
  in their absence,” (sect. 13,) this cannot be true. Alkibiadês
  most certainly did not flee, and was not condemned at _that
  time_. If Alkibiadês was not then tried, neither could the other
  persons have been tried, who were denounced as his accomplices in
  the same offence. My belief is that this information, having been
  first presented by the enemies of Alkibiadês before the sailing
  of the fleet, was dropped entirely for that time, both against
  him and against his accomplices. It was afterwards resumed, when
  the information of Andokidês himself had satisfied the Athenians
  on the question of the Hermokopids: and the impeachment presented
  by Thessalus son of Kimon against Alkibiadês, was founded, in
  part at least, upon the information presented by Andromachus.

  If Polystratus was put to death at all, it could only have been
  on this second bringing forward of the charge, at the time when
  Alkibiadês was sent for and refused to come home. But we may
  well doubt whether he was put to death at that time or on that
  ground, when we see how inaccurate the statement of Andokidês
  is as to the consequences of the information of Andromachus. He
  mentions Panætius as one of those who fled in consequence of that
  information, and were condemned in their absence: but Panætius
  appears afterwards, in the very same speech, as _not_ having
  fled at that time (sects. 13, 52, 67). Harpokration states (v.
  Πολύστρατος), on the authority of an oration ascribed to Lysias,
  that Polystratus was put to death on the charge of having been
  concerned in the mutilation of the Hermæ. This is quite different
  from the statement of Andokidês, and would lead us to suppose
  that Polystratus was one of those against whom Andokidês himself

The spectacle of its departure was indeed so imposing, and the moment
so full of anxious interest, that it banished even the recollection
of the recent sacrilege. The entire armament was not mustered at
Athens; for it had been judged expedient to order most of the allied
contingents to rendezvous at once at Korkyra. But the Athenian force
alone was astounding to behold. There were one hundred triremes,
sixty of which were in full trim for rapid nautical movement, while
the remaining forty were employed as transports for the soldiers.
There were fifteen hundred select citizen hoplites, chosen from
the general muster-roll, and seven hundred Thêtes, or citizens too
poor to be included in the muster-roll, who served as hoplites on
shipboard,—epibatæ, or marines,—each with a panoply furnished by the
state. To these must be added, five hundred Argeian and two hundred
and fifty Mantineian hoplites, paid by Athens and transported on
board Athenian ships.[265] The number of horsemen was so small, that
all were conveyed in a single horse transport. But the condition,
the equipment, the pomp both of wealth and force, visible in the
armament, was still more impressive than the number. At daybreak
on the day appointed, when all the ships were ready in Peiræus,
for departure, the military force was marched down in a body from
the city and embarked. They were accompanied by nearly the whole
population, metics and foreigners as well as citizens, so that the
appearance was that of a collective emigration, like the flight to
Salamis sixty-five years before. While the crowd of foreigners,
brought thither by curiosity, were amazed by the grandeur of the
spectacle, the citizens accompanying were moved by deeper and more
stirring anxieties. Their sons, brothers, relatives, and friends,
were just starting on the longest and largest enterprise which Athens
had ever undertaken; against an island extensive as well as powerful,
known to none of them accurately, and into a sea of undefined
possibilities; glory and profit on the one side, but hazards of
unassignable magnitude on the other. At this final parting, ideas
of doubt and danger became far more painfully present than they had
been in any of the preliminary discussions; and in spite of all
the reassuring effect of the unrivalled armament before them, the
relatives now separating at the water’s edge could not banish the
dark presentiment that they were bidding each other farewell for the
last time.

  [265] Thucyd. vi, 43; vii, 57.

The moment immediately succeeding this farewell—when all the soldiers
were already on board, and the keleustês was on the point of
beginning his chant to put the rowers in motion—was peculiarly solemn
and touching. Silence having been enjoined and obtained by sound of
trumpet, both the crews in every ship and the spectators on shore
followed the voice of the herald in praying to the gods for success,
and in singing the pæan. On every deck were seen bowls of wine
prepared, out of which the officers and the epibatæ made libations,
with goblets of silver and gold. At length the final signal was
given, and the whole fleet quitted Peiræus in single file, displaying
the exuberance of their yet untried force by a race of speed as
far as Ægina.[266] Never in Grecian history was an invocation more
unanimous, emphatic, and imposing, addressed to the gods; never was
the refusing nod of Zeus more stern or peremptory. All these details,
given by Thucydidês, of the triumphant promise which now issued from
Peiræus, derive a painful interest from their contrast with the sad
issue which will hereafter be unfolded.

  [266] Thucyd. vi, 32; Diodor. xiii, 3.

The fleet made straight for Korkyra, where the contingents of the
maritime allies, with the ships for burden and provisions, were found
assembled. The armament thus complete was passed in review, and found
to comprise one hundred and thirty-four triremes with two Rhodian
pentekonters; five thousand one hundred hoplites; four hundred and
eighty bowmen, eighty of them Kretan; seven hundred Rhodian slingers;
and one hundred and twenty Megarian exiles serving as light troops.
Of vessels of burden, in attendance with provisions, muniments of
war, bakers, masons, and carpenters, etc., the number was not less
than five hundred; besides which, there was a considerable number
of private trading-ships, following it voluntarily for purposes
of profit.[267] Three fast-sailing triremes were despatched in
advance to ascertain which of the cities in Italy and Sicily would
welcome the arrival of the armament; and especially to give notice
at Egesta, that the succor solicited was now on its way, requiring
at the same time that the money promised by the Egestæans should be
produced. Having then distributed by lot the armament into three
divisions, one under each of the generals, Nikias, Alkibiadês, and
Lamachus, they crossed the Ionic gulf from Korkyra to the Iapygian

  [267] Thucyd. vi, 44.

In their progress southward along the coast of Italy to Rhegium, they
met with a very cold reception from the various Grecian cities. None
would receive them within their walls or even sell them provisions
without. The utmost which they would grant was, the liberty of
taking moorings and of watering; and even thus much was denied to
them both at Tarentum and at the Epizephyrian Lokri. At Rhegium,
immediately on the Sicilian strait, though the town-gate was still
kept shut, they were so far more hospitably treated, that a market
of provisions was furnished to them, and they were allowed to encamp
in the sacred precinct of Artemis, not far from the walls. They
here hauled their ships ashore and took repose until the return of
the three scout-ships from Egesta; while the generals entered into
negotiation with the magistrates and people of Rhegium, endeavoring
to induce them to aid the armament in reëstablishing the dispossessed
Leontines, who were of common Chalkidian origin with themselves. But
the answer returned was discouraging. The Rhegines would promise
nothing more than neutrality, and coöperation in any course of policy
which it might suit the other Italian Greeks to adopt. Probably they,
as well as the other Italian Greeks, were astonished and intimidated
by the magnitude of the newly-arrived force, and desired to leave
themselves open latitude of conduct for the future, not without
mistrust of Athens and her affected forwardness for the restoration
of the Leontines. To the Athenian generals, however, such a negative
from Rhegium was an unwelcome disappointment; for that city had been
the ally of Athens in the last war, and they had calculated on the
operation of Chalkidic sympathies.[268]

  [268] Thucyd. vi, 44-46.

It was not until after the muster of the Athenians at Korkyra, about
July 415 B.C., that the Syracusans became thoroughly convinced both
of their approach, and of the extent of their designs against
Sicily. Intimation had indeed reached Syracuse, from several
quarters, of the resolution taken by the Athenians in the preceding
March to assist Egesta and Leontini, and of the preparations going
on in consequence. There was, however, a prevailing indisposition
to credit such tidings. Nothing in the state of Sicily held out any
encouragement to Athenian ambition: the Leontines could give no aid,
the Egestæans very little, and that little at the opposite corner of
the island; while the Syracusans considered themselves fully able to
cope with any force which Athens was likely to send. Some derided
the intelligence as mere idle rumor; others anticipated, at most,
nothing more serious than the expedition sent from Athens ten years
before.[269] No one could imagine the new eagerness and obstinacy
with which she had just thrown herself into the scheme of Sicilian
conquest, nor the formidable armament presently about to start.
Nevertheless, the Syracusan generals thought it their duty to make
preparations, and strengthen the military condition of the state.[270]

  [269] Thucyd. vi, 32-35. Mr. Mitford observes: “It is not
  specified by historians, but the account of Thucydidês makes
  it evident, that there had been a revolution in the government
  of Syracuse, or at least a great change in its administration,
  since the oligarchical Leontines were admitted to the rights of
  Syracusan citizens (ch. xviii, sect. iii, vol. iv, p. 46). The
  democratical party now bore the sway,” etc.

  I cannot imagine upon what passage of Thucydidês Mr. Mitford
  founds this conjecture, which appears to me pure fancy. He had
  spoken of the government as a democracy before, he continues
  to speak of it as a democracy now, in the same unaltered
  vituperative strain.

  [270] Thucyd. vi, 41. τὰ δὲ καὶ ἐπιμεμελήμεθα ἤδη, etc.

Hermokratês, however, whose information was more complete, judged
these preparations insufficient, and took advantage of a public
assembly—held seemingly about the time that the Athenians were
starting from Peiræus—to impress such conviction on his countrymen,
as well as to correct their incredulity. He pledged his own credit
that the reports which had been circulated were not merely true, but
even less than the full truth; that the Athenians were actually on
their way, with an armament on the largest scale, and vast designs
of conquering all Sicily. While he strenuously urged that the city
should be put in immediate condition for repelling a most formidable
invasion, he deprecated all alarm as to the result, and held out the
firmest assurances of ultimate triumph. The very magnitude of the
approaching force would intimidate the Sicilian cities and drive
them into hearty defensive coöperation with Syracuse. Rarely indeed
did any large or distant expedition ever succeed in its object, as
might be seen from the failure of the Persians against Greece, by
which failure Athens herself had so largely profited. Preparations,
however, both effective and immediate, were indispensable; not merely
at home, but by means of foreign missions, to the Sicilian and
Italian Greeks, to the Sikels, and to the Carthaginians, who had for
some time been suspicious of the unmeasured aggressive designs of
Athens, and whose immense wealth would now be especially serviceable,
and to Lacedæmon and Corinth, for the purpose of soliciting aid in
Sicily, as well as renewed invasion of Attica. So confident did he
(Hermokratês) feel of their powers of defence, if properly organized,
that he would even advise the Syracusans with their Sicilian[271]
allies to put to sea at once, with all their naval force and two
months’ provisions, and to sail forthwith to the friendly harbor of
Tarentum, from whence they would be able to meet the Athenian fleet
and prevent it even from crossing the Ionic gulf from Korkyra. They
would thus show that they were not only determined on defence, but
even forward in coming to blows: the only way of taking down the
presumption of the Athenians, who now speculated upon Syracusan
lukewarmness, because they had rendered no aid to Sparta when she
solicited it at the beginning of the war. The Syracusans would
probably be able to deter or obstruct the advance of the expedition
until winter approached: in which case Nikias, the ablest of the
three generals, who was understood to have undertaken the scheme
against his own consent, would probably avail himself of the pretext
to return.[272]

  [271] Thucyd. vi, 34. Ὃ δὲ μάλιστα ἐγώ τε νομίζω ἐπίκαιρον,
  ~ὑμεῖς δὲ διὰ τὸ ξύνηθες ἥσυχον ἥκιστ’ ἂν ὀξέως πείθοισθε~, ὅμως

  That “habitual quiescence” which Hermokratês here predicates of
  his countrymen, forms a remarkable contrast with the restless
  activity, and intermeddling carried even to excess, which
  Periklês and Nikias deprecate in the Athenians (Thucyd. i, 144;
  vi, 7). Both of the governments, however, were democratical. This
  serves as a lesson of caution respecting general predications
  about _all_ democracies; for it is certain that one democracy
  differed in many respects from another. It may be doubted,
  however, whether the attribute here ascribed by Hermokratês to
  his countrymen was really deserved, to the extent which his
  language implies.

  [272] Thucyd. vi, 33-36.

Though these opinions of Hermokratês were espoused farther by
various other citizens in the assembly, the greater number of
speakers held an opposite language, and placed little faith in his
warnings. We have already noticed Hermokratês nine years before as
envoy of Syracuse and chief adviser at the congress of Gela,—then,
as now, watchful to bar the door against Athenian interference in
Sicily,—then, as now, belonging to the oligarchical party, and
of sentiments hostile to the existing democratical constitution;
but brave as well as intelligent in foreign affairs. A warm and
even angry debate arose upon his present speech.[273] Though there
was nothing, in the words of Hermokratês himself, disparaging
either to the democracy or to the existing magistrates, yet it
would seem that his partisans who spoke after him must have taken
up a more criminative tone, and must have exaggerated that which
he characterized as the “habitual quiescence” of the Syracusans,
into contemptible remissness and disorganization under those
administrators and generals, characterized as worthless, whom the
democracy preferred. Amidst the speakers, who, in replying to
Hermokratês and the others, indignantly repelled such insinuations
and retorted upon their authors, a citizen named Athenagoras was the
most distinguished. He was at this time the leading democratical
politician, and the most popular orator, in Syracuse.[274]

  [273] Thucyd. vi, 32-35. τῶν δὲ Συρακοσίων ὁ δῆμος ἐν πολλῇ πρὸς
  ἀλλήλους ἔριδι ἦσαν, etc.

  [274] Thucyd. vi, 35. παρελθὼν δ’ αὐτοῖς Ἀθηναγόρας, ὃς δήμου τε
  προστάτης ἦν καὶ ἐν τῷ παρόντι πιθανώτατος τοῖς πολλοῖς, ἔλεγε
  τοιάδε, etc.

  The position ascribed here to Athenagoras seems to be the same
  as that which is assigned to Kleon at Athens—ἀνὴρ δημαγωγὸς κατ’
  ἐκεῖνον τὸν χρόνον ὢν καὶ τῷ πλήθει πιθανώτατος, etc. (iv, 21).

  Neither δήμου προστάτης nor δημαγωγὸς, denotes any express
  functions, or titular office (see the note of Dr. Arnold), at
  least in these places. It is possible that there may have been
  some Grecian town constitutions, in which there was an office
  bearing that title: but this is a point which cannot be affirmed.
  Nor would the words δήμου προστάτης always imply an equal degree
  of power: the person so designated might have more power in one
  town than in another. Thus in Megara (iv, 67) it seems that the
  oligarchical party had recently been banished: the leaders of the
  popular party had become the most influential men in the city.
  See also iii, 70, Peithias at Korkyra.

“Every one[275] (said he), except only cowards and bad citizens, must
wish that the Athenians _would_ be fools enough to come here and put
themselves into our power. The tales which you have just heard are
nothing better than fabrications, got up to alarm you; and I wonder
at the folly of these alarmists in fancying that their machinations
are not seen through.[276] You will be too wise to take measure of
the future from their reports: you will rather judge from what able
men, such as the Athenians, are likely to do. Be assured that they
will never leave behind them the Peloponnesians in menacing attitude,
to come hither and court a fresh war not less formidable: indeed,
I think they account themselves lucky that we, with our powerful
cities, have never come across to attack them. And if they _should_
come, as it is pretended, they will find Sicily a more formidable foe
than Peloponnesus: nay, our own city alone will be a match for twice
the force which they can bring across. The Athenians, knowing all
this well enough, will mind their own business, in spite of all the
fictions which men on this side of the water conjure up, and which
they have already tried often before, sometimes even worse than on
the present occasion, in order to terrify you, and get themselves
nominated to the chief posts.[277] One of these days, I fear they
may even succeed, from our want of precautions beforehand. Such
intrigues leave but short moments of tranquillity to our city; they
condemn it to an intestine discord worse than foreign war, and have
sometimes betrayed it even to despots and usurpers. However, if you
will listen to me, I will try and prevent anything of this sort
at present; by simple persuasion to you, by chastisement to these
conspirators, and by watchful denunciation of the oligarchical party
generally. Let me ask, indeed, what is it that you younger nobles
covet? To get into command at your early age? The law forbids you,
because you are yet incompetent. Or, do you wish not to be under
equal laws with the many? But how can you pretend that citizens of
the same city should not have the same rights? Some one will tell
me[278] that democracy is neither intelligent nor just, and that
the rich are the persons best fitted to command. But I affirm,
first, that the people are the sum total, and the oligarchy merely
a fraction; next, that rich men are the best trustees of the
aggregate wealth existing in the community,—intelligent men, the
best counsellors,—and the multitude, the best qualified for hearing
and deciding after such advice. In a democracy, these functions, one
and all, find their proper place. But oligarchy, though imposing on
the multitude a full participation in all hazards, is not content
even with an exorbitant share in the public advantages, but grasps
and monopolizes the whole for itself.[279] This is just what you
young and powerful men are aiming at, though you will never be able
to keep it permanently in a city such as Syracuse. Be taught by me,
or at least alter your views, and devote yourselves to the public
advantage of our common city. Desist from practising, by reports such
as these, upon the belief of men who know you too well to be duped.
If even there be any truth in what you say, and if the Athenians _do_
come, our city will repel them in a manner worthy of her reputation.
She will not take you at your word, and choose _you_ commanders, in
order to put the yoke upon her own neck. She will look for herself,
construe your communications for what they really mean, and, instead
of suffering you to talk her out of her free government, will take
effective precautions for maintaining it against you.”

  [275] Thucyd. vi, 36-40. I give the substance of what is ascribed
  to Athenagoras by Thucydidês, without binding myself to the words.

  [276] Thucyd. vi, 36. τοὺς δ’ ἀγγέλλοντας τὰ τοιαῦτα καὶ
  περιφόβους ὑμᾶς ποιοῦντας τῆς μὲν τόλμης οὐ θαυμάζω, τῆς δὲ
  ἀξυνεσίας, εἰ μὴ οἴονται ἔνδηλοι εἶναι.

  [277] Thucyd. vi, 38. Ἀλλὰ ταῦτα, ὥσπερ ἐγὼ λέγω, οἵ τε Ἀθηναῖοι
  γιγνώσκοντες, τὰ σφέτερα αὐτῶν, εὖ οἶδ’ ὅτι, σῴζουσι, καὶ ἐνθένδε
  ἄνδρες οὔτε ὄντα, οὔτε ἂν γενόμενα, λογοποιοῦσιν. Οὓς ἐγὼ οὐ
  νῦν πρῶτον, ἀλλ’ ἀεὶ ἐπίσταμαι, ἤτοι λόγοις γε τοιοῖσδε, καὶ
  ἔτι τούτων κακουργοτέροις, ἢ ἔργοις, βουλομένους καταπλήξαντας
  τὸ ὑμέτερον πλῆθος αὐτοὺς τῆς πόλεως ἄρχειν. Καὶ δέδοικα μέντοι
  μήποτε πολλὰ πειρῶντες καὶ κατορθώσωσιν, etc.

  [278] Thucyd. vi, 39. φήσει τις δημοκρατίαν οὔτε ξυνετὸν οὔτ’
  ἴσον εἶναι, τοὺς δ’ ἔχοντας τὰ χρήματα καὶ ἄρχειν ἄριστα
  βελτίστους. Ἐγὼ δέ φημι πρῶτα μὲν, δῆμον ξύμπαν ὠνομάσθαι,
  ὀλιγαρχίαν δὲ μέρος· ἔπειτα, ~φύλακας μὲν ἀρίστους εἶναι χρημάτων
  τοὺς πλουσίους~, βουλεῦσαι δ’ ἂν βέλτιστα τοὺς ξυνετοὺς, κρῖναι
  δ’ ἂν ἀκούσαντας ἄριστα τοὺς πολλούς· καὶ ταῦτα ὁμοίως καὶ κατὰ
  μέρη καὶ ξύμπαντα ἐν δημοκρατίᾳ ἰσομοιρεῖν.

  Dr. Arnold translates φύλακας χρημάτων, “having the care of the
  public purse,” as if it were φύλακας τῶν δημοσίων χρημάτων. But
  it seems to me that the words carry a larger sense, and refer to
  the private property of these rich men, not to their functions
  as keepers of what was collected from taxation or tribute.
  Looking at a rich man from the point of view of the public, he is
  guardian of his own property until the necessities of the state
  require that he should spend more or less of it for the public
  defence or benefit: in the interim, he enjoys it as he pleases,
  but he will for his own interest take care that the property
  does not perish (compare vi, 9). This is the service which he
  renders, _quatenus_, _rich man_, to the state; he may also serve
  it in other ways, but that would be by means of his personal
  qualities; thus he may, for example, be intelligent as well as
  rich (ξυνετὸς as well as πλούσιος), and then he may serve the
  state as _counsellor_, the second of the two categories named by
  Athenagoras. What that orator is here negativing is, the better
  title and superior fitness of the rich to exercise command, which
  was the claim put forward in their behalf. And he goes on to
  indicate what is their real position and service in a democracy;
  that they are to enjoy the revenue, and preserve the capital,
  of their wealth, subject to demands for public purposes when
  necessary, but not to expect command, unless they are personally
  competent. Properly speaking, that which he here affirms is true
  of the small lots of property taken in the mass, as well as
  of the large, and is one of the grounds of defence of private
  property against communism. But the rich man’s property is an
  appreciable item to the state, individually taken; moreover, he
  is perpetually raising unjust pretensions to political power,
  so that it becomes necessary to define how much he is really
  entitled to.

  [279] Thucyd. vi, 39. Ὀλιγαρχία δὲ τῶν μὲν κινδύνων τοῖς
  πολλοῖς μεταδίδωσι, τῶν δ’ ὠφελίμων οὐ πλεονεκτεῖ μόνον, ἀλλὰ
  καὶ ξύμπαν ἀφελομένη ἔχει· ~ἃ ὑμῶν οἵ τε δυνάμενοι καὶ οἱ νέοι
  προθυμοῦνται~, ἀδύνατα ἐν μεγάλῃ πόλει κατασχεῖν.

Immediately after this vehement speech from Athenagoras, one of the
stratêgi who presided in the assembly interposed; permitting no
one else to speak, and abruptly closing the assembly, with these
few words: “We generals deprecate this interchange of personal
vituperation, and trust that the hearers present will not suffer
themselves to be biased by it. Let us rather take care, in reference
to the reports just communicated, that we be one and all in a
condition to repel the invader. And even should the necessity not
arise, there is no harm in strengthening our public force with
horses, arms, and the other muniments of war. _We_ generals shall
take upon ourselves the care and supervision of these matters,
as well as of the missions to neighboring cities, for procuring
information and for other objects. We have, indeed, already busied
ourselves for the purpose, and we shall keep you informed of what we

The language of Athenagoras, indicating much virulence of party
feeling, lets us somewhat into the real working of politics among
the Syracusan democracy. Athenagoras at Syracuse was like Kleon
at Athens, the popular orator of the city. But he was by no means
the most influential person, nor had he the principal direction of
public affairs. Executive and magisterial functions belonged chiefly
to Hermokratês and his partisans, the opponents of Athenagoras.
Hermokratês has already appeared as taking the lead at the congress
of Gela nine years before, and will be seen throughout the coming
period almost constantly in the same position; while the political
rank of Athenagoras is more analogous to that which we should call a
leader of opposition, a function of course suspended under pressing
danger, so that we hear of him no more. At Athens as at Syracuse,
the men who got to real power and handled the force and treasures of
the state, were chiefly of the rich families, often of oligarchical
sentiments, acquiescing in the democracy as an uncomfortable
necessity, and continually open to be solicited by friends or kinsmen
to conspire against it. Their proceedings were doubtless always
liable to the scrutiny, and their persons to the animadversion, of
the public assembly: hence arose the influence of the demagogue,
such as Athenagoras and Kleon, the bad side of whose character is so
constantly kept before the readers of Grecian history. By whatever
disparaging epithets such character may be surrounded, it is in
reality the distinguishing feature of a free government under all
its forms, whether constitutional monarchy or democracy. By the side
of the real political actors, who hold principal office and wield
personal powers, there are always abundant censors and critics,—some
better, others worse, in respect of honesty, candor, wisdom, or
rhetoric,—the most distinguished of whom acquires considerable
importance, though holding a function essentially inferior to that
of the authorized magistrate or general.

We observe here, that Athenagoras, far from being inclined to push
the city into war, is averse to it, even beyond reasonable limit;
and denounces it as the interested policy of the oligarchical party.
This may show how little it was any constant interest or policy on
the part of the persons called demagogues, to involve their city
in unnecessary wars: a charge which has been frequently advanced
against them, because it so happens that Kleon, in the first half
of the Peloponnesian war, discountenanced the propositions of peace
between Athens and Sparta. We see by the harangue of Athenagoras
that the oligarchical party were the usual promoters of war: a fact
which we should naturally expect, seeing that the rich and great, in
most communities, have accounted the pursuit of military glory more
conformable to their dignity than any other career. At Syracuse, the
ascendency of Hermokratês was much increased by the invasion of the
Athenians, while Athenagoras does not again appear. The latter was
egregiously mistaken in his anticipations respecting the conduct of
Athens, though right in his judgment respecting her true political
interest. But it is very unsafe to assume that nations will always
pursue their true political interest, where present temptations
of ambition or vanity intervene. Positive information was in this
instance a surer guide than speculations _à priori_ founded upon
the probable policy of Athens. But that the imputations advanced by
Athenagoras against the oligarchical youth, of promoting military
organization with a view to their own separate interest, were not
visionary, may be seen by the analogous case of Argos, two or
three years before. The democracy of Argos, contemplating a more
warlike and aggressive policy, had been persuaded to organize and
train the select regiment of one thousand hoplites, chosen from the
oligarchical youth: within three years, this regiment subverted the
democratical constitution.[280] Now the persons, respecting whose
designs Athenagoras expresses so much apprehension, were exactly the
class at Syracuse corresponding to the select thousand at Argos.

  [280] See above, in this volume, chap. lvi.

The political views, proclaimed in this remarkable speech, are
deserving of attention, though we cannot fully understand it without
having before us those speeches to which it replies. Not only is
democratical constitution forcibly contrasted with oligarchy, but
the separate places which it assigns to wealth, intelligence,
and multitude, are laid down with a distinctness not unworthy of

Even before the debate here adverted to, the Syracusan generals
had evidently acted upon views more nearly approaching to those
of Hermokratês than to those of Athenagoras. Already alive to the
danger, they were apprized by their scouts when the Athenian armament
was passing from Korkyra to Rhegium, and pushed their preparations
with the utmost activity, distributing garrisons and sending envoys
among their Sikel dependencies, while the force within the city was
mustered and placed under all the conditions of war.[281] The halt
of the Athenians at Rhegium afforded increased leisure for such
equipment. That halt was prolonged for more than one reason. In the
first place, Nikias and his colleagues wished to negotiate with the
Rhegines, as well as to haul ashore and clean their ships: next, they
awaited the return of the three scout-ships from Egesta: lastly, they
had as yet formed no plan of action in Sicily.

  [281] Thucyd. vi, 45.

The ships from Egesta returned with disheartening news. Instead of
the abundant wealth which had been held forth as existing in that
town, and upon which the resolutions of the Athenians as to Sicilian
operations had been mainly grounded, it turned out that no more than
thirty talents in all could be produced. What was yet worse, the
elaborate fraud, whereby the Egestæans had duped the commissioners
on their first visit, was now exposed; and these commissioners, on
returning to Rhegium from their second visit, were condemned to the
mortification of proclaiming their own credulity, visited by severe
taunts and reproaches from the army. Disappointed in the source from
whence they had calculated on obtaining money,—for it appears that
both Alkibiadês and Lamachus had sincerely relied on the pecuniary
resources of Egesta, though Nikias was always mistrustful,—the
generals now discussed their plan of action.

Nikias—availing himself of the fraudulent conduct on the part of
the Egestæan allies, now become palpable—wished to circumscribe his
range of operations within the rigorous letter of the vote which the
Athenian assembly had passed. He proposed to sail at once against
Selinus; then, formally to require the Egestæans to provide the
means of maintaining the armament, or, at least, of maintaining
those sixty triremes which they themselves had solicited. Since this
requisition would not be realized, he would only tarry long enough to
obtain from the Selinuntines some tolerable terms of accommodation
with Egesta, and then return home; exhibiting, as they sailed along,
to all the maritime cities, this great display of Athenian naval
force. And while he would be ready to profit by any opportunity which
accident might present for serving the Leontines or establishing new
alliances, he strongly deprecated any prolonged stay in the island
for speculative enterprises, all at the cost of Athens.[282]

  [282] Thucyd. vi, 47; Plutarch, Nikias, c. 14.

Against this scheme Alkibiadês protested, as narrow, timid, and
disgraceful to the prodigious force with which they had been
intrusted. He proposed to begin by opening negotiations with all
the other Sicilian Greeks,—especially Messênê, convenient both as
harbor for their fleet and as base of their military operations,—to
prevail upon them to coöperate against Syracuse and Selinus. With
the same view, he recommended establishing relations with the Sikels
of the interior, in order to detach such of them as were subjects
of Syracuse, as well as to insure supplies of provisions. As soon
as it had been thus ascertained what extent of foreign aid might be
looked for, he would open direct attack forthwith against Syracuse
and Selinus; unless, indeed, the former should consent to reëstablish
Leontini, and the latter to come to terms with Egesta.[283]

  [283] Thucyd. vi, 48. Οὕτως ἤδη Συρακούσαις καὶ Σελινοῦντι
  ἐπιχειρεῖν, ἢν μὴ οἱ μὲν Ἐγεσταίοις ξυμβαίνωσιν, οἱ δὲ Λεοντίνους
  ἐῶσι κατοικίζειν.

Lamachus, delivering his opinion last, dissented from both his
colleagues. He advised, that they should proceed at once, without
any delay, to attack Syracuse, and fight their battle under its
walls. The Syracusans, he urged, were now in terror and only
half-prepared for defence. Many of their citizens, and much
property, would be found still lingering throughout the neighboring
lands, not yet removed within the walls, and might thus be seized
for the subsistence of their army;[284] while the deserted town and
harbor of Megara, very near to Syracuse both by land and by sea,
might be occupied by the fleet as a naval station. The imposing
and intimidating effect of the armament, not less than its real
efficiency, was now at the maximum, immediately after its arrival.
If advantage were taken of this first impression to strike an
instant blow at their principal enemy, the Syracusans would be found
destitute of the courage, not less than of the means, to resist: but
the longer such attack was delayed, the more this first impression
of dismay would be effaced, giving place to a reactionary sentiment
of indifference and even contempt, when the much-dreaded armament
was seen to accomplish little or nothing. As for the other Sicilian
cities, nothing would contribute so much to determine their immediate
adhesion, as successful operations against Syracuse.[285]

  [284] Compare iv, 104, describing the surprise of Amphipolis by

  [285] Thucyd. vi, 49.

But Lamachus found no favor with either of the other two, and being
thus compelled to choose between the plans of Alkibiadês and Nikias,
gave his support to that of the former, which was the mean term
of the three. There can be no doubt—as far as it is becoming to
pronounce respecting that which never reached execution—that the plan
of Lamachus was far the best and most judicious; at first sight,
indeed, the most daring, but intrinsically the safest, easiest, and
speediest, that could be suggested. For undoubtedly the siege and
capture of Syracuse, was the one enterprise indispensable towards the
promotion of Athenian views in Sicily. The sooner that was commenced,
the more easily it would be accomplished: and its difficulties were
in many ways aggravated, in no way abated, by those preliminary
precautions upon which Alkibiadês insisted. Anything like delay
tended fearfully to impair the efficiency, real as well as reputed,
of an ancient aggressive armament, and to animate as well as to
strengthen those who stood on the defensive, a point on which we
shall find painful evidence presently. The advice of Lamachus, alike
soldier-like and far-sighted, would probably have been approved and
executed either by Brasidas or by Demosthenês; while the dilatory
policy still advocated by Alkibiadês, even after the suggestion of
Lamachus had been started, tends to show that if he was superior in
military energy to one of his colleagues, he was not less inferior to
the other. Indeed, when we find him talking of besieging Syracuse,
_unless_ the Syracusans would consent to the reëstablishment of
Leontini, it seems probable that he had not yet made up his mind
peremptorily to besiege the city at all; a fact completely at
variance with those unbounded hopes of conquest which he is reported
as having conceived even at Athens. It is possible that he may have
thought it impolitic to contradict too abruptly the tendencies of
Nikias, who, anxious as he was chiefly to find some pretext for
carrying back his troops unharmed, might account the proposition
of Lamachus too desperate even to be discussed. Unfortunately, the
latter, though the ablest soldier of the three, was a poor man, of
no political position, and little influence among the hoplites. Had
he possessed, along with his own straightforward military energy,
the wealth and family ascendency of either of his colleagues, the
achievements as well as the fate of this splendid armament would have
been entirely altered, and the Athenians would have entered Syracuse
not as prisoners but as conquerors.

Alkibiadês, as soon as his plan had become adopted by means of the
approval of Lamachus, sailed across the strait in his own trireme
from Rhegium to Messênê. Though admitted personally into the city,
and allowed to address the public assembly, he could not induce
them to conclude any alliance, or to admit the armament to anything
beyond a market of provisions without the walls. He accordingly
returned back to Rhegium, from whence he and one of his colleagues
immediately departed with sixty triremes for Naxos. The Naxians
cordially received the armament, which then steered southward along
the coast of Sicily to Katana. In the latter place the leading men
and the general sentiment were at this time favorable to Syracuse,
so that the Athenians, finding admittance refused, were compelled
to sail farther southward and take their night-station at the mouth
of the river Terias. On the ensuing day they made sail with their
ships in single column immediately in front of Syracuse itself,
while an advanced squadron of ten triremes were even despatched into
the Great Harbor, south of the town, for the purpose of surveying on
this side the city with its docks and fortifications, and for the
farther purpose of proclaiming from shipboard by the voice of the
herald: “The Leontines now in Syracuse are hereby invited to come
forth without apprehension and join their friends and benefactors,
the Athenians.” After this empty display, they returned back to

  [286] Thucyd. vi, 50.

We may remark that this proceeding was completely at variance with
the judicious recommendation of Lamachus. It tended to familiarize
the Syracusans with the sight of the armament piece-meal, without any
instant action, and thus to abate in their minds the terror-striking
impression of its first arrival.

At Katana, Alkibiadês personally was admitted into the town, and
allowed to open his case before the public assembly, as he had
been at Messênê. Accident alone enabled him to carry his point,
for the general opinion was averse to his propositions. While most
of the citizens were in the assembly listening to his discourse,
some Athenian soldiers without, observing a postern-gate carelessly
guarded, broke it open and showed themselves in the market-place.
The town was thus in the power of the Athenians, so that the leading
men who were friends of Syracuse thought themselves lucky to escape
in safety, while the general assembly came to a resolution accepting
the alliance proposed by Alkibiadês.[287] The whole Athenian armament
was now conducted from Rhegium to Katana, which was established
as head-quarters. Intimation was farther received from a party
at Kamarina, that the city might be induced to join them, if the
armament showed itself: accordingly, the whole armament proceeded
thither, and took moorings off the shore, while a herald was sent
up to the city. But the Kamarinæans declined to admit the army, and
declared that they would abide by the existing treaty; which bound
them to receive at any time one single ship, but no more, unless they
themselves should ask for it. The Athenians were therefore obliged
to return to Katana. Passing by Syracuse both going and returning,
they ascertained the falsehood of a report that the Syracusans were
putting a naval force afloat; moreover, they landed near the city
and ravaged some of the neighboring lands. The Syracusan cavalry and
light troops soon appeared, and a skirmish with trifling loss ensued,
before the invaders retired to their ships,[288] the first blood shed
in this important struggle, and again at variance with the advice of

  [287] Polyænus (i, 40, 4) treats this acquisition of Katana as
  the result, not of accident, but of a preconcerted plot. I follow
  the account as given by Thucydidês.

Serious news awaited them on their return to Katana. They found
the public ceremonial trireme, called the Salaminian, just arrived
from Athens, the bearer of a formal resolution of the assembly,
requiring Alkibiadês to come home and stand his trial for various
alleged matters of irreligion combined with treasonable purposes. A
few other citizens specified by name were commanded to come along
with him under the same charge; but the trierarch of the Salaminian
was especially directed to serve him only with the summons, without
any guard or coercion, so that he might return home in his own

  [288] Thucyd. vi, 52.

  [289] Thucyd. vi. 53-61.

This summons, pregnant with momentous results both to Athens and to
her enemies, arose out of the mutilation of the Hermæ, described a
few pages back, and the inquiries instituted into the authorship
of that deed, since the departure of the armament. The extensive
and anxious sympathies connected with so large a body of departing
citizens, combined with the solemnity of the scene itself, had for
the moment suspended the alarm caused by that sacrilege; but it
speedily revived, and the people could not rest without finding out
by whom the deed had been done. Considerable rewards, one thousand
and even ten thousand drachms, were proclaimed to informers; of whom
others soon appeared, in addition to the slave Andromachus, before
mentioned. A metic named Teukrus had fled from Athens, immediately
after the event, to Megara, from whence he sent intimation to the
senate at Athens that he had himself been a party concerned in the
recent sacrilege concerning the mysteries, as well as cognizant of
the mutilation of the Hermæ, and that, if impunity were guaranteed
to him, he would come back and give full information. A vote of
the senate was immediately passed to invite him. He denounced by
name eleven persons as having been concerned, jointly with himself,
in the mock-celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries, and eighteen
different persons, himself not being one, as the violators of the
Hermæ. A woman named Agaristê, daughter of Alkmæonidês,—these names
bespeak her great rank and family in the city,—deposed farther that
Alkibiadês, Axiochus, and Adeimantus, had gone through a parody of
the mysteries in a similar manner, in the house of Charmidês. And
lastly Lydus, slave of a citizen named Phereklês, stated that the
like scene had been enacted in the house of his master in the deme
Thêmakus, giving the names of the parties present, one of whom—though
asleep, and unconscious of what was passing—he stated to be Leogoras,
the father of Andokidês.[290] Of the parties named in these different
depositions, the greater number seem to have fled from the city at
once; but all who remained were put into prison to stand future
trial.[291] Those informers received the promised rewards, after
some debate as to the parties entitled to receive the reward; for
Pythonikus, the citizen who had produced the slave Andromachus,
pretended to the first claim, while Androkles, one of the senators,
contended that the senate collectively ought to receive[292] the
money; a strange pretension, which we do not know how he justified.
At last, however, at the time of the Panathenaic festival,
Andromachus the slave received the first reward of ten thousand
drachms; Teukrus the metic, the second reward of one thousand drachms.

  [290] Andokidês de Mysteriis, sects. 14, 15, 35. In reference to
  the deposition of Agaristê, Andokidês again includes Alkibiadês
  among those who fled into banishment in consequence of it. Unless
  we are to suppose another Alkibiadês, not the general in Sicily,
  this statement cannot be true. There was another Alkibiadês,
  of the deme Phegus: but Andokidês in mentioning him afterwards
  (sect. 65), specifies his deme. He was cousin of Alkibiadês, and
  was in exile at the same time with him (Xenoph. Hellen. i, 2, 13).

  [291] Andokidês (sects. 13-34) affirms that some of the persons,
  accused by Teukrus as mutilators of the Hermæ, were put to death
  upon his deposition. But I contest his accuracy on this point.
  For Thucydidês recognizes no one as having been put to death
  except those against whom Andokidês himself informed (see vi,
  27, 53, 61). He dwells particularly upon the number of persons,
  and persons of excellent character, imprisoned on suspicion;
  but he mentions none as having been put to death except those
  against whom Andokidês gave testimony. He describes it as a
  great harshness, and as an extraordinary proof of the reigning
  excitement, that the Athenians should have detained so many
  persons upon suspicion, on the evidence of informers not entitled
  to credence. But he would not have specified this detention as
  extraordinary harshness, if the Athenians had gone so far as to
  put individuals to death upon the same evidence. Besides, to put
  these men to death would have defeated their own object, the
  full and entire disclosure of the plot and the conspirators.
  The ignorance in which they were of their internal enemies, was
  among the most agonizing of all their sentiments; and to put any
  prisoner to death until they arrived, or believed themselves to
  have arrived, at the knowledge of the whole, would tend so far
  to bar their own chance of obtaining evidence: ὁ δὲ δῆμος ὁ τῶν
  Ἀθηναίων ἄσμενος λαβὼν, ὡς ᾤετο, τὸ σαφὲς, καὶ δεινὸν ποιούμενοι
  πρότερον εἰ τοὺς ἐπιβουλεύοντας σφῶν τῷ πλήθει μὴ εἴσονται, etc.

  Wachsmuth says (p. 194): “The bloodthirsty dispositions of the
  people had been excited by the previous murders: the greater the
  number of victims to be slaughtered, the better were the people
  pleased,” etc. This is an inaccuracy quite in harmony with the
  general spirit of his narrative. It is contradicted, implicitly,
  by the very words of Thucydidês which he transcribes in his note

  [292] Andokid. de Mysteriis, sects. 27-28. καὶ Ἀνδροκλῆς ~ὑπὲρ~
  τῆς βουλῆς.

A large number of citizens, many of them of the first consideration
in the city, were thus either lying in prison or had fled into
exile. But the alarm, the agony, and the suspicion, in the public
mind, went on increasing rather than diminishing. The information
hitherto received had been all partial, and, with the exception of
Agaristê, all the informants had been either slaves or metics, not
citizens; while Teukrus, the only one among them who had stated
anything respecting the mutilation of the Hermæ, did not profess to
be a party concerned, or to know all those who were.[293] The people
had heard only a succession of disclosures, all attesting a frequency
of irreligious acts, calculated to insult and banish the local gods
who protected their country and constitution; all indicating that
there were many powerful citizens bent on prosecuting such designs,
interpreted as treasonable, yet none communicating any full or
satisfactory idea of the Hermokopid plot, of the real conspirators,
or of their farther purposes. The enemy was among themselves,
yet they knew not where to lay hands upon him. Amidst the gloomy
terrors, political blended with religious, which distracted their
minds, all the ancient stories of the last and worst oppressions of
the Peisistratid despots, ninety-five years before, became again
revived, and some new despots, they knew not who, seemed on the
point of occupying the acropolis. To detect the real conspirators,
was the only way of procuring respite from this melancholy paroxysm,
for which purpose the people were willing to welcome questionable
witnesses, and to imprison on suspicion citizens of the best
character, until the truth could be ascertained.[294]

  [293] Andokid. de Myster. sect. 36. It seems that Diognêtus, who
  had been commissioner of inquiry at the time when Pythonikus
  presented the first information of the slave Andromachus, was
  himself among the parties denounced by Teukrus (And. de Mys.
  sects. 14, 15).

  [294] Thucyd. vi, 53-60. οὐ δοκιμάζοντες τοὺς μηνυτὰς, ἀλλὰ
  πάντας ὑπόπτως ἀποδεχόμενοι, διὰ πονηρῶν ἀνθρώπων πίστιν πάνυ
  χρηστοὺς τῶν πολιτῶν ξυλλαμβάνοντες κατέδουν, χρησιμώτερον
  ἡγούμενοι εἶναι βασανίσαι τὸ πρᾶγμα καὶ εὑρεῖν, ἢ διὰ μηνυτοῦ
  πονηρίαν τινὰ καὶ χρηστὸν δοκοῦντα εἶναι αἰτιαθέντα ἀνέλεγκτον

  ... δεινὸν ποιούμενοι, εἰ τοὺς ἐπιβουλεύοντας σφῶν τῷ πλήθει μὴ

The public distraction was aggravated by Peisander and Chariklês, who
acted as commissioners of investigation, furious and unprincipled
politicians,[295] at that time professing exaggerated attachment to
the democratical constitution, though we shall find both of them
hereafter among the most unscrupulous agents in its subversion. These
men loudly proclaimed that the facts disclosed indicated the band of
Hermokopid conspirators to be numerous, with an ulterior design of
speedily putting down the democracy; and they insisted on pressing
their investigations until full discovery should be attained. And
the sentiment of the people, collectively taken, responded to this
stimulus; though individually, every man was so afraid of becoming
himself the next victim arrested, that when the herald convoked the
senate for the purpose of receiving informations, the crowd in the
market-place straightway dispersed.

  [295] Andokid. de Myst. sect. 36.

It was amidst such eager thirst for discovery, that a new informer
appeared, Diokleidês, who professed to communicate some material
facts connected with the mutilation of the Hermæ, affirming that the
authors of it were three hundred in number. He recounted that, on
the night on which that incident occurred, he started from Athens
to go to the mines of Laureion; wherein he had a slave working on
hire, on whose account he was to receive pay. It was full moon, and
the night was so bright that he began his journey mistaking it for
daybreak.[296] On reaching the propylæum of the temple of Dionysus,
he saw a body of men about three hundred in number descending
from the Odeon towards the public theatre. Being alarmed at this
unexpected sight, he concealed himself behind a pillar, from whence
he had leisure to contemplate this body of men, who stood for some
time conversing together, in groups of fifteen or twenty each, and
then dispersed: the moon was so bright that he could discern the
faces of most of them. As soon as they had dispersed, he pursued
his walk to Laureion, from whence he returned next day, and learned
to his surprise that during the night the Hermæ had been mutilated;
also, that commissioners of inquiry had been named, and the reward
of ten thousand drachms proclaimed for information. Impressed at
once with the belief that the nocturnal crowd whom he had seen were
authors of the deed, he happened soon afterwards to see one of
them, Euphêmus, sitting in the workshop of a brazier, and took him
aside to the neighboring temple of Hephæstus, where he mentioned in
confidence that he had seen the party at work and could denounce
them, but that he preferred being paid for silence, instead of giving
information and incurring private enmities. Euphêmus thanked him for
the warning, desiring him to come next day to the house of Leogoras
and his son Andokidês, where he would see them as well as the other
parties concerned. Andokidês and the rest offered to him, under
solemn covenant, the sum of two talents, or twelve thousand drachms,
thus overbidding the reward of ten thousand drachms proclaimed by the
senate to any truth-telling informer, with admission to a partnership
in the benefits of their conspiracy, supposing that it should
succeed. Upon his reply that he would consider the proposition, they
desired him to meet them at the house of Kallias son of Têleklês,
brother-in-law of Andokidês: which meeting accordingly took place,
and a solemn bargain was concluded in the acropolis. Andokidês and
his friends engaged to pay the two talents to Diokleidês at the
beginning of the ensuing month, as the price of his silence. But
since this engagement was never performed, Diokleidês came with his
information to the senate.[297]

  [296] Plutarch (Alkib. c. 20) and Diodorus (xiii, 2) assert
  that this testimony was glaringly false, since on the night in
  question it was _new moon_. I presume, at least, that the remark
  of Diodorus refers to the deposition of Diokleidês, though he
  never mentions the name of the latter, and even describes the
  deposition referred to with many material variations as compared
  with Andokidês. Plutarch’s observation certainly refers to
  Diokleidês, whose deposition, he says, affirming that he had seen
  and distinguished the persons in question by the light of the
  moon, on a night when it was _new_ moon, shocked all sensible
  men, but produced no effect upon the blind fury of the people.
  Wachsmuth (Hellenisch. Alterth. vol. ii, ch. viii, p. 194) copies
  this remark from Plutarch.

  I disbelieve altogether the assertion that it was _new moon_ on
  that night. Andokidês gives in great detail the deposition of
  Diokleidês, with a strong wish to show that it was false and
  perfidiously got up. But he nowhere mentions the fact that it was
  _new moon_ on the night in question; though if we read his report
  and his comments upon the deposition of Diokleidês, we shall see
  that he never could have omitted such a means of discrediting the
  whole tale, if the fact had been so (Andokid. de Myster. sects.
  37-43). Besides, it requires very good positive evidence to make
  us believe, that a suborned informer, giving his deposition not
  long after one of the most memorable nights that ever passed at
  Athens, would be so clumsy as to make particular reference to the
  circumstance that it was _full moon_ (εἶναι δὲ πανσέληνον), if it
  had really been _new moon_.

  [297] Andokid. de Myster. sects. 37-42.

Such—according to the report of Andokidês—was the story of this
informer, which he concluded by designating forty-two individuals,
out of the three hundred whom he had seen. The first names whom
he specified were those of Mantitheus and Aphepsion, two senators
actually sitting among his audience. Next came the remaining forty,
among whom were Andokidês and many of his nearest relatives, his
father Leogoras, his first or second cousins and brother-in-law,
Charmidês, Taureas, Nisæus, Kalias son of Alkmæon, Phrynichus,
Eukratês (brother of Nikias the commander in Sicily), and Kritias.
But as there were a still greater number of names—assuming the
total of three hundred to be correct—which Diokleidês was unable
to specify, the commissioner Peisander proposed that Mantitheus
and Aphepsion should be at once seized and tortured, in order to
force them to disclose their accomplices; the psephism passed in
the archonship of Skamandrius, whereby it was unlawful to apply
the torture to any free Athenian, being first abrogated. Illegal,
not less than cruel, as this proposition was, the senate at first
received it with favor. But Mantitheus and Aphepsion, casting
themselves as suppliants upon the altar in the senate-house, pleaded
so strenuously for their rights as citizens, to be allowed to put
in bail and stand trial before the dikastery, that this was at last
granted.[298] No sooner had they provided their sureties, than they
broke their covenant, mounted their horses, and deserted to the
enemy, without any regard to their sureties, who were exposed by law
to the same trial and the same penalties as would have overtaken the
offenders themselves. This sudden flight, together with the news that
a Bœotian force was assembled on the borders of Attica, exasperated
still farther the frantic terror of the public mind. The senate
at once took quiet measures for seizing and imprisoning all the
remaining forty whose names had been denounced; while by concert with
the strategi, all the citizens were put under arms; those who dwelt
in the city, mustering in the market-place; those in and near the
long walls, in the Theseium; those in Peiræus, in the square called
the Market-place of Hippodamus. Even the horsemen of the city were
convoked by sound of trumpet in the sacred precinct of the Anakeion.
The senate itself remained all night in the acropolis, except the
prytanes, or fifty senators of the presiding tribe, who passed the
night in the public building called the Tholus. Every man in Athens
felt the terrible sense of an internal conspiracy on the point of
breaking out, perhaps along with an invasion of the foreigner,
prevented only by the timely disclosure of Diokleidês, who was hailed
as the saviour of the city, and carried in procession to dinner at
the prytaneium.[299]

  [298] Considering the extreme alarm which then pervaded the
  Athenian mind, and their conviction that there were traitors
  among themselves whom yet they could not identify, it is to be
  noted as remarkable that they resisted the proposition of their
  commissioners for applying torture. We must recollect that the
  Athenians admitted the principle of the torture, as a good mode
  of eliciting truth as well as of testing depositions,—for they
  applied it often to the testimony of slaves,—sometimes apparently
  to that of metics. Their attachment to the established law, which
  forbade the application of it to citizens, must have been very
  great, to enable them to resist the great special and immediate
  temptation to apply it in this case to Mantitheus and Aphepsion,
  if only by way of exception.

  The application of torture to witnesses and suspected persons,
  handed down from the Roman law, was in like manner recognized,
  and pervaded nearly all the criminal jurisprudence of Europe
  until the last century. I hope that the reader, after having gone
  through the painful narrative of the proceedings of the Athenians
  after the mutilation of the Hermæ, will take the trouble to
  peruse by way of comparison the _Storia della Colonna Infame_, by
  the eminent Alexander Manzoni, author of “I Promessi Sposi.” This
  little volume, including a republication of Verri’s “Osservazioni
  sulla Tortura,” is full both of interest and instruction. It
  lays open the judicial enormities committed at Milan in 1630,
  while the terrible pestilence was raging there, by the examining
  judges and the senate, in order to get evidence against certain
  suspected persons called _Untori_; that is, men who were firmly
  believed by the whole population, with very few exceptions, to
  be causing and propagating the pestilence by means of certain
  ointment which they applied to the doors and walls of houses.
  Manzoni recounts with simple, eloquent, and impressive detail,
  the incredible barbarity with which the official lawyers at
  Milan, under the authority of the senate, extorted, by force of
  torture, evidence against several persons, of having committed
  this imaginary and impossible crime. The persons thus convicted
  were executed under horrible torments: the house of one of them,
  a barber named Mora, was pulled down, and a pillar with an
  inscription erected upon the site, to commemorate the deed. This
  pillar, the _Colonna Infame_, remained standing in Milan until
  the close of the 18th century. The reader will understand, from
  Manzoni’s narrative, the degree to which public excitement and
  alarm can operate to poison and barbarize the course of justice
  in a Christian city, without a taint of democracy, and with
  professional lawyers and judges to guide the whole procedure
  secretly, as compared with a pagan city, ultra-democratical,
  where judicial procedure as well as decision was all oral,
  public, and multitudinous.

  [299] Andokid. de Myst. sects. 41-46.

Miserable as the condition of the city was generally, yet more
miserable was that of the prisoners confined; and worse, in every
way, was still to be looked for, since the Athenians would know
neither peace nor patience until they could reach, by some means
or other, the names of the undisclosed conspirators. The female
relatives and children of Andokidês, and his companions, were by
permission along with them in the prison,[300] aggravating by their
tears and wailings the affliction of the scene, when Charmidês, one
of the parties confined, addressed himself to Andokidês, as his
cousin and friend, imploring him to make a voluntary disclosure of
all that he knew, in order to preserve the lives of so many innocent
persons, his immediate kinsmen, as well as to rescue the city out
of a feverish alarm not to be endured. “You know (he said) all that
passed about the mutilation of the Hermæ, and your silence will now
bring destruction not only upon yourself, but also upon your father
and upon all of us; while if you inform, whether you have been an
actor in the scene or not, you will obtain impunity for yourself
and us, and at the same time soothe the terrors of the city.” Such
instances on the part of Charmidês,[301] aided by the supplications
of the other prisoners present, overcame the reluctance of Andokidês
to become informer, and he next day made his disclosures to the
senate. “Euphilêtus (he said) was the chief author of the mutilation
of the Hermæ. He proposed the deed at a convivial party where I was
present, but I denounced it in the strongest manner and refused all
compliance. Presently, I broke my collar-bone, and injured my head,
by a fall from a young horse, so badly as to be confined to my bed;
when Euphilêtus took the opportunity of my absence to assure the rest
of the company falsely that I had consented, and that I had agreed
to cut the Hermes near my paternal house, which the tribe Ægeïs
have dedicated. Accordingly, they executed the project, while I was
incapable of moving, without my knowledge: they presumed that _I_
would undertake the mutilation of this particular Hermes, and you see
that this is the only one in all Athens which has escaped injury.
When the conspirators ascertained that I had not been a party,
Euphilêtus and Melêtus threatened me with a terrible revenge unless I
observed silence: to which I replied that it was not I, but their own
crime, which had brought them into danger.”

  [300] Andokid. de Myst. sect. 48: compare Lysias, Orat. xiii,
  cont. Agorat. sect. 42.

  [301] Plutarch (Alkib. c. 21) states that the person who thus
  addressed himself to, and persuaded Andokidês, was named Timæus.
  From whom he got the latter name, we do not know.

Having recounted this tale, in substance, to the senate, Andokidês
tendered his slaves, both male and female, to be tortured, in
order that they might confirm his story that he was in his bed and
unable to leave it, on the night when the Hermæ were mutilated.
It appears that the torture was actually applied (according to
the custom so cruelly frequent at Athens in the case of slaves),
and that the senators thus became satisfied of the truth of what
Andokidês affirmed. He delivered in twenty-two names of citizens as
having been the mutilators of the Hermæ: eighteen of these names,
including Euphilêtus and Melêtus, had already been specified in the
information of Teukrus; the remaining four, were Panætius, Diakritus,
Lysistratus, and Chæredêmus; all of whom fled, the instant their
names were mentioned, without waiting the chance of being seized.
As soon as the senate heard the story of Andokidês, they proceeded
to question Diokleidês over again; who confessed that he had given
a false deposition, and begged for mercy, mentioning Alkibiadês
the Phegusian—a relative of the commander in Sicily—and Amiantus,
as having suborned him to the crime. Both of them fled immediately
on this revelation; but Diokleidês was detained, sent before the
dikastery for trial, and put to death.[302]

  [302] The narrative, which I have here given in substance, is to
  be found in Andokid. de Myst. sects. 48-66.

The foregoing is the story which Andokidês, in the oration De
Mysteriis, delivered between fifteen and twenty years afterwards,
represented himself to have communicated to the senate at this
perilous crisis. But it probably is not the story which he really
did tell, certainly not that which his enemies represented him as
having told: least of all does it communicate the whole truth, or
afford any satisfaction to such anxiety and alarm as are described to
have been prevalent at the time. Nor does it accord with the brief
information of Thucydidês, who tells us that Andokidês impeached
himself, along with others, as participant in the mutilation.[303]
Among the accomplices against whom he informed, his enemies affirmed
that his own nearest relatives were included, though this latter
statement is denied by himself. We may be sure, therefore, that the
tale which Andokidês really told was something very different from
what now stands in his oration. But what it really was we cannot make
out; nor should we gain much even if it could be made out, since
even at the time, neither Thucydidês nor other intelligent critics
could determine how far it was true. The mutilation of the Hermæ
remained to them always an unexplained mystery; though they accounted
Andokidês the principal organizer.[304]

  [303] Thucyd. vi, 60. Καὶ ὁ μὲν ~αὐτός τε καθ’ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ κατ’
  ἄλλων~ μηνύει τὸ τῶν Ἑρμῶν, etc.

  To the same effect, see the hostile oration of Lysias contra
  Andocidem, Or. vi, sects. 36, 37, 51: also Andokidês himself, De
  Mysteriis, sect. 71; De Reditu, sect. 7.

  If we may believe the Pseudo-Plutarch (Vit. x, Orator, p. 834),
  Andokidês had on a previous occasion been guilty of drunken
  irregularity and damaging a statue.

  [304] Thucyd. vi, 60. ἐνταῦθα ἀναπείθεται ~εἷς τῶν δεδεμένων,
  ὅσπερ ἐδόκει αἰτιώτατος εἶναι~, ὑπὸ τῶν ξυνδεσμωτῶν τινὸς, εἴτε
  ἄρα καὶ τὰ ὄντα μηνῦσαι, εἴτε καὶ οὔ· ἐπ’ ἀμφότερα γὰρ εἰκάζεται·
  τὸ δὲ σαφὲς οὐδεὶς οὔτε τότε οὔτε ὕστερον ἔχει εἰπεῖν περὶ τῶν
  δρασάντων τὸ ἔργον.

  If the statement of Andokidês in the Oratio de Mysteriis is
  correct, the deposition previously given by Teukrus the metic
  must have been a true one; though this man is commonly denounced
  among the lying witnesses (see the words of the comic writer
  Phrynichus ap. Plutarch, Alkib. c. 20).

  Thucydidês refuses even to mention the name of Andokidês, and
  expresses himself with more than usual reserve about this dark
  transaction, as if he were afraid of giving offence to great
  Athenian families. The bitter feuds which it left behind at
  Athens, for years afterwards, are shown in the two orations
  of Lysias and of Andokidês. If the story of Didymus be true,
  that Thucydidês after his return from exile to Athens died by a
  violent death (see Biogr. Thucyd. p. xvii. ed. Arnold), it would
  seem probable that all his reserve did not protect him against
  private enmities arising out of his historical assertions.

That which is at once most important and most incontestable, is the
effect produced by the revelations of Andokidês, true or false, on
the public mind at Athens. He was a young man of rank and wealth
in the city, belonging to the sacred family of the Kerykes,—said
to trace his pedigree to the hero Odysseus,—and invested on a
previous occasion with an important naval command; whereas the
preceding informers had been metics and slaves. Moreover, he was
making confession of his own guilt. Hence the people received his
communications with implicit confidence. They were delighted to
have got to the bottom of the terrible mystery: and the public mind
subsided from its furious terrors into comparative tranquillity.
The citizens again began to think themselves in safety and to
resume their habitual confidence in each other, while the hoplites
everywhere on guard were allowed to return to their homes.[305] All
the prisoners in custody on suspicion, except those against whom
Andokidês informed were forthwith released: those who had fled out
of apprehension, were allowed to return; while those whom he named
as guilty, were tried, convicted, and put to death. Such of them as
had already fled, were condemned to death in their absence, and a
reward offered for their heads.[306] And though discerning men were
not satisfied with the evidence upon which these sentences were
pronounced, yet the general public fully believed themselves to have
punished the real offenders, and were thus inexpressibly relieved
from the depressing sense of unexpiated insult to the gods, as well
as of danger to their political constitution from the withdrawal
of divine protection.[307] Andokidês himself was pardoned, and was
for the time an object, apparently, even of public gratitude, so
that his father Leogoras who had been among the parties imprisoned,
ventured to indict a senator named Speusippus for illegal proceedings
towards him, and obtained an almost unanimous verdict from the
dikastery.[308] But the character of a statue-breaker and an informer
could never be otherwise than odious at Athens. Andokidês was either
banished by the indirect effect of a general disqualifying decree; or
at least found that he had made so many enemies, and incurred so much
obloquy, by his conduct in this affair, as to make it necessary for
him to quit the city. He remained in banishment for many years, and
seems never to have got clear of the hatred which his conduct in this
nefarious proceeding so well merited.[309]

  [305] Thucyd. vi, 60. Ὁ δὲ δῆμος ὁ τῶν Ἀθηναίων ἄσμενος λαβὼν, ὡς
  ᾤετο, τὸ σαφὲς, etc.: compare Andokid. de Mysteriis, sects. 67,

  [306] Andokid. de Myster. sect 66; Thucyd. vi, 60; Philochorus,
  Fragment. 111, ed. Didot.

  [307] Thucyd. vi, 60. ἡ μέντοι ἄλλη πόλις περιφανῶς ὠφέλητο:
  compare Andokid. de Reditu, sect. 8.

  [308] See Andokid. de Mysteriis, sect. 17. There are several
  circumstances not easily intelligible respecting this γραφὴ
  παρανόμων, which Andokidês alleges that his father Leogoras
  brought against the senator Speusippus, before a dikastery of
  six thousand persons (a number very difficult to believe), out
  of whom he says that Speusippus only obtained two hundred votes;
  but if this trial ever took place at all, we cannot believe
  that it could have taken place until after the public mind was
  tranquillized by the disclosures of Andokidês, especially as
  Leogoras was actually in prison along with Andokidês immediately
  before those disclosures were given in.

  [309] See for evidence of these general positions respecting the
  circumstances of Andokidês, the three Orations: Andokidês de
  Mysteriis, Andokidês de Reditu Suo, and Lysias contra Andokidem.

But the comfort arising out of these disclosures respecting the
Hermæ, though genuine and inestimable at the moment, was soon again
disturbed. There still remained the various alleged profanations of
the Eleusinian mysteries, which had not yet been investigated or
brought to atonement; and these were the more sure to be pressed
home, and worked with a factitious exaggeration of pious zeal,
since the enemies of Alkibiadês were bent upon turning them to his
ruin. Among all the ceremonies of Attic religion, there was none
more profoundly or universally reverenced than the mysteries of
Eleusis, originally enjoined by the goddess Dêmêtêr herself, in
her visit to that place, to Eumolpus and the other Eleusinian
patriarch, and transmitted as a precious hereditary privilege in
their families.[310] Celebrated annually in the month of August
or September, under the special care of the basileus, or second
archon, these mysteries were attended by vast crowds from Athens
as well as from other parts of Greece, presenting to the eye a
solemn and imposing spectacle, and striking the imagination still
more powerfully by the special initiation which they conferred,
under pledge of secrecy, upon pious and predisposed communicants.
Even the divulgation in words to the uninitiated, of that which was
exhibited to the eye and ear of the assembly in the interior of the
Eleusinian temple, was accounted highly criminal: much more the
actual mimicry of these ceremonies for the amusement of a convivial
party. Moreover, the individuals who held the great sacred offices at
Eleusis,—the hierophant, the daduch (torch-bearer), and the keryx, or
herald,—which were transmitted by inheritance in the Eumolpidæ and
other great families of antiquity and importance, were personally
insulted by such proceedings, and vindicated their own dignity at the
same time that they invoked punishment on the offenders in the name
of Dêmêtêr and Persephonê. The most appalling legends were current
among the Athenian public, and repeated on proper occasions even by
the hierophant himself, respecting the divine judgments which always
overtook such impious men.[311]

  [310] Homer, Hymn. Cerer. 475. Compare the Epigram cited in
  Lobeck, Eleusinia, p. 47.

  [311] Lysias cont. Andokid. init. et fin.; Andokid. de Myster.
  sect. 29. Compare the fragment of a lost Oration by Lysias
  against Kinêsias (Fragm. xxxi, p. 490, Bekker; Athenæus, xii,
  p. 551), where Kinêsias and his friends are accused of numerous
  impieties, one of which consisted in celebrating festivals on
  unlucky and forbidden days, “in derision of our gods and our
  laws,”—ὡς καταλεγῶντες τῶν θεῶν καὶ τῶν νόμων τῶν ἡμετέρων. The
  lamentable consequences which the displeasure of the gods had
  brought upon them are then set forth: the companions of Kinêsias
  had all miserably perished, while Kinêsias himself was living
  in wretched health and in a condition worse than death: τὸ δ’
  οὕτως ἔχοντα τοσοῦτον χρόνον διατελεῖν, καὶ καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν
  ἀποθνήσκοντα μὴ δύνασθαι τελευτῆσαι τὸν βίον, τούτοις μόνοις
  προσήκει τοῖς τὰ τοιαῦτα ἅπερ οὗτος ἐξερματεκόσι.

  The comic poets Strattis and Plato also marked out Kinêsias
  among their favorite subjects of derision and libel, and seem
  particularly to have represented his lean person and constant ill
  health as a punishment of the gods for his impiety. See Meineke,
  Fragm. Comic. Græc. (Strattis), vol. ii, p. 768 (Plato), p. 679.

When we recollect how highly the Eleusinian mysteries were venerated
by Greeks not born in Athens and even by foreigners, we shall not
wonder at the violent indignation excited in the Athenian mind by
persons who profaned or divulged them; especially at a moment when
their religious sensibilities had been so keenly wounded, and so
tardily and recently healed, in reference to the Hermæ.[312] It was
about this same time[313] that a prosecution was instituted against
the Melian philosopher Diagoras for irreligious doctrines. Having
left Athens before trial, he was found guilty in his absence, and a
reward was offered for his life.

  [312] Lysias cont. Andokid. sects. 50, 51; Cornel. Nepos, Alcib.
  c. 4. The expressions of Pindar (Fragm. 96) and of Sophoklês
  (Fragm. 58, Brunck.—Œdip. Kolon. 1058) respecting the value of
  the Eleusinian mysteries, are very striking: also Cicero, Legg.
  ii, 14.

  Horace will not allow himself to be under the same roof, or in
  the same boat, with any one who has been guilty of divulging
  these mysteries (Od. iii. 2, 26), much more then of deriding them.

  The reader will find the fullest information about these
  ceremonies in the _Eleusinia_, forming the first treatise in the
  work of Lobeck called Aglaophamus; and in the Dissertation called
  _Eleusinia_, in K. O. Müller’s Kleine Schriften. vol ii, p. 242,

  [313] Diodor. xiii. 6

  Probably the privileged sacred families, connected with the
  mysteries, were foremost in calling for expiation from the
  state to the majesty of the two offended goddesses, and
  for punishment on the delinquents.[314] And the enemies of
  Alkibiadês, personal as well as political, found the opportunity
  favorable for reviving that charge against him which they had
  artfully suffered to drop before his departure to Sicily. The
  matter of fact alleged against him—the mock-celebration of these
  holy ceremonies—was not only in itself probable, but proved by
  reasonably good testimony against him and some of his intimate
  companions. Moreover, the overbearing insolence of demeanor
  habitual with Alkibiadês, so glaringly at variance with the equal
  restraints of democracy, enabled his enemies to impute to him
  not only irreligious acts, but anti-constitutional purposes; an
  association of ideas which was at this moment the more easily
  accredited, since his divulgation and parody of the mysteries
  did not stand alone, but was interpreted in conjunction with
  the recent mutilation of the Hermæ—as a manifestation of the
  same anti-patriotic and irreligious feeling, if not part and
  parcel of the same treasonable scheme. And the alarm on this
  subject was now renewed by the appearance of a Lacedæmonian army
  at the isthmus, professing to contemplate some enterprise in
  conjunction with the Bœotians, a purpose not easy to understand,
  and presenting every appearance of being a cloak for hostile
  designs against Athens. So fully was this believed among the
  Athenians, that they took arms, and remained under arms one whole
  night in the sacred precinct of the Theseium. No enemy indeed
  appeared, either without or within; but the conspiracy had only
  been prevented from breaking out, so they imagined, by the recent
  inquiries and detection. Moreover, the party in Argos connected
  with Alkibiadês were just at this time suspected of a plot for
  the subversion of their own democracy, which still farther
  aggravated the presumptions against him, while it induced the
  Athenians to give up to the Argeian democratical government the
  oligarchical hostages which had been taken from that town a few
  months before,[315] in order that it might put these hostages to
  death, whenever it thought fit.

  [314] We shall find these sacred families hereafter to be
  the most obstinate in opposing the return of Alkibiadês from
  banishment (Thucyd. viii, 53).

  [315] Thucyd. vi, 53-61.

Such incidents materially aided the enemies of Alkibiadês in their
unremitting efforts to procure his recall and condemnation. Among
them were men very different in station and temper: Thessalus son of
Kimon, a man of the highest lineage and of hereditary oligarchical
politics, as well as Androklês, a leading demagogue or popular
orator. It was the former who preferred against him in the senate the
memorable impeachment, which, fortunately for our information, is
recorded verbatim.

“Thessalus son of Kimon, of the deme Lakiadæ, hath impeached
Alkibiadês son of Kleinias, of the deme Skambônidæ, as guilty of
crime in regard to the two goddesses Dêmêtêr and Persephonê, in
mimicking the mysteries, and exhibiting them to his companions in
his own house, wearing the costume of the hierophant: applying to
himself the name of hierophant; to Polytion, that of daduch; to
Theodôrus that of herald, and addressing his remaining companions as
mysts and epopts; all contrary to the sacred customs and canons, of
old established by the Eumolpidæ, the Kerykes, and the Eleusinian

  [316] Plutarch, Alkib. c. 22. Θέσσαλος Κίμωνος Λακιάδης,
  Ἀλκιβιάδην Κλεινίου Σκαμβωνίδην εἰσήγγειλεν ἀδικεῖν περὶ τὼ
  θεὼ, τὴν Δήμητρα καὶ τὴν Κόρην, ἀπομιμούμενον τὰ μυστήρια, καὶ
  δεικνύοντα τοῖς αὐτοῦ ἑταίροις ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τῇ ἑαυτοῦ, ἔχοντα
  στολὴν οἵανπερ ἱεροφάντης ἔχων δεικνύει τὰ ἱερὰ, καὶ ὀνομάζοντα
  αὐτὸν μὲν ἱεροφάντην, Πολυτίωνα δὲ δᾳδοῦχον, κήρυκα δὲ Θεόδωρον
  Φηγεέα· τοὺς δ’ ἄλλους ἑταίρους, μύστας προσαγορεύοντα καὶ
  ἐπόπτας, παρὰ τὰ νόμιμα καὶ τὰ καθεστηκότα ὑπὸ τ’ Εὐμολπιδῶν καὶ
  κηρύκων καὶ τῶν ἱερέων τῶν ἐξ Ἐλευσῖνος.

Similar impeachments being at the same time presented against other
citizens now serving in Sicily along with Alkibiadês, the accusers
moved that he and the rest might be sent for to come home and take
their trial. We may observe that the indictment against him is quite
distinct and special, making no allusion to any supposed treasonable
or anti-constitutional projects: probably, however, these suspicions
were pressed by his enemies in their preliminary speeches, for the
purpose of inducing the Athenians to remove him from the command of
the army forthwith, and send for him home. For such a step it was
indispensable that a strong case should be made out: but the public
was at length thoroughly brought round, and the Salaminian trireme
was despatched to Sicily to fetch him. Great care however was taken,
in sending this summons, to avoid all appearance of prejudgment,
or harshness, or menace. The trierarch was forbidden to seize his
person, and had instructions to invite him simply to accompany the
Salaminian home in his own trireme: so as to avoid the hazard of
offending the Argeian and Mantineian allies serving in Sicily, or the
army itself.[317]

  [317] Thucyd. vi, 61.

It was on the return of the Athenian army from their unsuccessful
attempt at Kamarina, to their previous quarters at Katana, that they
found the Salaminian trireme newly arrived from Athens with this
grave requisition against the general. We may be sure that Alkibiadês
received private intimation from his friends at Athens, by the same
trireme, communicating to him the temper of the people, so that his
resolution was speedily taken. Professing to obey, he departed in
his own trireme on the voyage homeward, along with the other persons
accused, the Salaminian trireme being in company; but as soon as they
arrived at Thurii, in coasting along Italy, he and his companions
quitted the vessel and disappeared. After a fruitless search on the
part of the Salaminian trierarch, the two triremes were obliged to
return to Athens without him. Both Alkibiadês and the rest of the
accused—one of whom[318] was his own cousin and namesake—were tried,
condemned to death on non-appearance, and their property confiscated;
while the Eumolpidæ and the other Eleusinian sacred families
pronounced him to be accursed by the gods, for his desecration of the
mysteries,[319] and recorded the condemnation on a plate of lead.

  [318] Xenoph. Hellen. i, 2, 13.

  [319] Thucyd. vi. 61; Plutarch, Alkib. c. 22-33; Lysias, Orat.
  vi, cont. Andokid. sect. 42.

  Plutarch says that it would have been easy for Alkibiadês to
  raise a mutiny in the army at Katana, had he chosen to resist the
  order for coming home. But this is highly improbable. Considering
  what his conduct became immediately afterwards, we shall see good
  reason to believe that he _would_ have taken this step, had it
  been practicable.

Probably his disappearance and exile were acceptable to his enemies
at Athens: at any rate, they thus made sure of getting rid of him;
while had he come back, his condemnation to death, though probable,
could not be considered as certain. In considering the conduct of
the Athenians towards Alkibiadês, we have to remark, that the people
were guilty of no act of injustice. He had committed—at least there
was fair reason for believing that he had committed—an act criminal
in the estimation of every Greek; the divulgation and profanation of
the mysteries. This act—alleged against him in the indictment very
distinctly, divested of all supposed ulterior purpose, treasonable
or otherwise—was legally punishable at Athens, and was universally
accounted guilty in public estimation, as an offence at once against
the religious sentiment of the people and against the public safety,
by offending the two goddesses, Dêmêtêr and Persephonê, and driving
them to withdraw their favor and protection. The same demand for
legal punishment would have been supposed to exist in a Christian
Catholic country, down to a very recent period of history, if instead
of the Eleusinian mysteries we suppose the sacrament of the mass to
have been the ceremony ridiculed; though such a proceeding would
involve no breach of obligation to secrecy. Nor ought we to judge
what would have been the measure of penalty formerly awarded to a
person convicted of such an offence, by consulting the tendency of
penal legislation during the last sixty years. Even down to the
last century it would have been visited with something sharper than
the draught of hemlock, which is the worst that could possibly have
befallen Alkibiadês at Athens, as we may see by the condemnation
and execution of the Chevalier de la Barre at Abbeville, in 1766.
The uniform tendency of Christian legislation,[320] down to a
recent period, leaves no room for reproaching the Athenians with
excessive cruelty in their penal visitation of offences against the
religious sentiment. On the contrary, the Athenians are distinguished
for comparative mildness and tolerance, as we shall find various
opportunities for remarking.

  [320] To appreciate fairly the violent emotion raised at Athens
  by the mutilation of the Hermæ and by the profanation of the
  mysteries, it is necessary to consider the way in which analogous
  acts of sacrilege have been viewed in Christian and Catholic
  penal legislation, even down to the time of the first French

  I transcribe the following extract from a work of authority on
  French criminal jurisprudence—_Jousse_, Traité de la Justice
  Criminelle, Paris, 1771, part iv, tit. 27, vol. iii, p. 672:—

  “Du Crime de Leze-Majesté Divine.—Les Crimes de Leze Majesté
  Divine, sont ceux qui attaquent Dieu immédiatement, et qu’on doit
  regarder par cette raison comme les plus atroces et les plus
  exécrables.—La Majesté de Dieu peut être offensée de plusieurs
  manières.—1. En niant l’existence de Dieu. 2. Par le crime de
  ceux qui attentent directement contre la Divinité: comme quand on
  profane ou qu’on foule aux pieds les saintes Hosties; ou qu’on
  _frappe les Images de Dieu_ dans le dessein de l’insulter. C’est
  ce qu’on appelle _Crime de Leze-Majesté Divine au prémier Chef_.”

  Again in the same work, part iv, tit. 46, n. 5, 8, 10, 11, vol.
  iv, pp. 97-99:—

  “_La profanation des Sacremens et des Mystères de la Réligion
  est un sacrilège des plus exécrables._ Tel est le crime de
  ceux qui emploient les choses sacrées à des usages communs
  et mauvais, _en dérision des Mystères_; ceux qui _profanent
  la sainte Eucharistie_, ou qui en abusent en quelque manière
  que ce soit; ceux qui en mépris de la Réligion, profanent les
  Fonts-Baptismaux; qui jettent par terre les saintes Hosties,
  ou qui les emploient à des usages vils et profanes: _ceux qui,
  en dérision de nos sacrés Mystères, les contrefont dans leurs
  débauches; ceux qui frappent, mutilent, abattent, les Images
  consacrées à Dieu, ou à la Sainte Vierge, ou aux Saints_, en
  mépris de la Réligion; et enfin, tous ceux qui commettent
  de semblables impiétés. Tous ces crimes _sont des crimes de
  Leze-Majesté divine au prémier chef_, parce qu’ils s’attaquent
  immédiatement à Dieu, et ne se font à aucun dessein que de

  “... La peine du Sacrilège, par l’Ancien Testament, étoit celle
  du feu, et d’être lapidé.—Par les Loix Romaines, les coupables
  étoient condamnés au fer, au feu, et aux bêtes farouches,
  suivant les circonstances.—En France, la peine du sacrilège est
  arbitraire, et dépend de la qualité et des circonstances du
  crime, du lieu, du temps, et de la qualité de l’accusé.—Dans _le
  sacrilège au prémier chef, qui attaque la Divinité, la Sainte
  Vierge, et les Saints_, v. g. à l’égard de ceux qui foulent aux
  pieds les saintes Hosties, ou qui les jettent à terre, ou en
  abusent, et qui les emploient à des usages vils et profanes, la
  peine est le feu, l’amende honorable, et le poing coupé. Il en
  est de même de ceux qui profanent les Fonts-Baptismaux; _ceux
  qui, en dérision de nos Mystères, s’en moquent et les contrefont
  dans leurs débauches_: ils doivent être punis de peine capitale,
  parce que ces crimes attaquent immédiatement la Divinité.”

  M. Jousse proceeds to cite several examples of persons condemned
  to death for acts of sacrilege, of the nature above described.

Now in reviewing the conduct of the Athenians towards Alkibiadês,
we must consider, that this violation of the mysteries, of which
he was indicted in good legal form, was an action for which he
really deserved punishment, if any one deserved it. Even his
enemies did not fabricate this charge, or impute it to him falsely;
though they were guilty of insidious and unprincipled manœuvres to
exasperate the public mind against him. Their machinations begin
with the mutilation of the Hermæ; an act of new and unparalleled
wickedness, to which historians of Greece seldom do justice. It
was not, like the violations of the mysteries, a piece of indecent
pastime committed within four walls, and never intended to become
known. It was an outrage essentially public, planned and executed by
conspirators for the deliberate purpose of lacerating the religious
mind of Athens, and turning the prevalent terror and distraction to
political profit. Thus much is certain; though we cannot be sure
who the conspirators were, nor what was their exact or special
purpose. That the destruction of Alkibiadês was one of the direct
purposes of the conspirators, is highly probable. But his enemies,
even if they were not among the original authors, at least took upon
themselves half the guilt of the proceeding, by making it the basis
of treacherous machinations against his person. How their scheme,
which was originally contrived to destroy him before the expedition
departed, at first failed, was then artfully dropped, and at length
effectually revived, after a long train of calumny against the
absent general, has been already recounted. It is among the darkest
chapters of Athenian political history, indicating, on the part of
the people, strong religious excitability, without any injustice
towards Alkibiadês; but indicating, on the part of his enemies, as
well as of the Hermokopids generally, a depth of wicked contrivance
rarely paralleled in political warfare. It is to these men, not to
the people, that Alkibiadês owes his expulsion, aided indeed by
the effect of his own previous character. In regard to the Hermæ,
the Athenians condemned to death—after and by consequence of the
deposition of Andokidês—a small number of men who may perhaps have
been innocent victims, but whom they sincerely believed to be guilty;
and whose death not only tranquillized comparatively the public mind,
but served as the only means of rescue to a far larger number of
prisoners confined on suspicion. In regard to Alkibiadês, they came
to no collective resolution, except that of recalling him to take his
trial, a resolution implying no wrong in those who voted for it,
whatever may be the guilt of those who proposed and prepared it by
perfidious means.[321]

  [321] The proceedings in England in 1678 and 1679, in consequence
  of the pretended Popish Plot, have been alluded to by various
  authors, and recently by Dr. Thirlwall, as affording an analogy
  to that which occurred at Athens after the mutilation of the
  Hermæ. But there are many material differences, and all, so far
  as I can perceive, to the advantage of Athens.

  1. The “hellish and damnable plot of the Popish Recusants,” (to
  adopt the words of the Houses of Lords and Commons,—see Dr.
  Lingard’s History of England, vol. xiii, ch. v, p. 88,—words, the
  like of which were doubtless employed at Athens in reference to
  the Hermokopids,) was baseless, mendacious, and incredible, from
  the beginning. It started from no real fact: the whole of it was
  a tissue of falsehoods and fabrications proceeding from Oates,
  Bedloe, and a few other informers of the worst character.

  At Athens, there was unquestionably a plot; the Hermokopids were
  real conspirators, not few in number. No one could doubt that
  they conspired for other objects besides the mutilation of the
  Hermæ. At the same time, no one knew what these objects were, nor
  who the conspirators themselves were.

  If before the mutilation of the Hermæ, a man like Oates had
  pretended to reveal to the Athenian people a fabricated
  plot implicating Alkibiadês and others, he would have found
  no credence. It was not until after and by reason of that
  terror-striking incident, that the Athenians began to give
  credence to informers. And we are to recollect that they did not
  put any one to death on the evidence of these informers. They
  contented themselves with imprisoning on suspicion, until they
  got the confession and deposition of Andokidês. Those implicated
  in _that_ deposition were condemned to death. Now Andokidês, as
  a witness, deserves but very qualified confidence; yet it is
  impossible to degrade him to the same level even as Teukrus or
  Diokleidês, much less to that of Oates and Bedloe. We cannot
  wonder that the people trusted him, and, under the peculiar
  circumstances of the case, it was the least evil that they should
  trust him. The witnesses upon whose testimony the prisoners under
  the Popish Plot were condemned, were even inferior to Teukrus and
  Diokleidês in presumptive credibility.

  The Athenian people have been censured for their folly in
  believing the democratical constitution in danger, because the
  Hermæ had been mutilated. I have endeavored to show, that,
  looking to their religious ideas, the thread of connection
  between these two ideas is perfectly explicable. And why are we
  to quarrel with the Athenians because they took arms, and put
  themselves on their guard, when a Lacedæmonian or a Bœotian armed
  force was actually on their frontier?

  As for the condemnation of Alkibiadês and others for profaning
  and divulging the Eleusinian mysteries, these are not for a
  moment to be put upon a level with the condemnations in the
  Popish Plot. These were true charges, at least there is strong
  presumptive reason for believing that they were true. Persons
  were convicted and punished for having done acts which they
  really had done, and which they knew to be legal crimes. Whether
  it be right to constitute such acts legal crimes, or not, is
  another question. The enormity of the Popish Plot consisted in
  punishing persons for acts which they had not done, and upon
  depositions of the most lying and worthless witnesses.

  The state of mind into which the Athenians were driven after the
  cutting of the Hermæ, was indeed very analogous to that of the
  English people during the circulation of the Popish Plot. The
  suffering, terror, and distraction, I apprehend to have been even
  greater at Athens: but the cause of it was graver and more real,
  and the active injustice which it produced was far less than in

  “I shall not detain the reader (says Dr. Lingard, Hist. Engl.
  xiii, p. 105) with a narrative of the partial trials and judicial
  murders of the unfortunate men, whose names had been inserted
  by Oates in his pretended discoveries. So violent was the
  excitement, so general the delusion created by the perjuries
  of the informer, that the voice of reason and the claims of
  justice were equally disregarded. Both judge and jury seemed to
  have no other object than to inflict vengeance on the supposed
  traitors. To speak in support of their witnesses, or to hint the
  improbability of the informations, required a strength of mind,
  a recklessness of consequences, which falls to the lot of few
  individuals: even the king himself, convinced as he was of the
  imposture, and contemptuously as he spoke of it in private, dared
  not exercise his prerogative of mercy to save the lives of the

  It is to be noted that the House of Lords, both acting as a
  legislative body, and in their judicial character when the
  Catholic Lord Stafford was tried before them (ch. vi, pp.
  231-241), displayed a degree of prejudice and injustice quite
  equal to that of the judges and juries in the law-courts.

  Both the English judicature on this occasion, and the Milanese
  judicature on the occasion adverted to in a previous note, were
  more corrupted and driven to greater injustice by the reigning
  prejudice, than the purely popular dikastery of Athens in this
  affair of the Hermæ, and of the other profanations.

In order to appreciate the desperate hatred with which the exile
Alkibiadês afterwards revenged himself on his countrymen, it has been
necessary to explain to what extent he had just ground of complaint
against them. On being informed that they had condemned him to death
in his absence, he is said to have exclaimed: “I shall show them that
I am alive.” He fully redeemed his word.[322]

  [322] Plutarch, Alkib. c. 22.

The recall and consequent banishment of Alkibiadês was mischievous to
Athens in several ways. It transferred to the enemy’s camp an angry
exile, to make known her weak points, and to rouse the sluggishness
of Sparta. It offended a portion of the Sicilian armament, most of
all probably the Argeians and Mantineians, and slackened their zeal
in the cause.[323] And what was worst of all, it left the armament
altogether under the paralyzing command of Nikias. For Lamachus,
though still equal in nominal authority, and now invested with the
command of one-half instead of one-third of the army, appears to have
had no real influence except in the field.

  [323] Thucyd. ii, 65. τά τε ἐν τῷ στρατοπέδῳ ἀμβλύτερα ἐποίουν,

Nikias now proceeded to execute that scheme which he had first
suggested, to sail round from Katana to Selinus and Egesta, with the
view of investigating the quarrel between the two as well as the
financial means of the latter. Passing through the strait and along
the north coast of the island, he first touched at Himera, where
admittance was refused to him; he next captured a Sikanian maritime
town named Hykkara, together with many prisoners; among them the
celebrated courtezan Laïs, then a very young girl.[324] Having handed
over this place to the Egestæans, Nikias went in person to inspect
their city and condition; but could obtain no more money than the
thirty talents which had been before announced on the second visit
of the commissioners. He then restored the prisoners from Hykkara
to their Sikanian countrymen, receiving a ransom of one hundred and
twenty talents,[325] and conducted the Athenian land-force across the
centre of the island, through the territory of the friendly Sikels
to Katana; making an attack in his way upon the hostile Sikel town
of Hybla, in which he was repulsed. At Katana he was rejoined by his
naval force.

  [324] The statements respecting the age and life of Laïs appear
  involved in inextricable confusion. See the note of Göller ad
  Philisti, Fragment. v.

  [325] Diodor. viii, 6; Thucyd. vi, 62. Καὶ τἀνδράποδα ~ἀπέδοσαν~,
  καὶ ἐγένοντο ἐξ αὐτῶν εἴκοσι καὶ ἑκατὸν τάλαντα. The word
  ἀπέδοσαν seems to mean that the prisoners were handed over to
  their fellow-countrymen, the natural persons to negotiate for
  their release, upon private contract of a definite sum. Had
  Thucydidês said ἀπέδοντο, it would have meant that they were put
  up to auction for what they would fetch. This distinction is at
  least possible, and, in my judgment, more admissible than that
  proposed in the note of Dr. Arnold.

  If, however, we refer to Thucyd. vi, 88, with Duker’s note, we
  shall see that μεταπέμπειν is sometimes, though rarely, used in
  the sense of μεταπέμπεσθαι. The case may perhaps be the same with
  ἀπέδοσαν for ἀπέδοντο.

It was now seemingly about the middle of October, and three
months had elapsed since the arrival of the Athenian armament at
Rhegium; during which period they had achieved nothing except the
acquisition of Naxus and Katana as allies—unless we are to reckon
the insignificant capture of Hykkara. But Naxus and Katana, as
Chalkidic cities, had been counted upon beforehand even by Nikias;
together with Rhegium, which had been found reluctant, to his great
disappointment. What is still worse, in reference to the character of
the general, not only nothing serious had been achieved, but nothing
serious had been attempted. The precious moment pointed out by
Lamachus for action, when the terrific menace of the recent untried
armament was at its maximum, and preparation as well as confidence
was wanting at Syracuse, had been irreparably wasted. Every day the
preparations of the Syracusans improved and their fears diminished;
the invader, whom they had looked upon as so formidable, turned out
both hesitating and timorous,[326] and when he had disappeared out
of their sight to Hykkara and Egesta, still more when he assailed in
vain the insignificant Sikel post of Hybla, their minds underwent a
reaction from dismay to extreme confidence. The mass of Syracusan
citizens, now reinforced by allies from Selinus and other cities,
called upon their generals to lead to the attack of the Athenian
position at Katana, since the Athenians did not dare to approach
Syracuse; while Syracusan horsemen even went so far as to insult
the Athenians in their camp, riding up to ask if they were come to
settle as peaceable citizens in the island, instead of restoring
the Leontines. Such unexpected humiliation, acting probably on
the feelings of the soldiers, at length shamed Nikias out of his
inaction, and compelled him to strike a blow for the maintenance of
his own reputation. He devised a stratagem for approaching Syracuse
in such a manner as to elude the opposition of the Syracusan cavalry,
informing himself as to the ground near the city, through some exiles
serving along with him.[327]

  [326] Thucyd. vi, 63; vii, 42.

  [327] Thucyd. vi, 63; Diodor. xiii, 6.

He despatched to Syracuse a Katanæan citizen, in his heart attached
to Athens, yet apparently neutral and on good terms with the other
side, as bearer of a pretended message and proposition from the
friends of Syracuse at Katana. Many of the Athenian soldiers, so the
message ran, were in the habit of passing the night within the walls,
apart from their camp and arms. It would be easy for the Syracusans
by a vigorous attack at daybreak, to surprise them thus unprepared
and dispersed; while the philo-Syracusan party at Katana promised
to aid, by closing the gates, assailing the Athenians within, and
setting fire to the ships. A numerous body of Katanæans, they added,
were eager to coöperate in the plan now proposed.

This communication, reaching the Syracusan generals at a moment
when they were themselves elate and disposed to an aggressive
movement, found such incautious credence, that they sent back the
messenger to Katana with cordial assent and agreement for a precise
day. Accordingly, a day or two before, the entire Syracusan force
was marched out towards Katana, and encamped for the night on the
river Symæthus, in the Leontine territory, within about eight miles
of Katana. But Nikias, with whom the whole proceeding originated,
choosing this same day to put on shipboard his army, together with
his Sikel allies present, sailed by night southward along the coast,
rounding the island of Ortygia, into the Great Harbor of Syracuse.
Arrived thither by break of day, he disembarked his troops unopposed
south of the mouth of the Anâpus, in the interior of the Great
Harbor, near the hamlet which stretched towards the temple of Zeus
Olympius. Having broken down the neighboring bridge, where the
Helôrine road crossed the Anâpus, he took up a position protected by
various embarrassing obstacles,—houses, walls, trees, and standing
water, besides the steep ground of the Olympieion itself on his
left wing; so that he could choose his own time for fighting, and
was out of the attack of the Syracusan horse. For the protection of
his ships on the shore, he provided a palisade work by cutting down
the neighboring trees; and even took precautions for his rear by
throwing up a hasty fence of wood and stones touching the shore at
the inner bay called Daskon. He had full leisure for such defensive
works, since the enemy within the walls made no attempt to disturb
him, while the Syracusan horse only discovered his manœuvre on
arriving before the lines at Katana; and though they lost no time
in returning, the march back was a long one.[328] Such was the
confidence of the Syracusans, however, that even after so long a
march, they offered battle forthwith; but as Nikias did not quit his
position, they retreated, to take up their night-station on the other
side of the Helôrine road, probably a road bordered on each side by

  [328] Thucyd. vi, 65, 66; Diodor. xiii, 6; Plutarch, Nikias, c.

On the next morning, Nikias marched out of his position and formed
his troops in order of battle, in two divisions, each eight deep.
His front division was intended to attack; his rear division—in
hollow square, with the baggage in the middle—was held in reserve
near the camp, to lend aid where aid might be wanted; cavalry there
was none. The Syracusan hoplites, seemingly far more numerous than
his, presented the levy in mass of the city, without any selection;
they were ranged in the deeper order of sixteen, alongside of their
Selinuntine allies. On the right wing were posted their horsemen,
the best part of their force, not less than twelve hundred in
number; together with two hundred horsemen from Gela, twenty from
Kamarina, about fifty bowmen, and a company of darters. The hoplites,
though full of courage, had little training; and their array,
never precisely kept, was on this occasion farther disturbed by
the immediate vicinity of the city. Some had gone in to see their
families; others, hurrying out to join, found the battle already
begun, and took rank wherever they could.[329]

  [329] Thucyd. vi, 67-69.

Thucydidês, in describing this battle, gives us, according to his
practice, a statement of the motives and feelings which animated the
combatants on both sides, and which furnished a theme for the brief
harangue of Nikias. This appears surprising to one accustomed to
modern warfare, where the soldier is under the influence simply of
professional honor and disgrace, without any thought of the cause
for which he is fighting. In ancient times, such a motive was only
one among many others, which, according to the circumstances of the
case, contributed to elevate or depress the soldier’s mind at the eve
of action. Nikias adverted to the recognized military preëminence
of chosen Argeians, Mantineians, and Athenians, as compared to
the Syracusan levy in mass, who were full of belief in their own
superiority,—this is a striking confession of the deplorable change
which had been wrought by his own delay,—but who would come short in
actual conflict, from want of discipline.[330] Moreover, he reminded
them that they were far away from home, and that defeat would render
them victims, one and all, of the Syracusan cavalry. He little
thought, nor did his prophets forewarn him, that such a calamity,
serious as it would have been, was even desirable for Athens, since
it would have saved her from the far more overwhelming disasters
which will be found to sadden the coming chapters of this history.

  [330] Thucyd. vi, 68, 69. ἄλλως δὲ καὶ πρὸς ἄνδρας πανδημεί
  τε ἀμυνομένους, καὶ οὐκ ἀπολέκτους ὥσπερ ἡμᾶς· καὶ προσέτι
  Σικελιώτας, οἳ ~ὑπερφρονοῦσι μὲν ἡμᾶς~, ὑπομένουσι δὲ οὔ· διὰ τὸ
  τὴν ἐπιστήμην τῆς τόλμης ἥσσω ἔχειν.

  This passage illustrates very clearly the meaning of the adverb
  πανδημεί. Compare πανδαμεὶ, πανομιλεὶ, Æschylus, Sept. Theb. 275.

While the customary sacrifices were being performed, the slingers and
bowmen on both sides became engaged in skirmishing. But presently the
trumpets sounded, and Nikias ordered his first division of hoplites
to charge at once rapidly, before the Syracusans expected it. Judging
from his previous backwardness, they never imagined that he would be
the first to give orders for charging; nor was it until they saw the
Athenian line actually advancing towards them that they lifted their
own arms from the ground and came forward to give the meeting. The
shock was bravely encountered on both sides, and for some time the
battle continued hand to hand with undecided result. There happened
to supervene a violent storm of rain, with thunder and lightning,
which alarmed the Syracusans, who construed it as an unfavorable
augury, while to the more practised Athenian hoplites, it seemed
a mere phenomenon of the season,[331] so that they still farther
astonished the Syracusans by the unabated confidence with which
they continued the fight. At length the Syracusan army was broken,
dispersed, and fled; first, before the Argeians on the right, next,
before the Athenians in the centre. The victors pursued as far as
was safe and practicable, without disordering their ranks: for the
Syracusan cavalry, which had not yet been engaged, checked all who
pressed forward, and enabled their own infantry to retire in safety
behind the Helôrine road.[332]

  [331] Thucyd. vi, 70. Τοῖς δ’ ἐμπειροτέροις, τὰ μὲν γιγνόμενα,
  καὶ ὥρᾳ ἔτους περαίνεσθαι δοκεῖν, τοὺς δὲ ἀνθεστῶτας, πολὺ μείζω
  ἔκπληξιν μὴ νικωμένους παρέχειν.

  The Athenians, unfortunately for themselves, were not equally
  unmoved by eclipses of the moon. The force of this remark will be
  seen in the next chapter but one.

  [332] Thucyd. vi, 70.

So little were the Syracusans dispirited with this defeat, that they
did not retire within their city until they had sent an adequate
detachment to guard the neighboring temple and sacred precinct of
the Olympian Zeus, wherein there was much deposited wealth, which
they feared that the Athenians might seize. Nikias, however, without
approaching the sacred ground, contented himself with occupying the
field of battle, burnt his own dead, and stripped the arms from the
dead of the enemy. The Syracusans and their allies lost two hundred
and fifty men, the Athenians fifty.[333]

  [333] Thucyd. vi, 71. Plutarch (Nikias, c. 16) states that Nikias
  refused from religious scruples to invade the sacred precinct,
  though his soldiers were eager to seize its contents.

  Diodorus (xiii, 6) affirms erroneously that the Athenians became
  masters of the Olympieion. Pausanias too says the same thing (x,
  28, 3), adding that Nikias abstained from disturbing either the
  treasures or the offerings, and left them still under the care of
  the Syracusan priests.

  Plutarch farther states that Nikias stayed some days in his
  position before he returned to Katana. But the language of
  Thucydidês indicates that the Athenians returned on the day after
  the battle.

On the morrow, having granted to the Syracusans their dead bodies
for burial, and collected the ashes of his own dead, Nikias
reëmbarked his troops, put to sea, and sailed back to his former
station at Katana. He conceived it impossible, without cavalry and
a farther stock of money, to maintain his position near Syracuse or
to prosecute immediate operations of siege or blockade. And as the
winter was now approaching, he determined to take up winter quarters
at Katana; though considering the mild winter at Syracuse, and the
danger of marsh fever near the Great Harbor in summer, the change
of season might well be regarded as a questionable gain. But he
proposed to employ the interval in sending to Athens for cavalry
and money, as well as in procuring the like reinforcements from his
Sicilian allies, whose numbers he calculated now on increasing by the
accession of new cities after his recent victory, and to get together
magazines of every kind for beginning the siege of Syracuse in the
spring. Despatching a trireme to Athens with these requisitions,
he sailed with his forces to Messênê, within which there was a
favorable party who gave hopes of opening the gates to him. Such a
correspondence had already been commenced before the departure of
Alkibiadês: but it was the first act of revenge which the departing
general took on his country, to betray the proceedings to the
philo-Syracusan party in Messênê. Accordingly, these latter, watching
their opportunity, rose in arms before the arrival of Nikias, put to
death their chief antagonists, and held the town by force against the
Athenians; who after a fruitless delay of thirteen days, with scanty
supplies and under stormy weather, were forced to return to Naxos,
where they established a palisaded camp and station, and went into
winter quarters.[334]

  [334] Thucyd. vi, 71-74.

The recent stratagem of Nikias, followed by the movement into the
harbor of Syracuse, and the battle, had been ably planned and
executed. It served to show the courage and discipline of the army,
as well as to keep up the spirits of the soldiers themselves, and
to obviate those feelings of disappointment which the previous
inefficiency of the armament tended to arouse. But as to other
results, the victory was barren; we may even say, positively
mischievous, since it imparted a momentary stimulus which served
as an excuse to Nikias for the three months of total inaction
which followed, and since it neither weakened nor humiliated the
Syracusans, but gave them a salutary lesson which they turned to
account while Nikias was in his winter quarters. His apathy during
these first eight months after the arrival of the expedition at
Rhegium (from July 415 B.C. to March 414 B.C.), was the most
deplorable of all calamities to his army, his country, and himself.
Abundant proofs of this will be seen in the coming events: at
present, we have only to turn back to his own predictions and
recommendations. All the difficulties and dangers to be surmounted
in Sicily had been foreseen by himself and impressed upon the
Athenians: in the first instance, as grounds against undertaking
the expedition; but the Athenians, though unfortunately not
allowing them to avail in that capacity, fully admitted their
reality, and authorized him to demand whatever force was necessary
to overcome them.[335] He had thus been allowed to bring with him
a force calculated upon his own ideas, together with supplies and
implements for besieging; yet when arrived, he seems only anxious
to avoid exposing that force in any serious enterprise, and to
find an excuse for conducting it back to Athens. That Syracuse was
the grand enemy, and that the capital point of the enterprise was
the siege of that city, was a truth familiar to himself as well
as every man at Athens:[336] upon the formidable cavalry of the
Syracusans, Nikias had himself insisted, in the preliminary debates.
Yet, after four months of mere trifling, and pretence of action
so as to evade dealing with the real difficulty, the existence of
this cavalry is made an excuse for a farther postponement of four
months until reinforcements can be obtained from Athens. To all
the intrinsic dangers of the case, predicted by Nikias himself
with proper discernment, was thus superadded the aggravated danger
of his own factitious delay; frittering away the first impression
of his armament, giving the Syracusans leisure to enlarge their
fortifications, and allowing the Peloponnesians time to interfere
against Attica as well as to succor Sicily. It was the unhappy
weakness of this commander to shrink from decisive resolutions of
every kind, and at any rate to postpone them until the necessity
became imminent: the consequence of which was,—to use an expression
of the Corinthian envoy before the Peloponnesian war in censuring
the dilatory policy of Sparta,—that never acting, yet always seeming
about to act, he found his enemy in double force instead of single,
at the moment of actual conflict.[337]

  [335] Thucyd. vi, 21-26.

  [336] Thucyd. vi, 20.

  [337] Thucyd. i, 69. ἡσυχάζετε γὰρ μόνοι Ἑλλήνων, ὦ
  Λακεδαιμόνιοι, οὐ τῇ δυνάμει τινὰ ἀλλὰ τῇ μελλήσει ἀμυνόμενοι,
  καὶ μόνοι ~οὐκ ἀρχομένην τὴν αὔξησιν τῶν ἐχθρῶν, ἀλλὰ
  διπλασιουμένην, καταλύοντες~.

Great, indeed, must have been the disappointment of the Athenians,
when, after having sent forth in the month of June, an expedition
of unparalleled efficiency, they receive in the month of November a
despatch to acquaint them that the general has accomplished little
except one indecisive victory; and that he has not even attempted
anything serious, nor can do so unless they send him farther cavalry
and money. Yet the only answer which they made was, to grant and
provide for this demand without any public expression of discontent
or disappointment against him.[338] And this is the more to be noted,
since the removal of Alkibiadês afforded an inviting and even
valuable opportunity for proposing to send out a fresh colleague
in his room. If there were no complaints raised against Nikias at
Athens, so neither are we informed of any such, even among his own
soldiers in Sicily, though _their_ disappointment must have been
yet greater than that of their countrymen at home, considering
the expectations with which they had come out. We may remember
that the delay of a few days at Eion, under perfectly justifiable
circumstances, and while awaiting the arrival of reinforcements
actually sent for, raised the loudest murmurs against Kleon in
his expedition against Amphipolis, from the hoplites in his own
army.[339] The contrast is instructive, and will appear yet more
instructive as we advance forward.

  [338] Αἰσχρὸν δὲ βιασθέντας ἀπελθεῖν, ἢ ~ὕστερον
  ἐπιμεταπέμπεσθαι~, τὸ πρῶτον ἀσκέπτως βουλευσαμένους: “It is
  disgraceful to be driven out of Sicily by superior force, or to
  _send back here afterwards for fresh reinforcements, through our
  own fault in making bad calculations at first_.” (Thucyd. vi, 21.)

  This was a part of the last speech by Nikias himself at Athens,
  prior to the expedition. The Athenian people in reply had passed
  a vote that he and his colleagues should fix their own amount of
  force, and should have everything which they asked for. Moreover,
  such was the feeling in the city, that every one individually was
  anxious to put down his name to serve (vi, 26-31). Thucydidês
  can hardly find words sufficient to depict the completeness, the
  grandeur, the wealth public and private, of the armament.

  As this goes to establish what I have advanced in the text,—that
  the actions of Nikias in Sicily stand most of all condemned by
  his own previous speeches at Athens,—so it seems to have been
  forgotten by Dr. Arnold, when he wrote his note on the remarkable
  passage, ii, 65, of Thucydidês,—ἐξ ὧν ἄλλα τε πολλὰ, ὡς ἐν μεγάλῃ
  πόλει, καὶ ἀρχὴν ἐχούσῃ, ἡμαρτήθη, καὶ ὁ ἐς Σικελίαν πλοῦς·
  ὃς οὐ τοσοῦτον γνώμης ἁμάρτημα ἦν πρὸς οὓς ἐπῄεσαν, ὅσον ~οἱ
  ἐκπέμψαντες, οὐ τὰ πρόσφορα τοῖς οἰχομένοις ἐπιγιγνώσκοντες~,
  ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας διαβολὰς περὶ τῆς τοῦ δήμου προστασίας, τά τε
  ἐν τῷ στρατοπέδῳ ἀμβλύτερα ἐποίουν, καὶ τὰ περὶ τὴν πόλιν πρῶτον
  ἐν ἀλλήλοις ἐταράχθησαν. Upon which Dr. Arnold remarks:—

  “Thucydidês here expresses the same opinion which he repeats in
  two other places (vi, 31; vii, 42). namely, that the Athenian
  power was fully adequate to the conquest of Syracuse, _had not
  the expedition been mismanaged by the general, and insufficiently
  supplied by the government at home_. The words οὐ τὰ πρόσφορα
  τοῖς οἰχομένοις ἐπιγιγνώσκοντες signify “_not voting afterwards
  the needful supplies to their absent armament_:” for Nikias was
  prevented from improving his first victory over the Syracusans
  by the want of cavalry and money; and the whole winter was lost
  before he could get supplied from Athens. And subsequently
  the armament was allowed to be reduced to great distress and
  weakness, before the second expedition was sent to reinforce it.”
  Göller and Poppo concur in this explanation.

  Let us in the first place discuss the explanation here given of
  the words τὰ πρόσφορα ἐπιγιγνώσκοντες. It appears to me that
  these words do _not_ signify “_voting the needful supplies_.”

  The word ἐπιγιγνώσκειν cannot be used in the same sense with
  ἐπιπέμπειν—παρασχεῖν (vii, 2-15), ἐκπορίζειν. As it would not
  be admissible to say ἐπιγιγνώσκειν ὅπλα, νῆας, ἵππους, χρήματα,
  etc., so neither can it be right to say ἐπιγιγνώσκειν τὰ
  πρόσφορα, if this latter word were used only as a comprehensive
  word for these particulars, meaning “_supplies_.” The words
  really mean: “_taking farther resolutions_ (after the expedition
  was gone) _unsuitable or mischievous to the absent armament_.”
  Πρόσφορα is used here quite generally, agreeing with βουλεύματα,
  or some such word: indeed, we find the phrase τὰ πρόσφορα used
  in the most general sense, for “what is suitable;” “what is
  advantageous or convenient:” γυμνάσω τὰ πρόσφορα—πράσσεται τὰ
  πρόσφορα—τὰ πρόσφορ’ ηὔξατ’—τὰ πρόσφορα δρῳης ἂν—τὸ ταῖσδε
  πρόσφορον. Euripid. Hippol. 112; Alkestis, 148; Iphig. Aul. 160,
  B; Helen. 1299; Troades, 304.

  Thucydidês appears to have in view the violent party contests
  which broke out in reference to the Hermæ and the other
  irreligious acts at Athens, after the departure of the armament,
  especially to the mischief of recalling Alkibiadês, which grew
  out of those contests. He does not allude to the withholding
  of supplies from the armament; nor was it the purpose of any
  of the parties at Athens to withhold them. The party acrimony
  was directed against Alkibiadês exclusively, not against the

  Next, as to the main allegation in Dr. Arnold’s note, that _one
  of the causes_ of the failure of the Athenian expedition in
  Sicily, was, that it was “insufficiently supplied by Athens.” Of
  the two passages to which he refers in Thucydidês (vi, 31; vii,
  42), the first distinctly contradicts this allegation, by setting
  forth the prodigious amount of force sent; the second says
  nothing about it, and indirectly discountenances it, by dwelling
  upon the glaring blunders of Nikias.

  After the Athenians had allowed Nikias in the spring to name and
  collect the force which he thought requisite, how could they
  expect to receive a demand for farther reinforcements in the
  autumn, the army having really done nothing? Nevertheless, the
  supplies _were sent_, as soon as they could be, and as soon as
  Nikias expected them. If the whole winter was lost, that was not
  the fault of the Athenians.

  Still harder is it in Dr. Arnold, to say, “that the armament
  _was allowed_ to be reduced to great distress and weakness
  before the second expedition was sent to reinforce it.” The
  second expedition was sent the moment that Nikias made known
  his distress and asked for it; his intimation of distress
  coming quite suddenly, almost immediately after most successful

  It appears to me that nothing can be more incorrect or
  inconsistent with the whole tenor of the narrative of
  Thucydidês, than to charge the Athenians with having starved
  their expedition. What they are really chargeable with, is, the
  having devoted to it a disproportionate fraction of their entire
  strength, perfectly enormous and ruinous. And so Thucydidês
  plainly conceives it, when he is describing both the armament of
  Nikias and that of Demosthenês.

  Thucydidês is very reserved in saying anything against Nikias,
  whom he treats throughout with the greatest indulgence and
  tenderness. But he lets drop quite sufficient to prove that
  he conceived the mismanagement of the general as _the cause_
  of the failure of the armament, not as “one of two causes,”
  as Dr. Arnold here presents it. Of course, I recognize fully
  the consummate skill, and the aggressive vigor so unusual in a
  Spartan, of Gylippus, together with the effective influence which
  this exercised upon the result. But Gylippus would never have
  set foot in Syracuse, had he not been let in, first through the
  apathy, next through the contemptuous want of precaution, shown
  by Nikias (vii, 42).

  [339] Thucyd. v, 7. See volume vi of this History, chap. liv, p.

Meanwhile the Syracusans were profiting by the lesson of their
recent defeat. In the next public assembly which ensued, Hermokratês
addressed them in the mingled tone of encouragement and admonition.
He praised their bravery, while he deprecated their want of tactics
and discipline. Considering the great superiority of the enemy in
this last respect, he regarded the recent battle as giving good
promise for the future; and he appealed with satisfaction to the
precautions taken by Nikias in fortifying his camp, as well as to
his speedy retreat after the battle. He pressed them to diminish
the excessive number of fifteen generals, whom they had hitherto
been accustomed to nominate to the command; to reduce the number to
three, conferring upon them at the same time fuller powers than
had been before enjoyed, and swearing a solemn oath to leave them
unfettered in the exercise of such powers; lastly, to enjoin upon
these generals the most strenuous efforts, during the coming winter,
for training and arming the whole population. Accordingly Hermokratês
himself, with Herakleidês and Sikanus, were named to the command.
Ambassadors were sent both to Sparta and to Corinth, for the purpose
of entreating assistance in Sicily, as well as of prevailing on the
Peloponnesians to recommence a direct attack against Attica;[340]
so as at least to prevent the Athenians from sending farther
reinforcements to Nikias, and perhaps even to bring about the recall
of his army.

  [340] Thucyd. vi, 72, 73.

But by far the most important measure which marked the nomination of
the new generals, was, the enlargement of the line of fortifications
at Syracuse. They constructed a new wall, inclosing an additional
space and covering both their inner and their outer city to the
westward, reaching from the outer sea to the Great Harbor, across
the whole space fronting the rising slope of the hill of Epipolæ,
and stretching far enough westward to inclose the sacred precinct of
Apollo Temenites. This was intended as a precaution, in order that
if Nikias, resuming operations in the spring, should beat them in
the field and confine them to their walls, he might, nevertheless,
be prevented from carrying a wall of circumvallation from sea to sea
without covering a great additional extent of ground.[341] Besides
this, the Syracusans fitted up and garrisoned the deserted town of
Megara, on the coast to the north of Syracuse; they established a
regular fortification and garrison in the Olympieion or temple of
Zeus Olympius, which they had already garrisoned after the recent
battle with Nikias; and they planted stakes in the sea to obstruct
the convenient landing-places. All these precautions were useful
to them; and we may even say that the new outlying fortification,
inclosing the Temenites, proved their salvation in the coming siege,
by so lengthening the circumvallation necessary for the Athenians to
construct, that Gylippus had time to arrive before it was finished.
But there was one farther precaution which the Syracusans omitted
at this moment, when it was open to them without any hindrance,
to occupy and fortify the Euryâlus, or the summit of the hill of
Epipolæ. Had they done this now, probably the Athenians could never
have made progress with their lines of circumvallation: but they did
not think of it until too late, as we shall presently see.

  [341] Thucyd. vi, 75. Ἐτείχιζον δὲ οἱ Συρακόσιοι ἐν τῷ χειμῶνι
  πρός τε τῇ πόλει, τὸν Τεμενίτην ἐντὸς ποιησάμενοι, ~τεῖχος
  παρὰ πᾶν τὸ πρὸς τὰς Ἐπιπολὰς~ ὁρῶν, ~ὅπως μὴ δι’ ἐλάσσονος
  εὐαποτείχιστοι ὦσιν~, ἢν ἄρα σφάλλωνται, etc.

  I reserve the general explanation of the topography of Syracuse
  for the next chapter, when the siege begins.

Nevertheless it is important to remark, in reference to the general
scheme of Athenian operations in Sicily, that if Nikias had
adopted the plan originally recommended by Lamachus, or if he had
begun his permanent besieging operations against Syracuse in the
summer or autumn of 415 B.C., instead of postponing them, as he
actually did, to the spring of 414 B.C., he would have found none
of these additional defences to contend against, and the line of
circumvallation necessary for his purpose would have been shorter and
easier. Besides these permanent and irreparable disadvantages, his
winter’s inaction at Naxos drew upon him the farther insult, that
the Syracusans marched to his former quarters at Katana and burned
the tents which they found standing, ravaging at the same time the
neighboring fields.[342]

  [342] Thucyd. vi, 75.

Kamarina maintained an equivocal policy which made both parties hope
to gain it; and in the course of this winter the Athenian envoy
Euphêmus with others was sent thither to propose a renewal of that
alliance, between the city and Athens, which had been concluded
ten years before. Hermokratês the Syracusan went to counteract his
object; and both of them, according to Grecian custom, were admitted
to address the public assembly.

Hermokratês began by denouncing the views, designs, and past history
of Athens. He did not, he said, fear her power, provided the
Sicilian cities were united and true to each other: even against
Syracuse alone, the hasty retreat of the Athenians after the recent
battle had shown how little they confided in their own strength.
What he did fear, was, the delusive promises and insinuations of
Athens, tending to disunite the island, and to paralyze all joint
resistance. Every one knew that her purpose in this expedition was
to subjugate all Sicily,—that Leontini and Egesta served merely
as convenient pretences to put forward,—and that she could have no
sincere sympathy for Chalkidians in Sicily, when she herself held in
slavery the Chalkidians in Eubœa. It was, in truth, nothing else but
an extension of the same scheme of rapacious ambition, whereby she
had reduced her Ionian allies and kinsmen to their present wretched
slavery, now threatened against Sicily. The Sicilians could not too
speedily show her that they were no Ionians, made to be transferred
from one master to another, but autonomous Dorians from the centre
of autonomy, Peloponnesus. It would be madness to forfeit this
honorable position through jealousy or lukewarmness among themselves.
Let not the Kamarinæans imagine that Athens was striking her blow at
Syracuse alone: they were themselves next neighbors of Syracuse, and
would be the first victims if she were conquered. They might wish,
from apprehension or envy, to see the superior power of Syracuse
humbled, but this could not happen without endangering their own
existence. They ought to do for her what they would have asked her to
do if the Athenians had invaded Kamarina, instead of lending merely
nominal aid, as they had hitherto done. Their former alliance with
Athens was for purposes of mutual defence, not binding them to aid
her in schemes of pure aggression. To hold aloof, give fair words
to both parties, and leave Syracuse to fight the battle of Sicily
single-handed, was as unjust as it was dishonorable. If she came off
victor in the struggle, she would take care that the Kamarinæans
should be no gainers by such a policy. The state of affairs was so
plain, that he (Hermokratês) could not pretend to enlighten them: but
he solemnly appealed to their sentiments of common blood and lineage.
The Dorians of Syracuse were assailed by their eternal enemies the
Ionians, and ought not to be now betrayed by their own brother
Dorians of Kamarina.[343]

  [343] Thucyd. vi, 77-80.

Euphêmus, in reply, explained the proceedings of Athens in reference
to her empire, and vindicated her against the charges of Hermokratês.
Though addressing a Dorian assembly, he did not fear to take his
start from the position laid down by Hermokratês, that Ionians
were the natural enemies of Dorians. Under this feeling Athens, as
an Ionian city, had looked about to strengthen herself against
the supremacy of her powerful Dorian neighbors in Peloponnesus.
Finding herself after the repulse of the Persian king at the head
of those Ionians and other Greeks who had just revolted from him,
she had made use of her position as well as of her superior navy
to shake off the illegitimate ascendency of Sparta. Her empire was
justified by regard for her own safety against Sparta, as well as
by the immense superiority of her maritime efforts in the rescue of
Greece from the Persians. Even in reference to her allies, she had
good ground for reducing them to subjection, because they had made
themselves the instruments and auxiliaries of the Persian king in
his attempt to conquer her. Prudential views for assured safety to
herself had thus led her to the acquisition of her present empire,
and the same views now brought her to Sicily. He was prepared to show
that the interests of Kamarina were in full accordance with those
of Athens. The main purpose of Athens in Sicily was to prevent her
Sicilian enemies from sending aid to her Peloponnesian enemies, to
accomplish which, powerful Sicilian allies were indispensable to her.
To enfeeble or subjugate her Sicilian allies would be folly: if she
did this, they would not serve her purpose of keeping the Syracusans
employed in their own island. Hence her desire to reëstablish the
expatriated Leontines, powerful and free, though she retained the
Chalkidians in Eubœa as subjects. Near home, she wanted nothing but
subjects, disarmed and tribute-paying, while in Sicily, she required
independent and efficient allies; so that the double conduct, which
Hermokratês reproached as inconsistent, proceeded from one and the
same root of public prudence. Pursuant to that motive, Athens dealt
differently with her different allies, according to the circumstances
of each. Thus, she respected the autonomy of Chios and Methymna, and
maintained equal relations with other islanders near Peloponnesus;
and such were the relations which she now wished to establish in

No: it was Syracuse, not Athens, whom the Kamarinæans and other
Sicilians had really ground to fear. Syracuse was aiming at the
acquisition of imperial sway over the island; and that which she
had already done towards the Leontines showed what she was prepared
to do when the time came, against Kamarina and others. It was under
this apprehension that the Kamarinæans had formerly invited Athens
into Sicily: it would be alike unjust and impolitic were they now to
repudiate her aid, for she could accomplish nothing without them; if
they did so on the present occasion, they would repent it hereafter
when exposed to the hostility of a constant encroaching neighbor,
and when Athenian auxiliaries could not again be had. He repelled
the imputations which Hermokratês had cast upon Athens, but the
Kamarinæans were not sitting as judges or censors upon her merits. It
was for them to consider whether that meddlesome disposition, with
which Athens was reproached, was not highly beneficial as the terror
of oppressors, and the shield of weaker states, throughout Greece.
He now tendered it to the Kamarinæans as their only security against
Syracuse; calling upon them, instead of living in perpetual fear of
her aggression, to seize the present opportunity of attacking her on
an equal footing, jointly with Athens.[344]

  [344] Thucyd. vi, 83-87.

In these two remarkable speeches, we find Hermokratês renewing
substantially the same line of counsel as he had taken up ten years
before at the congress of Gela, to settle all Sicilian differences at
home, and above all things to keep out the intervention of Athens;
who if she once got footing in Sicily, would never rest until she
reduced all the cities successively. This was the natural point of
view for a Syracusan politician; but by no means equally natural,
nor equally conclusive, for an inhabitant of one of the secondary
Sicilian cities, especially of the conterminous Kamarina. And the
oration of Euphêmus is an able pleading to demonstrate that the
Kamarinæans had far more to fear from Syracuse than from Athens.
His arguments to this point are at least highly plausible, if not
convincing: but he seems to lay himself open to attack from the
opposite quarter. If Athens cannot hope to gain any subjects in
Sicily, what motive has she for interfering? This Euphêmus meets
by contending that if she does not interfere, the Syracusans and
their allies will come across and render assistance to the enemies
of Athens in Peloponnesus. It is manifest, however, that under the
actual circumstances of the time, Athens could have no real fears of
this nature, and that her real motives for meddling in Sicily were
those of hope and encroachment, not of self-defence. But it shows
how little likely such hopes were to be realized, and therefore how
ill-advised the whole plan of interference in Sicily was,—that the
Athenian envoy could say to the Kamarinæans, in the same strain
as Nikias had spoken at Athens when combating the wisdom of the
expedition: “Such is the distance of Sicily from Athens, and such
the difficulty of guarding cities of great force and ample territory
combined, that if we wished to hold you Sicilians as subjects,
we should be unable to do it: we can only retain you as free and
powerful allies.”[345] What Nikias said at Athens to dissuade his
countrymen from the enterprise, under sincere conviction, Euphêmus
repeated at Kamarina for the purpose of conciliating that city;
probably, without believing it himself, yet the anticipation was not
on that account the less true and reasonable.

  [345] Thucyd. vi, 86. ἡμεῖς μέν γε οὔτε ἐμμεῖναι δυνατοὶ μὴ
  μεθ’ ὑμῶν· εἴ τε καὶ γενόμενοι κακοὶ κατεργασαίμεθα, ἀδύνατοι
  κατασχεῖν, διὰ μῆκός τε πλοῦ καὶ ἀπορίᾳ φυλακῆς πόλεων μεγάλων
  καὶ παρασκευῇ ἠπειρωτίδων, etc.

  This is exactly the language of Nikias in his speech to the
  Athenians. vi, 11.

The Kamarinæans felt the force of both speeches, from Hermokratês
and Euphêmus. Their inclinations carried them towards the Athenians,
yet not without a certain misgiving in case Athens should prove
completely successful. Towards the Syracusans, on the contrary, they
entertained nothing but unqualified apprehension, and jealousy of
very ancient date; and even now their great fear was, of probable
suffering, if the Syracusans succeeded against Athens without their
coöperation. In this dilemma, they thought it safest to give an
evasive answer, of friendly sentiment towards both parties, but
refusal of aid to either; hoping thus to avoid an inexpiable breach,
whichever way the ultimate success might turn.[346]

  [346] Thucyd. vi, 88.

For a city comparatively weak and situated like Kamarina, such was
perhaps the least hazardous policy. In December, 415 B.C., no human
being could venture to predict how the struggle between Nikias and
the Syracusans in the coming year would turn out; nor were the
Kamarinæans prompted by any hearty feeling to take the extreme
chances with either party. Matters had borne a different aspect,
indeed, in the preceding month of July 415 B.C., when the Athenians
first arrived. Had the vigorous policy urged by Lamachus been then
followed up, the Athenians would always have appeared likely to
succeed, if, indeed, they had not already become conquerors of
Syracuse; so that waverers like the Kamarinæans would have remained
attached to them from policy. The best way to obtain allies, Lamachus
had contended, was, to be prompt and decisive in action, and to
strike at the capital point at once, while the intimidating effect
of their arrival was fresh. Of the value of his advice, an emphatic
illustration is afforded by the conduct of Kamarina.[347]

  [347] Compare the remarks of Alkibiadês, Thucyd. vi, 91.

Throughout the rest of the winter, Nikias did little or nothing.
He merely despatched envoys for the purpose of conciliating the
Sikels in the interior, where the autonomous Sikels, who dwelt in
the central regions of the island, for the most part declared in
his favor,—especially the powerful Sikel prince Archônidês,—sending
provisions and even money to the camp at Naxos. Against some
refractory tribes, Nikias sent detachments for purposes of
compulsion; while the Syracusans on their part did the like to
counteract him. Such Sikel tribes as had become dependents of
Syracuse, stood aloof from the struggle. As the spring approached,
Nikias transferred his position from Naxos to Katana, reëstablishing
that camp which the Syracusans had destroyed.[348]

  [348] Thucyd. vi, 88.

He farther sent a trireme to Carthage, to invite coöperation from
that city; and a second to the Tyrrhenian maritime cities on the
southern coast of Italy, some of whom had proffered to him their
services, as ancient enemies of Syracuse, and now realized their
promises. From Carthage nothing was obtained; why, we do not know;
for we shall find the Carthaginians, six years hence, invading
Sicily with prodigious forces; and if they entertained any such
intentions, it would seem that the presence of Nikias in Sicily must
have presented the most convenient moment for executing them. To the
Sikels, Egestæans, and all the other allies of Athens, Nikias sent
orders for bricks, iron bars, clamps, and everything suitable for the
wall of circumvallation, which was to be commenced with the first
burst of spring.

While such preparations were going on in Sicily, debates of
portentous promise took place at Sparta. Immediately after the
battle near the Olympieion, and the retreat of Nikias into winter
quarters, the Syracusans had despatched envoys to Peloponnesus to
solicit reinforcements. Here, again, we are compelled to notice the
lamentable consequences arising out of the inaction of Nikias. Had
he commenced the siege of Syracuse on his first arrival, it may be
doubted whether any such envoys would have been sent to Peloponnesus
at all; at any rate, they would not have arrived in time to produce
decisive effects.[349] After exerting what influence they could upon
the Italian Greeks in their voyage, the Syracusan envoys reached
Corinth, where they found the warmest reception and obtained promises
of speedy succor. The Corinthians furnished envoys of their own to
accompany them to Sparta, and to back their request for Lacedæmonian

  [349] Thucyd. vi, 88; vii, 42.

They found at the congress at Sparta another advocate upon whom they
could not reasonably have counted, Alkibiadês. That exile had crossed
over from Thurii to the Eleian port of Kyllênê in Peloponnesus in
a merchant-vessel,[350] and now appeared at Sparta on special
invitation and safe-conduct from the Lacedæmonians; of whom he was
at first vehemently afraid, in consequence of having raised against
them that Peloponnesian combination which had given them so much
trouble before the battle of Mantineia. He now appeared, too, burning
with hostility against his country, and eager to inflict upon her
all the mischief in his power. Having been the chief evil genius to
plunge her, mainly for selfish ends of his own, into this ill-starred
venture, he was now about to do his best to turn it into her
irreparable ruin. His fiery stimulus, and unmeasured exaggerations,
supplied what was wanting in Corinthian and Syracusan eloquence, and
inflamed the tardy good-will of the Spartan ephors into comparative
decision and activity.[351] His harangue in the Spartan congress is
given to us by Thucydidês, who may possibly have heard it, as he was
then himself in exile. Like the earlier speech which he puts into the
mouth of Alkibiadês at Athens, it is characteristic in a high degree;
and interesting in another point of view as the latest composed
speech of any length which we find in his history. I give here the
substance, without professing to translate the words.

  [350] Plutarch (Alkib. c. 23) says that he went to reside at
  Argos; but this seems difficult to reconcile with the assertion
  of Thucydidês (vi, 61) that his friends at Argos had incurred
  grave suspicions of treason.

  Cornelius Nepos (Alkib. c. 4) says, with greater probability of
  truth, that Alkibiadês went from Thurii, first to Elis, next to

  Isokratês (De Bigis, Orat. xvi, s. 10) says that the Athenians
  banished him out of all Greece, inscribed his name on a column,
  and sent envoys to demand his person from the Argeians; so that
  Alkibiadês _was compelled_ to take refuge with the Lacedæmonians.
  This whole statement of Isokratês is exceedingly loose and
  untrustworthy, carrying back the commencement of the conspiracy
  of the Four Hundred to a time anterior to the banishment of
  Alkibiadês. But among all the vague sentences, this allegation
  that the Athenians banished him out of _all Greece_ stands
  prominent. They could only banish him from the territory of
  Athens and her allies. Whether he went to Argos, as I have
  already said, seems to me very doubtful: perhaps Plutarch copied
  the statement from this passage of Isokratês.

  But under all circumstances, we are not to believe that
  Alkibiadês turned against his country, or went to Sparta, _upon
  compulsion_. The first act of his hostility to Athens, the
  disappointing her of the acquisition of Messênê, was committed
  before he left Sicily. Moreover, Thucydidês represents him as
  unwilling indeed to go to Sparta, but only unwilling because he
  was afraid of the Spartans; in fact, waiting for a safe-conduct
  and invitation from them. Thucydidês mentions nothing about his
  going to Argos (vi, 88).

  [351] Thucyd. vi, 88.

“First, I must address you, Lacedæmonians, respecting the prejudices
current against me personally, before I can hope to find a fair
hearing on public matters. You know it was I, who renewed my public
connection with Sparta, after my ancestors before me had quarrelled
with you and renounced it. Moreover, I assiduously cultivated your
favor on all points, especially by attentions to your prisoners at
Athens: but while I was showing all this zeal towards you, you took
the opportunity of the peace which you made with Athens to employ
my enemies as your agents, thus strengthening their hands, and
dishonoring me. It was this conduct of yours which drove me to unite
with the Argeians and Mantineians; nor ought you to be angry with
me for mischief which you thus drew upon yourselves. Probably some
of you hate me too, without any good reason, as a forward partisan
of democracy. My family were always opposed to the Peisistratid
despots; and as all opposition to a reigning dynasty takes the name
of The People, so from that time forward we continued to act as
leaders of the people.[352] Moreover, our established constitution
was a democracy, so that I had no choice but to obey, though I did my
best to maintain a moderate line of political conduct in the midst
of the reigning license. It was not my family, but others, who in
former times as well as now, led the people into the worst courses,
those same men who sent me into exile. I always acted as leader, not
of a party, but of the entire city; thinking it right to uphold that
constitution in which Athens had enjoyed her grandeur and freedom,
and which I found already existing.[353] For as to democracy, all we
Athenians of common sense well knew its real character. Personally,
I have better reason than any one else to rail against it, if one
_could_ say anything new about such confessed folly; but I did not
think it safe to change the government, while you were standing by as

  [352] Thucyd. vi, 89. Τοῖς γὰρ τυράννοις ἀεί ποτε διάφοροί ἐσμεν,
  πᾶν δὲ τὸ ἐναντιούμενον τῷ δυναστεύοντι δῆμος ὠνόμασται· καὶ ἀπ’
  ἐκείνου ξυμπαρέμεινεν ἡ προστασία ἡμῖν τοῦ πλήθους.

  It is to be recollected that the Lacedæmonians had been always
  opposed to τύραννοι, or despots, and had been particularly
  opposed to the Peisistratid τύραννοι, whom they in fact put
  down. In tracing his democratical tendencies, therefore, to this
  source, Alkibiadês took the best means of excusing them before a
  Lacedæmonian audience.

  [353] Thucyd. vi, 89. ἡμεῖς δὲ τοῦ ξύμπαντος προέστημεν,
  δικαιοῦντες ἐν ᾧ σχήματι μεγίστη ἡ πόλις ἔτυχε καὶ ἐλευθερωτάτη
  οὖσα, καὶ ὅπερ ἐδέξατό τις, τοῦτο ξυνδιασῴζειν· ἐπεὶ δημοκρατίαν
  γε καὶ ἐγιγνώσκομεν οἱ φρονοῦντές τι, καὶ αὐτὸς οὐδενὸς ἂν
  χεῖρον, ὅσῳ καὶ λοιδορήσαιμι· ἀλλὰ περὶ ὁμολογουμένης ἀνοίας
  οὐδὲν ἂν καινὸν λέγοιτο· καὶ τὸ μεθιστάναι αὐτὴν οὐκ ἐδόκει ἡμῖν
  ἀσφαλὲς εἶναι, ὑμῶν πολεμίων προσκαθημένων.

“So much as to myself personally: I shall now talk to you about the
business of the meeting, and tell you something more than you yet
know. Our purpose in sailing from Athens, was, first to conquer the
Sicilian Greeks; next, the Italian Greeks; afterwards, to make an
attempt on the Carthaginian empire and on Carthage herself. If all
or most of this succeeded, we were then to attack Peloponnesus.
We intended to bring to this enterprise the entire power of the
Sicilian and Italian Greeks, besides large numbers of Iberian and
other warlike barbaric mercenaries, together with many new triremes
built from the abundant forests of Italy, and large supplies both of
treasure and provision. We could thus blockade Peloponnesus all round
with our fleet, and at the same time assail it with our land-force;
and we calculated, by taking some towns by storm and occupying others
as permanent fortified positions, that we should easily conquer the
whole peninsula, and then become undisputed masters of Greece. You
thus hear the whole scheme of our expedition from the man who knows
it best; and you may depend on it that the remaining generals will
execute all this, if they can. Nothing but your intervention can
hinder them. If, indeed, the Sicilian Greeks were all united, they
might hold out; but the Syracusans standing alone cannot, beaten as
they already have been in a general action, and blocked up as they
are by sea. If Syracuse falls into the hands of the Athenians, all
Sicily and all Italy will share the same fate; and the danger which I
have described will be soon upon you.

“It is not therefore simply for the safety of Sicily,—it is for
the safety of Peloponnesus,—that I now urge you to send across,
forthwith, a fleet with an army of hoplites as rowers; and what I
consider still more important than an army, a Spartan general to
take the supreme command. Moreover, you must also carry on declared
and vigorous war against Athens here, that the Syracusans may be
encouraged to hold out, and that Athens may be in no condition to
send additional reinforcements thither. You must farther fortify and
permanently garrison Dekeleia in Attica:[354] that is the contingency
which the Athenians have always been most afraid of, and which
therefore you may know to be your best policy. You will thus get
into your own hands the live and dead stock of Attica, interrupt the
working of the silver mines at Laureion, deprive the Athenians of
their profits from judicial fines as well as of their landed revenue,
and dispose the subject-allies to withhold their tribute.

  [354] The establishment and permanent occupation of a fortified
  post in Attica, had been contemplated by the Corinthians even
  before the beginning of the war (Thucyd. i, 122).

“None of you ought to think the worse of me because I make this
vigorous onset upon my country in conjunction with her enemies,
I who once passed for a patriot.[355] Nor ought you to mistrust
my assurances, as coming from the reckless passion of an exile.
The worst enemies of Athens are not those who make open war like
you, but those who drive her best friends into hostility. I loved
my country,[356] while I was secure as a citizen; I love her no
more, now that I am wronged. In fact, I do not conceive myself to
be assailing a country still mine; I am rather trying to win back
a country now lost to me. The real patriot is not he, who, having
unjustly lost his country, acquiesces in patience, but he whose ardor
makes him try every means to regain her.

  [355] Thucyd. vi, 92. Καὶ χείρων οὐδενὶ ἀξιῶ δοκεῖν ὑμῶν εἶναι,
  εἰ τῇ ἐμαυτοῦ μετὰ τῶν πολεμιωτάτων, φιλόπολίς ποτε δοκῶν εἶναι,
  νῦν ἐγκρατῶς ἐπέρχομαι.

  [356] Thucyd. vi, 92. Τό τε φιλόπολι οὐκ ἐν ᾧ ἀδικοῦμαι ἔχω, ἀλλ’
  ἐν ᾧ ἀσφαλῶς ἐπολιτεύθην. Οὐδ’ ἐπὶ πατρίδα οὖσαν ἔτι ἡγοῦμαι νῦν
  ἰέναι, πολὺ δὲ μᾶλλον τὴν οὐκ οὖσαν ἀνακτᾶσθαι. Καὶ φιλόπολις
  οὗτος ὀρθῶς, οὐχ ὃς ἂν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀδίκως ἀπολέσας μὴ ἐπίῃ, ἀλλ’
  ὃς ἂν ἐκ παντὸς τρόπου διὰ τὸ ἐπιθυμεῖν πειραθῇ αὐτὴν ἀναλαβεῖν.

“Employ me without fear, Lacedæmonians, in any service of danger or
suffering; the more harm I did you formerly as an enemy, the more
good I can now do you as a friend. But above all, do not shrink back
from instant operations both in Sicily and in Attica, upon which so
much depends. You will thus put down the power of Athens, present as
well as future; you will dwell yourselves in safety; and you will
become the leaders of undivided Hellas, by free consent and without

  [357] Thucyd. vi, 89-92.

Enormous consequences turned upon this speech, no less masterly
in reference to the purpose and the audience, than infamous as an
indication of the character of the speaker. If its contents became
known at Athens, as they probably did, the enemies of Alkibiadês
would be supplied with a justification of their most violent
political attacks. That imputation which they had taken so much
pains to fasten upon him, citing in proof of it alike his profligate
expenditure, overbearing insolence, and derision of the religious
ceremonies of the state,[358]—that he detested the democracy in his
heart, submitted to it only from necessity, and was watching for the
first safe opportunity of subverting it,—appears here in his own
language as matter of avowal and boast. The sentence of condemnation
against him would now be unanimously approved, even by those who
at the time had deprecated it; and the people would be more firmly
persuaded than before of the reality of the association between
irreligious manifestations and treasonable designs. Doubtless the
inferences so drawn from the speech would be unsound, because it
represented, not the actual past sentiments of Alkibiadês, but those
to which he now found it convenient to lay claim. As far as so very
selfish a politician could be said to have any preference, democracy
was, in some respects, more convenient to him than oligarchy.
Though offensive to his taste, it held out larger prospects to
his love of show, his adventurous ambition, and his rapacity for
foreign plunder; while under an oligarchy, the jealous restraints
and repulses imposed on him by a few equals, would be perhaps more
galling to his temper than those arising from the whole people.[359]
He takes credit in his speech for moderation, as opposed to the
standing license of democracy. But this is a pretence absurd even to
extravagance, and which Athenians of all parties would have listened
to with astonishment. Such license as that of Alkibiadês had never
been seen at Athens; and it was the adventurous instincts of the
democracy towards foreign conquest, combined with their imperfect
apprehension of the limits and conditions under which alone their
empire could be permanently maintained, which he stimulated up to the
highest point, and then made use of for his own power and profit. As
against himself, he had reason for accusing his political enemies
of unworthy manœuvres, and even of gross political wickedness, if
they were authors or accomplices—as seems probable of some—in the
mutilation of the Hermæ. But most certainly, their public advice to
the commonwealth was far less mischievous than his. And if we are to
strike the balance of personal political merit between Alkibiadês
and his enemies, we must take into the comparison his fraud upon the
simplicity of the Lacedæmonian envoys, recounted in the last chapter
but one of this History.

  [358] Thucyd. vi, 28.

  [359] See a remarkable passage of Thucyd. viii, 89, ῥᾷον τὰ
  ἀποβαίνοντα, ὡς οὐκ ἀπὸ τῶν ὁμοίων, ἐλασσούμενός τις φέρει,
  and the note in explanation of it, in a later chapter of this
  History, chap. lxii.

If, then, that portion of the speech of Alkibiadês, wherein he
touches upon Athenian politics and his own past conduct, is not
to be taken as historical evidence, just as little can we trust
the following portion in which he professes to describe the real
purposes of Athens in her Sicilian expedition. That any such vast
designs as those which he announces were ever really contemplated
even by himself and his immediate friends, is very improbable; that
they were contemplated by the Athenian public, by the armament, or
by Nikias, is utterly incredible. The tardiness and timid movements
of the armament—during the first eight months after arriving at
Rhegium—recommended by Nikias, partially admitted even by Alkibiadês,
opposed only by the unavailing wisdom of Lamachus, and not strongly
censured when known at Athens, conspire to prove that their minds
were not at first fully made up even to the siege of Syracuse;
that they counted on alliances and money in Sicily which they did
not find; and that those who sailed from Athens with large hopes
of brilliant and easy conquest were soon taught to see the reality
with different eyes. If Alkibiadês had himself conceived at Athens
the designs which he professed to reveal in his speech at Sparta,
there can be no doubt that he would have espoused the scheme of
Lamachus, or rather would have originated it himself. We find him,
indeed, in his speech delivered at Athens before the determination
to sail, holding out hopes that by means of conquests in Sicily,
Athens might become mistress of all Greece. But this is there put as
an alternative and as a favorable possibility, is noticed only in
one place, without expansion or amplification, and shows that the
speaker did not reckon upon finding any such expectations prevalent
among his hearers. Alkibiadês could not have ventured to promise,
in his discourse at Athens, the results which he afterwards talked
of at Sparta as having been actually contemplated,—Sicily, Italy,
Carthage, Iberian mercenaries, etc., all ending in a blockading fleet
large enough to gird round Peloponnesus.[360] Had he put forth such
promises, the charge of juvenile folly which Nikias urged against
him would probably have been believed by every one. His speech at
Sparta, though it has passed with some as a fragment of true Grecian
history, is in truth little better than a gigantic romance dressed up
to alarm his audience.[361]

  [360] Thucyd. vi, 12-17.

  [361] Plutarch, Alkib. c. 17.

Intended for this purpose, it was eminently suitable and
effective. The Lacedæmonians had already been partly moved by the
representations from Corinth and Syracuse, and were even prepared
to send envoys to the latter place with encouragement to hold out
against Athens. But the Peace of Nikias and the alliance succeeding
it, still subsisted between Athens and Sparta. It had indeed been
partially and indirectly violated in many ways, but both the
contracting parties still considered it as subsisting, nor would
either of them yet consent to break their oaths openly and avowedly.
For this reason—as well as from the distance of Sicily, great even
in the estimation of the more nautical Athenians—the ephors could
not yet make up their minds to despatch thither any positive aid.
It was exactly in this point of hesitation between the will and the
deed that the energetic and vindictive exile from Athens found them.
His flaming picture of the danger impending,—brought home to their
own doors, and appearing to proceed from the best informed of all
witnesses,—overcame their reluctance at once; while he at the same
time pointed out the precise steps whereby their interference would
be rendered of most avail. The transfer of Alkibiadês to Sparta
thus reverses the superiority of force between the two contending
chiefs of Greece: “Momentumque fuit mutatus Curio rerum.”[362] He had
not yet shown his power of doing his country good, as we shall find
him hereafter engaged, during the later years of the war: his first
achievements were but too successful in doing her harm.

  [362] Lucan, Pharsal. iv, 819.

The Lacedæmonians forthwith resolved to send an auxiliary force
to Syracuse. But as this could not be done before the spring,
they nominated Gylippus commander, directing him to proceed
thither without delay, and to take counsel with the Corinthians
for operations as speedily as the case admitted.[363] We do not
know that Gylippus had as yet given any positive evidence of that
consummate skill and activity which we shall presently be called
upon to describe. He was probably chosen on account of his superior
acquaintance with the circumstances of the Italian and Sicilian
Greeks; since his father Kleandridas, after having been banished
from Sparta fourteen years before the Peloponnesian war for taking
Athenian bribes, had been domiciliated as a citizen at Thurii.[364]
Gylippus desired the Corinthians to send immediately two triremes for
him to Asinê, in the Messenian gulf, and to prepare as many others as
their docks could furnish.

  [363] Thucyd. vi, 93; Plutarch, Alkib. c. 23; Diodor. xiii, 7.

  [364] Thucyd. vi, 104.



The Athenian troops at Katana, probably tired of inaction, were
put in motion in the early spring, even before the arrival of the
reinforcements from Athens, and sailed to the deserted walls of
Megara, not far from Syracuse, which the Syracusans had recently
garrisoned. Having in vain attacked the Syracusan garrison, and laid
waste the neighboring fields, they reëmbarked, landed again for
similar purposes at the mouth of the river Terias, and then, after an
insignificant skirmish, returned to Katana. An expedition into the
interior of the island procured for them the alliance of the Sikel
town of Kentoripa; and the cavalry being now arrived from Athens,
they prepared for operations against Syracuse. Nikias had received
from Athens two hundred and fifty horsemen fully equipped, for whom
horses were to be procured in Sicily,[365] thirty horse-bowmen,
and three hundred talents in money. He was not long in furnishing
them with horses from Egesta and Katana, from which cities he also
received some farther cavalry, so that he was presently able to
muster six hundred and fifty cavalry in all.[366]

  [365] Horses were so largely bred in Sicily, that they even found
  their way into Attica and Central Greece, Sophoklês, Œd. Kolon.

                             γυναῖχ’ ὁρῶ
    Στείχουσαν ἡμῖν, ἆσσον, Αἰτναίας ἐπὶ
    Πῶλου βεβῶσαν.

  If the Scholiast is to be trusted, the Sicilian horses were of
  unusually great size.

  [366] Thucyd. vi, 95-98.

Even before this cavalry could be mounted, Nikias made his first
approach to Syracuse. For the Syracusan generals on their side,
apprized of the arrival of the reinforcement from Athens, and aware
that besieging operations were on the point of being commenced, now
thought it necessary to take the precaution of occupying and guarding
the roads of access to the high ground of Epipolæ which overhung
their outer city.

Syracuse consisted at this time of two parts, an inner and outer
city. The former was comprised in the island of Ortygia, the original
settlement founded by Archias, and within which the modern city is
at this moment included: the latter or outer city, afterwards known
by the name of Achradina, occupied the high ground of the peninsula
north of Ortygia, but does not seem to have joined the inner city, or
to have been comprised in the same fortification. This outer city was
defended, on the north and east, by the sea, with rocks presenting
great difficulties of landing, and by a sea-wall; so that on these
sides it was out of the reach of attack. Its wall on the land-side,
beginning from the sea somewhat eastward of the entrance of the cleft
now called Santa Bonagia, or Panagia, ran in a direction westward of
south as far as the termination of the high ground of Achradina, and
then turned eastward along the stone quarries now known as those of
the Capucins and Novanteris, where the ground is in part so steep,
that probably little fortification was needed. This fortified high
land of Achradina thus constituted the outer city; while the lower
ground, situated between it and the inner city, or Ortygia, seems at
this time not to have been included in the fortifications of either,
but was employed (and probably had been employed even from the first
settlement in the island), partly for religious processions, games,
and other multitudinous ceremonies; partly for the burial of the
dead, which, according to invariable Grecian custom, was performed
without the walls of the city. Extensive catacombs yet remain to mark
the length of time during which this ancient Nekropolis served its

To the northwest of the outer city wall, in the direction of the port
called Trogilus, stood an unfortified suburb which afterwards became
enlarged into the distinct walled town of Tychê. West of the southern
part of the same outer city wall, nearly southwest of the outer city
itself, stood another suburb, afterwards known and fortified as
Neapolis, but deriving its name, in the year 415 B.C., from having
within it the statue and consecrated ground of Apollo Temenitês,[367]
which stood a little way up on the ascent of the hill of Epipolæ,
and stretching from thence down southward in the direction of the
Great Harbor. Between these two suburbs lay a broad open space, the
ground rising in gradual acclivity from Achradina to the westward,
and diminishing in breadth as it rose higher, until at length it
ended in a small conical mound, called in modern times the Belvedere.
This acclivity formed the eastern ascent of the long ridge of high
ground called Epipolæ. It was a triangle upon an inclined plane, of
which Achradina was the base: to the north as well as to the south,
it was suddenly broken off by lines of limestone cliff (forming the
sides of the triangle), about fifteen or twenty feet high, and quite
precipitous, except in some few openings made for convenient ascent.
From the western point or apex of the triangle, the descent was easy
and gradual—excepting two or three special mounds, or cliffs—towards
the city, the interior of which was visible from this outer slope.

  [367] At the neighboring city of Gela, also, a little without the
  walls, there stood a large brazen statue of Apollo; of so much
  sanctity, beauty, or notoriety, that the Carthaginians in their
  invasion of the island, seven years after the siege of Syracuse
  by Nikias, carried it away with them and transported it to Tyre
  (Diodor. xiii, 108).

According to the warfare of that time, Nikias could only take
Syracuse by building a wall of circumvallation so as to cut off
its supplies by land, and at the same time blockading it by sea.
Now looking at the inner and outer city as above described, at the
moment when he first reached Sicily, we see that—after defeating
the Syracusans and driving them within their walls, which would be
of course the first part of the process—he might have carried his
blockading wall in a direction nearly southerly from the innermost
point of the cleft of Santa Bonagia, between the city wall and the
Temenitês so as to reach the Great Harbor at a spot not far westward
of the junction of Ortygia with the main land. Or he might have
landed in the Great Harbor, and executed the same wall, beginning
from the opposite end. Or he might have preferred to construct two
blockading walls, one for each city separately: a short wall would
have sufficed in front of the isthmus joining Ortygia, while a
separate wall might have been carried to shut up the outer city,
across the unfortified space constituting the Nekropolis, so as to
end not in the Great Harbor, but in the coast of the Nekropolis
opposite to Ortygia. Such were the possibilities of the case at the
time when Nikias first reached Rhegium. But during the many months
of inaction which he had allowed, the Syracusans had barred out both
these possibilities, and had greatly augmented the difficulties of
his intended enterprise. They had constructed a new wall, covering
both their inner and their outer city,—stretching across the whole
front which faced the slope of Epipolæ, from the Great Harbor to
the opposite sea near Santa Bonagia,—and expanding westward so as
to include within it the statue and consecrated ground of Apollo
Temenitês, with the cliff near adjoining to it known by the name
of the Temenite Cliff. This was done for the express purpose of
lengthening the line indispensable for the besiegers to make their
wall a good blockade.[368] After it was finished, Nikias could not
begin his blockade from the side of the Great Harbor, since he would
have been obstructed by the precipitous southern cliff of Epipolæ.
He was under the necessity of beginning his wall from a portion of
the higher ground of Epipolæ, and of carrying it both along a greater
space and higher up on the slope, until he touched the Great Harbor
at a point farther removed from Ortygia.

  [368] Thucyd. vi, 75. Ἐτείχιζον δὲ καὶ οἱ Συρακόσιοι ἐν τῷ
  χειμῶνι τούτῳ πρός τε τῇ πόλει, τὸν Τεμενίτην ἐντὸς ποιησάμενοι,
  ~τεῖχος παρὰ πᾶν τὸ πρὸς τὰς Ἐπιπολὰς ὁρῶν, ὅπως μὴ δι’ ἐλάσσονος
  εὐαποτείχιστοι ὦσιν~, ἢν ἄρα σφάλλωνται, etc.

Syracuse having thus become assailable only from the side of Epipolæ,
the necessity so created for carrying on operations much higher up on
the slope, gave to the summit of that eminence a greater importance
than it had before possessed. Nikias, doubtless furnished with good
local information by the exiles, seems to have made this discovery
earlier than the Syracusan generals, who—having been occupied in
augmenting their defences on another point, where they were yet more
vulnerable—did not make it until immediately before the opening
of the spring campaign. It was at that critical moment that they
proclaimed a full muster, for break of day, in the low mead on the
left bank of the Anapus. After an inspection of arms, and probably
final distribution of forces for the approaching struggle, a chosen
regiment of six hundred hoplites was placed under the orders of an
Andrian exile named Diomilus, in order to act as garrison of Epipolæ,
as well as to be in constant readiness wherever they might be
wanted.[369] These men were intended to occupy the strong ground on
the summit of the hill, and thus obstruct all the various approaches
to it, seemingly not many in number, and all narrow.

  [369] Thucyd. vi, 96.

But before they had yet left their muster, to march to the summit,
intelligence reached them that the Athenians were already in
possession of it. Nikias and Lamachus, putting their troops on board
at Katana, had sailed during the preceding night to a landing-place
not far from a place called Leon, or the Lion, which was only six or
seven furlongs from Epipolæ, and seems to have lain between Megara
and the peninsula of Thapsus. They here landed their hoplites, and
placed their fleet in safety under cover of a palisade across the
narrow isthmus of Thapsus, before day and before the Syracusans had
any intimation of their arrival. Their hoplites immediately moved
forward with rapid step to ascend Epipolæ, mounting seemingly from
the northeast, by the side towards Megara and farthest removed from
Syracuse; so that they first reached the summit called Euryalus, near
the apex of the triangle above described. From hence they commanded
the slope of Epipolæ beneath them, and the town of Syracuse to the
eastward. They were presently attacked by the Syracusans, who broke
up their muster in the mead as soon as they heard the news. But as
the road by which they had to march, approaching Euryalus from the
southwest, was circuitous, and hardly less than three English miles
in length, they had the mortification of seeing that the Athenians
were already masters of the position; and when they hastened up to
retake it, the rapid pace had so disordered their ranks, that the
Athenians attacked them at great advantage, besides having the higher
ground. The Syracusans were driven back to their city with loss,
Diomilus with half his regiment being slain; while the Athenians
remained masters of the high ground of Euryalus, as well as of the
upper portion of the slope of Epipolæ.[370]

  [370] Thucyd. vi, 97.

This was a most important advantage; indeed, seemingly essential to
the successful prosecution of the siege. It was gained by a plan
both well laid and well executed, grounded upon the omission of the
Syracusans to occupy a post of which they did not at first perceive
the importance, and which in fact only acquired its preëminent
importance from the new enlargement made by the Syracusans in
their fortifications. To that extent, therefore, it depended upon
a favorable accident which could not have been reasonably expected
to occur. The capture of Syracuse was certain, upon the supposition
that the attack and siege of the city had been commenced on the
first arrival of the Athenians in the island, without giving time
for any improvement in its defensibility. But the moment such delay
was allowed, success ceased to be certain, depending more or less
upon this favorable turn of accident. The Syracusans actually did
a great deal to create additional difficulty to the besiegers, and
might have done more, especially in regard to the occupation of
the high ground above Epipolæ. Had they taken this precaution, the
effective prosecution of the siege would have been rendered extremely
difficult, if not completely frustrated.

On the next morning, Nikias and Lamachus marched their army down the
slope of Epipolæ near to the Syracusan walls, and offered battle,
which the enemy did not accept. They then withdrew the Athenian
troops; after which their first operation was to construct a fort
on the high ground called Labdalum, near the western end of the
upper northern cliffs bordering Epipolæ, on the brink of the cliff,
and looking northward towards Megara. This was intended as a place
of security wherein both treasures and stores might be deposited,
so as to leave the army unencumbered in its motions. The Athenian
cavalry being now completed by the new arrivals from Egesta, Nikias
descended from Labdalum to a new position called Sykê, lower down
on Epipolæ, seemingly about midway between the northern and southern
cliffs. He here constructed, with as much rapidity as possible,
a walled inclosure, called the Circle, intended as a centre from
whence the projected wall of circumvallation was to start northward
towards the sea at Trogilus, southward towards the Great Harbor. This
Circle appears to have covered a considerable space, and was farther
protected by an outwork in front covering an area of one thousand
square feet.[371] Astounded at the rapidity with which the Athenians
executed this construction,[372] the Syracusans marched their forces
out, and prepared to give battle in order to interrupt it. But
when the Athenians, relinquishing the work, drew up on their side
in battle order, the Syracusan generals were so struck with their
manifest superiority in soldier-like array, as compared with the
disorderly trim of their own ranks, that they withdrew their soldiers
back into the city without venturing to engage; merely leaving a body
of horse to harass the operations of the besiegers, and constrain
them to keep in masses. The newly-acquired Athenian cavalry, however,
were here brought for the first time into effective combat. With the
aid of one tribe of their own hoplites, they charged the Syracusan
horse, drove them off with some loss, and erected their trophy. This
is the only occasion on which we read of the Athenian cavalry being
brought into conflict; though Nikias had made the absence of cavalry
the great reason for his prolonged inaction.

  [371] Thucyd. vi, 98. ἐχώρουν πρὸς τὴν Συκῆν οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι, ἵναπερ
  καθεζόμενοι ἐτείχισαν τὸν κύκλον διὰ τάχους.

  [372] The Athenians seem to have surpassed all other Greeks in
  the diligence and skill with which they executed fortifications:
  see some examples, Thucyd. v, 75-82; Xenoph. Hellen. iv, 4, 18.

Interruption being thus checked, Nikias continued his blockading
operations; first completing the Circle,[373] then beginning his
wall of circumvallation in a northerly direction from the Circle
towards Trogilus: for which purpose a portion of his forces were
employed in bringing stones and wood, and depositing them in proper
places along the intended line. So strongly did Hermokratês feel
the inferiority of the Syracusan hoplites in the field, that he
discouraged any fresh general action, and proposed to construct a
counter-wall, or cross-wall, traversing the space along which the
Athenian circumvallation must necessarily be continued so as to
impede its farther progress. A tenable counter-wall, if they could
get time to carry it sufficiently far to a defensible terminus, would
completely defeat the intent of the besiegers: but even if Nikias
should interrupt the work by his attacks, the Syracusans calculated
on being able to provide a sufficient force to repel them, during the
short time necessary for hastily constructing the palisade, or front
outwork. Such palisade would serve them as a temporary defence, while
they finished the more elaborate cross-wall behind it, and would,
even at the worst, compel Nikias to suspend all his proceedings and
employ his whole force to dislodge them.[374]

  [373] Dr. Arnold, in his note on Thucyd. vi, 98, says that the
  Circle is spoken of, in one passage of Thucydidês, as if it had
  _never been completed_. I construe this one passage differently
  from him (vii, 2, 4)—τῷ ἄλλῳ τοῦ κύκλου πρὸς τὸν Τρώγιλον ἐπὶ τὴν
  ἑτέραν θάλασσαν: where I think τῷ ἄλλῳ τοῦ κύκλου is equivalent
  to ἑτέρωθι τοῦ κύκλου, as plainly appears from the accompanying
  mention of Trogilus and the northern sea. I am persuaded that
  the Circle was finished; and Dr. Arnold himself indicates two
  passages in which it is distinctly spoken of as having been

  [374] Thucyd. vi, 99. ~Ὑποτειχίζειν~ δὲ ἄμεινον ἐδόκει εἶναι
  (τοῖς Συρακουσίοις) ᾗ ἐκεῖνοι (the Athenians) ἔμελλον ἄξειν τὸ
  τεῖχος· καὶ εἰ φθάσειαν, ἀποκλῄσεις γίγνεσθαι, καὶ ἅμα καὶ ἐν
  τούτῳ εἰ ἐπιβοηθοῖεν, μέρος ἀντιπέμπειν αὐτοὶ τῆς στρατιᾶς, καὶ
  φθάνειν ἂν αὐτοὶ τοῖς σταυροῖς ~προκαταλαμβάνοντες τὰς ἐφόδους~·
  ἐκείνους δὲ ἂν παυομένους τοῦ ἔργου πάντας ἂν πρὸς σφᾶς τρέπεσθαι.

  The Scholiast here explains τὰς ἐφόδους to mean τὰ βάσιμα;
  adding ὀλίγα δὲ τὰ ἐπιβαθῆναι δυνάμενα, διὰ τὸ τελματῶδες εἶναι
  τὸ χωρίον. Though he is here followed by the best commentators,
  I cannot think that his explanation is correct. He evidently
  supposes that this first counter-wall of the Syracusans was
  built—as we shall see presently that the second counter-work
  was—across the marsh, or low ground between the southern cliff
  of Epipolæ and the Great Harbor. “The ground being generally
  marshy (τελματῶδες) there were only a few places where it could
  be crossed.” But I conceive this supposition to be erroneous. The
  first counter-wall of the Syracusans was carried, as it seems
  to me, up the slope of Epipolæ, between the Athenian circle and
  the southern cliff: it commenced at the Syracusan newly-erected
  advanced wall, inclosing the Temenitês. This was all hard, firm
  ground, such as the Athenians could march across at any point:
  there might perhaps be some roughness here and there, but they
  would be mere exceptions to the general character of the ground.

  It appears to me that τὰς ἐφόδους means simply, “the attacks
  of the Athenians,” without intending to denote any special
  assailable points; προκαταλαμβάνειν τὰς ἐφόδους, means “to get
  beforehand with the attacks,” (see Thucyd. i, 57, v, 30.) This is
  in fact the more usual meaning of ἔφοδος (compare vii, 5; vii,
  43; i, 6; v, 35; vi, 63), “attack, approach, visit,” etc. There
  are doubtless other passages in which it means, “the way or road
  through which the attack was made:” in one of these, however
  (vii, 51), all the best editors now read ἐσόδου instead of ἐφόδου.

  It will be seen that arguments have been founded upon the
  inadmissible sense which the Scholiast here gives to the word
  ἔφοδοι: see Dr. Arnold, Memoir on the Map of Syracuse, Appendix
  to his ed. of Thucyd. vol. iii, p. 271.

Accordingly, they took their start from the postern-gate near the
grove of Apollo Temenitês; a gate in the new wall, erected four or
five months before, to enlarge the fortified space of the city. From
this point, which was lower down on the slope of Epipolæ than the
Athenian circle, they carried their palisade and counter-wall up
the slope, in a direction calculated to intersect the intended line
of hostile circumvallation southward of the Circle. The nautical
population from Ortygia could be employed in this enterprise, since
the city was still completely undisturbed by sea, and mistress of the
great harbor, the Athenian fleet not having yet moved from Thapsus.
Besides this active crowd of workmen, the sacred olive-trees in the
Temenite grove were cut down to serve as materials; and by such
efforts the work was presently finished to a sufficient distance for
traversing and intercepting the blockading wall intended to come
southward from the Circle. It seems to have terminated at the brink
of the precipitous southern cliff of Epipolæ, which prevented the
Athenians from turning it and attacking it in flank; while it was
defended in front by a stockade and topped with wooden towers for
discharge of missiles. One tribe of hoplites was left to defend it,
while the crowd of Syracusans who had either been employed on the
work or on guard, returned back to the city.

During all this process, Nikias had not thought it prudent to
interrupt them.[375] Employed as he seems to have been on the
Circle, and on the wall branching out from his Circle northward,
he was unwilling to march across the slope of Epipolæ to attack
them with half his forces, leaving his own rear exposed to attack
from the numerous Syracusans in the city, and his own Circle only
partially guarded. Moreover, by such delay, he was enabled to
prosecute his own part of the circumvallation without hindrance,
and to watch for an opportunity of assaulting the new counter-wall
with advantage. Such an opportunity soon occurred, just at the time
when he had accomplished the farther important object of destroying
the aqueducts, which supplied the city, partially at least, with
water for drinking. The Syracusans appear to have been filled with
confidence, both by the completion of their counter-wall, which
seemed an effective bar to the besiegers, and by his inaction. The
tribe left on guard presently began to relax in their vigilance:
instead of occupying the wall, tents were erected behind it to
shelter them from the midday sun; while some even permitted
themselves to take repose during that hour within the city walls.
Such negligence did not escape the Athenian generals, who silently
prepared an assault for midday. Three hundred chosen hoplites,
with some light troops clothed in panoplies for the occasion,
were instructed to sally out suddenly and run across straight to
attack the stockade and counter-wall; while the main Athenian force
marched in two divisions under Nikias and Lamachus; half towards
the city walls, to prevent any succor from coming out of the gates,
half towards the Temenite postern-gate from whence the stockade
and cross-wall commenced. The rapid forward movement of the chosen
three hundred was crowned with full success. They captured both the
stockade and the counter-wall, feebly defended by its guards; who,
taken by surprise, abandoned their post and fled along behind their
wall to enter the city by the Temenite postern-gate. Before all of
them could get in, however, both the pursuing three hundred, and the
Athenian division which marched straight to that point, had partially
come up with them: so that some of these assailants even forced
their way along with them through the gate into the interior of the
Temenite city wall. Here, however, the Syracusan strength within
was too much for them: these foremost Athenians and Argeians were
thrust out again with loss. But the general movement of the Athenians
had been completely triumphant. They pulled down the counter-wall,
plucked up the palisade, and carried the materials away for the use
of their own circumvallation.

  [375] Thucyd. vi, 100.

As the recent Syracusan counter-work had been carried to the brink
of the southern cliff, which rendered it unassailable in flank,
Nikias was warned of the necessity of becoming master of this cliff,
so as to deprive them of this resource in future. Accordingly,
without staying to finish his blockading wall, regularly and
continuously from the Circle southward, across the slope of Epipolæ,
he left the Circle under a guard, and marched across at once to
take possession of the southern cliff, at the point where the
blockading wall was intended to reach it. This point of the southern
cliff he immediately fortified as a defensive position, whereby
he accomplished two objects. First, he prevented the Syracusans
from again employing the cliff as a flank defence for a second
counter-wall.[376] Next, he acquired the means of providing a safe
and easy road of communication between the high ground of Epipolæ
and the low marshy ground beneath, which divided Epipolæ from the
Great Harbor, and across which the Athenian wall of circumvallation
must necessarily be presently carried. As his troops would have to
carry on simultaneous operations, partly on the high ground above,
partly on the low ground beneath, he could not allow them to be
separated from each other by a precipitous cliff which would prevent
ready mutual assistance. The intermediate space between the Circle
and the fortified point of the cliff, was for the time left with an
unfinished wall, with the intention of coming back to it, as was
in fact afterwards done, and this portion of wall was in the end
completed. The Circle, though isolated, was strong enough for the
time to maintain itself against attack, and was adequately garrisoned.

  [376] Thucyd. vi, 101. Τῇ δ’ ὑστεραίᾳ ~ἀπὸ τοῦ κύκλου~ ἐτείχιζον
  οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι τὸν κρημνὸν τὸν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἕλους, ὃς τῶν Ἐπιπολῶν
  ταύτῃ πρὸς τὸν μέγαν λιμένα ὁρᾷ, καὶ ᾗπερ αὐτοῖς βραχύτατον
  ἐγίγνετο καταβᾶσι διὰ τοῦ ὁμάλου καὶ τοῦ ἕλους ἐς τὸν λιμένα τὸ

  I give in the text what I believe to be the meaning of this
  sentence, though the words ἀπὸ τοῦ κύκλου are not clear, and have
  been differently construed. Göller, in his first edition, had
  construed them as if it stood ~ἀρξάμενοι~ ἀπὸ τοῦ κύκλου: as if
  the fortification now begun on the cliff was continuous and in
  actual junction with the Circle. In his second edition, he seems
  to relinquish this opinion, and to translate them in a manner
  similar to Dr. Arnold, who considers them as equivalent to ἀπὸ
  τοῦ κύκλου ὁρμώμενοι, but not at all implying that the fresh work
  performed was continuous with the Circle, which he believes not
  to have been the fact. If thus construed, the words would imply,
  “starting from the Circle as a base of operations.” Agreeing with
  Dr. Arnold in his conception of the event signified, I incline,
  in construing the words, to proceed upon the analogy of two
  or three passages in Thucyd. i, 7; i, 46; i, 99; vi, 64—Αἱ δὲ
  παλαιαὶ πόλεις διὰ τὴν λῃστείαν ἐπιπολὺ ἀντισχοῦσαν ~ἀπὸ θαλάσσης
  μᾶλλον ᾠκίσθησαν~ ... Ἐστὶ δὲ λιμὴν, καὶ πόλις ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ ~κεῖται
  ἀπὸ θαλάσσης~ ἐν τῇ Ἐλαιάτιδι τῆς Θεσπρώτιδος, Ἐφύρη. In these
  passages ἀπὸ is used in the same sense as we find ἄποθεν, iv,
  125, signifying “apart from, at some distance from;” but not
  implying any accompanying idea of motion, or proceeding from,
  either literal or metaphorical.

  “The Athenians began to fortify, at some distance from their
  Circle, the cliff above the marsh,” etc.

By this new movement, the Syracusans were debarred from carrying a
second counter-wall on the same side of Epipolæ, since the enemy
were masters of the terminating cliff on the southern side of the
slope. They now turned their operations to the lower ground or marsh
between the southern cliff of the Epipolæ and the Great Harbor;
being as yet free on that side, since the Athenian fleet was still
at Thapsus. Across that marsh—and seemingly as far as the river
Anapus, to serve as a flank barrier—they resolved to carry a palisade
work with a ditch, so as to intersect the line which the Athenians
must next pursue in completing the southernmost portion of their
circumvallation. They so pressed the prosecution of this new cross
palisade, beginning from the lower portion of their own city walls,
and stretching in a southwesterly direction across the low ground
as far as the river Anapus, that, by the time the new Athenian
fortification on the cliff was completed, the new Syracusan obstacle
was completed also, and a stockade with a ditch seemed to shut out
the besiegers from reaching the Great Harbor.

Lamachus overcame the difficulty before him with ability and bravery.
Descending unexpectedly, one morning before daybreak, from his fort
on the cliff of Epipolæ into the low ground beneath,—and providing
his troops with planks and broad gates to bridge over the marsh
where it was scarcely passable,—he contrived to reach and surprise
the palisade with the first dawn of morning. Orders were at the same
time given for the Athenian fleet to sail round from Thapsus into
the Great Harbor, so as to divert the attention of the enemy, and
get on the rear of the new palisade work. But before the fleet could
arrive, the palisade and ditch had been carried, and its defenders
driven off. A large Syracusan force came out from the city to sustain
them, and retake it, so that a general action now ensued, in the
low ground between the cliff of Epipolæ, the harbor, and the river
Anapus. The superior discipline of the Athenians proved successful:
the Syracusans were defeated and driven back on all sides, so that
their right wing fled into the city, and their left (including the
larger portion of their best force, the horsemen), along the banks
of the river Anapus, to reach the bridge. Flushed with victory, the
Athenians hoped to cut them off from this retreat, and a chosen
body of three hundred hoplites ran fast in hopes of getting to the
bridge first. In this hasty movement they fell into disorder, so
that the Syracusan cavalry turned upon them, put them to flight,
and threw them back upon the Athenian right wing, to which the
fugitives communicated their own panic and disorder. The fate of the
battle appeared to be turning against the Athenians, when Lamachus,
who was on the left wing, hastened to their aid with the Argeian
hoplites and as many bowmen as he could collect. His ardor carried
him incautiously forward, so that he crossed a ditch with very few
followers, before the remaining troops could follow him. He was here
attacked and slain,[377] in single combat with a horseman named
Kallikratês: but the Syracusans were driven back when his soldiers
came up, and had only just time to snatch and carry off his dead
body, with which they crossed the bridge and retreated behind the
Anapus. The rapid movement of this gallant officer was thus crowned
with complete success, restoring the victory to his own right wing: a
victory dearly purchased by the forfeit of his own life.[378]

  [377] Thucyd. vi, 102; Plutarch, Nikias, c. 18. Diodorus
  erroneously places the battle, in which Lamachus was slain,
  _after_ the arrival of Gylippus (xiii, 8).

  [378] Thucyd. vi, 102.

Meanwhile the visible disorder and temporary flight of the Athenian
right wing, and the withdrawal of Lamachus from the left to reinforce
it, imparted fresh courage to the Syracusan right, which had fled
into the town. They again came forth to renew the contest; while
their generals attempted a diversion by sending out a detachment from
the northwestern gates of the city to attack the Athenian circle on
the mid-slope of Epipolæ. As this Circle lay completely apart and
at considerable distance from the battle, they hoped to find the
garrison unprepared for attack, and thus to carry it by surprise.
Their manœuvre, bold and well-timed, was on the point of succeeding.
They carried with little difficulty the covering outwork in front,
and the Circle itself, probably stripped of part of its garrison to
reinforce the combatants in the lower ground, was only saved by the
presence of mind and resource of Nikias, who was lying ill within it.
He directed the attendants immediately to set fire to a quantity of
wood which lay, together with the battering engines of the army, in
front of the circle-wall, so that the flames prevented all farther
advance on the part of the assailants, and forced them to retreat.
The same flames also served as a signal to the Athenians engaged in
the battle beneath, who immediately sent reinforcements to the relief
of their general; while at the same time the Athenian fleet, just
arrived from Thapsus, was seen sailing into the Great Harbor. This
last event, threatening the Syracusans on a new side, drew off their
whole attention to the defence of their city, so that both their
combatants from the field and their detachment from the Circle were
brought back within the walls.[379]

  [379] Thucyd. vi, 102.

Had the recent attempt on the Circle succeeded, carrying with it the
death or capture of Nikias, and combined with the death of Lamachus
in the field on that same day, it would have greatly brightened the
prospects of the Syracusans, and might even have arrested the farther
progress of the siege, from the want of an authorized commander.
But in spite of such imminent hazard, the actual result of the
day left the Athenians completely victorious, and the Syracusans
more discouraged than ever. What materially contributed to their
discouragement, was, the recent entrance of the Athenian fleet
into the Great Harbor, wherein it was henceforward permanently
established, in coöperation with the army in a station near the left
bank of the Anapus.

Both the army and the fleet now began to occupy themselves seriously
with the construction of the southernmost part of the wall of
circumvallation; beginning immediately below the Athenian fortified
point of descent from the southern cliff of Epipolæ, and stretching
across the lower marshy ground to the Great Harbor. The distance
between these two extreme points was about eight stadia or nearly an
English mile: the wall was double, with gates, and probably towers,
at suitable intervals, inclosing a space of considerable breadth,
doubtless roofed over in part, since it served afterwards, with the
help of the adjoining citadel on the cliff, as shelter and defence
for the whole Athenian army. The Syracusans could not interrupt this
process, nor could they undertake a new counter-wall up the mid-slope
of Epipolæ, without coming out to fight a general battle, which they
did not feel competent to do. Of course the Circle had now been put
into condition to defy a second surprise.

But not only were they thus compelled to look on without hindering
the blockading wall towards the Harbor. It was now, for the first
time, that they began to taste the real restraints and privations
of a siege.[380] Down to this moment, their communication with the
Anapus and the country beyond, as well as with all sides of the Great
Harbor, had been open and unimpeded; whereas now, the arrival of the
Athenian fleet, and the change of position of the Athenian army, had
cut them off from both,[381] so that little or no fresh supplies
of provision could reach them except at the hazard of capture from
the hostile ships. On the side of Thapsus, where the northern
cliff of Epipolæ affords only two or three practicable passages of
ascent, they had before been blocked up by the Athenian army and
fleet; and a portion of the fleet seems even now to have been left
at Thapsus: so that nothing now remained open, except a portion,
especially the northern portion, of the slope of Epipolæ. Of this
outlet the besieged, especially their numerous cavalry, doubtless
availed themselves, for the purpose of excursions and of bringing
in supplies. But it was both longer and more circuitous for such
purposes than the plain near the Great Harbor and the Helôrine road:
moreover, it had to pass by the high and narrow pass of Euryâlus,
and might thus be rendered unavailable to the besieged, whenever
Nikias thought fit to occupy and fortify that position. Unfortunately
for himself and his army, he omitted this easy but capital
precaution, even at the moment when he must have known Gylippus to be

  [380] Thucyd. vi, 103. οἷα δὲ εἰκὸς ἀνθρώπων ἀπορούντων καὶ
  μᾶλλον ἢ πρὶν πολιορκουμένων, etc.

  [381] Diodorus, however, is wrong in stating (xiii, 7) that the
  Athenians occupied the temple of Zeus Olympius and the polichnê,
  or hamlet, surrounding it, on the right bank of the Anapus. These
  posts remained always occupied by the Syracusans, throughout the
  whole war (Thucyd. vii, 4, 37).

In regard to the works actually undertaken, the order followed
by Nikias and Lamachus can be satisfactorily explained. Having
established their fortified post on the centre of the slope of
Epipolæ, they were in condition to combat opposition and attack any
counter-wall on whichever side the enemy might erect it. Commencing
in the first place the execution of the northern portion of the
blockading line, they soon desist from this and turn their attention
to the southern portion, because it was here that the Syracusans
carried their two first counter-works. In attacking the second
counter-work of the Syracusans, across the marsh to the Anapus,
they chose a suitable moment for bringing the main fleet round from
Thapsus into the Great Harbor, with a view to its coöperation. After
clearing the lower ground, they probably deemed it advisable, in
order to establish a safe and easy communication with their fleet,
that the double wall across the marsh, from Epipolæ to the Harbor,
should stand next for execution; for which there was this farther
reason, that they thereby blocked up the most convenient exit and
channel of supply for Syracuse. There are thus plausible reasons
assignable why the northern portion of the line of blockade, from
the Athenian camp on Epipolæ to the sea at Trogilus, was left to
the last, and was found open, at least the greater part of it, by

While the Syracusans thus began to despair of their situation, the
prospects of the Athenians were better than ever, promising certain
and not very distant triumph. The reports circulating through the
neighboring cities all represented them as in the full tide of
success, so that many Sikel tribes, hitherto wavering, came in to
tender their alliance, while three armed pentekonters also arrived
from the Tyrrhenian coast. Moreover, abundant supplies were furnished
from the Italian Greeks generally. Nikias, now sole commander
since the death of Lamachus, had even the glory of receiving and
discussing proposals from Syracuse for capitulation, a necessity
which was openly and abundantly canvassed within the city itself.
The ill-success of Hermokratês and his colleagues had caused them
to be recently displaced from their functions as generals, to which
Herakleidês, Euklês, and Tellias, were appointed. But this change
did not give them confidence to hazard a fresh battle, while the
temper of the city, during such period of forced inaction, was
melancholy in the extreme. Though several propositions for surrender,
perhaps unofficial, yet seemingly sincere, were made to Nikias,
nothing definitive could be agreed upon as to the terms.[382] Had
the Syracusan government been oligarchical, the present distress
would have exhibited a large body of malcontents upon whom he could
have worked with advantage; but the democratical character of the
government maintained union at home in this trying emergency.[383]

  [382] Thucyd. vi, 103. πολλὰ ἐλέγετο πρός τε ἐκεῖνον καὶ πλείω
  ἔτι κατὰ τὴν πόλιν.

  [383] Thucyd. vii, 55.

We must take particular note of these propositions in order to
understand the conduct of Nikias during the present critical
interval. He had been from the beginning in secret correspondence
with a party in Syracuse;[384] who, though neither numerous nor
powerful in themselves, were now doubtless both more active and more
influential than ever they had been before. From them he received
constant and not unreasonable assurances that the city was on the
point of surrendering, and could not possibly hold out. And as the
tone of opinion without, as well as within, conspired to raise such
an impression in his mind, so he suffered himself to be betrayed
into a fatal languor and security as to the farther prosecution of
the besieging operations. The injurious consequences of the death
of Lamachus now became evident. From the time of the departure from
Katana down to the battle in which that gallant officer perished,—a
period seemingly of about three months, from about March to June
414 B.C.,—the operations of the siege had been conducted with great
vigor as well as unremitting perseverance, and the building-work,
especially, had been so rapidly executed as to fill the Syracusans
with amazement. But so soon as Nikias is left sole commander, this
vigorous march disappears and is exchanged for slackness and apathy.
The wall across the low ground near the harbor might have been
expected to proceed more rapidly, because the Athenian position
generally was much stronger, the chance of opposition from the
Syracusans was much lessened, and the fleet had been brought into the
Great Harbor to coöperate. Yet in fact it seems to have proceeded
more slowly; Nikias builds it at first as a double wall, though it
would have been practicable to complete the whole line of blockade
with a single wall before the arrival of Gylippus, and afterwards, if
necessary, to have doubled it either wholly or partially, instead of
employing so much time in completing this one portion that Gylippus
arrived before it was finished, scarcely less than two months after
the death of Lamachus. Both the besiegers and their commander now
seem to consider success as certain, without any chance of effective
interruption from within, still less from without; so that they may
take their time over the work, without caring whether the ultimate
consummation comes a month sooner or later.

  [384] Thucyd. vii, 49-86.

Though such was the present temper of the Athenian troops, Nikias
could doubtless have spurred them on and accelerated the operations,
had he himself been convinced of the necessity of doing so. Hitherto,
we have seen him always overrating the gloomy contingencies of the
future, and disposed to calculate as if the worst was to happen which
possibly could happen. But a great part of what passes for caution in
his character, was in fact backwardness and inertia of temperament,
aggravated by the melancholy addition of a painful internal
complaint. If he wasted in indolence the first six months after his
arrival in Sicily, and turned to inadequate account the present two
months of triumphant position before Syracuse, both these mistakes
arose from the same cause; from reluctance to act except under the
pressure and stimulus of some obvious necessity. Accordingly, he was
always behindhand with events; but when necessity became terrible,
so as to subdue the energies of other men, then did he come forward
and display unwonted vigor, as we shall see in the following chapter.
But now, relieved from all urgency of apparent danger, and misled
by the delusive hopes held out through his correspondence in the
town, combined with the atmosphere of success which exhilarated his
own armament, Nikias fancied the surrender of Syracuse inevitable,
and became, for one brief moment preceding his calamitous end, not
merely sanguine, but even careless and presumptuous in the extreme.
Nothing short of this presumption could have let in his destroying
enemy, Gylippus.[385]

  [385] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 18.

That officer—named by the Lacedæmonians commander in Sicily, at
the winter-meeting which Alkibiadês had addressed at Sparta—had
employed himself in getting together forces for the purpose of the
expedition. But the Lacedæmonians, though so far stimulated by the
representations of the Athenian exile as to promise aid, were not
forward to perform the promise. Even the Corinthians, decidedly the
most hearty of all in behalf of Syracuse, were yet so tardy, that in
the month of June, Gylippus was still at Leukas, with his armament
not quite ready to sail. To embark in a squadron for Sicily, against
the numerous and excellent Athenian fleet now acting there, was a
service not tempting to any one, and demanding both personal daring
and devotion. Moreover, every vessel from Sicily, between March
and June 414 B.C., brought intelligence of progressive success on
the part of Nikias and Lamachus, thus rendering the prospects of
Corinthian auxiliaries still more discouraging.

At length, in the month of June, arrived the news of that defeat
of the Syracusans wherein Lamachus was slain, and of its important
consequences in forwarding the operations of the besiegers. Great
as those consequences were, they were still farther exaggerated by
report. It was confidently affirmed, by messenger after messenger,
that the wall of circumvallation had been completed, and that
Syracuse was now invested on all sides.[386] Both Gylippus and the
Corinthians were so far misled as to believe this to be the fact,
and despaired, in consequence, of being able to render any effective
aid against the Athenians in Sicily. But as there still remained
hopes of being able to preserve the Greek cities in Italy, Gylippus
thought it important to pass over thither at once with his own little
squadron of four sail, two Lacedæmonians and two Corinthians, and
the Corinthian captain Pythên; leaving the Corinthian main squadron
to follow as soon as it was ready. Intending then to act only in
Italy, Gylippus did not fear falling in with the Athenian fleet. He
first sailed to Tarentum, friendly and warm in his cause. From hence
he undertook a visit to Thurii, where his father Kleandridas, exiled
from Sparta, had formerly resided as citizen. After trying to profit
by this opening for the purpose of gaining the Thurians, and finding
nothing but refusal, he passed on farther southward, until he came
opposite to the Terinæan gulf near the southeastern cape of Italy.
Here a violent gust of wind off the land overtook him, exposed his
vessels to the greatest dangers, and drove him out to sea, until at
length, standing in a northerly direction, he was fortunate enough to
find shelter again at Tarentum.[387] But such was the damage which
his ships had sustained, that he was forced to remain here while they
were hauled ashore and refitted.[388]

  [386] Thucyd. vi, 104. ὡς αὐτοῖς αἱ ἀγγελίαι ἐφοίτων δειναὶ καὶ
  πᾶσαι ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἐψευσμέναι, ὡς ἤδη παντελῶς ἀποτετειχισμέναι αἱ
  Συράκουσαί εἰσι, τῆς μὲν Σικελίας οὐκέτι ἐλπίδα οὐδεμίαν εἶχεν
  ὁ Γύλιππος, τὴν δὲ Ἰταλίαν βουλόμενος περιποιῆσαι, etc. Compare
  Plutarch, Nikias. c. 18.

  It will be seen from Thucydidês, that Gylippus heard this news
  while he was yet at Leukas.

  [387] Thucyd. vi, 104. Ἄρας (Γύλιππος) παρέπλει τὴν Ἰταλίαν καὶ
  ἁρπασθεὶς ὑπ’ ἀνέμου κατὰ τὸν Τεριναῖον κόλπον, ὃς ἐκπνεῖ ταύτῃ
  μέγας, κατὰ Βορέαν ἑστηκὼς ἀποφέρεται ἐς τὸ πέλαγος, καὶ πάλιν
  χειμασθεὶς ἐς τὰ μάλιστα Τάραντι προσμίσγει.

  Though all the commentators here construe the words κατὰ Βορέαν
  ἑστηκὼς as if they agreed with ὃς or ἄνεμος, I cannot but
  think that these words really agree with Γύλιππος. Gylippus is
  overtaken by this violent off-shore wind while he is sailing
  southward along the eastern shore of what is now called Calabria
  Ultra: “setting his ship towards the north or _standing to the
  north_ (to use the English nautical phrase), he is carried out
  to sea, from whence, after great difficulties, he again gets
  into Tarentum.” If Gylippus was carried out to sea when in this
  position, and trying to get to Tarentum, he would naturally lay
  his course northward. What is meant by the words κατὰ Βορέαν
  ἑστηκὼς, as applied _to the wind_, I confess I do not understand;
  nor do the critics throw much light upon it. Whenever a point
  of the compass is mentioned in conjunction with any wind, it
  always seems to mean the point _from whence_ the wind blows.
  Now, that κατὰ Βορέαν ἑστηκὼς means “a wind which blows steadily
  from the north,” as the commentators affirm, I cannot believe
  without better authority than they produce. Moreover, Gylippus
  could never have laid his course for Tarentum, if there had been
  a strong wind in this direction; while such a wind would have
  forwarded him to Lokri, the very place whither he wanted to go.
  The mention of the _Terinæan_ gulf is certainly embarrassing.
  If the words are right (which perhaps may be doubted), the
  explanation of Dr. Arnold in his note seems the best which can
  be offered. Perhaps, indeed,—for though improbable, this is
  not wholly impossible,—Thucydidês may himself have committed a
  geographical inadvertence, in supposing the Terinæan gulf to be
  on the east side of Calabria.

  [388] Thucyd. vi, 104.

So untoward a delay threatened to intercept altogether his farther
progress. For the Thurians had sent intimation of his visit as well
as of the number of his vessels, to Nikias at Syracuse; treating with
contempt the idea of four triremes coming to attack the powerful
Athenian fleet. In the present sanguine phase of his character,
Nikias sympathized with the flattering tenor of the message, and
overlooked the gravity of the fact announced. He despised Gylippus
as a mere privateer, nor would he even take the precaution of
sending four ships from his numerous fleet to watch and intercept
the new-comer. Accordingly Gylippus, after having refitted his ships
at Tarentum, advanced southward along the coast without opposition
to the Epizephyrian Lokri. Here he first learned, to his great
satisfaction, that Syracuse was not yet so completely blockaded but
that an army might still reach and relieve it from the interior,
entering it by the Euryâlus and the heights of Epipolæ. Having
deliberated whether he should take the chance of running his ships
into the harbor of Syracuse, despite the watch of the Athenian fleet,
or whether he should sail through the strait of Messina to Himera at
the north of Sicily, and from thence levy an army to cross the island
and relieve Syracuse by land, he resolved on the latter course,
and passed forthwith through the strait, which he found altogether
unguarded. After touching both at Rhegium and Messênê, he arrived
safely at Himera. Even at Rhegium, there was no Athenian naval force;
though Nikias had, indeed, sent thither four Athenian triremes, after
he had been apprized that Gylippus had reached Lokri, rather from
excess of precaution, than because he thought it necessary. But this
Athenian squadron reached Rhegium too late: Gylippus had already
passed the strait; and fortune, smiting his enemy with blindness,
landed him unopposed on the fatal soil of Sicily.

The blindness of Nikias would indeed appear unaccountable, were
it not that we shall have worse yet to recount. To appreciate his
misjudgment fully, and to be sensible that we are not making him
responsible for results which could not have been foreseen, we have
only to turn back to what had been said six months before by the
exile Alkibiadês at Sparta: “Send forthwith an army to Sicily (he
exhorted the Lacedæmonians); _but send at the same time, what will
be yet more valuable than an army, a Spartan to take the supreme
command_.” It was in fulfilment of this recommendation, the wisdom of
which will abundantly appear, that Gylippus had been appointed. And
had he even reached Syracuse alone in a fishing-boat, the effect of
his presence, carrying the great name of Sparta, and full assurance
of Spartan intervention to come, not to mention his great personal
ability, would have sufficed to give new life to the besieged.
Yet Nikias—having, through a lucky accident, timely notice of his
approach, when a squadron of four ships would have prevented his
reaching the island—disdains even this most easy precaution, and
neglects him as a freebooter of no significance. Such neglect too is
the more surprising, since the well-known philo-Laconian tendencies
of Nikias would have led us to expect, that he would overvalue rather
than undervalue the imposing ascendency of the Spartan name.

Gylippus, on arriving at Himera, as commander named by Sparta, and
announcing himself as forerunner of Peloponnesian reinforcements, met
with a hearty welcome. The Himeræans agreed to aid him with a body
of hoplites, and to furnish panoplies for the seamen in his vessels.
On sending to Selinus, Gela, and some of the Sikel tribes in the
interior, he received equally favorable assurances; so that he was
enabled in no very long time to get together a respectable force.
The interest of Athens among the Sikels had been recently weakened
by the death of one of her most active partisans, the Sikel prince
Archonidês, a circumstance which both enabled Gylippus to obtain
more of their aid, and facilitated his march across the island. He
was enabled to undertake this inland march from Himera to Syracuse
at the head of seven hundred hoplites from his own vessels, seamen
and epibatæ taken together; one thousand hoplites and light troops,
with one hundred horse, from Himera, some horse and light troops
from Selinus and Gela, and one thousand Sikels.[389] With these
forces, some of whom joined him on the march, he reached Euryâlus and
the heights of Epipolæ above Syracuse, assaulting and capturing the
Sikel fort of Ietæ in his way, but without experiencing any other

  [389] Thucyd. vii, 1.

His arrival was all but too late, and might have been actually too
late, had not the Corinthian admiral Goggylus got to Syracuse a
little before him. The Corinthian fleet of twelve triremes, under
Erasinidês—having started from Leukas later than Gylippus, but as
soon as it was ready—was now on its way to Syracuse. But Goggylus
had been detained at Leukas by some accident, so that he did not
depart until after all the rest. Yet he reached Syracuse the soonest;
probably striking a straighter course across the sea, and favored
by weather. He got safely into the harbor of Syracuse, escaping the
Athenian guardships, whose watch doubtless partook of the general
negligence of the besieging operations.[390]

  [390] Thucyd. vii, 2-7.

The arrival of Goggylus at that moment was an accident of unspeakable
moment, and was in fact nothing less than the salvation of the city.
Among all the causes of despair in the Syracusan mind, there was none
more powerful than the circumstance, that they had not as yet heard
of any relief approaching, or of any active intervention in their
favor, from Peloponnesus. Their discouragement increasing from day to
day, and the interchange of propositions with Nikias becoming more
frequent, matters had at last so ripened that a public assembly was
just about to be held to sanction a definitive capitulation.[391]
It was at this critical juncture that Goggylus arrived, apparently
a little before Gylippus reached Himera. He was the first to
announce that both the Corinthian fleet and a Spartan commander were
now actually on their voyage, and might be expected immediately,
intelligence which filled the Syracusans with enthusiasm and with
renewed courage. They instantly threw aside all idea of capitulation,
and resolved to hold out to the last.

  [391] Thucyd. vi, 103; vii, 2; Plutarch, Nikias, c. 19.

It was not long before they received intimation that Gylippus had
reached Himera, which Goggylus at his arrival could not know, and
was raising an army to march across for their relief. After the
interval necessary for his preparations and for his march, probably
not less than between a fortnight and three weeks, they learned that
he was approaching Syracuse by the way of Euryâlus and Epipolæ. He
was presently seen coming, having ascended Epipolæ by Euryâlus; the
same way by which the Athenians had come from Katana in the spring,
when they commenced the siege. As he descended the slope of Epipolæ,
the whole Syracusan force went out in a body to hail his arrival and
accompany him into the city.[392]

  [392] Thucyd. vii, 2.

Few incidents throughout the whole siege of Syracuse appear so
unaccountable as the fact, that the proceedings and march of
Gylippus, from his landing at Himera to the moment of his entering
the town, were accomplished without the smallest resistance on
the part of Nikias. After this instant, the besiegers pass from
incontestable superiority in the field, and apparent certainty of
prospective capture of the city, to a state of inferiority, not
only excluding all hope of capture, but even sinking, step by step,
into absolute ruin. Yet Nikias had remained with his eyes shut and
his hands tied, not making the least effort to obstruct so fatal a
consummation. After having despised Gylippus, in his voyage along
the coast of Italy, as a freebooter with four ships, he now despises
him not less at the head of an army marching from Himera. If he was
taken unawares, as he really appears to have been,[393] the fault was
altogether his own, and the ignorance such as we must almost call
voluntary. For the approach of Gylippus must have been well known to
him beforehand. He must have learned from the four ships which he
sent to Rhegium, that Gylippus had already touched thither in passing
through the strait, on his way to Himera. He must therefore have been
well aware, that the purpose was to attempt the relief of Syracuse
by an army from the interior; and his correspondence among the Sikel
tribes must have placed him in cognizance of the equipment going on
at Himera. Moreover, when we recollect that Gylippus reached that
place without either troops or arms; that he had to obtain forces not
merely from Himera, but also from Selinus and Gela, as well as to
sound the Sikel towns, not all of them friendly; lastly, that he had
to march all across the island, partly through hostile territory, it
is impossible to allow less interval than a fortnight or three weeks
between his landing at Himera and his arrival at Epipolæ. Farther,
Nikias must have learned, through his intelligence in the interior of
Syracuse, the important revolution which had taken place in Syracusan
opinion through the arrival of Goggylus, even before the landing of
Gylippus in Sicily was known. He was apprized, from that moment, that
he had to take measures, not only against renewed obstinate hostility
within the town, but against a fresh invading enemy without. Lastly,
that enemy had first to march all across Sicily, during which march
he might have been embarrassed and perhaps defeated,[394] and could
then approach Syracuse only by one road, over the high ground of
Euryâlus in the Athenian rear, through passes few in number, easy to
defend, by which Nikias had himself first approached, and through
which he had only got by a well-laid plan of surprise. Yet Nikias
leaves these passes unoccupied and undefended; he takes not a single
new precaution; the relieving army enters Syracuse as it were over a
broad and free plain.

  [393] Thucyd. vii, 3. Οἱ δὲ Ἀθηναῖοι, ~αἰφνιδίως~ τοῦ τε Γυλίππου
  καὶ τῶν Συρακοσίων σφίσιν ἐπιόντων, etc.

  [394] Compare an incident in the ensuing year, Thucyd. vii, 32.
  The Athenians, at a moment when they had become much weaker than
  they were now, had influence enough among the Sikel tribes to
  raise opposition to the march of a corps coming from the interior
  to the help of Syracuse. This auxiliary corps was defeated and
  nearly destroyed in its march.

If we are amazed at the insolent carelessness with which Nikias
disdained the commonest precautions for repelling the foreknown
approach, by sea, of an enemy formidable even single-handed, what are
we to say of that unaccountable blindness which led him to neglect
the same enemy when coming at the head of a relieving army, and to
omit the most obvious means of defence in a crisis upon which his
future fate turned? Homer would have designated such neglect as a
temporary delirium inflicted by the fearful inspiration of Atê: the
historian has no such explanatory name to give, and can only note it
as a sad and suitable prelude to the calamities too nearly at hand.

At the moment when the fortunate Spartan auxiliary was thus
allowed to march quietly into Syracuse, the Athenian double wall of
circumvallation, between the southern cliff of Epipolæ and the Great
Harbor, eight stadia long, was all but completed: a few yards only of
the end close to the harbor were wanting. But Gylippus cared not to
interrupt its completion. He aimed at higher objects, and he knew,
what Nikias, unhappily, never felt and never lived to learn, the
immense advantage of turning to active account that first impression
and full tide of confidence which his arrival had just infused into
the Syracusans. Hardly had he accomplished his junction with them,
when he marshalled the united force in order of battle, and marched
up to the lines of the Athenians. Amazed as they were, and struck
dumb by his unexpected arrival, they too formed in battle order, and
awaited his approach. His first proceeding marked how much the odds
of the game were changed. He sent a herald to tender to them a five
days’ armistice, on condition that they should collect their effects
and withdraw from the island. Nikias disdained to return any reply
to this insulting proposal; but his conduct showed how much _he_
felt, as well as Gylippus, that the tide was now turned. For when the
Spartan commander, perceiving now for the first time the disorderly
trim of his Syracusan hoplites, thought fit to retreat into more open
ground farther removed from the walls, probably in order that he
might have a better field for his cavalry, Nikias declined to follow
him, and remained in position close to his own fortifications.[395]
This was tantamount to a confession of inferiority in the field.
It was a virtual abandonment of the capture of Syracuse, a tacit
admission that the Athenians could hope for nothing better in the end
than the humiliating offer which the herald had just made to them.
So it seems to have been felt by both parties; for from this time
forward, the Syracusans become and continue aggressors, the Athenians
remaining always on the defensive, except for one brief instant after
the arrival of Demosthenês.

  [395] Thucyd. vii, 3.

After drawing off his troops and keeping them encamped for that
night on the Temenite cliff, seemingly within the added fortified
inclosure of Syracuse, Gylippus brought them out again the next
morning, and marshalled them in front of the Athenian lines, as if
about to attack. But while the attention of the Athenians was thus
engaged, he sent a detachment to surprise the fort of Labdalum, which
was not within view of their lines. The enterprise was completely
successful. The fort was taken, and the garrison put to the sword;
while the Syracusans gained another unexpected advantage during
the day, by the capture of one of the Athenian triremes which was
watching their harbor. Gylippus pursued his successes actively, by
immediately beginning the construction of a fresh counter-wall, from
the outer city wall in a northwesterly direction aslant up the slope
of Epipolæ; so as to traverse the intended line of the Athenian
circumvallation on the north side of their Circle, and render
blockade impossible. He availed himself, for this purpose, of stones
laid by the Athenians for their own circumvallation, at the same time
alarming them by threatening attack upon their lower wall, between
the southern cliff of Epipolæ and the Great Harbor, which was now
just finished, so as to leave their troops disposable for action on
the higher ground. Against one part of the wall, which seemed weaker
than the rest, he attempted a nocturnal surprise, but finding the
Athenians in vigilant guard without, he was forced to retire. This
part of the wall was now heightened, and the Athenians took charge of
it themselves, distributing their allies along the remainder.[396]

  [396] Thucyd. vii, 4.

These attacks, however, appear to have been chiefly intended as
diversions, in order to hinder the enemy from obstructing the
completion of the counter-wall. Now was the time for Nikias to adopt
vigorous aggressive measures both against this wall and against the
Syracusans in the field, unless he chose to relinquish all hope of
ever being able to beleaguer Syracuse. And, indeed, he seems actually
to have relinquished such hope, even thus early after he had seemed
certain master of the city. For he now undertook a measure altogether
new; highly important in itself, but indicating an altered scheme of
policy. He resolved to fortify Cape Plemmyrium,—the rocky promontory
which forms one extremity of the narrow entrance of the Great Harbor,
immediately south of the point of Ortygia,—and to make it a secure
main station for the fleet and stores. The fleet had been hitherto
stationed in close neighborhood of the land-force, in a fortified
position at the extremity of the double blockading wall between the
southern cliff of Epipolæ and the Great Harbor. From such a station
in the interior of the harbor, it was difficult for the Athenian
triremes to perform the duties incumbent on them, of watching the two
ports of Syracuse—one on each side of the isthmus which joins Ortygia
to the mainland—so as to prevent any exit of ships from within, or
ingress of ships from without, and of insuring the unobstructed
admission by sea of supplies for their own army. For both these
purposes, the station of Plemmyrium was far more convenient; and
Nikias now saw that henceforward his operations would be for the most
part maritime. Without confessing it openly, he thus practically
acknowledged that the superiority of land-force had passed to the
side of his opponents, and that a successful prosecution of the
blockade had become impossible.[397]

  [397] Thucyd. vii, 4.

Three forts, one of considerable size and two subsidiary, were
erected on the seaboard of Cape Plemmyrium, which became the station
for triremes as well as for ships of burden. Though the situation
was found convenient for all naval operations, it entailed also
serious disadvantages; being destitute of any spring of water,
such as the memorable fountain of Arethusa on the opposite island
of Ortygia. So that for supplies of water, and of wood also, the
crews of the ships had to range a considerable distance, exposed to
surprise from the numerous Syracusan cavalry placed in garrison at
the temple of Zeus Olympius. Day after day, losses were sustained in
this manner, besides the increased facilities given for desertion,
which soon fatally diminished the efficiency of each ship’s crew.
As the Athenian hopes of success now declined, both the slaves and
the numerous foreigners who served in their navy became disposed to
steal away. And though the ships of war, down to this time, had been
scarcely at all engaged in actual warfare, yet they had been for many
months continually at sea and on the watch, without any opportunity
of hauling ashore to refit. Hence the naval force, now about to be
called into action as the chief hope of the Athenians, was found
lamentably degenerated from that ostentatious perfection in which it
had set sail fifteen months before, from the harbor of Peiræus.

The erection of the new forts at Plemmyrium, while by withdrawing
the Athenian forces it left Gylippus unopposed in the prosecution of
his counter-wall, at the same time emboldened him by the manifest
decline of hope which it implied. Day after day he brought out his
Syracusans in battle-array, planting them near the Athenian lines;
but the Athenians showed no disposition to attack. At length he
took advantage of what he thought a favorable opportunity to make
the attack himself; but the ground was so hemmed in by various
walls—the Athenian fortified lines on one side, the Syracusan front
or Temenitic fortification on another, and the counter-wall now
in course of construction on a third—that his cavalry and darters
had no space to act. Accordingly, the Syracusan hoplites, having
to fight without these auxiliaries, were beaten and driven back
with loss, the Corinthian Goggylus being among the slain.[398] On
the next day, Gylippus had the prudence to take the blame of this
defeat upon himself. It was all owing to his mistake, he publicly
confessed, in having made choice of a confined space wherein neither
cavalry nor darters could avail. He would presently give them another
opportunity, in a fairer field, and he exhorted them to show their
inbred superiority, as Dorians and Peloponnesians, by chasing these
Ionians with their rabble of islanders out of Sicily. Accordingly,
after no long time, he again brought them up in order of battle;
taking care, however, to keep in the open space, beyond the extremity
of the walls and fortifications.

  [398] Thucyd. vii, 5; Plutarch, Nikias, c. 19.

On this occasion, Nikias did not decline the combat, but marched
out into the open space to meet him. He probably felt encouraged
by the result of the recent action; but there was a farther and
more pressing motive. The counter-wall of intersection, which the
Syracusans were constructing, was on the point of cutting the
Athenian line of circumvallation, so that it was essential for Nikias
to attack without delay, unless he formally abnegated all farther
hope of successful siege. Nor could the army endure, in spite of
altered fortune, irrevocably to shut themselves out from such hope,
without one struggle more. Both armies were therefore ranged in
battle order on the open space beyond the walls, higher up the slope
of Epipolæ; Gylippus placing his cavalry and darters to the right of
his line, on the highest and most open ground. In the midst of the
action between the hoplites on both sides, these troops on the right
charged the left flank of the Athenians with such vigor, that they
completely broke it. The whole Athenian army underwent a thorough
defeat, and only found shelter within its fortified lines. And in the
course of the very next night, the Syracusan counter-wall was pushed
so far as to traverse and get beyond the projected line of Athenian
blockade, reaching presently as far as the edge of the northern
cliff: so that Syracuse was now safe, unless the enemy should not
only recover their superiority in the field, but also become strong
enough to storm and carry the new-built wall.[399]

  [399] Thucyd. vii, 5, 6.

Farther defence was also obtained by the safe arrival of the
Corinthian, Ambrakiotic, and Leukadian fleet of twelve triremes,
under Erasinidês, which Nikias had vainly endeavored to intercept.
He had sent twenty sail to the southern coast of Italy; but the
new-comers had had the good luck to avoid them.

Erasinidês and his division lent their hands to the execution of a
work which completed the scheme of defence for the city. Gylippus
took the precaution of constructing a fort or redoubt on the high
ground of Epipolæ, so as to command the approach to Syracuse from
the high ground of Euryalus; a step which Hermokratês had not
thought of until too late, and which Nikias had never thought of
at all, during his period of triumph and mastery. He erected a
new fort on a suitable point of the high ground, backed by three
fortified positions or encampments at proper distances in the rear
of it, intended for bodies of troops to support the advanced post in
case it was attacked. A continuous wall was then carried from this
advanced post down the slope of Epipolæ, so as to reach and join
the counter-wall recently constructed; whereby this counter-wall,
already traversing and cutting the Athenian line of circumvallation,
became in fact prolonged up the whole slope of Epipolæ, and barred
all direct access from the Athenians in their existing lines up to
the summit of that eminence, as well as up to the northern cliff. The
Syracusans had now one continuous and uninterrupted line of defence;
a long single wall, resting at one extremity on the new-built fort
upon the high ground of Epipolæ, at the other extremity, upon the
city wall. This wall was only single; but it was defended, along
its whole length, by the permanent detachments occupying the three
several fortified positions or encampments just mentioned. One of
these positions was occupied by native Syracusans; a second, by
Sicilian Greeks; a third, by other allies. Such was the improved
and systematic scheme of defence which the genius of Gylippus
first projected, and which he brought to execution at the present
moment:[400] a scheme, the full value of which will be appreciated
when we come to describe the proceedings of the second Athenian
armament under Demosthenês.

  [400] Thucyd. vii, 7. Μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο, αἵ τε τῶν Κορινθίων νῆες καὶ
  Ἀμπρακιωτῶν καὶ Λευκαδίων ἐσέπλευσαν αἱ ὑπόλοιποι δώδεκα (ἦρχε
  δὲ αὐτῶν Ἐρασινίδης Κορίνθιος), καὶ ~ξυνετείχισαν τὸ λοιπὸν τοῖς
  Συρακοσίοις μέχρι τοῦ ἐγκαρσίου τείχους~.

  These words of Thucydidês are very obscure, and have been
  explained by different commentators in different ways. The
  explanation which I here give does not, so far as I know,
  coincide with any of them; yet I venture to think that it is the
  most plausible, and the only one satisfactory. Compare the Memoir
  of Dr. Arnold on his Map of Syracuse (Arn. Thucyd. vol. iii, p.
  273), and the notes of Poppo and Göller. Dr. Arnold is indeed so
  little satisfied with any explanation which had suggested itself
  to him that he thinks some words must have dropped out.

Not content with having placed the Syracusans out of the reach of
danger, Gylippus took advantage of their renewed confidence to
infuse into them projects of retaliation against the enemy who had
brought them so near to ruin. They began to equip their ships in
the harbor, and to put their seamen under training, in hopes of
qualifying themselves to contend with the Athenians even on their own
element; while Gylippus himself quitted the city to visit the various
cities of the island, and to get together farther reinforcements,
naval as well as military. And as it was foreseen that Nikias on
his part would probably demand aid from Athens, envoys, Syracusan
as well as Corinthian, were despatched to Peloponnesus, to urge
the necessity of forwarding additional troops, even in merchant
vessels, if no triremes could be spared to convey them.[401] Should
no reinforcements reach the Athenian camp, the Syracusans well knew
that its efficiency must diminish by every month’s delay, while their
own strength, in spite of heavy cost and effort, was growing with
their increased prospects of success.

  [401] Thucyd. vii, 7.

If this double conviction was present to sustain, the ardor of the
Syracusans, it was not less painfully felt amidst the Athenian camp,
now blocked up like a besieged city, and enjoying no free movement
except through their ships and their command of the sea. Nikias saw
that if Gylippus should return with any considerable additional
force, even the attack upon him by land would become too powerful
to resist, besides the increasing disorganization of his fleet. He
became fully convinced that to remain as they were was absolute ruin.
As all possibility of prosecuting the siege of Syracuse successfully
was now at an end, a sound judgment would have dictated that his
position in the harbor had become useless as well as dangerous, and
that the sooner it was evacuated the better. Probably Demosthenês
would have acted thus, under similar circumstances; but such
foresight and resolution were not in the character of Nikias, who was
afraid, moreover, of the blame which it would bring down upon him at
home, if not from his own army. Not venturing to quit his position
without orders from Athens, he determined to send home thither an
undisguised account of his critical position, and to solicit either
reinforcements or instructions to return.

It was now, indeed, the end of September (B.C. 414), so that he could
not even hope for an answer before midwinter, nor for reinforcements,
if such were to be sent, until the ensuing spring was far advanced.
Nevertheless, he determined to encounter this risk, and to trust to
vigilant precautions for safety during the interval, precautions
which, as the result will show, were within a hair’s breadth of
proving insufficient. But as it was of the last importance to him to
make his countrymen at home fully sensible of the grave danger of his
position, he resolved to transmit a written despatch; not trusting
to the oral statement of a messenger, who might be wanting either in
courage, in presence of mind, or in competent expression, to impress
the full and sad truth upon a reluctant audience.[402] Accordingly he
sent home a despatch, which seems to have reached Athens about the
end of November, and was read formally in the public assembly by the
secretary of the city. Preserved by Thucydidês verbatim, it stands as
one of the most interesting remnants of antiquity, and well deserves
a literal translation.

  [402] Thucyd. vii, 8.

“Our previous proceedings have been already made known to you,
Athenians, in many other despatches;[403] but the present crisis is
such as to require your deliberation more than ever, when you shall
have heard the situation in which we stand. After we had overcome in
many engagements the Syracusans, against whom we were sent, and had
built the fortified lines which we now occupy, there came upon us
the Lacedæmonian Gylippus, with an army partly Peloponnesian, partly
Sicilian. Him too we defeated, in the first action; but in a second,
we were overwhelmed by a crowd of cavalry and darters, and forced to
retire within our lines. And thus the superior number of our enemies
has compelled us to suspend our circumvallation, and remain inactive;
indeed, we cannot employ in the field even the full force which we
possess, since a portion of our hoplites are necessarily required for
the protection of our walls. Meanwhile the enemy have carried out a
single intersecting counter-wall beyond our line of circumvallation,
so that we can no longer continue the latter to completion, unless we
have force enough to attack and storm their counter-wall. And things
have come to such a pass, that we, who profess to besiege others,
are ourselves rather the party besieged, by land at least, since the
cavalry leave us scarce any liberty of motion. Farther, the enemy
have sent envoys to Peloponnesus to obtain reinforcements, while
Gylippus in person is going round the Sicilian cities, trying to
stir up to action such of them as are now neutral, and to get, from
the rest, additional naval and military supplies. For it is their
determination, as I understand, not merely to assail our lines on
shore with their land-force, but also to attack us by sea with their

  [403] Thucyd. vii, 9. ἐν ἄλλαις πολλαῖς ἐπιστολαῖς. The word
  _despatches_, which I use to translate ἐπιστολαῖς, is not
  inapplicable to oral, as well as to written messages, and thus
  retains the ambiguity involved in the original; for ἐπιστολαῖς,
  though usually implying, does not necessarily imply, _written_

  The words of Thucydidês (vii, 8) _may_ certainly be construed
  to imply that Nikias had never on any previous occasion sent a
  written communication to Athens; and so Dr. Thirlwall understands
  them, though not without hesitation (Hist. Gr. ch. xxvi, vol.
  iii, p. 418). At the same time, I think them reconcilable with
  the supposition that Nikias may previously have sent written
  despatches, though much shorter than the present, leaving details
  and particulars to be supplied by the officer who carried them.

  Mr. Mitford states the direct reverse of that which Dr. Thirlwall
  understands: “Nicias had used the precaution of frequently
  sending despatches in writing, with an exact account of every
  transaction.” (Ch. xviii, sect v, vol. iv, p. 100.)

  Certainly, the statement of Thucydidês does not imply this.

“Be not shocked when I tell you, that they intend to become
aggressors even at sea. They know well, that our fleet was at first
in high condition, with dry ships[404] and excellent crews; but
now the ships have rotted, from remaining too long at sea, and the
crews are ruined. Nor have we the means of hauling our ships ashore
to refit, since the enemy’s fleet, equal or superior in numbers,
always appears on the point of attacking us. We see them in constant
practice, and they can choose their own moment for attack. Moreover,
they can keep their ships high and dry more than we can; for they
are not engaged in maintaining watch upon others; while to us, who
are obliged to retain all our fleet on guard, nothing less than
prodigious superiority of number could insure the like facility. And
were we to relax ever so little in our vigilance, we should no longer
be sure of our supplies, which we bring in even now with difficulty
close under their walls.

  [404] It seems, that in Greek ship-building, moist and unseasoned
  wood was preferred, from the facility of bending it into the
  proper shape (Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. v, 7, 4).

“Our crews, too, have been and are still wasting away from various
causes. Among the seamen who are our own citizens, many, in going
to a distance for wood, for water, or for pillage, are cut off by
the Syracusan cavalry. Such of them as are slaves, desert, now that
our superiority is gone, and that we have come to equal chances with
our enemy; while the foreigners whom we pressed into our service,
make off straight to some of the neighboring cities; and those who
came, tempted by high pay, under the idea of enriching themselves
by traffic rather than of fighting, now that they find the enemy in
full competence to cope with us by sea as well as by land, either go
over to him as professed deserters, or get away as they can amidst
the wide area of Sicily.[405] Nay, there are even some, who, while
trafficking here on their own account, bribe the trierarchs to
accept Hykkarian slaves as substitutes, and thus destroy the strict
discipline of our marine. And you know as well as I, that no crew
ever continues long in perfect condition, and that the first class of
seamen, who set the ship in motion, and maintain the uniformity of
the oar-stroke, is but a small fraction of the whole number.

  [405] Thucyd. vii, 13. Καὶ οἱ ξένοι οἱ μὲν ἀναγκαστοὶ ἐσβάντες,
  εὐθὺς κατὰ τὰς πόλεις ἀποχωροῦσιν, οἱ δὲ ὑπὸ μεγάλου μισθοῦ τὸ
  πρῶτον ἐπαρθέντες, καὶ οἰόμενοι χρηματιεῖσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ μαχεῖσθαι,
  ἐπειδὴ παρὰ γνώμην ναύτικόν τε δὴ καὶ τἄλλα ἀπὸ τῶν πολεμίων
  ἀνθεστῶτα ὁρῶσιν, οἱ μὲν ~ἐπ’ αὐτομολίας προφάσει ἀπέρχονται~, οἱ
  δὲ ὡς ἕκαστοι δύνανται· πολλὴ δ’ ἡ Σικελία.

  All the commentators bestow long notes in explanation of this
  phrase ἐπ’ αὐτομολίας προφάσει ἀπέρχονται: but I cannot think
  that any of them are successful. There are even some who
  despair of success so much, as to wish to change αὐτομολίας by
  conjecture; see the citations in Poppo’s long note.

  But surely the literal sense of the words is here both
  defensible and instructive: “Some of them depart under pretence
  (or profession) of being deserters to the enemy.” All the
  commentators reject this meaning, because they say, it is absurd
  to talk of a man’s announcing beforehand that he intends to
  desert to the enemy, and giving _that_ as an excuse for quitting
  the camp. Such is not, in my judgment, the meaning of the word
  προφάσει here. It does not denote what a man said _before_ he
  quitted the Athenian camp, he would of course say nothing of
  his intention to any one, but the color which he would put upon
  his conduct _after he got within_ the Syracusan lines. He would
  present himself to them as a deserter to their cause; he would
  profess anxiety to take part in the defence; he would pretend
  to be tired of the oppressive Athenian dominion; for it is to
  be recollected, that all or most of these deserters were men
  belonging to the subject-allies of Athens. Those who passed over
  to the Syracusan lines would naturally recommend themselves
  by making profession of such dispositions, even though they
  did not really feel any such; for their real reason was, that
  the Athenian service had now become irksome, unprofitable, and
  dangerous; and the easiest manner of getting away from it was, to
  pass over as a deserter to Syracuse.

  Nikias distinguishes these men from others, “who got away, as
  they could find opportunity, to some part or other of Sicily.”
  These latter also would of course keep their intention of
  departing secret, until they got safe away into some Sicilian
  town; but when once there, they would make no profession of any
  feeling which they did not entertain. If they said anything, they
  would tell the plain truth, that they were making their escape
  from a position which now gave them more trouble than profit.

  It appears to me that the words ἐπ’ αὐτομολίας προφάσει will bear
  this sense perfectly well, and that it is the real meaning of

  Even before the Peloponnesian war was begun, the Corinthian
  envoy at Sparta affirms that the Athenians cannot depend upon
  their seamen standing true to them, since their navy was manned
  with hired foreign seamen rather than with natives—ὠνητὴ γὰρ ἡ
  Ἀθηναίων δύναμις μᾶλλον ἢ οἰκεία (Thucyd. i, 121). The statement
  of Nikias proves that this remark was to a great extent well

“Among all these embarrassments, the worst of all is, that I as
general can neither prevent the mischief, from the difficulty of
your tempers to govern, nor can I provide supplementary recruits
elsewhere, as the enemy can easily do from many places open to him.
We have nothing but the original stock which we brought out with
us, both to make good losses and to do present duty; for Naxus and
Katana, our only present allies, are of insignificant strength. And
if our enemy gain but one farther point,—if the Italian cities,
from whence we now draw our supplies, should turn against us, under
the impression of our present bad condition, with no reinforcement
arriving from you,—we shall be starved out, and he will bring the war
to triumphant close, even without a battle.

“Pleasanter news than these I could easily have found to send you;
but assuredly nothing so useful, seeing that the full knowledge
of the state of affairs here is essential to your deliberations.
Moreover, I thought it even the safer policy to tell you the truth
without disguise, understanding as I do your real dispositions, that
you never listen willingly to any but the most favorable assurances,
yet are angry in the end if they turn to unfavorable results. Be
thoroughly satisfied, that in regard to the force against which you
originally sent us, both your generals and your soldiers have done
themselves no discredit. But now that all Sicily is united against
us, and that farther reinforcements are expected from Peloponnesus,
you must take your resolution with full knowledge that we here have
not even strength to contend against our present difficulties. You
must either send for us home, or you must send us a second army,
land-force as well as naval, not inferior to that which is now here,
together with a considerable supply of money. You must farther send a
successor to supersede me, as I am incapable of work from a disease
in the kidneys. I think myself entitled to ask this indulgence at
your hands, for while my health lasted I did you much good service
in various military commands. But whatever you intend, do it at the
first opening of spring, without any delay: for the new succors which
the enemy is getting together in Sicily, will soon be here, and those
which are to come from Peloponnesus, though they will be longer
in arriving, yet, if you do not keep watch, will either elude or
forestall you as they have already once done.”[406]

  [406] Thucyd. vii, 11-15.

Such was the memorable despatch of Nikias, which was read to the
public assembly of Athens about the end of November, or beginning of
December, 414 B.C., brought by officers who strengthened its effect
by their own oral communications, and answered all such inquiries as
were put to them.[407] We have much reason to regret that Thucydidês
does not give us any idea of the debate which so gloomy a revelation
called forth. He tells us merely the result: the Athenians resolved
to comply with the second portion of the alternative put by Nikias;
not to send for the present armament home, but to reinforce it
by a second powerful armament, both of land and naval force, in
prosecution of the same objects. But they declined his other personal
request, and insisted on continuing him in command; passing a vote,
however, to name Menander and Euthydemus, officers already in the
army before Syracuse, joint commanders along with him, in order to
assist him in his laborious duties. They sent Eurymedon speedily,
about the winter solstice, in command of ten triremes to Syracuse,
carrying one hundred and twenty talents of silver, together with
assurances of coming aid to the suffering army. And they resolved to
equip a new and formidable force, under Demosthenês and Eurymedon,
to go thither as reinforcement in the earliest months of the spring.
Demosthenês was directed to employ himself actively in getting this
larger force ready.[408]

  [407] Thucyd. vii, 10.

  [408] Thucyd. vii, 16. There is here a doubt as to the reading,
  between one hundred and twenty talents, or twenty talents.

  I agree with Dr. Arnold and other commentators in thinking that
  the money taken out by Eurymedon was far more probably the larger
  sum of the two, than the smaller. The former reading seems to
  deserve the preference. Besides, Diodorus states that Eurymedon
  took out with him one hundred and forty talents: his authority,
  indeed, does not count for much, but it counts for something,
  in coincidence with a certain force of intrinsic probability
  (Diodor. xiii, 8).

  On an occasion such as this, to send a very small sum, such as
  twenty talents, would produce a discouraging effect upon the

This letter of Nikias—so authentic, so full of matter, and so
characteristic of the manners of the time—suggests several serious
reflections, in reference both to himself and to the Athenian people.
As to himself, there is nothing so remarkable as the sentence of
condemnation which it pronounces on his own past proceedings in
Sicily. When we find him lamenting the wear and tear of the armament,
and treating the fact as notorious that even the best naval force
could only maintain itself in good condition for a short time,
what graver condemnation could be passed upon those eight months
which he wasted in trifling measures, after his arrival in Sicily,
before commencing the siege of Syracuse? When he announces that the
arrival of Gylippus with his auxiliary force before Syracuse, made
the difference to the Athenian army between triumph and something
bordering on ruin, the inquiry naturally suggests itself, whether he
had done his best to anticipate, and what precautions he had himself
taken to prevent, the coming of the Spartan general. To which the
answer must be, that, so far from anticipating the arrival of new
enemies as a possible danger, he had almost invited them from abroad
by his delay, and that he had taken no precautions at all against
them, though forewarned and having sufficient means at his disposal.
The desertion and demoralization of his naval force, doubtless but
too real, was, as he himself points out, mainly the consequence of
this turn of fortune, and was also the first commencement of that
unmanageable temper of the Athenian soldiery, numbered among his
difficulties. For it would be injustice to this unfortunate army
not to recognize that they first acquiesced patiently in prolonged
inaction, because their general directed it, and next did their duty
most gallantly in the operations of the siege, down to the death of

If even with our imperfect knowledge of the case, the ruin complained
of by Nikias be distinctly traceable to his own remissness and
oversight, much more must this conviction have been felt by
intelligent Athenians, both in the camp and in the city, as we shall
see by the conduct of Demosthenês[409] hereafter to be related.
Let us conceive the series of despatches, to which Nikias himself
alludes, as having been transmitted home, from their commencement. We
must recollect that the expedition was originally sent from Athens
with hopes of the most glowing character, and with a consciousness
of extraordinary efforts about to be rewarded with commensurate
triumphs. For some months, the despatches of the general disclose
nothing but movements either abortive or inglorious; adorned,
indeed, by one barren victory, but accompanied by an intimation
that he must wait till the spring, and that reinforcements must be
sent to him, before he can undertake the really serious enterprise.
Though the disappointment occasioned by this news at Athens must
have been mortifying, nevertheless his requisition was complied
with; and the despatches of Nikias, during the spring and summer of
414 B.C., become cheering. The siege of Syracuse is described as
proceeding successfully, and at length, about July or August, as
being on the point of coming to a triumphant close, in spite of a
Spartan adventurer, named Gylippus, making his way across the Ionian
sea with a force too contemptible to be noticed. Suddenly, without
any intermediate step to smooth the transition, comes a despatch
announcing that this adventurer has marched into Syracuse at the
head of a powerful army, and that the Athenians are thrown upon
the defensive, without power of proceeding with the siege. This is
followed, after a short time, by the gloomy and almost desperate
communication above translated.

  [409] Thucyd. vii, 42.

When we thus look at the despatch, not merely as it stands singly,
but as falling in series with its antecedents, the natural effect
which we should suppose it likely to produce upon the Athenians,
would be a vehement burst of wrath and displeasure against Nikias.
Upon the most candid and impartial scrutiny, he deserved nothing
less. And when we consider, farther, the character generally ascribed
by historians of Greece to the Athenian people, that they are
represented as fickle, ungrateful, and irritable, by standing habit;
as abandoning upon the most trifling grounds those whom they had
once esteemed, forgetting all prior services, visiting upon innocent
generals the unavoidable misfortunes of war, and impelled by nothing
better than demagogic excitements, we naturally expect that the
blame really deserved by Nikias would be exaggerated beyond all due
measure, and break forth in a storm of violence and fury. Yet what
is the actual resolution taken in consequence of his despatch, after
the full and free debate of the Athenian assembly? Not a word of
blame or displeasure is proclaimed. Doubtless there must have been
individual speakers who criticized him as he deserved. To suppose the
contrary, would be to think meanly indeed of the Athenian assembly.
But the general vote was one not simply imputing no blame, but even
pronouncing continued and unabated confidence. The people positively
refuse to relieve him from the command, though he himself solicits it
in a manner sincere and even touching. So great is the value which
they set upon his services, and the esteem which they entertain
for his character, that they will not avail themselves of the easy
opportunity which he himself provides to get rid of him.

It is not by way of compliment to the Athenians that I make these
remarks on their present proceeding. Quite the contrary. The
misplaced confidence of the Athenians in Nikias, on more than one
previous occasion, but especially on this, betrays an incapacity of
appreciating facts immediately before their eyes, and a blindness
to decisive and multiplied evidences of incompetency, which is one
of the least creditable manifestations of their political history.
But we do learn from it a clear lesson, that the habitual defects
of the Athenian character were very different from what historians
commonly impute to them. Instead of being fickle, we find them
tenacious in the extreme of confidence once bestowed, and of schemes
once embarked upon: instead of ingratitude for services actually
rendered, we find credit given for services which an officer ought
to have rendered, but has not: instead of angry captiousness, we
discover an indulgence not merely generous, but even culpable, in
the midst of disappointment and humiliation: instead of a public
assembly, wherein, as it is commonly depicted, the criminative
orators were omnipotent, and could bring to condemnation any
unsuccessful general, however meritorious; we see that even grave
and well-founded accusations make no impression upon the people in
opposition to preëstablished personal esteem; and personal esteem
for a man who not only was no demagogue, but in every respect the
opposite of a demagogue: an oligarch by taste, sentiment, and
position; who yielded to the democracy nothing more than sincere
obedience, coupled with gentleness and munificence in his private
bearing. If Kleon had committed but a small part of those capital
blunders which discredit the military career of Nikias, he would have
been irretrievably ruined. So much weaker was _his_ hold upon his
countrymen, by means of demagogic excellences, as compared with those
causes which attracted confidence to Nikias; his great family and
position, his wealth dexterously expended, his known incorruptibility
against bribes, and even comparative absence of personal ambition,
his personal courage combined with reputation for caution, his
decorous private life and ultra-religious habits. All this assemblage
of negative merits, and decencies of daily life, in a citizen
whose station might have enabled him to act with the insolence of
Alkibiadês, placed Nikias on a far firmer basis of public esteem than
the mere power of accusatory speech in the public assembly or the
dikastery could have done. It entitled him to have the most indulgent
construction put upon all his shortcomings, and spread a fatal
varnish over his glaring incompetence for all grave and responsible

The incident now before us is one of the most instructive in all
history, as an illustration of the usual sentiment, and strongest
causes of error, prevalent among the Athenian democracy, and as
a refutation of that exaggerated mischief which it is common to
impute to the person called a demagogue. Happy would it have been
for Athens had she now had Kleon present, or any other demagogue
of equal power, at that public assembly which took the melancholy
resolution of sending fresh forces to Sicily and continuing Nikias
in the command! The case was one in which the accusatory eloquence
of the demagogue was especially called for, to expose the real past
mismanagement of Nikias, to break down that undeserved confidence in
his ability and caution which had grown into a sentiment of faith or
routine, to prove how much mischief he had already done, and how much
more he would do if continued.[410] Unluckily for Athens, she had
now no demagogue who could convince the assembly beforehand of this
truth, and prevent them from taking the most unwise and destructive
resolution ever passed in the Pnyx.

  [410] Plutarch (Nikias, c. 20) tells us that the Athenians had
  been disposed to send a second armament to Sicily, even before
  the despatch of Nikias reached them: but that they had been
  prevented by certain men who were envious (φθόνῳ) of the glory
  and good fortune of Nikias.

  No judgment can be more inconsistent with the facts of the case
  than this, facts recounted in general terms even by Plutarch

What makes the resolution so peculiarly discreditable, is, that it
was adopted in defiance of clear and present evidence. To persist
in the siege of Syracuse, under present circumstances, was sad
misjudgment; to persist in it with Nikias as commander, was hardly
less than insanity. The first expedition, though even _that_ was
rash and ill-conceived, nevertheless presented tempting hopes
which explain, if they do not excuse, the too light estimate of
impossibility of lasting possession. Moreover, there was at that
time a confusion,—between the narrow objects connected with Leontini
and Egesta, and the larger acquisitions to be realized through the
siege of Syracuse,—which prevented any clear and unanimous estimate
of the undertaking in the Athenian mind. But now, the circumstances
of Sicily were fully known: the mendacious promises of Egesta had
been exposed; the hopes of allies for Athens in the island were
seen to be futile; while Syracuse, armed with a Spartan general and
Peloponnesian aid, had not only become inexpugnable, but had assumed
the aggressive: lastly, the chance of a renewal of Peloponnesian
hostility against Attica had been now raised into certainty. While
perseverance in the siege of Syracuse, therefore, under circumstances
so unpromising and under such necessity for increased exertions
at home, was a melancholy imprudence in itself, perseverance in
employing Nikias converted that imprudence into ruin, which even the
addition of an energetic colleague in the person of Demosthenês was
not sufficient to avert. Those who study the conduct of the Athenian
people on this occasion, will not be disposed to repeat against them
the charge of fickleness which forms one of the standing reproaches
against democracy. Their mistake here arose from the very opposite
quality; from what may be called obtuseness, or inability to get
clear of two sentiments which had become deeply engraven on their
minds; ideas of Sicilian conquest, and confidence in Nikias.

A little more of this alleged fickleness—or easy escape from past
associations and impressibility to actual circumstances—would have
been at the present juncture a tutelary quality to Athens. She would
then have appreciated more justly the increased hazards thickening
around her both in Sicily and at home. War with Sparta, though not
yet actually proclaimed, had become impending and inevitable. Even
in the preceding winter, the Lacedæmonians had listened favorably
to the recommendation of Alkibiadês[411] that they should establish
a fortified post at Dekeleia in Attica. They had not yet indeed
brought themselves to execution of this resolve; for the peace
between them and Athens, though indirectly broken in many ways, still
subsisted in name, and they hesitated to break it openly, partly
because they knew that the breach of peace had been on their side at
the beginning of the Peloponnesian war; attributing to this fault
their capital misfortune at Sphakteria.[412] Athens on her side
had also scrupulously avoided direct violation of the Lacedæmonian
territory, in spite of much solicitation from her allies at Argos.
But her reserve on this point gave way during the present summer,
probably at the time when her prospect of taking Syracuse appeared
certain. The Lacedæmonians having invaded and plundered the Argeian
territory, thirty Athenian triremes were sent to aid in its defence,
under Pythodôrus with two colleagues. This armament disembarked on
the eastern coast of Laconia near Prasiæ and committed devastations:
which direct act of hostility—coming in addition to the marauding
excursions of the garrison of Pylos, and to the refusal of pacific
redress at Athens—satisfied the Lacedæmonians that the peace had
been now first and undeniably broken by their enemy, so that they
might with a safe conscience recommence the war.[413]

  [411] Thucyd. vi, 93.

  [412] Thucyd. vii, 18.

  [413] Thucyd. vi, 105; vii, 18.

Such was the state of feeling between the two great powers of
Central Greece in November 414 B.C., when the envoys arrived from
Syracuse; envoys from Nikias on the one part, from Gylippus and
the Syracusans on the other; each urgently calling for farther
support. The Corinthians and Syracusans vehemently pressed their
claims at Sparta; nor was Alkibiadês again wanting, to renew his
instances for the occupation of Dekeleia. It was in the face of
this impending liability to renewed Peloponnesian invasion that
the Athenians took their resolution, above commented on, to send a
second army to Syracuse and prosecute the siege with vigor. If there
were any hesitation yet remaining on the part of the Lacedæmonians,
it disappeared so soon as they were made aware of the imprudent
resolution of Athens; which not only created an imperative necessity
for sustaining Syracuse, but also rendered Athens so much more
vulnerable at home, by removing the better part of her force.
Accordingly, very soon after the vote passed at Athens, an equally
decisive resolution for direct hostilities was adopted at Sparta.
It was determined that a Peloponnesian allied force should be
immediately prepared, to be sent at the first opening of spring to
Syracuse, and that at the same time Attica should be invaded, and the
post of Dekeleia fortified. Orders to this effect were immediately
transmitted to the whole body of Peloponnesian allies; especially
requisitions for implements, materials, and workmen, towards the
construction of the projected fort at Dekeleia.[414]

  [414] Thucyd. vii, 18.



The Syracusan war now no longer stands apart, as an event by itself,
but becomes absorbed in the general war rekindling throughout Greece.
Never was any winter so actively and extensively employed in military
preparations, as the winter of 414-413 B.C., the months immediately
preceding that which Thucydidês terms the nineteenth spring of the
Peloponnesian war, but which other historians call the beginning of
the Dekeleian war.[415] While Eurymedon went with his ten triremes
to Syracuse, even in midwinter, Demosthenês exerted himself all the
winter to get together the second armament for early spring. Twenty
other Athenian triremes were farther sent round Peloponnesus to
the station of Naupaktus, to prevent any Corinthian reinforcements
from sailing out of the Corinthian gulf. Against these latter, the
Corinthians on their side prepared twenty-five fresh triremes, to
serve as a convoy to the transports carrying their hoplites.[416]
In Corinth, Sikyôn, and Bœotia, as well as at Lacedæmon, levies of
hoplites were going on for the armament to Syracuse, at the same time
that everything was getting ready for the occupation of Dekeleia.
Lastly, Gylippus was engaged with not less activity in stirring up
all Sicily to take a more decisive part in the coming year’s struggle.

  [415] Diodor. xiii, 8.

  [416] Thucyd. vii, 17.

From Cape Tænarus in Laconia, at the earliest moment of spring,
embarked a force of six hundred Lacedæmonian hoplites—Helots and
Neodamodes—under the Spartan Ekkritus, and three hundred Bœotian
hoplites under the Thebans Xenon and Nikon, with the Thespian
Hegesandrus. They were directed to cross the sea southward to Kyrênê
in Libya, and from thence to make their way along the African coast
to Sicily. At the same time a body of seven hundred hoplites under
Alexarchus, partly Corinthians, partly hired Arcadians, partly
Sikyonians, under constraint from their powerful neighbors,[417]
departed from the northwest of Peloponnesus and the mouth of the
Corinthian gulf for Sicily, the Corinthian triremes watching them
until they were past the Athenian squadron at Naupaktus.

  [417] Thucyd. vii, 19-58. Σικυώνιοι ἀναγκαστοὶ στρατεύοντες.

These were proceedings of importance: but the most important of all
was the reinvasion of Attica at the same time by the great force
of the Peloponnesian alliance, under the Spartan king Agis son of
Archidamus. Twelve years had elapsed since Attica last felt the
hand of the destroyer, a little before the siege of Sphakteria. The
plain in the neighborhood of Athens was now first laid waste, after
which the invaders proceeded to their special purpose of erecting
a fortified post for occupation at Dekeleia. The work, apportioned
among the allies present, who had come prepared with the means
of executing it, was completed during the present summer, and a
garrison was established there composed of contingents relieving
each other at intervals, under the command of king Agis himself.
Dekeleia was situated on an outlying eminence belonging to the range
called Parnês, about fourteen miles to the north of Athens, near the
termination of the plain of Athens, and commanding an extensive view
of that plain as well as of the plain of Eleusis. The hill on which
it stood, if not the fort itself, was visible even from the walls
of Athens. It was admirably situated both as a central point for
excursions over Attica, and for communication with Bœotia; while the
road from Athens to Orôpus, the main communication with Eubœa, passed
through the gorge immediately under it.[418]

  [418] Thucyd. vii, 19-28, with Dr. Arnold’s note.

We read with amazement, and the contemporary world saw with yet
greater amazement, that while this important work was actually going
on, and while the whole Peloponnesian confederacy was renewing its
pressure with redoubled force upon Athens, at that very moment,[419]
the Athenians sent out, not only a fleet of thirty triremes under
Chariklês to annoy the coasts of Peloponnesus, but also the great
armament which they had resolved upon under Demosthenês, to push
offensive operations against Syracuse. The force under the latter
general consisted of sixty Athenian and five Chian triremes; of
twelve hundred Athenian hoplites of the best class, chosen from the
citizen muster-roll; with a considerable number of hoplites besides,
from the subject-allies and elsewhere. There had been also engaged
on hire fifteen hundred peltasts from Thrace, of the tribe called
Dii; but these men did not arrive in time, so that Demosthenês
set sail without them.[420] Chariklês having gone forward to take
aboard a body of allies from Argos, the two fleets joined at Ægina,
inflicted some devastations on the coasts of Laconia, and established
a strong post on the island of Kythêra to encourage desertion
among the Helots. From hence Chariklês returned with the Argeians,
while Demosthenês conducted his armament round Peloponnesus to
Korkyra.[421] On the Eleian coast, he destroyed a transport carrying
hoplites to Syracuse, though the men escaped ashore: from thence he
proceeded to Zakynthus and Kephallenia, from whence he engaged some
additional hoplites, and to Anaktorium, in order to procure darters
and slingers from Akarnania. It was here that he was met by Eurymedon
with his ten triremes, who had gone forward to Syracuse in the
winter with the pecuniary remittance urgently required, and was now
returning to act as colleague of Demosthenês in the command.[422] The
news brought by Eurymedon from Sicily was in every way discouraging.
Yet the two admirals were under the necessity of sparing ten triremes
from their fleet to reinforce Konon at Naupaktus, who was not
strong enough alone to contend against the Corinthian fleet which
watched him from the opposite coast. To make good this diminution,
Eurymedon went forward to Korkyra, with the view of obtaining from
the Korkyræans fifteen fresh triremes and a contingent of hoplites,
while Demosthenês was getting together the Akarnanian darters and

  [419] Thucyd. vii, 20. ἅμα τῆς Δεκελείας τῷ τειχισμῷ, etc.
  Compare Isokratês, Orat. viii, De Pace, s. 102, p. 236, Bekk.

  [420] Thucyd. vii, 20-27.

  [421] Thucyd. vii, 26.

  [422] Thucyd. vii, 31. Ὄντι δ’ αὐτῷ (Demosthenês) περὶ ταῦτα
  (Anaktorium) Εὐρυμέδων ἀπαντᾷ, ὃς τότε τοῦ χειμῶνος ~τὰ χρήματα
  ἄγων τῇ στρατιᾷ ἀπεπέμφθη~, καὶ ἀγγέλλει, etc.

  The meaning of this passage appears quite unambiguous, that
  Eurymedon had been sent to Sicily in the winter, to carry the sum
  of one hundred and twenty talents to Nikias, and was now on his
  return (see Thucyd. vii, 11). Nor is it without some astonishment
  that I read in Mr. Mitford: “At Anactorium, Demosthenês found
  Eurymedon _collecting provisions_ for Sicily,” etc. Mr. Mitford
  then says in a note (quoting the Scholiast, Ἤτοι τὰ πρὸς τροφὴν
  χρήσιμα, καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ συντείνοντα αὐτοῖς, Schol.): “This is not
  the only occasion on which Thucydidês uses the term χρήματα for
  _necessaries in general_. Smith has translated accordingly:
  but the Latin has _pecuniam_, which does not express the sense
  intended here,” (ch. xviii, sect. vi, vol. iv, p. 118.)

  There cannot be the least doubt that the Latin is here right.
  The definite article makes the point quite certain, even if it
  were true (which I doubt) that Thucydidês sometimes uses the word
  χρήματα to mean “necessaries in general.” I doubt still more
  whether he ever uses ἄγων in the sense of “collecting.”

  [423] Thucyd. vii, 31.

Eurymedon not only brought back word of the distressed condition
of the Athenians in the harbor of Syracuse, but had also learned,
during his way back, their heavy additional loss by the capture of
the fort at Plemmyrium. Gylippus returned to Syracuse early in the
spring, nearly about the time when Agis invaded Attica and when
Demosthenês quitted Peiræus. He returned with fresh reinforcements
from the interior, and with redoubled ardor for decisive operations
against Nikias before aid could arrive from Athens. It was his first
care, in conjunction with Hermokratês, to inspire the Syracusans
with courage for fighting the Athenians on shipboard. Such was the
acknowledged superiority of the latter at sea, that this was a task
of some difficulty, calling for all the eloquence and ascendency of
the two leaders: “The Athenians (said Hermokratês to his countrymen)
have not been always eminent at sea as they now are: they were once
landsmen like you, and more than you, they were only forced on
shipboard by the Persian invasion. The only way to deal with bold
men like them, is to show a front bolder still. _They_ have often by
their audacity daunted enemies of greater real force than themselves,
and they must now be taught that others can play the same game with
them. Go right at them before they expect it; and you will gain more
by thus surprising and intimidating them, than you will suffer by
their superior science.” Such lessons, addressed to men already in
the tide of success, were presently efficacious, and a naval attack
was resolved.[424]

  [424] Thucyd. vii, 21. Among the topics of encouragement dwelt
  upon by Hermokratês, it is remarkable that he makes no mention of
  that which the sequel proved to be the most important of all, the
  confined space of the harbor, which rendered Athenian ships and
  tactics unavailing.

The town of Syracuse had two ports, one on each side of the island
of Ortygia. The lesser port—as it was called afterwards, the Portus
Lakkius—lay northward of Ortygia, between that island and the low
ground or Nekropolis near the outer city: the other lay on the
opposite side of the isthmus of Ortygia within the Great Harbor. Both
of them, it appears, were protected against attack from without,
by piles and stakes planted in the bottom in front of them. But
the lesser port was the more secure of the two, and the principal
docks of the Syracusans were situated within it; the Syracusan
fleet, eighty triremes strong, being distributed between them. The
entire Athenian fleet was stationed under the fort of Plemmyrium,
immediately opposite to the southern point of Ortygia.

Gylippus laid his plan with great ability, so as to take the
Athenians completely by surprise. Having trained and prepared the
naval force as thoroughly as he could, he marched out his land-force
secretly by night, over Epipolæ and round by the right bank of the
Anapus, to the neighborhood of the fort of Plemmyrium. With the first
dawn of morning, the Syracusan fleet sailed out, at one and the same
signal, from both the ports; forty-five triremes out of the lesser
port, thirty-five out of the other. Both squadrons tried to round the
southern point of Ortygia, so as to unite and to attack the enemy at
Plemmyrium in concert. The Athenians, though unprepared and confused,
hastened to man sixty ships; with twenty-five of which, they met the
thirty-five Syracusans sailing forth from the Great Harbor, while
with the other thirty-five they encountered the forty-five from the
lesser port, immediately outside of the mouth of the Great Harbor. In
the former of these two actions the Syracusans were at first victors;
in the second also, the Syracusans from the outside forced their
way into the mouth of the Great Harbor, and joined their comrades.
But being little accustomed to naval warfare, they presently fell
into complete confusion, partly in consequence of their unexpected
success: so that the Athenians, recovering from the first shock,
attacked them anew and completely defeated them; sinking or disabling
eleven ships, of three of which the crews were made prisoners, the
rest being mostly slain.[425] Three Athenian triremes were destroyed

  [425] Thucyd. vii, 23; Diod. xiii, 9; Plut. Nikias, c. 20.

But this victory, itself not easily won, was more than
counterbalanced by the irreparable loss of Plemmyrium. During the
first excitement at the Athenian naval station, when the ships were
in course of being manned to meet the unexpected onset from both
ports at once, the garrison of Plemmyrium went to the water’s edge to
watch and encourage their countrymen, leaving their own walls thinly
guarded, and little suspecting the presence of their enemy on the
land side. This was just what Gylippus had anticipated. He attacked
the forts at daybreak, taking the garrison completely by surprise,
and captured them after a feeble resistance; first the greatest
and most important fort, next the two smaller. The garrison sought
safety as they could, on board the transports and vessels of burden
at the station, and rowed across the Great Harbor to the land-camp
of Nikias on the other side. Those who fled from the greater fort,
which was the first taken, ran some risk from the Syracusan triremes,
which were at that moment victorious at sea. But by the time that
the two lesser forts were taken, the Athenian fleet had regained its
superiority, so that there was no danger of similar pursuit in the
crossing of the Great Harbor.

This well-concerted surprise was no less productive to the captors
than fatal as a blow to the Athenians. Not only were many men slain,
and many made prisoners, in the assault, but there were vast stores
of every kind, and even a large stock of money found within the fort;
partly belonging to the military chest, partly the property of the
trierarchs and of private merchants, who had deposited it there as
in the place of greatest security. The sails of not less than forty
triremes were also found there, and three triremes which had been
dragged up ashore. Gylippus caused one of the three forts to be
pulled down, and carefully garrisoned the other two.[426]

  [426] Thucyd. vii, 23, 24.

Great as the positive loss was here to the Athenians at a time when
their situation could ill bear it, the collateral damage and peril
growing out of the capture of Plemmyrium was yet more serious,
besides the alarm and discouragement which it spread among the
army. The Syracusans were now masters of the mouth of the harbor on
both sides, so that not a single storeship could enter without a
convoy and a battle. What was of not less detriment, the Athenian
fleet was now forced to take station under the fortified lines of
its own land-force, and was thus cramped up on a small space in the
innermost portion of the Great Harbor, between the city-wall and the
river Anapus; the Syracusans being masters everywhere else, with full
communication between their posts all round, hemming in the Athenian
position both by sea and by land.

To the Syracusans, on the contrary, the result of the recent
battle proved every way encouraging; not merely from the valuable
acquisition of Plemmyrium, but even from the sea-fight itself, which
had indeed turned out to be a defeat, but which promised at first
to be a victory, had they not thrown away the chance by their own
disorder. It removed all superstitious fear of Athenian nautical
superiority; while their position was so much improved by having
acquired the command of the mouth of the harbor, that they began even
to assume the aggressive at sea. They detached a squadron of twelve
triremes to the coast of Italy, for the purpose of intercepting some
merchant vessels coming with a supply of money to the Athenians. So
little fear was there of an enemy at sea, that these vessels seem to
have been coming without convoy, and were for the most part destroyed
by the Syracusans, together with a stock of ship-timber which the
Athenians had collected near Kaulonia. In touching at Lokri, on their
return, they took aboard a company of Thespian hoplites who had made
their way thither in a transport. They were also fortunate enough to
escape the squadron of twenty triremes which Nikias detached to lie
in wait for them near Megara, with the loss of one ship, however,
including her crew.[427]

  [427] Thucyd. vii, 25.

One of this Syracusan squadron had gone forward from Italy with
envoys to Peloponnesus, to communicate the favorable news of the
capture of Plemmyrium, and to accelerate as much as possible,
the operations against Attica, in order that no reinforcements
might be sent from thence. At the same time, other envoys went
from Syracuse—not merely Syracusans, but also Corinthians and
Lacedæmonians—to visit the cities in the interior of Sicily. They
made known everywhere the prodigious improvement in Syracusan affairs
arising from the gain of Plemmyrium, as well as the insignificant
character of the recent naval defeat. They strenuously pleaded for
farther aid to Syracuse without delay, since there were now the best
hopes of being able to crush the Athenians in the harbor completely,
before the reinforcements about to be despatched could reach

  [428] Thucyd. vii, 25.

While these envoys were absent on their mission, the Great Harbor was
the scene of much desultory conflict, though not of any comprehensive
single battle. Since the loss of Plemmyrium, the Athenian naval
station was in the northwest interior corner of that harbor,
adjoining the fortified lines occupied by their land-army. It was
inclosed and protected by a row of posts or stakes stuck in the
bottom and standing out of the water.[429] The Syracusans on their
side had also planted a stockade in front of the interior port of
Ortygia, to defend their ships, their ship-houses, and their docks
within. As the two stations were not far apart, each party watched
for opportunities of occasional attack or annoyance by missile
weapons to the other; and daily skirmishes of this sort took place,
in which on the whole the Athenians seem to have had the advantage.
They even formed the plan of breaking through the outworks of the
Syracusan dockyard, and burning the ships within. They brought up
a ship of the largest size, with wooden towers and side defences,
against the line of posts fronting the dockyard, and tried to force
the entrance, either by means of divers, who sawed them through at
the bottom, or by boat-crews, who fastened ropes round them and thus
unfixed or plucked them out. All this was done under cover of the
great vessel with its towers manned by light-armed, who exchanged
showers of missiles with the Syracusan bowmen on the top of the
ship-houses, and prevented the latter from coming near enough to
interrupt the operation. The Athenians contrived thus to remove many
of the posts planted, even the most dangerous among them, those which
did not reach to the surface of the water, and which therefore a
ship approaching could not see. But they gained little by it, since
the Syracusans were able to plant others in their room. On the
whole, no serious damage was done, either to the dockyard or to the
ships within. And the state of affairs in the Great Harbor stood
substantially unaltered, during all the time that the envoys were
absent on their Sicilian tour, probably three weeks or a month.[430]

  [429] Thucyd. vii, 38.

  [430] Thucyd. vii, 25.

These envoys had found themselves almost everywhere well received.
The prospects of Syracuse were now so triumphant, and those of Nikias
with his present force so utterly hopeless, that the waverers thought
it time to declare themselves; and all the Greek cities in Sicily,
except Agrigentum, which still remained neutral (and of course
except Naxos and Katana), resolved on aiding the winning cause.
From Kamarina came five hundred hoplites, four hundred darters,
and three hundred bowmen; from Gela, five triremes, four hundred
darters, and two hundred horsemen. Besides these, an additional force
from the other cities was collected, to march to Syracuse in a body
across the interior of the island, under the conduct of the envoys
themselves. But this part of the scheme was frustrated by Nikias,
who was rendered more vigilant by the present desperate condition
of his affairs, than he had been in reference to the cross march of
Gylippus. At his instance, the Sikel tribes Kentoripes and Halikyæi,
allies of Athens, were prevailed upon to attack the approaching
enemy. They planned a skilful ambuscade, set upon them unawares, and
dispersed them with the loss of eight hundred men. All the envoys
were also slain, except the Corinthian, who conducted the remaining
force, about fifteen hundred in number, to Syracuse.[431]

  [431] Thucyd. vii, 32, 33.

This reverse—which seems to have happened about the time when
Demosthenês with his armament were at Korkyra, on the way to
Syracuse—so greatly dismayed and mortified the Syracusans, that
Gylippus thought it advisable to postpone awhile the attack which he
intended to have made immediately on the reinforcement arriving.[432]
The delay of these few days proved nothing less than the salvation of
the Athenian army.

  [432] Thucyd. vii, 33.

It was not until Demosthenês was approaching Rhegium within two or
three days’ sail of Syracuse, that the attack was determined on
without farther delay. Preparation in every way had been made for
it long before, especially for the most effective employment of the
naval force. The captains and ship-masters of Syracuse and Corinth
had now become fully aware of the superiority of Athenian nautical
manœuvre, and of the causes upon which that superiority depended.
The Athenian trireme was of a build comparatively light, fit for
rapid motion through the water, and for easy change of direction:
its prow was narrow, armed with a sharp projecting beak at the end,
but hollow and thin, not calculated to force its way through very
strong resistance. It was never intended to meet, in direct impact
and collision, the prow of an enemy: such a proceeding passed among
the able seamen of Athens for gross awkwardness. In advancing against
an enemy’s vessel, they evaded the direct shock, steered so as to
pass by it, then, by the excellence and exactness of their rowing,
turned swiftly round, altered their direction and came back before
the enemy could alter his: or perhaps rowed rapidly round him, or
backed their ship stern foremost, until the opportunity was found
for driving the beak of their ship against some weak part of his,
against the midships, the quarter, the stern, or the oarblades
without. In such manœuvres the Athenians were unrivalled: but none
such could be performed unless there were ample sea-room, which
rendered their present naval station the most disadvantageous that
could be imagined. They were cooped up in the inmost part of a
harbor of small dimensions, close on the station of their enemies,
and with all the shore, except their own lines, in possession of
those enemies: so that they could not pull round from want of space,
nor could they back water, because they durst not come near shore.
In this contracted area, the only mode of fighting possible was by
straightforward collision, prow against prow; a process which not
only shut out all their superior manœuvring, but was unsuited to the
build of their triremes. On the other hand, the Syracusans, under
the advice of the able Corinthian steersman Aristo, altered the
construction of their triremes to meet the special exigency of the
case, disregarding all idea of what had been generally looked upon
as good nautical manœuvring.[433] Instead of the long, thin, hollow,
and sharp, advancing beak, striking the enemy considerably above
the water-level, and therefore doing less damage, they shortened
the prow, but made it excessively heavy and solid, and lowered the
elevation of the projecting beak: so that it became not so much
calculated to pierce, as to break in and crush by main force all the
opposing part of the enemy’s ship, not far above the water. What
were called the epôtids, “ear-caps,” or nozzles, projecting forwards
to the right and left of the beak, were made peculiarly thick, and
sustained by under-beams let in to the hull of the ship. In the Attic
build, the beak stood forward very prominent, and the epôtids on
each side of it were kept back, serving the same purpose as what are
called catheads, in modern ships, to which the anchors are suspended:
but in the Corinthian build, the beak projected less, and the epôtids
more, so that they served to strike the enemy: instead of having
one single beak, the Corinthian ship might be said to have three
nozzles.[434] The Syracusans relied on the narrowness of the space,
for shutting out the Athenian evolutions, and bringing the contest to
nothing more than a straightforward collision; in which the weaker
vessel would be broken and stove in at the prow, and thus rendered

  [433] Thucyd. vii, 36. τῇ δὲ πρότερον ἀμαθίᾳ τῶν κυβερνητῶν
  δοκούσῃ εἶναι, τὸ ἀντίπρωρον ξυγκροῦσαι, μάλιστ’ ἂν αὐτοὶ
  χρήσασθαι· πλεῖστον γὰρ ἐν αὐτῷ σχήσειν, etc.

  Diodor. xiii, 10.

  [434] Compare Thucyd. vii, 34-30; Diodor. xiii. 10; Eurip. Iph.
  Taur. 1335. See also the notes of Arnold, Poppo, and Didot, on
  the passages of Thucydidês.

  It appears as if the ἀντηρίδες or sustaining beams were something
  new, now provided for the first time, in order to strengthen the
  epôtid and render it fit to drive in collision against the enemy.
  The words which Thucydidês employs to describe the position of
  these ἀντηρίδες, are to me very obscure, nor do I think that any
  of the commentators clear them up satisfactorily.

  It is Diodorus who specifies that the Corinthians lowered the
  level of their prows, so as to strike nearer to the water, which
  Thucydidês does not mention.

  A captive ship, when towed in as a prize, was disarmed by being
  deprived of her beak (Athenæus, xii, p. 535). Lysander reserved
  the beaks of the Athenian triremes captured at Ægospotami to
  grace his triumphal return (Xenoph. Hellen. ii. 3, 8).

Having completed these arrangements, their land-force was marched
out under Gylippus to threaten one side of the Athenian lines, while
the cavalry and the garrison of the Olympieion marched up to the
other side. The Athenians were putting themselves in position to
defend their walls from what seemed to be a land attack, when they
saw the Syracusan fleet, eighty triremes strong, sailing out from
its dock prepared for action: upon which they too, though at first
confused by this unexpected appearance, put their crews on shipboard,
and went out of their palisaded station, seventy-five triremes in
number, to meet the enemy. The whole day passed off, however, in
desultory and indecisive skirmish, with trifling advantage to the
Syracusans, who disabled one or two Athenian ships, yet merely tried
to invite the Athenians to attack, without choosing themselves to
force on a close and general action.[435]

  [435] Thucyd. vii, 37, 38.

It was competent to the Athenians to avoid altogether a naval action,
at least until the necessity arose for escorting fresh supplies into
the harbor, by keeping within their station; and as Demosthenês
was now at hand, prudence counselled this reserve. Nikias himself,
too, is said to have deprecated immediate fighting, but to have
been outvoted by his two newly-appointed colleagues Menander and
Euthydemus, who were anxious to show what they could do without
Demosthenês, and took their stand upon Athenian maritime honor, which
peremptorily forbade them to shrink from the battle when offered.[436]

  [436] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 20. Diodorus (xiii, 10) represents the
  battle as having been brought on against the wish and intention
  of the Athenians generally, not alluding to any difference of
  opinion among the commanders.

Though on the next day the Syracusans made no movement, yet Nikias
foreseeing that they would speedily recommence, and noway encouraged
by the equal manifestations of the preceding day, caused every
trierarch to repair what damage his ship had sustained, and even
took the precaution of farther securing his naval station by mooring
merchant-vessels just alongside of the openings in the palisade,
about two hundred feet apart. The prows of these vessels were
provided with dolphins, or beams lifted up on high and armed at
the end with massive heads of iron, which could be so let fall as
to crush any ship entering:[437] any Athenian trireme which might
be hard-pressed, would thus be enabled to get through this opening
where no enemy could follow, and choose her own time for sailing out
again. Before night these arrangements were completed, and at the
earliest dawn of next day, the Syracusans reappeared, with the same
demonstrations both of land force and naval force as before. The
Athenian fleet having gone forth to meet them, several hours were
spent in the like indecisive and partial skirmishes, until at length
the Syracusan fleet sailed back to the city again without bringing
on any general or close combat. The Athenians, construing this
retirement of the enemy as evidence of backwardness and unwillingness
to fight,[438] and supposing the day’s duty at an end, retired on
their side within their own station, disembarked, and separated to
get their dinners at leisure, having tasted no food that day.

  [437] Thucyd. vii, 41. αἱ κεραῖαι δελφινοφόροι: compare Pollux,
  i, 85, and Fragment vi, of the comedy of the poet Pherekratês,
  entitled Ἄγριοι; Meineke, Fragm. Comic. Græc. vol. ii, p. 258,
  and the Scholiast. ad Aristoph. Equit. 759.

  [438] Thucyd. vii, 40. Οἱ δ’ Ἀθηναῖοι, νομίσαντες αὐτοὺς ὡς
  ἡσσημένους σφῶν πρὸς τὴν πόλιν ἀνακρούσασθαι, etc.

But ere they had been long ashore, they were astonished to see the
Syracusan fleet sailing back to renew the attack, in full battle
order. This was a manœuvre suggested by the Corinthian Aristo, the
ablest steersman in the fleet; at whose instance, the Syracusan
admirals had sent back an urgent request to the city authorities,
that an abundant stock of provisions might for that day be brought
down to the sea-shore, and sale be rendered compulsory; so that no
time should be lost, when the fleet returned thither, in taking a
hasty meal without dispersion of the crews. Accordingly the fleet,
after a short but sufficient interval allowed for refreshment thus
close at hand, was brought back unexpectedly to the enemy’s station.
Confounded at the sight, the Athenian crews forced themselves again
on board, most of them yet without refreshment, and in the midst
of murmurs and disorder.[439] On sailing out of their station, the
indecisive skirmishing again commenced, and continued for some
time, until at length the Athenian captains became so impatient
of prolonged and exhausting fatigue, that they resolved to begin
of themselves, and make the action close as well as general.
Accordingly, the word of command was given, and they rowed forward
to make the attack, which was cheerfully received by the Syracusans.
By receiving the attack instead of making it, the latter were better
enabled to insure a straightforward collision of prow against prow,
excluding all circuit, backing, or evolutions, on the part of the
enemy: at any rate, their steersmen contrived to realize this plan,
and to crush, stave in, or damage, the forepart of many of the
Athenian triremes, simply by superior weight of material and solidity
on their own side. The Syracusan darters on the deck, moreover, as
soon as the combat became close, were both numerous and destructive;
while their little boats rowed immediately under the sides of the
Athenian triremes, broke the blades of their oars, and shot darts
in through the oar-holes, against the rowers within. At length
the Athenians, after sustaining the combat bravely for some time,
found themselves at such disadvantage, that they were compelled to
give way and to seek shelter within their own station. The armed
merchant-vessels which Nikias had planted before the openings in
the palisade were now found of great use in checking the pursuing
Syracusans; two of whose triremes, in the excitement of victory,
pushed forward too near to them and were disabled by the heavy
implements on board, one of them being captured with all her crew.
The general victory of the Syracusans, however, was complete: seven
Athenian triremes were sunk or disabled, many others were seriously
damaged, and numbers of seamen either slain or made prisoners.[440]

  [439] Thucyd. vii, 40.

  [440] Thucyd. vii, 41.

Overjoyed with the result of this battle, which seems to have been
no less skilfully planned than bravely executed, the Syracusans now
felt confident of their superiority by sea as well as on land, and
contemplated nothing less than the complete destruction of their
enemies in the harbor. The generals were already concerting measures
for renewed attack both by land and by sea, and a week or two more
would probably have seen the ruin of this once triumphant besieging
armament, now full of nothing but discouragement. The mere stoppage
of supplies, in fact, as the Syracusans were masters of the mouth
of the harbor, would be sure to starve it out in no long time, if
they maintained their superiority at sea. All their calculations
were suspended, however, and the hopes of the Athenians for the time
revived, by the entry of Demosthenês and Eurymedon with the second
armament into the Great Harbor; which seems to have taken place on
the very day, or on the second day, after the recent battle.[441] So
important were the consequences which turned upon that postponement
of the Syracusan attack, occasioned by the recent defeat of their
reinforcing army from the interior. So little did either party think,
at that moment, that it would have been a mitigation of calamity to
Athens, if Demosthenês had _not_ arrived in time; if the ruin of the
first armament had been actually consummated before the coming of the

  [441] Thucyd. vii, 42.

Demosthenês, after obtaining the required reinforcements at Korkyra,
had crossed the Ionian sea to the islands called Chœrades on the
coast of Iapygia; where he took aboard a band of one hundred and
fifty Messapian darters, through the friendly aid of the native
prince Artas, with whom an ancient alliance was renewed. Passing on
farther to Metapontum, already in alliance with Athens, he was there
reinforced with two triremes and three hundred darters, with which
addition he sailed on to Thurii. Here he found himself cordially
welcomed; for the philo-Athenian party was in full ascendency,
having recently got the better in a vehement dissension, and passed
a sentence of banishment against their opponents.[442] They not only
took a formal resolution to acknowledge the same friends and the same
enemies as the Athenians, but equipped a regiment of seven hundred
hoplites and three hundred darters to accompany Demosthenês, who
remained there long enough to pass his troops in review and verify
the completeness of each division. After having held this review on
the banks of the river Sybaris, he marched his troops by land through
the Thurian territory to the banks of the river Hylias which divided
it from Kroton. He was here met by Krotoniate envoys, who forbade the
access to their territory: upon which he marched down the river to
the sea-shore, got on shipboard, and pursued his voyage southward
along the coast of Italy, touching at the various towns, all except
the hostile Lokri.[443]

  [442] Thucyd. vii, 33-57.

  [443] Thucyd. vii, 35.

His entry into the harbor of Syracuse,[444] accomplished in the most
ostentatious trim, with decorations and musical accompaniments,
was no less imposing from the magnitude of his force than critical
in respect to opportunity. Taking Athenians, allies, and mercenary
forces, together, he conducted seventy-three triremes, five
thousand hoplites, and a large number of light troops of every
description,—archers, slingers, darters, etc., with other requisites
for effective operation. At the sight of such an armament, not
inferior to the first which had arrived under Nikias, the Syracusans
lost for a moment the confidence of their recent triumph, and were
struck with dismay as well as wonder.[445] That Athens could be rash
enough to spare such an armament, at a moment when the full burst of
Peloponnesian hostility was reopening upon her, and when Dekeleia
was in course of being fortified, was a fact out of all reasonable
probability, and not to be credited unless actually seen. And
probably the Syracusans, though they knew that Demosthenês was on his
way, had no idea beforehand of the magnitude of his armament.

  [444] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 21.

  [445] Thucyd. vii, 42.

On the other hand, the hearts of the discomfited and beleaguered
Athenians again revived as they welcomed their new comrades. They
saw themselves again masters by land as well as by sea; and they
displayed their renewed superiority by marching out of their lines
forthwith and ravaging the lands near the Anapus; the Syracusans not
venturing to engage in a general action, and merely watching the
movement with some cavalry from the Olympieion.

But Demosthenês was not imposed upon by this delusive show of power,
so soon as he had made himself master of the full state of affairs,
and had compared his own means with those of the enemy. He found the
army of Nikias not merely worn down with long-continued toil, and
disheartened by previous defeat, but also weakened in a terrible
degree by the marsh fever general towards the close of summer, in the
low ground where they were encamped.[446]

  [446] Thucyd. vii, 47-50.

He saw that the Syracusans were strong in multiplied allies, extended
fortifications, a leader of great ability, and general belief that
theirs was the winning cause. Moreover, he felt deeply the position
of Athens at home, and her need of all her citizens against enemies
within sight of her own walls. But above all, he came penetrated with
the deplorable effects which had resulted from the mistake of Nikias,
in wasting irreparably so much precious time, and frittering away the
first terror-striking impression of his splendid armament. All these
considerations determined Demosthenês to act, without a moment’s
delay and while the impression produced by his arrival was yet
unimpaired, and to aim one great and decisive blow, such as might,
if successful, make the conquest of Syracuse again probable. If this
should fail, he resolved to abandon the whole enterprise, and return
home with his armament forthwith.[447]

  [447] Thucyd. vii, 42.

By means of the Athenian lines, he had possession of the southernmost
portion of the slope of Epipolæ. But all along that slope from east
to west, immediately in front or to the north of his position,
stretched the counter-wall built by the Syracusans; beginning at
the city wall on the lowest ground, and reaching up first in a
northwesterly, next in a westerly direction, until it joined the fort
on the upper ground near the cliff, where the road from Euryalus
down to Syracuse passed. The Syracusans, as defenders, were on the
north side of this counter-wall; he and the Athenians on the south
side. It was a complete bar to his progress, nor could he stir a step
without making himself master of it: towards which end there were
only two possible means,—either to storm it in front, or to turn it
from its western extremity by marching round up to the Euryalus.
He began by trying the first method; but the wall was abundantly
manned and vigorously defended; his battering machines were all burnt
or disqualified, and every attempt which he made was completely
repulsed.[448] There then remained only the second method, to turn
the wall, ascending by circuitous roads to the heights of Euryalus
behind it, and then attacking the fort in which it terminated.

  [448] Thucyd. vii, 43.

But the march necessary for this purpose, first, up the valley of
the Anapus, visible from the Syracusan posts above; next, ascending
to the Euryalus by a narrow and winding path, was so difficult,
that even Demosthenês, naturally sanguine, despaired of being able
to force his way up in the daylight, against an enemy seeing the
attack. He was therefore constrained to attempt a night-surprise, for
which, Nikias and his other colleagues consenting, he accordingly
made preparations on the largest and most effective scale. He took
the command himself, along with Menander and Eurymedon (Nikias being
left to command within the lines),[449] conducting hoplites and light
troops, together with masons and carpenters, and all other matters
necessary for establishing a fortified post; lastly, giving orders
that every man should carry with him provisions for five days.

  [449] Thucyd. vii, 43. Diodorus tells us that Demosthenês took
  with him ten thousand hoplites, and ten thousand light troops,
  numbers which are not at all to be trusted (xiii, 11).

  Plutarch (Nikias, c. 21) says that Nikias was extremely averse to
  the attack on Epipolæ: Thucydidês notices nothing of the kind,
  and the assertion seems improbable.

Fortune so far favored him, that not only all these preliminary
arrangements, but even his march itself, was accomplished without
any suspicion of the enemy. At the beginning of a moonlight night,
he quitted the lines, moved along the low ground on the left
bank of the Anapus and parallel to that river for a considerable
distance, then following various roads to the right, arrived at
the Euryalus, or highest pitch of Epipolæ, where he found himself
in the same track by which the Athenians in coming from Katana a
year and a half before—and Gylippus in coming from the interior
of the island about ten months before—had passed, in order to get
to the slope of Epipolæ above Syracuse. He reached, without being
discovered, the extreme Syracusan fort on the high ground, assailed
it completely by surprise, and captured it after a feeble resistance.
Some of the garrison within it were slain; but the greater part
escaped, and ran to give the alarm to the three fortified camps of
Syracusans and allies, which were placed one below another behind
the long continuous wall,[450] on the declivity of Epipolæ, as well
as to a chosen regiment of six hundred Syracusan hoplites under
Hermokratês,[451] who formed a night-watch, or bivouac. This regiment
hastened up to the rescue, but Demosthenês and the Athenian vanguard
charging impetuously forward, drove them back in disorder upon the
fortified positions in their rear. Even Gylippus and the Syracusan
troops advancing upwards out of these positions, were at first
carried back by the same retreating movement.

  [450] Thucyd. vii, 42, 43. Καὶ (Demosthenês) ὁρῶν τὸ παρατείχισμα
  τῶν Συρακοσίων, ᾧ ἐκώλυσαν περιτειχίσαι σφᾶς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους,
  ἁπλοῦν τε ὂν, καί εἰ ἐπικρατήσειέ τις τῶν τε Ἐπιπολῶν τῆς ἀναβάσεως,
  καὶ αὖθις τοῦ ἐν αὐταῖς στρατοπέδου, ῥᾳδίως ἂν αὐτὸ ληφθέν (οὐδὲ
  γὰρ ὑπομεῖναι ἂν σφᾶς οὐδένα) ἠπείγετο ἐπιθέσθαι τῇ πείρᾳ.

  vii, 43. καὶ ἡμέρας μὲν ἀδύνατα ἐδόκει εἶναι λαθεῖν προσελθόντας
  καὶ ἀναβάντας, etc.

  Dr. Arnold and Göller both interpret this description of
  Thucydidês (see their notes on this chapter, and Dr. Arnold’s
  Appendix, p. 275) as if Nikias, immediately that the Syracusan
  counter-wall had crossed his blockading line, had evacuated his
  circle and works on the slope of Epipolæ, and had retired down
  exclusively into the lower ground below. Dr. Thirlwall too is of
  the same opinion (Hist. Gr. vol. iii, ch. xxvi, pp. 432-434).

  This appears to me unauthorized and incorrect. What conceivable
  motive can be assigned to induce Nikias to yield up to the enemy
  so important an advantage? If he had once relinquished the slope
  of Epipolæ, to occupy exclusively the marsh beneath the southern
  cliff, Gylippus and the Syracusans would have taken good care
  that he should never again have mounted that cliff; nor could
  he ever have got near to the παρατείχισμα. The moment when the
  Athenians did at last abandon their fortifications on the slope
  of Epipolæ (τὰ ἀνω τείχη) is specially marked by Thucydidês
  afterwards, vii, 60: it was at the last moment of desperation,
  when the service of all was needed for the final maritime battle
  in the Great Harbor. Dr. Arnold (p. 275) misinterprets this
  passage, in my judgment, evading the direct sense of it.

  The words of Thucydidês, vii, 42—εἰ ἐπικρατήσειέ τις τῶν τε
  Ἐπιπολῶν τῆς ἀναβάσεως, καὶ αὖθις τοῦ ἐν αὐταῖς στρατοπέδου—are
  more correctly conceived by M. Firmin Didot, in the note to
  his translation, than by Arnold and Göller. The στρατόπεδον
  here indicated does _not_ mean the Athenian circle, and their
  partially completed line of circumvallation on the slope of
  Epipolæ. It means the ground higher up than this, which they
  had partially occupied at first while building the fort of
  Labdalum, and of which they had been substantially masters until
  the arrival of Gylippus who had now converted it into a camp or
  στρατόπεδον of the Syracusans.

  [451] Diodor. xiii, 11.

So far the enterprise of Demosthenês had been successful beyond
all reasonable hope. He was master not only of the outer fort
of the Syracusan position, but also of the extremity of their
counter-wall which rested upon that fort; the counter-wall was no
longer defensible, now that he had got on the north or Syracusan
side of it, so that the men on the parapet, where it joined the
fort, made no resistance, and fled. Some of the Athenians even
began to tear down the parapets, and demolish this part of the
counter-wall, an operation of extreme importance, since it would
have opened to Demosthenês a communication with the southern side
of the counter-wall, leading directly towards the Athenian lines
on Epipolæ. At any rate, his plan of turning the counter-wall was
already carried, if he could only have maintained himself in his
actual position, even without advancing farther, and if he could
have demolished two or three hundred yards of the upper extremity
of the wall now in his power. Whether it would have been possible
for him to maintain himself without farther advance, until day
broke, and thus avoid the unknown perils of a night-battle, we
cannot say. But both he and his men, too much flushed with success
to think of halting, hastened forward to complete their victory,
and to prevent the disordered Syracusans from again recovering a
firm array. Unfortunately, however, their ardor of pursuit—as it
constantly happened with Grecian hoplites—disturbed the regularity
of their own ranks, so that they were not in condition to stand the
shock of the Bœotian hoplites, just emerged from their position, and
marching up in steady and excellent order to the scene of action.
The Bœotians charged them, and after a short resistance, broke them
completely, forcing them to take flight. The fugitives of the van
were thus driven back upon their own comrades advancing from behind,
still under the impression of success, ignorant of what had passed
in front, and themselves urged on by the fresh troops closing up in
their rear.

In this manner the whole army presently became one scene of clamor
and confusion wherein there was neither command nor obedience,
nor could any one discern what was passing. The light of the moon
rendered objects and figures generally visible, without being
sufficient to discriminate friend from foe. The beaten Athenians,
thrown back upon their comrades, were in many cases mistaken for
enemies, and slain. The Syracusans and Bœotians, shouting aloud and
pursuing their advantage, became intermingled with the foremost
Athenians, and both armies thus grouped into knots which only
distinguished each other by mutual demand of the watchword. This
test also soon failed, since each party got acquainted with the
watchword of the other, especially that of the Athenians, among whom
the confusion was the greatest, became well known to the Syracusans,
who kept together in larger parties. Above all, the effect of the
pæan or war-shout on both sides was remarkable. The Dorians in the
Athenian army—from Argos, Korkyra, and other places—raised a pæan not
distinguishable from that of the Syracusans; accordingly, their shout
struck terror into the Athenians themselves, who fancied that they
had enemies in their own rear and centre. Such disorder and panic
presently ended in a general flight. The Athenians hurried back by
the same roads which they had ascended; but these roads were found
too narrow for terrified fugitives, and many of them threw away their
arms in order to scramble or jump down the cliffs, in which most of
them perished. Even of those who safely effected their descent into
the plain below, many—especially the new-comers belonging to the
armament of Demosthenês—lost their way through ignorance, and were
cut off the next day by the Syracusan horse. With terrible loss of
numbers, and broken spirit, the Athenians at length found shelter
within their own lines. Their loss of arms was even greater than
that of men, from the throwing away of shields by those soldiers who
leaped the cliff.[452]

  [452] Thucyd. vii, 44, 45.

The overjoyed Syracusans erected two trophies, one upon the road
to Epipolæ, the other upon the exact and critical spot where the
Bœotians had first withstood and first repelled the enemy. By this
unexpected and overwhelming victory, their feelings were restored
to the same pitch of confidence which had animated them before the
arrival of Demosthenês. Again now masters of the field, they again
indulged the hope of storming the Athenian lines and destroying
the armament; to which end, however, it was thought necessary to
obtain additional reinforcements, and Gylippus went in person with
this commission to the various cities of Sicily, while Sikanus with
fifteen triremes was despatched to Agrigentum, then understood to be
wavering, and in a political crisis.[453]

  [453] Thucyd. vii, 46. Plutarch (Nikias, c. 21) states that
  the number of slain was two thousand. Diodorus gives it at two
  thousand five hundred (xiii, 11). Thucydidês does not state it at

  These two authors probably both copied from some common
  authority, not Thucydidês; perhaps Philistus.

During this absence of Gylippus, the Athenian generals were left to
mourn the recent reverse, and to discuss the exigencies of their
untoward position. The whole armament was now full of discouragement
and weariness; impatient to escape from a scene where fever daily
thinned their numbers, and where they seemed destined to nothing but
dishonor. Such painful evidences of increasing disorganization only
made Demosthenês more strenuous in enforcing the resolution which
he had taken before the attack on Epipolæ. He had done his best to
strike one decisive blow; the chances of war had turned out against
him, and inflicted a humiliating defeat; he now therefore insisted
on relinquishing the whole enterprise and returning home forthwith.
The season was yet favorable for the voyage (it seems to have been
the beginning of August), while the triremes recently brought, as
yet unused, rendered them masters at sea for the present. It was
idle, he added, to waste more time and money in staying to carry
on war against Syracuse, which they could not now hope to subdue,
especially when Athens had so much need of them all at home, against
the garrison of Dekeleia.[454]

  [454] Thucyd. vi, 47.

This proposition, though espoused and seconded by Eurymedon, was
peremptorily opposed by Nikias; who contended, first, that their
present distress and the unpromising chances for the future, though
he admitted the full reality of both, ought not nevertheless to
be publicly proclaimed. A formal resolution to retire, passed in
the presence of so many persons, would inevitably become known to
the enemy, and therefore could never be executed with silence and
secrecy,[455] as such a resolution ought to be. But farthermore, he
(Nikias) took a decided objection to the resolution itself. He would
never consent to carry back the armament, without specific authority
from home to do so. Sure he was, that the Athenian people would never
tolerate such a proceeding. When submitted to the public assembly at
home, the conduct of the generals would be judged, not by persons
who had been at Syracuse and cognizant of the actual facts, but by
hearers who would learn all that they knew from the artful speeches
of criminative orators. Even the citizens actually serving, though
now loud in cries of suffering, and impatient to get home, would
alter their tone when they were safe in the public assembly; and
would turn round to denounce their generals as having been bribed to
bring away the army. Speaking his own personal feelings, he knew too
well the tempers of his countrymen to expose himself to the danger
of thus perishing under a charge alike unmerited and disgraceful.
Sooner would he incur any extremity of risk from the enemy.[456] It
must be recollected too, he added, that if _their_ affairs were now
bad, those of Syracuse were as bad, and even worse. For more than a
year, the war had been imposing upon the Syracusans a ruinous cost,
in subsistence for foreign allies as well as in keeping up outlying
posts; so that they had already spent two thousand talents, besides
heavy debts contracted and not paid. They could not continue in
this course longer; yet the suspension of their payments would at
once alienate their allies, and leave them helpless. The cost of
the war—to which Demosthenês had alluded as a reason for returning
home—could be much better borne by Athens; while a little farther
pressure would utterly break down the Syracusans. He (Nikias)
therefore advised to remain where they were and continue the
siege;[457] the more so, as their fleet had now become unquestionably
the superior.

  [455] Thucyd. vii, 48. Ὁ δὲ Νικίας ἐνόμιζε μὲν καὶ αὐτὸς πονηρὰ
  σφῶν τὰ πράγματα εἶναι, τῷ δὲ λόγῳ οὐκ ἐβούλετο αὐτὰ ἀσθενῆ
  ἀποδεικνύναι, οὐδ’ ~ἐμφανῶς~ σφᾶς ψηφιζομένους ~μετὰ πολλῶν~ τὴν
  ἀναχώρησιν τοῖς πολεμίοις καταγγέλτους γίγνεσθαι· λαθεῖν γὰρ ἂν,
  ὁπότε βούλοιντο, τοῦτο ποιοῦντες πολλῷ ἧττον.

  It seems probable that some of the taxiarchs and trierarchs
  were present at this deliberation, as we find in another case
  afterwards, c. 60. Possibly, Demosthenês might even desire that
  they _should_ be present, as witnesses respecting the feeling of
  the army; and also as supporters, if the matter came afterwards
  to be debated in the public assembly at Athens. It is to this
  fact that the words ἐμφανῶς μετὰ πολλῶν seem to allude.

  [456] Thucyd. vii, 48. Οὐκοῦν βούλεσθαι αὐτός γε, ἐπιστάμενος
  τὰς Ἀθηναίων φύσεις, ἐπὶ αἰσχρᾷ γε αἰτίᾳ καὶ ἀδίκως ὑπ’ Ἀθηναίων
  ἀπολέσθαι, μᾶλλον ἢ ὑπὸ τῶν πολεμίων, εἰ δεῖ, κινδυνεύσας τοῦτο
  παθεῖν, ~ἰδίᾳ~.

  The situation of the last word ἰδίᾳ in this sentence is
  perplexing, because it can hardly be construed except either with
  ἀπολέσθαι or with αὐτός γε: for Nikias could not run any risk of
  perishing _separately_ by the hands of the enemy, unless we are
  to ascribe to him an absurd rhodomontade quite foreign to his
  character. Compare Plutarch Nikias, c. 22.

  [457] Thucyd. vii, 48. τρίβειν οὖν ἔφη χρῆναι προσκαθημένους, etc.

Both Demosthenês and Eurymedon protested in the strongest language
against the proposition of Nikias. Especially they treated the plan
of remaining in the Great Harbor as fraught with ruin, and insisted,
at the very least, on quitting this position without a moment’s
delay. Even admitting, for argument, the scruples of Nikias against
abandoning the Syracusan war without formal authority from home,
they still urged an immediate transfer of their camp from the Great
Harbor to Thapsus or Katana. At either of these stations they could
prosecute operations against Syracuse, with all the advantage of a
wider range of country for supplies, a healthier spot, and above
all, of an open sea, which was absolutely indispensable to the naval
tactics of Athenians; escaping from that narrow basin which condemned
them to inferiority even on their own proper element. At all events
to remove, and remove forthwith, out of the Great Harbor, such was
the pressing requisition of Demosthenês and Eurymedon.[458]

  [458] Thucyd. vii, 49. Ὁ δὲ Δημοσθένης περὶ μὲν τοῦ ~προσκαθῆσθαι
  οὐδ’ ὁπωσοῦν ἐνεδέχετο~—τὸ δὲ ξύμπαν εἰπεῖν, ~οὐδενὶ τρόπῳ οἱ ἔφη
  ἀρέσκειν ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ ἔτι μένειν~, ἀλλ’ ~ὅτι τάχιστα ἤδη καὶ μὴ
  μέλλειν ἐξανίστασθαι~. Καὶ ὁ Εὐρυμέδων αὐτῷ ταῦτα ξυνηγόρευεν.

But even to the modified motion of transferring the actual position
to Thapsus or Katana, Nikias refused to consent. He insisted
on remaining as they were; and it appears that Menander and
Euthydemus[459]—colleagues named by the assembly at home, before
the departure of the second armament—must have voted under the
influence of his authority; whereby the majority became on his side.
Nothing less than being in a minority, probably, would have induced
Demosthenês and Eurymedon to submit, on a point of such transcendent

  [459] Thucyd. vii, 69; Diodor. xiii, 12.

It was thus that the Athenian armament remained without quitting the
harbor, yet apparently quite inactive, during a period which cannot
have been less than between three weeks and a month, until Gylippus
returned to Syracuse with fresh reinforcements. Throughout the army,
hope of success appears to have vanished, while anxiety for return
had become general. The opinions of Demosthenês and Eurymedon were
doubtless well known, and orders for retreat were expected, but never
came. Nikias obstinately refused to give them, during the whole of
this fatal interval; which plunged the army into the abyss of ruin,
instead of mere failure in their aggressive enterprise.

So unaccountable did such obstinacy appear, that many persons
gave Nikias credit for knowing more than he chose to reveal. Even
Thucydidês thinks that he was misled by that party in Syracuse with
whom he had always kept up a secret correspondence, seemingly apart
from his colleagues, and who still urged him, by special messages,
not to go away; assuring him that Syracuse could not possibly go on
longer. Without fully trusting these intimations, he could not bring
himself to act against them; and he therefore hung back from day to
day, and refused to pronounce the decisive word.[460]

  [460] Thucyd. vii, 48. ~Ἃ ἐπιστάμενος, τῷ μὲν ἔργῳ ἔτι ἐπ’
  ἀμφότερα ἔχων καὶ διασκοπῶν ἀνεῖχε, τῷ δ’ ἐμφανεῖ τότε λόγῳ οὐκ
  ἔφη ἀπάξειν τὴν στρατιάν.~

  The insignificance of the party in Syracuse which corresponded
  with Nikias may be reasonably inferred from Thucyd. vii, 55. It
  consisted in part of those Leontines who had been incorporated
  into the Syracusan citizenship (Diodor. xiii, 18).

  Polyænus (i, 43, 1) has a tale respecting a revolt of the slaves
  or villeins (οἰκέται) at Syracuse during the Athenian siege,
  under a leader named Sosikratês, a revolt suppressed by the
  stratagem of Hermokratês. That various attempts of this sort
  took place at Syracuse during these two trying years, is by no
  means improbable. In fact, it is difficult to understand how
  the numerous predial slaves were kept in order during the great
  pressure and danger, prior to the coming of Gylippus.

Nothing throughout the whole career of Nikias is so inexplicable as
his guilty fatuity—for we can call it by no lighter name, seeing that
it involved all the brave men around him in one common ruin with
himself—at the present critical juncture. How can we suppose him
to have really believed that the Syracusans, now in the flood-tide
of success, and when Gylippus was gone forth to procure additional
forces, would break down and be unable to carry on the war? Childish
as such credulity seems, we are nevertheless compelled to admit it
as real, to such an extent as to counterbalance all the pressing
motives for departure, motives enforced by discerning colleagues as
well as by the complaints of the army, and brought home to his own
observation by the experience of the late naval defeat. At any rate,
it served as an excuse for that fatal weakness of his character which
made him incapable of taking resolutions founded on prospective
calculations, and chained him to his actual position until he was
driven to act by imminent necessity.

But we discern on the present occasion another motive, which counts
for much in dictating his hesitation. The other generals think with
satisfaction of going back to their country and rescuing the force
which yet remained, even under circumstances of disappointment
and failure. Not so Nikias: he knows too well the reception which
he had deserved, and which might possibly be in store for him.
Avowedly, indeed, he anticipates reproach from the Athenians against
the generals, but only unmerited reproach, on the special ground
of bringing away the army without orders from home; adding some
harsh criticisms upon the injustice of the popular judgment and
the perfidy of his own soldiers. But in the first place, we may
remark, that Demosthenês and Eurymedon, though as much responsible
as he was for this decision, had no such fear of popular injustice;
or, if they had, saw clearly that the obligation of braving it was
here imperative. And in the next place, no man ever had so little
reason to complain of the popular judgment as Nikias. The mistakes
of the people in regard to him had always been those of indulgence,
over-esteem, and over-constancy. But Nikias foresaw too well that
he would have more to answer for at Athens than the simple fact
of sanctioning retreat under existing circumstances. He could
not but remember the pride and sanguine hopes under which he had
originally conducted the expedition out of Peiræus, contrasted with
the miserable sequel and ignominious close, even if the account had
been now closed, without worse. He could not but be conscious, more
or less, how much of all this was owing to his own misjudgment; and
under such impressions, the idea of meeting the free criticisms and
scrutiny of his fellow-citizens—even putting aside the chance of
judicial trial—must have been insupportably humiliating. To Nikias,—a
perfectly brave man, and suffering withal under an incurable
disease,—life at Athens had neither charm nor honor left. Hence, as
much as from any other reason, he was induced to withhold the order
for departure; clinging to the hope that some unforeseen boon of
fortune might yet turn up, and yielding to the idlest delusions from
correspondents in the interior of Syracuse.[461]

  [461] Thucyd. vii, 49. Ἀντιλέγοντος δὲ τοῦ Νικίου, ὄκνος τις
  καὶ μέλλησις ἐνεγένετο, καὶ ἅμα ὑπόνοια μή τι καὶ πλέον εἰδὼς ὁ
  Νικίας ἰσχυρίζηται.

  The language of Justin respecting this proceeding is just and
  discriminating: “Nicias, seu pudore male actæ rei, seu metu
  destitutæ spei civium, seu impellente fato, manere contendit.”
  (Justin, iv, 5.)

Nearly a month after the night-battle on Epipolæ,[462] Gylippus and
Sikanus both returned to Syracuse. The latter had been unsuccessful
at Agrigentum, where the philo-Syracusan party had been sent
into banishment before his arrival; but Gylippus brought with
him a considerable force of Sicilian Greeks, together with those
Peloponnesian hoplites who had started from Cape Tænarus in the early
spring, and who had made their way from Kyrênê first along the coast
of Africa, and then across to Selinus. Such increase of strength
immediately determined the Syracusans to resume the aggressive both
by land and by sea. In the Athenians, as they saw the new allies
marching in over Epipolæ, it produced a deeper despondency, combined
with bitter regret that they had not adopted the proposition of
departing immediately after the battle of Epipolæ, when Demosthenês
first proposed it. The late interval of lingering hopeless inaction
with continued sickness, had farther weakened their strength,
and Demosthenês now again pressed the resolution for immediate
departure. Whatever fancies Nikias may have indulged about Syracusan
embarrassments, were dissipated by the arrival of Gylippus; nor did
he venture to persist in his former peremptory opposition, though
even now he seems to have assented against his own conviction.[463]
He however insisted, with good reason, that no formal or public
vote should be taken on the occasion, but that the order should be
circulated through the camp, as privately as possible, to be ready
for departure at a given signal. Intimation was sent to Katana that
the armament was on the point of coming away, with orders to forward
no farther supplies.[464]

  [462] This interval may be inferred (see Dodwell, Ann. Thucyd.
  vii, 50) from the state of the moon at the time of the battle of
  Epipolæ, compared with the subsequent eclipse.

  [463] Thucyd. vii, 50. ὡς αὐτοῖς οὐδὲ ὁ Νικίας ~ἔτι ὁμοίως
  ἠναντιοῦτο~, etc. Diodor. xiii, 12. Ὁ Νικίας ἠναγκάσθη
  συγχωρῆσαι, etc.

  [464] Thucyd. vii, 60.

This plan was proceeding successfully: the ships were made ready,
much of the property of the army had already been conveyed aboard
without awakening the suspicion of the enemy, the signal would have
been hoisted on the ensuing morning, and within a few hours this
fated armament would have found itself clear of the harbor, with
comparatively small loss,[465] when the gods themselves—I speak
in the language and feelings of the Athenian camp—interfered to
forbid its departure. On the very night before, the 27th August, 413
B.C., which was full moon, the moon was eclipsed. Such a portent,
impressive to the Athenians at all times, was doubly so under their
present despondency, and many of them construed it as a divine
prohibition against departure until a certain time should have
elapsed, with expiatory ceremonies to take off the effect. They made
known their wish for postponement to Nikias and his colleagues;
but their interference was superfluous, for Nikias himself was
more deeply affected than any one else. He consulted the prophets,
who declared that the army ought not to decamp until thrice nine
days, a full circle of the moon, should have passed over.[466] And
Nikias took upon himself to announce, that until after the interval
indicated by them, he would not permit even any discussion or
proposition on the subject.

  [465] Diodor. xiii, 12. Οἱ στρατιῶται τὰ σκεύη ἐνετίθεντο, etc.
  Plutarch, Nikias, c. 23.

  [466] The moon was totally eclipsed on this night, August 27, 413
  B.C., from twenty-seven minutes past nine to thirty-four minutes
  past ten P.M. (Wurm, De Ponderib. Græcor. sect. xciv, p. 184),
  speaking with reference to an observer in Sicily.

  Thucydidês states that Nikias adopted the injunction of the
  prophets, to tarry _thrice nine_ days (vii, 50). Diodorus says
  _three_ days. Plutarch intimates that Nikias went beyond the
  injunction of the prophets, who only insisted on _three_ days,
  while he resolved on remaining for an entire lunar period
  (Plutarch, Nikias, c. 23).

  I follow the statement of Thucydidês: there is no reason to
  believe that Nikias would lengthen the time beyond what the
  prophets prescribed.

  The erroneous statement respecting this memorable event, in so
  respectable an author as Polybius, is not a little surprising
  (Polyb. ix, 19).

The decision of the prophets, which Nikias thus made his own, was a
sentence of death to the Athenian army, yet it went along with the
general feeling, and was obeyed without hesitation. Even Demosthenês,
though if he had commanded alone, he might have tried to overrule
it, found himself compelled to yield. Yet according to Philochorus,
himself a professional diviner, skilful in construing the religious
meaning of events, it was a decision decidedly wrong; that is, wrong
according to the canonical principles of divination. To men planning
escape, or any other operation requiring silence and secrecy, an
eclipse of the moon, as hiding light and producing darkness, was, he
affirmed, an encouraging sign, and ought to have made the Athenians
even more willing and forward in quitting the harbor. We are told,
too, that Nikias had recently lost by death Stilbidês, the ablest
prophet in his service, and that he was thus forced to have recourse
to prophets of inferior ability.[467] His piety left no means
untried of appeasing the gods, by prayer, sacrifice, and expiatory
ceremonies, continued until the necessity of actual conflict

  [467] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 22; Diodor. xiii, 12; Thucyd. vii,
  50. Stilbidês was eminent in his profession of a prophet: see
  Aristophan. Pac. 1029, with the citations from Eupolis and
  Philochorus in the Scholia.

  Compare the description of the effect produced by the eclipse of
  the sun at Thebes, immediately prior to the last expedition of
  Pelopidas into Thessaly (Plutarch, Pelopidas, c. 31).

  [468] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 24.

The impediment thus finally and irreparably intercepting the
Athenian departure, was the direct, though unintended, consequence
of the delay previously caused by Nikias. We cannot doubt, however,
that, when the eclipse first happened, he regarded it as a sign
confirmatory of the opinion which he had himself before delivered,
and that he congratulated himself upon having so long resisted the
proposition for going away. Let us add, that all those Athenians
who were predisposed to look upon eclipses as signs from heaven of
calamity about to come, would find themselves strengthened in that
belief by the unparalleled woes even now impending over this unhappy

What interpretation the Syracusans, confident and victorious,
put on the eclipse, we are not told. But they knew well how to
interpret the fact, which speedily came to their knowledge, that the
Athenians had fully resolved to make a furtive escape, and had only
been prevented by the eclipse. Such a resolution, amounting to an
unequivocal confession of helplessness, emboldened the Syracusans
yet farther, to crush them as they were in the harbor, and never to
permit them to occupy even any other post in Sicily. Accordingly,
Gylippus caused his triremes to be manned and practised for several
days: he then drew out his land-force, and made a demonstration of
no great significance against the Athenian lines. On the morrow, he
brought out all his forces, both land and naval; with the former
of which he beset the Athenian lines, while the fleet, seventy-six
triremes in number, was directed to sail up to the Athenian naval
station. The Athenian fleet, eighty-six triremes strong, sailed out
to meet it, and a close, general, and desperate action took place.
The fortune of Athens had fled. The Syracusans first beat the centre
division of the Athenians; next, the right division under Eurymedon,
who in attempting an evolution to outflank the enemy’s left, forgot
those narrow limits of the harbor which were at every turn the ruin
of the Athenian mariner, neared the land too much, and was pinned
up against it, in the recess of Daskon, by the vigorous attack of
the Syracusans. He was here slain, and his division destroyed:
successively, the entire Athenian fleet was beaten and driven ashore.

Few of the defeated ships could get into their own station. Most of
them were forced ashore or grounded on points without those limits;
upon which Gylippus marched down his land-force to the water’s edge,
in order to prevent the retreat of the crews as well as to assist
the Syracusan seamen in hauling off the ships as prizes. His march,
however, was so hurried and disorderly, that the Tyrrhenian troops,
on guard at the flank of the Athenian station, sallied out against
them as they approached, beat the foremost of them, and drove them
away from the shore into the marsh called Lysimeleia. More Syracusan
troops came to their aid; but the Athenians also, anxious above all
things for the protection of their ships, came forth in greater
numbers; and a general battle ensued in which the latter were
victorious. Though they did not inflict much loss upon the enemy,
yet they saved most of their own triremes which had been driven
ashore, together with the crews, and carried them into the naval
station. Except for this success on land, the entire Athenian fleet
would have been destroyed: as it was, the defeat was still complete,
and eighteen triremes were lost, all their crews being slain. This
was probably the division of Eurymedon, which having been driven
ashore in the recess of Daskon, was too far off from the Athenian
station to receive any land assistance. As the Athenians were hauling
in their disabled triremes, the Syracusans made a last effort to
destroy them by means of a fireship, for which the wind happened to
be favorable. But the Athenians found means to prevent her approach,
and to extinguish the flames.[469]

  [469] Thucyd. vii, 52, 53; Diodor. xiii, 13.

Here was a complete victory gained over Athens on her own element,
gained with inferior numbers, gained even over the fresh and yet
formidable fleet recently brought by Demosthenês. It told but
too plainly on which side the superiority now lay, how well the
Syracusans had organized their naval strength for the specialties
of their own harbor, how ruinous had been the folly of Nikias in
retaining his excellent seamen imprisoned within that petty and
unwholesome lake, where land and water alike did the work of their
enemies. It not only disheartened the Athenians, but belied all
their past experience, and utterly confounded them. Sickness of
the whole enterprise, and repentance for having undertaken it, now
became uppermost in their minds: yet it is remarkable that we hear
of no complaints against Nikias separately.[470] But repentance came
too late. The Syracusans, fully alive to the importance of their
victory, sailed round the harbor in triumph as again their own,[471]
and already looked on the enemy within it as their prisoners. They
determined to close up and guard the mouth of it, from Plemmyrium to
Ortygia, so as to leave no farther liberty of exit.

  [470] Thucyd. vii, 55. Οἱ μὲν Ἀθηναῖοι ἐν παντὶ δὴ ἀθυμίας ἦσαν,
  καὶ ὁ παράλογος αὐτοῖς μέγας ἦν, πολὺ δὲ μείζων ἔτι τῆς στρατείας
  ὁ μετάμελος.

  [471] Thucyd. vii, 56. Οἱ δὲ Συρακόσιοι τόν τε λιμένα εὐθὺς
  παρέπλεον ἀδεῶς, etc. This elate and visible manifestation of
  feeling ought not to pass unnoticed, as an evidence of Grecian

Nor were they insensible how vastly the scope of the contest was
now widened, and the value of the stake before them enhanced. It was
not merely to rescue their own city from siege, nor even to repel
and destroy the besieging army, that they were now contending. It
was to extinguish the entire power of Athens, and liberate the half
of Greece from dependence; for Athens could never be expected to
survive so terrific a loss as that of the entire double armament
before Syracuse.[472] The Syracusans exulted in the thought that this
great achievement would be theirs, that their city was the field,
and their navy the chief instrument of victory: a lasting source of
glory to them, not merely in the eyes of contemporaries, but even in
those of posterity. Their pride swelled when they reflected on the
Pan-Hellenic importance which the siege of Syracuse had now acquired,
and when they counted up the number and variety of Greek warriors
who were now fighting, on one side or the other, between Euryalus
and Plemmyrium. With the exception of the great struggle between
Athens and the Peloponnesian confederacy, never before had combatants
so many and so miscellaneous been engaged under the same banners.
Greeks, continental and insular, Ionic, Doric, and Æolic, autonomous
and dependent, volunteers and mercenaries, from Miletus and Chios in
the east to Selinus in the west, were all here to be found; and not
merely Greeks, but also the barbaric Sikels, Egestæans, Tyrrhenians,
and Iapygians. If the Lacædemonians, Corinthians, and Bœotians were
fighting on the side of Syracuse, the Argeians and Mantineians, not
to mention the great insular cities, stood in arms against her. The
jumble of kinship among the combatants on both sides, as well as
the cross action of different local antipathies, is put in lively
antithesis by Thucydidês.[473] But amidst so vast an assembled
number, of which they were the chiefs, the paymasters, and the centre
of combination, the Syracusans might well feel a sense of personal
aggrandizement, and a consciousness of the great blow which they were
about to strike, sufficient to exalt them for the time above the
level even of their great Dorian chiefs in Peloponnesus.

  [472] Thucyd. vii, 56.

  [473] Thucyd. vii, 57, 58.

It was their first operation, occupying three days, to close up
the mouth of the Great Harbor, which was nearly one mile broad,
with vessels of every description, triremes, traders, boats, etc.,
anchored in an oblique direction, and chained together.[474] They at
the same time prepared their naval force with redoubled zeal for the
desperate struggle which they knew to be coming. They then awaited
the efforts of the Athenians, who watched their proceedings with
sadness and anxiety.

  [474] Thucyd. vii, 59; Diodor. xiii, 14.

Nikias and his colleagues called together the principal officers to
deliberate what was to be done. As they had few provisions remaining,
and had counter-ordered their farther supplies, some instant and
desperate effort was indispensable; and the only point in debate was,
whether they should burn their fleet and retire by land, or make a
fresh maritime exertion to break out of the harbor. Such had been
the impression left by the recent sea-fight, that many in the camp
leaned to the former scheme.[475] But the generals resolved upon
first trying the latter, and exhausted all their combinations to give
to it the greatest possible effect. They now evacuated the upper
portion of their lines, both on the higher ground of Epipolæ, and
even on the lower ground, such portion as was nearest to the southern
cliff; confining themselves to a limited fortified space close to the
shore, just adequate for their sick, their wounded, and their stores;
in order to spare the necessity for a large garrison to defend them,
and thus leave nearly their whole force disposable for sea-service.
They then made ready every trireme in the station, which could be
rendered ever so imperfectly seaworthy, constraining every fit man
to serve aboard them, without distinction of age, rank, or country.
The triremes were manned with double crews of soldiers, hoplites as
well as bowmen and darters, the latter mostly Akarnanians; while the
hoplites, stationed at the prow with orders to board the enemy as
quickly as possible, were furnished with grappling-irons to detain
the enemy’s ship immediately after the moment of collision, in order
that it might not be withdrawn and the collision repeated, with all
its injurious effects arising from the strength and massiveness
of the Syracusan epôtids. The best consultation was held with the
steersmen as to arrangement and manœuvres of every trireme, nor was
any precaution omitted which the scanty means at hand allowed. In
the well-known impossibility of obtaining new provisions, every
man was anxious to hurry on the struggle.[476] But Nikias, as he
mustered them on the shore immediately before going aboard, saw but
too plainly that it was the mere stress of desperation which impelled
them; that the elasticity, the disciplined confidence, the maritime
pride, habitual to the Athenians on shipboard, was extinct, or dimly
and faintly burning.

  [475] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 24.

  [476] Thucyd. vii, 60.

He did his best to revive them, by exhortations unusually emphatic
and impressive. “Recollect (he said) that you too, not less than
the Syracusans, are now fighting for your own safety and for your
country; for it is only by victory in the coming struggle that any
of you can ever hope to see his country again. Yield not to despair
like raw recruits after a first defeat; you, Athenians and allies,
familiar with the unexpected revolutions of war, will hope now for
the fair turn of fortune, and fight with a spirit worthy of the
great force which you see here around you. We generals have now made
effective provision against our two great disadvantages, the narrow
circuit of the harbor, and the thickness of the enemy’s prows.[477]
Sad as the necessity is, we have thrown aside all our Athenian skill
and tactics, and have prepared to fight under the conditions forced
upon us by the enemy, a land-battle on shipboard.[478] It will be
for you to conquer in this last desperate struggle, where there is
no friendly shore to receive you if you give way. You, hoplites on
the deck, as soon as you have the enemy’s trireme in contact, keep
him fast, and relax not until you have swept away his hoplites and
mastered his deck. You, seamen and rowers, must yet keep up your
courage, in spite of this sad failure in our means, and subversion
of our tactics. You are better defended on deck above, and you have
more triremes to help you, than in the recent defeat. Such of you,
as are not Athenian citizens, I entreat to recollect the valuable
privileges which you have hitherto enjoyed from serving in the navy
of Athens. Though not really citizens, you have been reputed and
treated as such; you have acquired our dialect, you have copied our
habits, and have thus enjoyed the admiration, the imposing station,
and the security, arising from our great empire.[479] Partaking as
you do freely in the benefits of that empire, do not now betray it
to these Sicilians and Corinthians whom you have so often beaten.
For such of you as _are_ Athenians, I again remind you that Athens
has neither fresh triremes, nor fresh hoplites, to replace those
now here. Unless you are now victorious, her enemies near home will
find her defenceless; and our countrymen there will become slaves to
Sparta, as you will to Syracuse. Recollect, every man of you, that
you now going aboard here are the _all_ of Athens,—her hoplites, her
ships, her entire remaining city, and her splendid name.[480] Bear up
then and conquer, every man with his best mettle, in this one last
struggle, for Athens as well as yourselves, and on an occasion which
will never return.”

  [477] Thucyd. vii, 62. Ἃ δὲ ἀρωγὰ ἐνείδομεν ἐπὶ τῇ τοῦ λιμένος
  στενότητι πρὸς τὸν μέλλοντα ὄχλον τῶν νεῶν ἔσεσθαι, etc.

  [478] Thucyd. vii, 62. Ἐς τοῦτο γὰρ δὴ ἠναγκάσμεθα, ὥστε
  πεζομαχεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν νεῶν, καὶ τὸ μήτε αὐτοὺς ἀνακρούεσθαι, μήτε
  ἐκείνους ἐᾷν, ὠφέλιμον φαίνεται.

  [479] Thucyd. vii, 63. Τοῖς δὲ ναύταις παραινῶ, καὶ ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ
  τῷδε καὶ δέομαι, μὴ ἐκπεπλῆχθαί τι ταῖς ξυμφοραῖς ἄγαν ...
  ἐκείνην τε τὴν ἡδονὴν ἐνθυμεῖσθαι, ὡς ἀξία ἐστὶ διασώσασθαι, ~οἱ
  τέως Ἀθηναῖοι νομιζόμενοι καὶ μὴ ὄντες ὑμῶν~, τῆς τε φωνῆς τῇ
  ἐπιστήμῃ καὶ τῶν τρόπων τῇ μιμήσει, ἐθαυμάζεσθε κατὰ τὴν Ἑλλάδα,
  καὶ τῆς ἀρχῆς τῆς ἡμετέρας οὐκ ἔλασσον κατὰ τὸ ὠφελεῖσθαι, ἔς
  τε τὸ φοβερὸν τοῖς ὑπηκόοις καὶ τὸ μὴ ἀδικεῖσθαι πολὺ πλεῖον,
  μετείχετε, ὥστε κοινωνοὶ μόνοι ἐλευθέρως ἡμῖν τῆς ἀρχῆς ὄντες,
  δικαίως αὐτὴν νῦν μὴ καταπροδίδοτε, etc.

  Dr. Arnold (together with Göller and Poppo), following the
  Scholiast, explain these words as having particular reference
  to the metics in the Athenian naval service. But I cannot think
  this correct. All persons in that service—who were freemen, but
  yet not citizens of Athens—are here designated; partly metics,
  doubtless, but partly also citizens of the islands and dependent
  allies,—the ξένοι ναυβάται alluded to by the Corinthians and by
  Periklês at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war (Thucyd. i,
  121-143) as the ὠνητὴ δύναμις μᾶλλον ἢ οἰκεία of Athens. Without
  doubt there were numerous foreign seamen in the warlike navy
  of Athens, who derived great consideration as well as profit
  from the service, and often passed themselves off for Athenian
  citizens when they really were not so.

  [480] Thucyd. vii, 64. Ὅτι οἱ ἐν ταῖς ναυσὶν ὑμῶν νῦν ἐσόμενοι,
  καὶ πέζοι τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις εἰσὶ καὶ νῆες, καὶ ἡ ὑπόλοιπος πόλις,
  καὶ τὸ μέγα ὄνομα τῶν Ἀθηνῶν....

If, in translating the despatch written home ten months before by
Nikias to the people of Athens, we were compelled to remark, that
the greater part of it was the bitterest condemnation of his own
previous policy as commander, so we are here carried back, when we
find him striving to palliate the ruinous effects of that confined
space of water which paralyzed the Athenian seamen, to his own
obstinate improvidence in forbidding the egress of the fleet when
insisted on by Demosthenês. His hearers probably were too much
absorbed with the terrible present, to revert to irremediable
mistakes of the past. Immediately on the conclusion of his touching
address, the order was given to go aboard, and the seamen took
their places. But when the triremes were fully manned, and the
trierarchs, after superintending the embarkation, were themselves
about to enter and push off, the agony of Nikias was too great to be
repressed. Feeling more keenly than any man the intensity of this
last death-struggle, and the serious, but inevitable, shortcomings
of the armament in its present condition, he still thought that he
had not said enough for the occasion. He now renewed his appeal
personally to the trierarchs, all of them citizens of rank and wealth
at Athens. They were all familiarly known to him, and he addressed
himself to every man separately by his own name, his father’s name,
and his tribe, adjuring him by the deepest and most solemn motives
which could touch the human feelings. Some he reminded of their
own previous glories, others of the achievements of illustrious
ancestors, imploring them not to dishonor or betray these precious
titles: to all alike he recalled the charm of their beloved country,
with its full political freedom and its unconstrained license of
individual agency to every man: to all alike he appealed in the names
of their wives, their children, and their paternal gods. He cared not
for being suspected of trenching upon the common places of rhetoric:
he caught at every topic which could touch the inmost affections,
awaken the inbred patriotism, and rekindle the abated courage of
the officers, whom he was sending forth to this desperate venture.
He at length constrained himself to leave off, still fancying in
his anxiety that he ought to say more, and proceeded to marshal the
land-force for the defence of the lines, as well as along the shore,
where they might render as much service and as much encouragement as
possible to the combatants on shipboard.[481]

  [481] See the striking chapter of Thucyd. vii, 69. Even the tame
  style of Diodorus (xiii, 15) becomes animated in describing this

Very different was the spirit prevalent, and very opposite the
burning words uttered, on the seaboard of the Syracusan station, as
the leaders were mustering their men immediately before embarkation.
They had been apprized of the grappling-irons now about to be
employed by the Athenians, and had guarded against them in part by
stretching hides along their bows, so that the “iron hand” might slip
off without acquiring any hold. The preparatory movements even within
the Athenian station being perfectly visible, Gylippus sent the
fleet out with the usual prefatory harangue. He complimented them on
the great achievements which they had already performed in breaking
down the naval power of Athens, so long held irresistible.[482] He
reminded them that the sally of their enemies was only a last effort
of despair, seeking nothing but escape, undertaken without confidence
in themselves, and under the necessity of throwing aside all their
own tactics in order to copy feebly those of the Syracusans.[483]
He called upon them to recollect the destructive purposes which the
invaders had brought with them against Syracuse, to inflict with
resentful hand the finishing stroke upon this half-ruined armament,
and to taste the delight of satiating a legitimate revenge.[484]

  [482] Thucyd. vii, 65.

  [483] Thucyd. vii, 66, 67.

  [484] Thucyd. vii, 68. πρὸς οὖν ἀταξίαν τε τοιαύτην ... ὀργῇ
  προσμίξωμεν, καὶ νομίσωμεν ἅμα μὲν νομιμώτατον εἶναι πρὸς τοὺς
  ἐναντίους, οἳ ἂν ὡς ἐπὶ τιμωρίᾳ τοῦ προσπεσόντος δικαιώσωσιν
  ἀποπλῆσαι τῆς γνώμης τὸ θυμούμενον, ἅμα δὲ ἐχθροὺς ἀμύνασθαι
  ἐγγενησόμενον ἡμῖν, καὶ (τὸ λεγόμενόν που) ἥδιστον εἶναι.

  This plain and undisguised invocation of the angry and revengeful
  passions should be noticed, as a mark of character and manners.

The Syracusan fleet—seventy-six triremes strong, as in the last
battle—was the first to put off from shore; Pythen with the
Corinthians in the centre, Sikanus and Agatharchus on the wings. A
certain proportion of them were placed near the mouth of the harbor,
in order to guard the barrier; while the rest were distributed
around the harbor in order to attack the Athenians from different
sides as soon as they should approach. Moreover, the surface of the
harbor swarmed with the light craft of the Syracusans, in many of
which embarked youthful volunteers, sons of the best families in
the city;[485] boats of no mean service during the battle, saving
or destroying the seamen cast overboard from disabled ships, as
well as annoying the fighting Athenian triremes. The day was one
sacred to Hêraklês at Syracuse; and the prophets announced that the
god would insure victory to the Syracusans, provided they stood on
the defensive, and did not begin the attack.[486] Moreover, the
entire shore round the harbor, except the Athenian station and its
immediate neighborhood, was crowded with Syracusan soldiers and
spectators; while the walls of Ortygia, immediately overhanging the
water, were lined with the feebler population of the city, the old
men, women, and children. From the Athenian station presently came
forth one hundred and ten triremes, under Demosthenês, Menander, and
Euthydêmus, with the customary pæan, its tone probably partaking
of the general sadness of the camp. They steered across direct to
the mouth of the harbor, beholding on all sides the armed enemies
ranged along the shore, as well as the unarmed multitudes who were
imprecating the vengeance of the gods upon their heads; while for
them there was no sympathy, except among the fellow-sufferers within
their own lines. Inside of this narrow basin, rather more than
five English miles in circuit, one hundred and ninety-four ships
of war, each manned with more than two hundred men, were about to
join battle, in the presence of countless masses around, all with
palpitating hearts, and near enough both to see and hear; the most
picturesque battle—if we could abstract our minds from its terrible
interest —probably in history, without smoke or other impediments
to vision, and in the clear atmosphere of Sicily, a serious and
magnified realization of those naumachiæ which the Roman emperors
used to exhibit with gladiators on the Italian lakes, for the
recreation of the people.

The Athenian fleet made directly for that portion of the barrier
where a narrow opening—perhaps closed by a movable chain—had been
left for merchant-vessels. Their first impetuous attack broke through
the Syracusan squadron defending it, and they were already attempting
to sever its connecting bonds, when the enemy from all sides crowded
in upon them and forced them to desist. Presently the battle became
general, and the combatants were distributed in various parts of the
harbor. On both sides a fierce and desperate courage was displayed,
even greater than had been shown on any of the former occasions.
At the first onset, the skill and tactics of the steersmen shone
conspicuous, well seconded by zeal on the part of the rowers and by
their ready obedience to the voice of the keleustês. As the vessels
neared, the bowmen, slingers, and throwers on the deck, hurled clouds
of missiles against the enemy; next, was heard the loud crash of the
two impinging metallic fronts, resounding all along the shore.[487]
When the vessels were thus once in contact, they were rarely allowed
to separate: a strenuous hand-fight then commenced by the hoplites
in each, trying respectively to board and master their enemy’s deck.
It was not always, however, that each trireme had its own single
and special enemy: sometimes one ship had two or three enemies to
contend with at once, sometimes she fell aboard of one unsought, and
became entangled. After a certain time, the fight still obstinately
continuing, all sort of battle order became lost; the skill of the
steersman was of little avail, and the voice of the keleustês was
drowned amidst the universal din and mingled cries from victors as
well as vanquished. On both sides emulous exhortations were poured
forth, together with reproach and sarcasm addressed to any ship which
appeared flinching from the contest; though factitious stimulus of
this sort was indeed but little needed.

  [485] Diodorus, xiii, 14. Plutarch has a similar statement,
  in reference to the previous battle: but I think he must have
  confused one battle with the other, for his account can hardly be
  made to harmonize with Thucydidês (Plutarch, Nikias, c. 24).

  It is to be recollected that both Plutarch and Diodorus had
  probably read the description of the battles in the Great Harbor
  of Syracuse, contained in Philistus; a better witness, if we
  had his account before us, even than Thucydidês; since he was
  probably at this time in Syracuse and was perhaps actually

  [486] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 24, 25. Timæus reckoned the aid of
  Hêraklês as having been one of the great causes of Syracusan
  victory over the Athenians. He gave several reasons why the god
  was provoked against the Athenians: see Timæus, Fragm. 104, ed.

  [487] The destructive impact of these metallic masses at the
  head of the ships of war, as well as the periplus practised by
  a lighter ship to avoid direct collision against a heavier,
  is strikingly illustrated by a passage in Plutarch’s Life of
  Lucullus, where a naval engagement between the Roman general, and
  Neoptolemus the admiral of Mithridates, is described. “Lucullus
  was on board a Rhodian quinquerime, commanded by Damagoras, a
  skilful Rhodian pilot; while Neoptolemus was approaching with a
  ship much heavier, and driving forward to a direct collision:
  upon which Damagoras evaded the blow, rowed rapidly round, and
  struck the enemy in the stern.” ... δείσας ὁ Δαμαγόρας τὸ βάρος
  τῆς βασιλικῆς, καὶ ~τὴν τραχύτητα τοῦ χαλκώματος~, οὐκ ἐτόλμησε
  συμπεσεῖν ἀντίπρωρος, ἀλλ’ ὀξέως ἐκ περιαγωγῆς ἀποστρέψας
  ἐκέλευσεν ἐπὶ πρύμναν ὤσασθαι· καὶ πιεσθείσης ἐνταῦθα τῆς νεώς
  ἐδέξατο τὴν πληγὴν ἀβλαβῆ γενομένην, ἅτε δὴ τοῖς θαλαττεύουσι τῆς
  νέως μέρεσι προσπεσοῦσαν.—Plutarch, Lucull. c. 3.

Such was the heroic courage on both sides, that for a long time
victory was altogether doubtful, and the whole harbor was a scene
of partial encounters, wherein sometimes Syracusans, sometimes
Athenians, prevailed. According as success thus fluctuated, so
followed the cheers or wailings of the spectators ashore. At one and
the same time, every variety of human emotion might be witnessed;
according as attention was turned towards a victorious or a defeated
ship. It was among the spectators in the Athenian station above all,
whose entire life and liberty were staked in the combat, that this
emotion might be seen exaggerated into agony, and overpassing the
excitement even of the combatants themselves.[488] Those among them
who looked towards a portion of the harbor where their friends seemed
winning, were full of joy and thanksgiving to the gods: such of their
neighbors who contemplated an Athenian ship in difficulty, gave vent
to their feelings in shrieks and lamentation; while a third group,
with their eyes fixed on some portion of the combat still disputed,
were plunged in all the agitations of doubt, manifested even in
the tremulous swing of their bodies, as hope or fear alternately
predominated. During all the time that the combat remained undecided,
the Athenians ashore were distracted by all these manifold varieties
of intense sympathy. But at length the moment came, after a
long-protracted struggle, when victory began to declare in favor of
the Syracusans, who, perceiving that their enemies were slackening,
redoubled their shouts as well as their efforts, and pushed them all
back towards the land. All the Athenian triremes, abandoning farther
resistance, were thrust ashore like shipwrecked vessels in or near
their own station; a few being even captured before they could arrive
there. The diverse manifestations of sympathy among the Athenians in
the station itself were now exchanged for one unanimous shriek of
agony and despair. The boldest of them rushed to rescue the ships
and their crews from pursuit, others to man their walls in case of
attack from land: many were even paralyzed at the sight, and absorbed
with the thoughts of their own irretrievable ruin. Their souls were
doubtless still farther subdued by the wild and enthusiastic joy
which burst forth in maddening shouts from the hostile crowds around
the harbor, in response to their own victorious comrades on shipboard.

  [488] Thucyd. vii, 71.

Such was the close of this awful, heart-stirring, and decisive
combat. The modern historian strives in vain to convey the impression
of it which appears in the condensed and burning phrases of
Thucydidês. We find in his description of battles generally, and
of this battle beyond all others, a depth and abundance of human
emotion which has now passed out of military proceedings. The Greeks
who fight, like the Greeks who look on, are not soldiers withdrawn
from the community, and specialized as well as hardened by long
professional training, but citizens with all the passions, instincts,
sympathies, joys, and sorrows of domestic as well as political
life. Moreover, the non-military population in ancient times had an
interest of the most intense kind in the result of the struggle;
which made the difference to them, if not of life and death, at
least of the extremity of happiness and misery. Hence the strong
light and shade, the Homeric exhibition of undisguised impulse, the
tragic detail of personal motive and suffering, which pervades this
and other military descriptions of Thucydidês. When we read the few
but most vehement words which he employs to depict the Athenian camp
under this fearful trial, we must recollect that these were not only
men whose all was at stake, but that they were moreover citizens full
of impressibility, sensitive and demonstrative Greeks; and, indeed,
the most sensitive and demonstrative of all Greeks. To repress all
manifestations of strong emotion was not considered in ancient times
essential to the dignity of the human character.

Amidst all the deep pathos, however, which the great historian has
imparted to the final battle at Syracuse, he has not explained the
causes upon which its ultimate issue turned. Considering that the
Athenians were superior to their enemies in number, as one hundred
and ten to seventy-six triremes, that they fought with courage not
less heroic, and that the action was on their own element, we might
have anticipated for them, if not a victory, at least a drawn battle,
with equal loss on both sides. But we may observe, 1. The number of
one hundred and ten triremes was formed by including some hardly
seaworthy.[489] 2. The crews were composed partly of men not used to
sea-service; and the Akarnanian darters, especially, were for this
reason unhandy with their missiles.[490] 3. Though the water had
been hitherto the element favorable to Athens, yet her superiority
in this respect was declining, and her enemies approaching nearer to
her, even in the open sea. But the narrow dimensions of the harbor
would have nullified her superiority at all times, and placed her
even at great disadvantage,—without the means of twisting and turning
her triremes so as to strike only at a vulnerable point of the
enemy,—compared with the thick, heavy, straightforward butting of
the Syracusans; like a nimble pugilist of light weight contending,
in a very confined ring, against superior weight and muscle.[491]
For the mere land-fight on shipboard, Athenians had not only no
advantage, but had on the contrary the odds against them. 4. The
Syracusans enjoyed great advantage from having nearly the whole
harbor lined round with their soldiers and friends; not simply from
the force of encouraging sympathy, no mean auxiliary, but because
any of their triremes, if compelled to fall back before an Athenian,
found protection on the shore, and could return to the fight at
leisure; while an Athenian in the same predicament had no escape.
5. The numerous light craft of the Syracusans doubtless rendered
great service in this battle, as they had done in the preceding,
though Thucydidês does not again mention them. 6. Lastly, both in the
Athenian and Syracusan characters, the pressure of necessity was less
potent as a stimulus to action, than hopeful confidence and elation,
with the idea of a flood-tide yet mounting. In the character of some
other races, the Jews for instance, the comparative force of these
motives appears to be the other way.

  [489] Thucyd. vii, 60. τὰς ναῦς ἁπάσας ὅσαι ἦσαν καὶ δυναταὶ ~καὶ

  [490] Thucyd. vii, 60. πάντα τινὰ ἐσβιβάζοντες
  πληρῶσαι—ἀναγκάσαντες ἐσβαίνειν ὅστις καὶ ~ὁπωσοῦν ἐδόκει ἡλικίας
  μετέχων ἐπιτήδειος~ εἶναι. Compare also the speech of Gylippus,
  c. 67.

  [491] The language of Theokritus, in describing the pugilistic
  contest between Pollux and the Bebrykian Amykus, is not
  inapplicable to the position of the Athenian ships and seamen
  when cramped up in this harbor (Idyll. xxii, 91):—

    .................... ἐκ δ’ ἑτέρωθεν
    Ἥρωες κρατερὸν Πολυδεύκεα θαρσύνεσκον,
    Δειδιότες μή πώς μιν ~ἐπιβρίσας δαμάσειεν,
    Χώρῳ ἐνὶ στεινῷ~, Τιτύῳ ἐναλίγκιος ἀνήρ.

  Compare Virgil’s picture of Entellus and Darês, Æneid, v, 430.

About sixty Athenian triremes, little more than half of the fleet
which came forth, were saved as the wreck from this terrible
conflict. The Syracusans on their part had suffered severely; only
fifty triremes remaining out of seventy-six. The triumph with
which, nevertheless, on returning to the city, they erected their
trophy, and the exultation which reigned among the vast crowds
encircling the harbor, was beyond all measure or precedent. Its
clamorous manifestations were doubtless but too well heard in the
neighboring camp of the Athenians, and increased, if anything could
increase, the soul-subduing extremity of distress which paralyzed the
vanquished. So utterly did the pressure of suffering, anticipated as
well as actual, benumb their minds and extinguish their most sacred
associations, that no man among them, not even the ultra-religious
Nikias, thought of picking up the floating bodies or asking for a
truce to bury the dead. This obligation, usually so serious and
imperative upon the survivors after a battle, now passed unheeded
amidst the sorrow, terror, and despair, of the living man for himself.

Such despair, however, was not shared by the generals, to their
honor be it spoken. On the afternoon of this terrible defeat,
Demosthenês proposed to Nikias that at daybreak the ensuing morning
they should man all the remaining ships—even now more in number than
the Syracusan—and make a fresh attempt to break out of the harbor.
To this Nikias agreed, and both proceeded to try their influence in
getting the resolution executed. But so irreparably was the spirit of
the seamen broken, that nothing could prevail upon them to go again
on shipboard: they would hear of nothing but attempting to escape
by land.[492] Preparations were therefore made for commencing their
march in the darkness of that very night. The roads were still open,
and, had they so marched, a portion of them, at least, might even
yet have been saved.[493] But there occurred one more mistake, one
farther postponement, which cut off the last hopes of this gallant
and fated remnant.

  [492] Thucyd. vii, 72.

  [493] Diodor. xiii, 18.

The Syracusan Hermokratês, fully anticipating that the Athenians
would decamp that very night, was eager to prevent their retreat,
because of the mischief which they might do if established in
any other part of Sicily. He pressed Gylippus and the military
authorities to send out forthwith, and block up the principal
roads, passes, and fords, by which the fugitives would get off.
Though sensible of the wisdom of his advice, the generals thought
it wholly unexecutable. Such was the universal and unbounded joy
which now pervaded the city, in consequence of the recent victory,
still farther magnified by the circumstance that the day was sacred
to Hêraklês,—so wild the jollity, the feasting, the intoxication,
the congratulations, amidst men rewarding themselves after their
recent effort and triumph, and amidst the necessary care for the
wounded,—that an order to arm and march out would have been as little
listened to as the order to go on shipboard was by the desponding
Athenians. Perceiving that he could get nothing done until the next
morning, Hermokratês resorted to a stratagem in order to delay
the departure of the Athenians for that night. At the moment when
darkness was beginning, he sent down some confidential friends on
horseback to the Athenian wall. These men, riding up near enough to
make themselves heard, and calling for the sentries, addressed them
as messengers from the private correspondents of Nikias in Syracuse,
who had sent to warn him, they affirmed, not to decamp during the
night, inasmuch as the Syracusans had already beset and occupied the
roads; but to begin his march quietly the next morning after adequate

  [494] Thucyd. vii, 73; Diodor. xiii, 18.

This fraud—the same as the Athenians had themselves practised two
years before,[495] in order to tempt the Syracusans to march out
against Katana—was perfectly successful: the sincerity of the
information was believed, and the advice adopted. Had Demosthenês
been in command alone, we may doubt whether he would have been so
easily duped; for granting the accuracy of the fact asserted, it
was not the less obvious that the difficulties, instead of being
diminished, would be increased tenfold on the following day. We
have seen, however, on more than one previous occasion, how fatally
Nikias was misled by his treacherous advices from the philo-Athenians
at Syracuse. An excuse for inaction was always congenial to his
character; and the present recommendation, moreover, fell in but too
happily with the temper of the army, now benumbed with depression and
terror, like those unfortunate soldiers, in the Retreat of the Ten
Thousand Greeks, who were yielding to the lethargy of extreme cold on
the snows of Armenia, and whom Xenophon vainly tried to arouse.[496]
Having remained over that night, the generals determined also to stay
the next day,—in order that the army might carry away with them as
much of their baggage as possible,—sending forward a messenger to the
Sikels in the interior to request that they would meet the army, and
bring with them a supply of provisions.[497] Gylippus and Hermokratês
had thus ample time, on the following day, to send out forces and
occupy all the positions convenient for obstructing the Athenian
march. They at the same time towed into Syracuse as prizes all the
Athenian triremes which had been driven ashore in the recent battle,
and which now lay like worthless hulks, unguarded and unheeded,[498]
seemingly even those within the station itself.

  [495] Thucyd. vi, 64.

  [496] Xenophon, Anab. iv, 5, 15, 19; v, 8, 15.

  [497] Thucyd. vii, 77.

  [498] Thucyd. vii, 74.

It was on the next day but one after the maritime defeat that Nikias
and Demosthenês put their army in motion to attempt retreat. The
camp had long been a scene of sickness and death from the prevalence
of marsh fever; but since the recent battle the number of wounded
men, and the unburied bodies of the slain, had rendered it yet more
pitiable. Forty thousand miserable men—so prodigious was the total,
including all ranks and functions—now set forth to quit it, on a
march of which few could hope to see the end; like the pouring forth
of the population of a large city starved out by blockade. Many
had little or no provisions to carry, so low had the stock become
reduced; but of those who had, every man carried his own, even the
horsemen and hoplites, now for the first time either already left
without slaves, by desertion, or knowing that no slave could now be
trusted. But neither such melancholy equality of suffering, nor the
number of sufferers, counted for much in the way of alleviation. A
downcast stupor and sense of abasement possessed every man; the more
intolerable, when they recollected the exit of the armament from
Peiræus two years before, with prayers, and solemn pæans, and all
the splendid dreams of conquest, set against the humiliation of the
closing scene now before them, without a single trireme left out of
two prodigious fleets.

But it was not until the army had actually begun its march that the
full measure of wretchedness was felt and manifested. It was then
that the necessity first became proclaimed, which no one probably
spoke out beforehand, of leaving behind not merely the unburied
bodies, but also the sick and the wounded. The scenes of woe which
marked this hour passed endurance or description. The departing
soldier sorrowed and shuddered with the sentiment of an unperformed
duty, as he turned from the unburied bodies of the slain; but far
more terrible was the trial, when he had to tear himself from the
living sufferers, who implored their comrades, with wailings of agony
and distraction, not to abandon them. Appealing to all the claims
of pious friendship, they clung round their knees, and even crawled
along the line of march until their strength failed. The silent
dejection of the previous day was now exchanged for universal tears
and groans, and clamorous outbursts of sorrow, amidst which the army
could not without the utmost difficulty be disengaged and put in

After such heart-rending scenes, it might seem that their cup of
bitterness was exhausted; but worse was yet in store, and the terrors
of the future dictated a struggle against all the miseries of past
and present. The generals did their best to keep up some sense of
order as well as courage; and Nikias, particularly, in this closing
hour of his career, displayed a degree of energy and heroism which he
had never before seemed to possess. Though himself among the greatest
personal sufferers of all, from his incurable complaint, he was seen
everywhere in the ranks marshalling the troops, heartening up their
dejection, and addressing them with a voice louder, more strenuous,
and more commanding than was his wont.

“Keep up your hope still, Athenians (he said), even as we are now:
others have been saved out of circumstances worse than ours. Be not
too much humiliated, either with your defeats or with your present
unmerited hardships. I too, having no advantage over any of you in
strength,—nay, you see the condition to which I have been brought by
my disease,—and accustomed even to superior splendor and good fortune
in private as well as public life, I too am plunged in the same peril
with the humblest soldier among you. Nevertheless, my conduct has
been constantly pious towards the gods as well as just and blameless
towards men; in recompense for which, my hope for the future is
yet sanguine, at the same time that our actual misfortunes do not
appall me in proportion to their intrinsic magnitude.[499] Perhaps,
indeed, they may from this time forward abate; for our enemies have
had their full swing of good fortune, and if, at the moment of our
starting, we were under the jealous wrath of any of the gods, we
have already undergone chastisement amply sufficient. Other people
before us have invaded foreign lands, and after having done what was
competent to human power, have suffered what was within the limit
of human endurance. We too may reasonably hope henceforward to have
the offended god dealing with us more mildly, for we are now objects
fitter for his compassion than for his jealousy.[500] Look, moreover,
at your own ranks, hoplites so numerous and so excellent: let that
guard you against excessive despair, and recollect that, wherever
you may sit down, you are yourselves at once a city; nor is there
any other city in Sicily that can either repulse your attack or
expel you if you choose to stay. Be careful yourselves to keep your
march firm and orderly, every man of you with this conviction, that
whatever spot he may be forced to fight in, that spot is his country
and his fortress, and must be kept by victorious effort. As our
provisions are very scanty, we shall hasten on night and day alike;
and so soon as you reach any friendly village of the Sikels, who
still remain constant to us from hatred to Syracuse, then consider
yourselves in security. We have sent forward to apprize them, and
intreat them to meet us with supplies. Once more, soldiers, recollect
that to act like brave men is now a matter of necessity to you, and
that if you falter, there is no refuge for you anywhere. Whereas if
you now get clear of your enemies, such of you as are not Athenians
will again enjoy the sight of home, while such of you as _are_
Athenians will live to renovate the great power of our city, fallen
though it now be. _It is men that make a city; not walls, nor ships
without men._”[501]

  [499] Thucyd. vii, 77. Καίτοι πολλὰ μὲν ἐς θεοὺς νόμιμα
  δεδιῄτημαι, πολλὰ δὲ ἐς ἀνθρώπους δίκαια καὶ ἀνεπίφθονα. ~Ἀνθ’
  ὧν ἡ μὲν ἐλπὶς ὅμως θρασεῖα τοῦ μέλλοντος, αἱ δὲ ξυμφοραὶ οὐ
  κατ’ ἀξίαν δὴ φοβοῦσι~. Τάχα δ’ ἂν καὶ λωφήσειαν· ἱκανὰ γὰρ τοῖς
  τε πολεμίοις εὐτύχηται, καὶ εἴ τῳ θεῶν ἐπίφθονοι ἐστρατεύσαμεν,
  ἀρκούντως ἤδη τετιμωρήμεθα.

  I have translated the words οὐ κατ’ ἀξίαν, and the sentence of
  which they form a part, differently from what has been hitherto
  sanctioned by the commentators, who construe κατ’ ἀξίαν as
  meaning “according to our desert,” understand the words αἱ
  ξυμφοραὶ οὐ κατ’ ἀξίαν as bearing the same sense with the words
  ταῖς παρὰ τὴν ἀξίαν κακοπραγίαις some lines before; and likewise
  construe οὐ, not with φοβοῦσι, but with κατ’ ἀξίαν, assigning to
  φοβοῦσι an affirmative sense. They translate: “Quare, _quamvis
  nostra fortuna, prorsus afflicta videatur_ (these words have
  no parallel in the original) rerum tamen futurarum spes est
  audax: sed clades, quas nullo nostro merito accepimus, _nos_
  jam terrent. At fortasse cessabunt,” etc. M. Didot translates:
  “Aussi j’ai un ferme espoir dans l’avenir, _malgré l’effroi_ que
  des _malheurs non mérités_ nous causent.” Dr. Arnold passes the
  sentence over without notice.

  This manner of translating appears to me not less unsuitable
  in reference to the spirit and thread of the harangue, than
  awkward as regards the individual words. Looking to the spirit
  of the harangue, the object of encouraging the dejected soldiers
  would hardly be much answered by repeating—what in fact had been
  glanced at in a manner sufficient and becoming, before—that “the
  unmerited reverses terrified either Nikias or the soldiers.”
  Then as to the words; the expressions ἀνθ’ ὧν, ὅμως, μὲν, and
  δὲ, seem to me to denote, not only that the two halves of the
  sentence apply both of them to Nikias, but that the first half of
  the sentence is in harmony, not in opposition, with the second.
  Matthiæ (in my judgment, erroneously) refers (Gr. Gr. § 623) ὅμως
  to some words which have preceded; I think that ὅμως contributes
  to hold together the first and the second affirmation of the
  sentence. Now the Latin translation refers the first half of the
  sentence to Nikias, and the last half to the soldiers whom he
  addresses; while the translation of M. Didot, by means of the
  word _malgré_, for which there is nothing corresponding in the
  Greek, puts the second half in antithesis to the first.

  I cannot but think that οὐ ought to be construed with φοβοῦσι,
  and that the words κατ’ ἀξίαν do not bear the meaning assigned to
  them by the translators. Ἀξίαν not only means, “_desert_, merit,
  the title to that which a man has earned by his conduct,” as in
  the previous phrase παρὰ τὴν ἀξίαν, but it also means, “price,
  value, title to be cared for, capacity of exciting more or less
  desire or aversion,” in which last sense it is predicated as
  an attribute, not only of moral beings, but of other objects
  besides. Thus Aristotle says (Ethic. Nikom. iii, 11): ὁ γὰρ οὕτως
  ἔχων μᾶλλον ἀγαπᾷ τὰς τοιαύτας ~ἡδονὰς τῆς ἀξίας~· ὁ δὲ σώφρων
  οὐ τοιοῦτος, etc. Again, ibid. iii, 5. Ὁ μὲν οὖν ἃ δεῖ καὶ οὖ
  ἕνεκα, ὑπομένων καὶ φοβούμενος, καὶ ὡς δεῖ, καὶ ὅτε, ὁμοίως δὲ
  καὶ θαῤῥῶν, ἀνδρεῖος· ~κατ’ ἀξίαν~ γὰρ, καὶ ὡς ἂν ὁ λόγος, πάσχει
  καὶ πράττει ὁ ἀνδρεῖος. Again, ibid. iv, 2. Διὰ τοῦτό ἐστι τοῦ
  μεγαλοπρεποῦς, ἐν ᾧ ἂν ποιῇ γένει, μεγαλοπρεπῶς ποιεῖν· τὸ γὰρ
  τοιοῦτον οὐκ εὐυπέρβλητον, καὶ ἔχον ~κατ’ ἀξίαν~ τοῦ δαπανήματος.
  Again, ibid. viii, 14. Ἀχρεῖον γὰρ ὄντα οὔ φασι δεῖν ἴσον ἔχειν·
  λειτουργίαν τε γὰρ γίνεσθαι, καὶ οὐ φιλίαν, εἰ μὴ ~κατ’ ἀξίαν~
  τῶν ἔργων ἔσται τὰ ἐκ τῆς φιλίας. Compare also ib. viii, 13.

  Xenophon, Cyrop. viii, 4, 32. τὸ γὰρ πολλὰ δοκοῦντα ἔχειν
  μὴ ~κατ’ ἀξίαν~ τῆς οὐσίας φαίνεσθαι ὠφελοῦντα τοὺς φίλους,
  ἀνελευθερίαν ἐμοίγε δοκεῖ περιάπτειν. Compare Xenophon, Memorab.
  ii, 5, 2. ὥσπερ τῶν οἰκετῶν, οὕτω καὶ τῶν φίλων, εἰσὶν ~ἀξίαι~;
  also ibid. i, 6, 11, and Isokratês, cont. Lochit. Or. xx, s. 8.

  The words κατ’ ἀξίαν in Thucydidês appear to me to bear the
  same meaning as in these passages of Xenophon and Aristotle,
  “in proportion to their value,” or to their real magnitude. If
  we so construe them, the words ἀνθ’ ὧν, ὅμως, μὲν, and δὲ, all
  fall into their proper order: the whole sentence after ἀνθ’ ὧν
  applies to Nikias personally, is a corollary from what he had
  asserted before, and forms a suitable point in an harangue for
  encouraging his dispirited soldiers: “Look how _I_ bear up, who
  have as much cause for mourning as any of you. I have behaved
  well both towards gods and towards men: in return for which, I
  am comparatively comfortable both as to the future and as to the
  present: as to the future, I have strong hopes; at the same time
  that, as to the present, I am not overwhelmed by the present
  misfortunes in proportion to their prodigious intensity.”

  This is the precise thing for a man of resolution to say upon so
  terrible an occasion.

  The particle δὴ has its appropriate meaning, αἱ δὲ ξυμφοραὶ οὐ
  κατ’ ἀξίαν ~δὴ~ φοβοῦσι; “and the present distresses, though
  they do appall me, do not appall me _assuredly_ in proportion
  to their actual magnitude.” Lastly, the particle καὶ (in the
  succeeding phrase, τάχα δ’ ἂν ~καὶ~ λωφήσειαν) does not fit on to
  the preceding passage as usually construed: accordingly the Latin
  translator, as well as M. Didot, leave it out, and translate: “At
  fortasse cessabunt.” “Mais peut-être vont-ils cesser.” It ought
  to be translated: “And perhaps they may _even_ abate,” which
  implies that what had been asserted in the preceding sentence is
  here intended not to be contradicted, but to be carried forward
  and strengthened: see Kühner, Griech. Gramm. sects. 725-728. Such
  would not be the case as the sentence is usually construed.

  [500] Thucyd. vii, 77. Ἱκανὰ γὰρ τοῖς τε πολεμίοις εὐτύχηται, καὶ
  εἴ τῳ θεῶν ἐπίφθονοι ἐστρατεύσαμεν, ἀποχρώντως ἤδη τετιμωρήμεθα·
  ἦλθον γάρ που καὶ ἄλλοι τινὲς ἤδη ἐφ’ ἑτέρους, καὶ ἀνθρώπεια
  δράσαντες ἀνεκτὰ ἔπαθον. Καὶ ἡμᾶς εἰκὸς νῦν τά τε ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ
  ἐλπίζειν ἠπιώτερα ἕξειν· οἴκτου γὰρ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ἀξιώτεροι ἤδη ἐσμὲν
  ἢ φθόνου.

  This is a remarkable illustration of the doctrine, so frequently
  set forth in Herodotus, that the gods were jealous of any man
  or any nation who was preëminently powerful, fortunate, or
  prosperous. Nikias, recollecting the immense manifestation and
  promise with which his armament had started from Peiræus, now
  believed that this had provoked the jealousy of some of the gods,
  and brought about the misfortunes in Sicily. He comforts his
  soldiers by saying that the enemy is now at the same dangerous
  pinnacle of exaltation, whilst _they_ have exhausted the sad
  effects of the divine jealousy.

  Compare the story of Amasis and Polykratês in Herodotus (iii,
  39), and the striking remarks put into the mouth of Paulus
  Æmilius by Plutarch (Vit. Paul. Æmil. c. 36).

  [501] Thucyd. vii, 77. Ἄνδρες γὰρ πόλις, καὶ οὐ τείχη, οὐδὲ νῆες
  ἀνδρῶν κεναί.

The efforts of both commanders were in full harmony with these
strenuous words. The army was distributed into two divisions; the
hoplites marching in a hollow oblong, with the baggage and unarmed in
the interior. The front division was commanded by Nikias, the rear by
Demosthenês. Directing their course towards the Sikel territory, in
the interior of the island, they first marched along the left bank
of the Anapus until they came to the ford of that river, which they
found guarded by a Syracusan detachment. They forced the passage,
however, without much resistance, and accomplished on that day a
march of about five miles, under the delay arising from the harassing
of the enemy’s cavalry and light troops. Encamping for that night on
an eminence, they recommenced their march with the earliest dawn, and
halted, after about two miles and a half, in a deserted village on a
plain. They were in hopes of finding some provisions in the houses,
and were even under the necessity of carrying along with them some
water from this spot; there being none to be found farther on. As
their intended line of march had now become evident, the Syracusans
profited by this halt to get on before them, and to occupy in force
a position on the road, called the Akræan cliff. Here the road,
ascending a high hill, formed a sort of ravine bordered on each side
by steep cliffs. The Syracusans erected a wall or barricade across
the whole breadth of the road, and occupied the high ground on each
side. But even to reach this pass was beyond the competence of the
Athenians; so impracticable was it to get over the ground in the face
of overwhelming attacks from the enemy’s cavalry and light troops.
They were compelled, after a short march, to retreat to their camp of
the night before.[502]

  [502] Thucyd. vii, 78.

Every hour added to the distress of their position; for their food
was all but exhausted, nor could any man straggle from the main
body without encountering certain destruction from the cavalry.
Accordingly, on the next morning, they tried one more desperate
effort to get over the hilly ground into the interior. Starting
very early, they arrived at the foot of the hill called the Akræan
cliff, where they found the barricades placed across the road, with
deep files of Syracusan hoplites behind them, and crowds of light
troops lining the cliffs on each border. They made the most strenuous
and obstinate efforts to force this inexpugnable position, but all
their struggles were vain, while they suffered miserably from the
missiles of the troops above. Amidst all the discouragement of this
repulse, they were yet farther disheartened by storms of thunder and
lightning, which occurred during the time, and which they construed
as portents significant of their impending ruin.[503]

  [503] Thucyd. vii, 79. ἀφ’ ὧν οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι μᾶλλον ἔτι ἠθύμουν, καὶ
  ἐνόμιζον ~ἐπὶ τῷ σφετέρῳ ὀλέθρῳ καὶ ταῦτα πάντα γίγνεσθαι~.

This fact strikingly illustrates both the change which the last
two years had wrought in the contending parties, and the degree to
which such religious interpretations of phenomena depended for their
efficacy on predisposing temper, gloomy or cheerful. In the first
battle between Nikias and the Syracusans, near the Great Harbor,
some months before the siege was begun, a similar thunder-storm had
taken place: on that occasion the Athenian soldiers had continued
the battle unmoved, treating it as a natural event belonging
to the season, and such indifference on their part had still
farther imposed upon the alarmed Syracusans.[504] Now, both the
self-confidence and the religious impression had changed sides.

  [504] Thucyd. vi, 70.

Exhausted by their fruitless efforts, the Athenians fell back a short
space to repose, when Gylippus tried to surround them by sending a
detachment to block up the narrow road in their rear. This, however,
they prevented, effecting their retreat into the open plain, where
they passed the night, and on the ensuing day attempted once more
the hopeless march over the Akræan cliff. But they were not allowed
even to advance so far as the pass and the barricade. They were
so assailed and harassed by the cavalry and darters, in flank and
rear, that, in spite of heroic effort and endurance, they could not
accomplish a progress of so much as one single mile. Extenuated by
fatigue, half-starved, and with numbers of wounded men, they were
compelled to spend a third miserable night in the same fatal plain.

As soon as the Syracusans had retired for the night to their camp,
Nikias and Demosthenês took counsel. They saw plainly that the route
which they had originally projected, over the Akræan cliff into the
Sikel regions of the interior and from thence to Katana, had become
impracticable, and that their unhappy troops would be still less in
condition to force it on the morrow than they had been on the day
preceding. Accordingly, they resolved to make off during the night,
leaving numerous fires burning to mislead the enemy; but completely
to alter the direction, and to turn down towards the southern coast
on which lay Kamarina and Gela. Their guides informed them that if
they could cross the river Kakyparis, which fell into the sea south
of Syracuse, on the southeastern coast of Sicily, or a river still
farther on, called the Erineus,—they might march up the right bank
of either into the regions of the interior. Accordingly, they broke
up in the night, amidst confusion and alarm; in spite of which, the
front division of the army under Nikias got into full march, and
made considerable advance. By daybreak this division reached the
southeastern coast of the island not far south of Syracuse, and fell
into the track of the Helôrine road, which they pursued until they
arrived at the Kakyparis. Even here, however, they found a Syracusan
detachment beforehand with them, raising a redoubt, and blocking up
the ford; nor could Nikias pass it without forcing his way through
them. He marched straightforward to the Erineus, which he crossed
on the same day, and encamped his troops on some high ground on the
other side.[505]

  [505] Thucyd. vii, 80-82.

Except at the ford of the Kakyparis, his march had been all day
unobstructed by the enemy; and he thought it wiser to push hid
troops as fast as possible, in order to arrive at some place both
of safety and subsistence, without concerning himself about the
rear division under Demosthenês. That division, the larger half of
the army, started both later and in great disorder. Unaccountable
panics and darkness made them part company or miss their way, so
that Demosthenês, with all his efforts to keep them together, made
little progress, and fell much behind Nikias. He was overtaken by
the Syracusans during the forenoon, seemingly before he reached the
Kakyparis,[506] and at a moment when the foremost division was
nearly six miles ahead, between the Kakyparis and the Erineus.

  [506] Dr. Arnold (Thucyd. vol. iii, p. 280, copied by Göller,
  ad vii, 81) thinks that the division of Demosthenês reached
  and passed the river Kakyparis; and was captured between the
  Kakyparis and the Erineus. But the words of Thucyd. vii, 80, 81,
  do not sustain this. The division of Nikias was in advance of
  Demosthenês from the beginning, and gained upon it principally
  during the early part of the march, before daybreak; because it
  was then that the disorder of the division of Demosthenês was the
  most inconvenient: see c. 81—ὡς τῆς νυκτὸς τότε ξυνεταράχθησαν,
  etc. When Thucydidês, therefore, says, that “at daybreak _they_
  arrived at the sea,” (ἅμα δὲ τῇ ἕῳ ἀφικνοῦνται ἐς τὴν θάλατταν,
  c. 80,) this cannot be true _both_ of Nikias and of Demosthenês.
  If the former arrived there at daybreak, the latter cannot have
  come to the same point till some time after daybreak. Nikias must
  have been beforehand with Demosthenês when he reached the sea,
  and considerably _more_ beforehand when he reached the Kakyparis:
  moreover, we are expressly told that Nikias did not wait for his
  colleague, that he thought it for the best to get on as fast as
  possible with his own division.

  It appears to me that the words ἀφικνοῦνται, etc. (c. 80), are
  not to be understood both of Nikias and Demosthenês, but that
  they refer back to the word αὐτοῖς, two or three lines behind:
  “the _Athenians (taken generally)_ reached the sea,” no attention
  being at that moment paid to the difference between the front
  and the rear divisions. The _Athenians_ might be said, not
  improperly, to reach the sea, at the time when the division of
  Nikias reached it.

When the Syracusans discovered at dawn that their enemy had made off
in the night, their first impulse was to accuse Gylippus of treachery
in having permitted the escape. Such ungrateful surmises, however,
were soon dissipated, and the cavalry set forth in rapid pursuit,
until they overtook the rear division, which they immediately began
to attack and impede. The advance of Demosthenês had been tardy
before, and his division disorganized: but he was now compelled to
turn and defend himself against an indefatigable enemy, who presently
got before him and thus stopped him altogether. Their numerous
light troops and cavalry assailed him on all sides and without
intermission; employing nothing but missiles, however, and taking
care to avoid any close encounter. While this unfortunate division
were exerting their best efforts both to defend themselves, and if
possible to get forward, they found themselves inclosed in a walled
olive-ground, through the middle of which the road passed; a farm
bearing the name, and probably once the property, of Polyzêlus,
brother of the despot Gelon.[507] Entangled and huddled up in this
inclosure, from whence exit at the farther end in the face of an
enemy was found impossible, they were now overwhelmed with hostile
missiles from the walls on all sides.[508] Though unable to get at
the enemy, and deprived even of the resources of an active despair,
they endured incessant harassing for the greater part of the day,
without refreshment or repose, and with the number of their wounded
continually increasing; until at length the remaining spirit of the
unhappy sufferers was thoroughly broken. Perceiving their condition,
Gylippus sent to them a herald with a proclamation; inviting all
the islanders among them to come forth from the rest, and promising
them freedom if they did so. The inhabitants of some cities, yet
not many,—a fact much to their honor,—availed themselves of this
offer and surrendered. Presently, however, a larger negotiation
was opened, which ended by the entire division capitulating upon
terms, and giving up their arms. Gylippus and the Syracusans engaged
that the lives of all should be spared; that is, that none should
be put to death either by violence, or by intolerable bonds, or by
starvation. Having all been disarmed, they were forthwith conveyed
away as prisoners to Syracuse, six thousand in number. It is a
remarkable proof of the easy and opulent circumstances of many among
these gallant sufferers, when we are told that the money which they
had about them, even at this last moment of pressure, was sufficient
to fill the concavities of four shields.[509] Disdaining either
to surrender or to make any stipulation for himself personally,
Demosthenês was on the point of killing himself with his own sword
the moment that the capitulation was concluded; but his intention
was prevented, and he was carried off a disarmed prisoner by the

  [507] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 27.

  [508] Thucyd. vii, 81. Καὶ τότε γνοὺς (sc. Demosthenês) τοὺς
  Συρακοσίους διώκοντας οὐ προὐχώρει μᾶλλον ἢ ἐς μάχην ξυνετάσσετο,
  ἕως ἐνδιατρίβων κυκλοῦταί τε ὑπ’ αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐν πολλῷ θορύβῳ
  αὐτός τε καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ Ἀθηναῖοι ἦσαν· ἀνειληθέντες γὰρ ἔς τι
  χωρίον, ᾧ κύκλῳ μὲν τειχίον περιῆν, ~ὁδὸς δὲ ἔνθεν τε καὶ ἔνθεν~,
  ἐλάας δὲ οὐκ ὀλίγας εἶχεν, ἐβάλλοντο περισταδόν.

  I translate ὁδὸς δὲ ἔνθεν τε καὶ ἔνθεν differently from Dr.
  Arnold, from Mitford, and from others. These words are commonly
  understood to mean that this walled plantation was bordered
  by two roads, one on each side. Certainly the words _might_
  have that signification; but I think they also may have the
  signification (compare ii, 76) which I have given in the text,
  and which seems more plausible. It certainly is very improbable
  that the Athenians should have gone out of the road, in order
  to shelter themselves in the plantation; since they were fully
  aware that there was no safety for them except in getting away.
  If we suppose that the plantation lay exactly in the road, the
  word ἀνειληθέντες becomes perfectly explicable, on which I do not
  think that Dr. Arnold’s comment is satisfactory. The pressure of
  the troops from the rear into the hither opening, while those
  in the front could not get out by the farther opening, would
  naturally cause this crowd and _huddling_ inside. A road which
  passed right through the walled ground, entering at one side and
  coming out at the other, might well be called ὁδὸς δὲ ἔνθεν τε
  καὶ ἔνθεν. Compare Dr. Arnold’s Remarks on the Map of Syracuse,
  vol. iii, p. 281; as well as his note on vii, 81.

  I imagine the olive-trees to be here named, not for either of the
  two reasons mentioned by Dr. Arnold, but because they hindered
  the Athenians from seeing beforehand distinctly the nature of the
  inclosure into which they were hastening, and therefore prevented
  any precautions from being taken, such as that of forbidding too
  many troops from entering at once, etc.

  [509] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 27; Thucyd. vii, 82.

  [510] This statement depends upon the very good authority of
  the contemporary Syracusan, Philistus: see Pausanias, i, 29, 9;
  Philisti Fragm. 46, ed. Didot.

On the next day, Gylippus and the victorious Syracusans overtook
Nikias on the right bank of the Erineus, apprized him of the
capitulation of Demosthenês, and summoned him to capitulate also. He
demanded leave to send a horseman for the purpose of verifying the
statement; and on the return of the horseman, he made a proposition
to Gylippus, that his army should be permitted to return home, on
condition of Athens reimbursing to Syracuse the whole expense of
the war, and furnishing hostages until payment should be made;
one citizen against each talent of silver. These conditions were
rejected; but Nikias could not yet bring himself to submit to
the same terms for his division as Demosthenês. Accordingly, the
Syracusans recommenced their attacks, which the Athenians, in spite
of hunger and fatigue, sustained as they best could until night. It
was the intention of Nikias again to take advantage of the night for
the purpose of getting away. But on this occasion the Syracusans
were on the watch, and as soon as they heard movement in the camp,
they raised the pæan, or war-shout; thus showing that they were on
the lookout, and inducing the Athenians again to lay down the arms
which they had taken up for departure. A detachment of three hundred
Athenians, nevertheless, still persisting in marching off, apart from
the rest, forced their way through the posts of the Syracusans. These
men got safely away, and nothing but the want of guides prevented
them from escaping altogether.[511]

  [511] Thucyd. vii, 83.

During all this painful retreat, the personal resolution displayed
by Nikias was exemplary; his sick and feeble frame was made to bear
up, and even to hearten up stronger men, against the extremity of
hardship, exhausting the last fragment of hope or even possibility.
It was now the sixth day of the retreat,—six days[512] of constant
privation, suffering, and endurance of attack,—yet Nikias early in
the morning attempted a fresh march, in order to get to the river
Asinarus, which falls into the same sea, south of the Erineus, but
is a more considerable stream, flowing deeply imbedded between lofty
banks. This was a last effort of despair, with little hope of final
escape, even if they did reach it. Yet the march was accomplished,
in spite of renewed and incessant attacks all the way, from the
Syracusan cavalry; who even got to the river before the Athenians,
occupying the ford, and lining the high banks near it. Here the
resolution of the unhappy fugitives at length gave way; when they
reached the river, their strength, their patience, their spirit, and
their hopes for the future, were all extinct. Tormented with raging
thirst, and compelled by the attacks of the cavalry to march in one
compact mass, they rushed into the ford all at once, treading down
and tumbling over each other in the universal avidity for drink. Many
thus perished from being pushed down upon the points of the spears,
or lost their footing among the scattered articles of baggage, and
were thus borne down under water.[513] Meanwhile, the Syracusans
from above poured upon the huddled mass showers of missiles, while
the Peloponnesian hoplites even descended into the river, came to
close quarters with them, and slew considerable numbers. So violent,
nevertheless, was the thirst of the Athenians, that all other
suffering was endured in order to taste relief by drinking. And even
when dead and wounded were heaped in the river,—when the water was
tainted and turbid with blood, as well as thick with the mud trodden
up,—still, the new-comers pushed their way in and swallowed it with

  [512] Plutarch (Nikias. c. 27) says _eight_ days, inaccurately.

  [513] Thucyd. vii, 85. See Dr. Arnold’s note.

  [514] Thucyd. vii, 84. ... ἔβαλλον ἄνωθεν τοὺς Ἀθηναίους,
  ~πίνοντάς τε τοὺς πολλοὺς ἀσμένους~, καὶ ἐν κοίλῳ ὄντι τῷ ποτάμῳ
  ἐν σφίσιν αὐτοῖς ταρασσομένους.

Wretched, helpless, and demoralized as the army now was, Nikias
could think no farther of resistance. He accordingly surrendered
himself to Gylippus, to be dealt with at the discretion of that
general and of the Lacedæmonians,[515] earnestly imploring that the
slaughter of the defenceless soldiers might be arrested. Accordingly,
Gylippus gave orders that no more should be killed, but that the
rest should be secured as captives. Many were slain before this
order was understood; but of those who remained, almost all were
made captive, very few escaping. Nay, even the detachment of three
hundred, who had broken out in the night, having seemingly not known
whither to go, were captured, and brought in by troops sent forth
for the purpose.[516] The triumph of the Syracusans was in every
way complete, they hung the trees on the banks of the Asinarus with
Athenian panoplies as trophy, and carried back their prisoners in
joyous procession to the city.

  [515] Thucyd. vii, 85, 86; Philistus, Fragm. 46, ed. Didot;
  Pausanias, i. 29, 9.

  [516] Thucyd. vii, 85; Plutarch, Nikias, c. 27.

The number of prisoners thus made, is not positively specified by
Thucydidês, as in the case of the division of Demosthenês, which
had capitulated and laid down their arms in a mass within the walls
of the olive-ground. Of the captives from the division of Nikias,
the larger proportion were seized by private individuals, and
fraudulently secreted for their own profit; the number obtained for
the state being comparatively small, seemingly not more than one
thousand.[517] The various Sicilian towns became soon full of these
prisoners, sold as slaves for private account.

  [517] Thucydidês states, roughly, and without pretending to
  exact means of knowledge, that the total number of captives
  brought to Syracuse under public supervision, was not less than
  seven thousand—ἐλήφθησαν δὲ οἱ ξύμπαντες, ἀκριβείᾳ μὲν χαλεπὸν
  ἐξειπεῖν, ὅμως δὲ οὐκ ἐλάσσους ἑπτακισχιλίων (vii, 87). As the
  number taken with Demosthenês was six thousand (vii, 82), this
  leaves one thousand as having been obtained from the division of

Not less than forty thousand persons in the aggregate had started
from the Athenian camp to commence the retreat, six days before. Of
these probably many, either wounded or otherwise incompetent even
when the march began, soon found themselves unable to keep up, and
were left behind to perish. Each of the six days was a day of hard
fighting and annoyance from an indefatigable crowd of light troops,
with little, and at last seemingly nothing, to eat. The number was
thus successively thinned, by wounds, privations, and straggling,
so that the six thousand taken with Demosthenês, and perhaps three
thousand or four thousand captured with Nikias, formed the melancholy
remnant. Of the stragglers during the march, however, we are glad to
learn that many contrived to escape the Syracusan cavalry and get to
Katana, where also those who afterwards ran away from their slavery
under private masters, found a refuge.[518] These fugitive Athenians
served as auxiliaries to repel the attacks of the Syracusans upon

  [518] Thucyd. vii, 85. ~πολλοὶ~ δὲ ὅμως καὶ διέφυγον, οἱ μὲν καὶ
  παραυτίκα, οἱ δὲ καὶ δουλεύσαντες καὶ διαδιδράσκοντες ὕστερον.
  The word παραυτίκα means, during the retreat.

  [519] Lysias pro Polystrato. Orat. xx, sects. 26-28, c. 6, p. 686

It was in this manner, chiefly, that Athens came to receive again
within her bosom a few of those ill-fated sons whom she had drafted
forth in two such splendid divisions to Sicily. For of those who were
carried as prisoners to Syracuse, fewer yet could ever have got home.
They were placed for safe custody, along with the other prisoners, in
the stone-quarries of Syracuse,—of which there were several, partly
on the southern descent of the outer city towards the Nekropolis,
or from the higher level to the lower level of Achradina,—partly in
the suburb afterwards called Neapolis, under the southern cliff of
Epipolæ. Into these quarries—deep hollows of confined space, with
precipitous sides, and open at the top to the sky—the miserable
prisoners were plunged, lying huddled one upon another, without the
smallest protection or convenience. For subsistence, they received
each day a ration of one pint of wheaten bread,—half the daily ration
of a slave,—with no more than half a pint of water, so that they
were not preserved from the pangs either of hunger or of thirst.
Moreover, the heat of the midday sun, alternating with the chill of
the autumn nights, was alike afflicting and destructive; while the
wants of life having all to be performed where they were, without
relief, the filth and stench presently became insupportable. Sick
and wounded even at the moment of arrival, many of them speedily
died; and happiest was he who died the first, leaving an unconscious
corpse, which the Syracusans would not take the trouble to remove, to
distress and infect the survivors. Under this condition and treatment
they remained for seventy days; probably serving as a spectacle for
the triumphant Syracusan population, with their wives and children,
to come and look down upon, and to congratulate themselves on their
own narrow escape from sufferings similar in kind at least, if not
in degree. After that time the novelty of the spectacle had worn
off, while the place must have become a den of abomination and a
nuisance intolerable even to the citizens themselves. Accordingly,
they now removed all the surviving prisoners, except the native
Athenians and the few Italian or Sicilian Greeks among them. All
those so removed were sold for slaves;[520] while the dead bodies
were probably at the same time taken away, and the prison rendered
somewhat less loathsome. What became of the remaining prisoners,
we are not told; it may be presumed that those who could survive
so great an extremity of suffering might after a certain time be
allowed to get back to Athens on ransom. Perhaps some of them may
have obtained their release; as was the case, we are told, with
several of those who had been sold to private masters, by the
elegance of their accomplishments and the dignity of their demeanor.
The dramas of Euripidês were so peculiarly popular throughout all
Sicily, that those Athenian prisoners who knew by heart considerable
portions of them, won the affections of their masters. Some even
of the stragglers from the army are affirmed to have procured for
themselves, by the same attraction, shelter and hospitality during
their flight. Euripidês, we are informed, lived to receive the thanks
of several among these unhappy sufferers, after their return to
Athens.[521] I cannot refrain from mentioning this story, though I
fear its trustworthiness as matter of fact is much inferior to its
pathos and interest.

  [520] Thucyd. vii, 87. Diodorus (xiii, 20-32) gives two long
  orations purporting to have been held in the Syracusan assembly,
  in discussing how the prisoners were to be dealt with. An old
  citizen, named Nikolaus, who has lost his two sons in the war, is
  made to advocate the side of humane treatment; while Gylippus is
  introduced as the orator recommending harshness and revenge.

  From whom Diodorus borrowed this, I do not know; but his whole
  account of the matter appears to me untrustworthy.

  One may judge of his accuracy when one finds him stating that the
  prisoners received each two _chœnikes_ of barley-meal, instead of
  two _kotylæ_; the chœnix being four times as much as the kotylê
  (Diodor. xiii, 19).

  [521] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 29; Diodor. xiii, 33. The reader will
  see how the Carthaginians treated the Grecian prisoners whom they
  took in Sicily, in Diodor. xiii, 111.

Upon the treatment of Nikias and Demosthenês, not merely the
Syracusans, but also the allies present, were consulted, and much
difference of opinion was found. To keep them in confinement simply,
without putting them to death, was apparently the opinion advocated
by Hermokratês.[522] But Gylippus, then in full ascendency and an
object of deep gratitude for his invaluable services, solicited as a
reward to himself to be allowed to conduct them back as prisoners to
Sparta. To achieve this would have earned for him signal honor in the
eyes of his countrymen; for while Demosthenês, from his success at
Pylos, was their hated enemy, Nikias had always shown himself their
friend as far as an Athenian could do so. It was to him that they
owed the release of their prisoners taken at Sphakteria; and he had
calculated upon this obligation when he surrendered himself prisoner
to Gylippus, and not to the Syracusans.

  [522] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 28; Diodor. xiii, 19.

In spite of all his influence, however, Gylippus could not carry
this point. First, the Corinthians both strenuously opposed him
themselves, and prevailed on the other allies to do the same. They
were afraid that the wealth of Nikias would always procure for him
the means of escaping from imprisonment, so as to do them farther
injury, and they insisted on his being put to death. Next, those
Syracusans, who had been in secret correspondence with Nikias
during the siege, were yet more anxious to get him put out of
the way, being apprehensive that, if tortured by their political
opponents, he might disclose their names and intrigues. Such various
influences prevailed, and Nikias as well as Demosthenês was ordered
to be put to death by a decree of the public assembly, much to the
discontent of Gylippus. Hermokratês vainly opposed the resolution,
but perceiving that it was certain to be carried, he sent to them a
private intimation before the discussion closed; and procured for
them, through one of the sentinels, the means of dying by their own
hands. Their bodies were publicly exposed before the city gates to
the view of the Syracusan citizens;[523] while the day on which the
final capture of Nikias and his army was accomplished, came to be
celebrated as an annual festival, under the title of the Asinaria, on
the twenty-sixth day of the Dorian month Karneius.[524]

  [523] Thucyd. vii, 86; Plutarch, Nikias, c. 28. The statement
  which Plutarch here cites from Timæus respecting the intervention
  of Hermokratês, is not in any substantial contradiction with
  Philistus and Thucydidês. The word κελευσθέντας seems decidedly
  preferable to καταλευσθέντας, in the text of Plutarch.

  [524] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 28. Though Plutarch says that the
  month Karneius is “that which the Athenians call Metageitnion,”
  yet it is not safe to affirm that the day of the slaughter of the
  Asinarus was the 16th of the Attic month Metageitnion. We know
  that the civil months of different cities seldom or never exactly
  coincided. See the remarks of Franz on this point, in his comment
  on the valuable Inscriptions of Tauromenium, Corp. Inscr. Gr. No.
  5640, part xxxii, sect 3, p. 640.

  The surrender of Nikias must have taken place, I think, not less
  than twenty-four or twenty-five days after the eclipse, which
  occurred on the 27th of August, that is, about Sept. 21. Mr.
  Fynes Clinton (F. H. ad ann. 413 B.C.) seems to me to compress
  too much the interval between the eclipse and the retreat;
  considering that that interval included two great battles, with a
  certain delay before, between, and after.

  The μετόπωρον noticed by Thucyd. vii, 79. suits with Sept. 21:
  compare Plutarch, Nikias, c. 22.

Such was the close of the expedition, or rather of the two
expeditions, undertaken by Athens against Syracuse. Never in Grecian
history had a force so large, so costly, so efficient, and so full of
promise and confidence, been turned out; never in Grecian history had
ruin so complete and sweeping, or victory so glorious and unexpected,
been witnessed.[525] Its consequences were felt from one end of the
Grecian world to the other, as will appear in the coming chapters.

  [525] Thucyd. vii, 87.

The esteem and admiration felt at Athens towards Nikias had been
throughout lofty and unshaken; after his death it was exchanged
for disgrace. His name was omitted, while that of his colleague
Demosthenês was engraved, on the funereal pillar erected to
commemorate the fallen warriors. This difference Pausanias explains
by saying that Nikias was conceived to have disgraced himself as
a military man by his voluntary surrender, which Demosthenês had

  [526] Pausan. i, 29, 9; Philist. Fragm. 46, ed. Didot.

  Justin erroneously says that Demosthenês actually did kill
  himself, rather than submit to surrender, before the surrender of
  Nikias; who, he says, did not choose to follow the example:—

  “Demosthenês, amisso exercitu a captivitate gladio et voluntariâ
  morte se vindicat: Nicias autem, ne Demosthenis quidem exemplo,
  ut sibi consuleret, admonitus, cladem suorum auxit dedecore
  captivitatis.” (Justin, iv, 5.)

  Philistus, whom Pausanias announces himself as following, is an
  excellent witness for the actual facts in Sicily; though not so
  good a witness for the impression at Athens respecting those

  It seems certain, even from Thucydidês, that Nikias, in
  surrendering himself to Gylippus, thought that he had
  considerable chance of saving his life, Plutarch too so
  interprets the proceeding, and condemns it as disgraceful, see
  his comparison of Nikias and Crassus, near the end. Demosthenês
  could not have thought the same for himself: the fact of his
  attempted suicide appears to me certain, on the authority of
  Philistus, though Thucydidês does not notice it.

The opinion of Thucydidês deserves special notice, in the face of
this judgment of his countrymen. While he says not a word about
Demosthenês, beyond the fact of his execution, he adds in reference
to Nikias a few words of marked sympathy and commendation. “Such, or
nearly such, (he says,) were the reasons why Nikias was put to death;
though _he_ assuredly, among all Greeks of my time, least deserved
to come to so extreme a pitch of ill-fortune, considering his exact
performance of established duties to the divinity.”[527]

  [527] Thucyd. vii, 86. Καὶ ὁ μὲν τοιαύτῃ ἢ ὅτι ἐγγύτατα τούτων
  αἰτίᾳ ἐτεθνήκει, ἥκιστα δὴ ἄξιος ὢν τῶν γε ἐπ’ ἐμοῦ Ἑλλήνων ἐς
  τοῦτο δυστυχίας ἀφικέσθαι, ~διὰ τὴν νενομισμένην ἐς τὸ θεῖον

  So stood the text of Thucydidês, until various recent editors
  changed the last words, on the authority of some MSS., to ~διὰ
  τὴν πᾶσαν ἐς ἀρετὴν νενομισμένην ἐπιτήδευσιν~.

  Though Dr. Arnold and some of the best critics prefer and adopt
  the latter reading, I confess it seems to me that the former
  is more suitable to the Greek vein of thought, as well as more
  conformable to truth about Nikias.

  A man’s good or bad fortune, depending on the favorable or
  unfavorable disposition of the gods towards him, was understood
  to be determined more directly by his piety and religious
  observances, rather than by his virtue, see passages in Isokratês
  de Permutation. Orat. xv, sect. 301; Lysias, cont. Nikomach. c.
  5, p. 854, though undoubtedly the two ideas went to a certain
  extent together. Men might differ about the virtue of Nikias;
  but his piety was an incontestable fact; and his “good fortune”
  also, in times prior to the Sicilian expedition, was recognized
  by men like Alkibiadês, who most probably had no very lofty
  opinion of his virtue (Thucyd. vi, 17). The contrast between the
  remarkable piety of Nikias, and that extremity of ill-fortune
  which marked the close of his life, was very likely to shock
  Grecian ideas generally, and was a natural circumstance for the
  historian to note. Whereas if we read, in the passage, πᾶσαν ἐς
  ἀρετὴν, the panegyric upon Nikias becomes both less special and
  more disproportionate, beyond what even Thucydidês (as far as we
  can infer from other expressions, see v, 16) would be inclined to
  bestow upon him—more, in fact, than he says in commendation even
  of Periklês.

If we were judging Nikias merely as a private man, and setting his
personal conduct in one scale against his personal suffering on the
other, the remark of Thucydidês would be natural and intelligible.
But the general of a great expedition, upon whose conduct the lives
of thousands of brave men as well as the most momentous interests
of his country, depend, cannot be tried by any such standard. His
private merit becomes a secondary point in the case, as compared with
the discharge of his responsible public duties, by which he must
stand or fall.

Tried by this more appropriate standard, what are we to say of
Nikias? We are compelled to say, that if his personal suffering
could possibly be regarded in the light of an atonement, or set in
an equation against the mischief brought by himself both on his army
and his country, it would not be greater than his deserts. I shall
not here repeat the separate points in his conduct which justify this
view, and which have been set forth as they have occurred, in the
preceding pages. Admitting fully both the good intentions of Nikias,
and his personal bravery, rising even into heroism during the last
few days in Sicily, it is not the less incontestable, that, first,
the failure of the enterprise, next, the destruction of the armament,
is to be traced distinctly to his lamentable misjudgment. Sometimes
petty trifling, sometimes apathy and inaction, sometimes presumptuous
neglect, sometimes obstinate blindness even to urgent and obvious
necessities, one or other of these his sad mental defects, will be
found operative at every step, whereby this fated armament sinks down
from exuberant efficiency into the last depth of aggregate ruin and
individual misery. His improvidence and incapacity stand proclaimed,
not merely in the narrative of the historian, but even in his own
letter to the Athenians, and in his own speeches both before the
expedition and during its closing misfortunes, when contrasted with
the reality of his proceedings. The man whose flagrant incompetency
brought such wholesale ruin upon two fine armaments intrusted to
his command, upon the Athenian maritime empire, and ultimately upon
Athens herself, must appear on the tablets of history under the
severest condemnation, even though his personal virtues had been
loftier than those of Nikias.

And yet our great historian, after devoting two immortal books to
this expedition, after setting forth emphatically both the glory of
its dawn and the wretchedness of its close, with a dramatic genius
parallel to the Œdipus Tyrannus of Sophoklês, when he comes to
recount the melancholy end of the two commanders, has no words to
spare for Demosthenês,—far the abler officer of the two, who perished
by no fault of his own,—but reserves his flowers to strew on the
grave of Nikias, the author of the whole calamity—“What a pity! Such
a respectable and religious man!”

Thucydidês is here the more instructive, because he exactly
represents the sentiment of the general Athenian public towards
Nikias during his lifetime. They could not bear to condemn, to
mistrust, to dismiss, or to do without, so respectable and religious
a citizen. The private qualities of Nikias were not only held to
entitle him to the most indulgent construction of all his public
shortcomings, but also insured to him credit for political and
military competence altogether disproportionate to his deserts.
When we find Thucydidês, after narrating so much improvidence and
mismanagement on the grand scale, still keeping attention fixed on
the private morality and decorum of Nikias, as if it constituted the
main feature of his character, we can understand how the Athenian
people originally came both to over-estimate this unfortunate leader,
and continued over-estimating him with tenacious fidelity even after
glaring proof of his incapacity. Never in the political history
of Athens did the people make so fatal a mistake in placing their

In reviewing the causes of popular misjudgment, historians are
apt to enlarge prominently, if not exclusively, on demagogues and
demagogic influences. Mankind being usually considered in the light
of governable material, or as instruments for exalting, arming,
and decorating their rulers, whatever renders them more difficult
to handle in this capacity, ranks first in the category of vices.
Nor can it be denied that this was a real and serious cause: clever
criminative speakers often passed themselves off for something
above their real worth; though useful and indispensable as a
protection against worse, they sometimes deluded the people into
measures impolitic or unjust. But, even if we grant, to the cause
of misjudgment here indicated, a greater practical efficiency than
history will fairly sanction, still, it is only one among others more
mischievous. Never did any man at Athens, by mere force of demagogic
qualities, acquire a measure of esteem at once so exaggerated and so
durable, combined with so much power of injuring his fellow-citizens,
as the anti-demagogic Nikias. The man who, over and above his shabby
manœuvre about the expedition against Sphakteria, and his improvident
sacrifice of Athenian interests in the alliance with Sparta, ended
by inflicting on his country that cruel wound which destroyed so
many of her citizens as well as her maritime empire, was not a
leather-seller of impudent and criminative eloquence, but a man of
ancient family and hereditary wealth, munificent and affable, having
credit not merely for the largesses which he bestowed, but also for
all the insolences, which as a rich man he might have committed, but
did not commit,—free from all pecuniary corruption,—a brave man, and
above all, an ultra-religious man, believed therefore to stand high
in the favor of the gods, and to be fortunate. Such was the esteem
which the Athenians felt for this union of good qualities purely
personal and negative with eminent station, that they presumed the
higher aptitudes of command,[528] and presumed them, unhappily,
after proof that they did not exist,—after proof that what they
had supposed to be caution was only apathy and mental weakness. No
demagogic arts or eloquence would ever have created in the people so
deep-seated an illusion as the imposing respectability of Nikias.
Now it was against the overweening ascendency of such decorous and
pious incompetence, when aided by wealth and family advantages, that
the demagogic accusatory eloquence ought to have served as a natural
bar and corrective. Performing the functions of a constitutional
opposition, it afforded the only chance of that tutelary exposure
whereby blunders and shortcomings might be arrested in time. How
insufficient was the check which it provided,—even at Athens, where
every one denounces it as having prevailed in devouring excess,—the
history of Nikias is an ever-living testimony.

  [528] A good many of the features depicted by Tacitus (Hist. i,
  49) in Galba, suit the character of Nikias, much more than those
  of the rapacious and unprincipled Crassus, with whom Plutarch
  compares the latter:—

  “Vetus in familiâ nobilitas, magnæ opes: ipsi medium ingenium,
  magis extra vitia, quam cum virtutibus. Sed claritas natalium,
  et metus temporum, obtentui fuit, ut _quod segnitia fuit,
  sapientia_ vocaretur. Dum vigebat ætas, militari laude apud
  Germanias floruit: proconsul, Africam moderate; jam senior,
  citeriorem Hispaniam, pari justitiâ continuit. _Major privato
  visus dum privatus fuit, et omnium consensu capax imperii, nisi



In the preceding chapter we followed to its melancholy close the
united armament of Nikias and Demosthenês, first in the harbor and
lastly in the neighborhood of Syracuse, towards the end of September,
413 B.C.

The first impression which we derive from the perusal of that
narrative is, sympathy for the parties directly concerned, chiefly
for the number of gallant Athenians who thus miserably perished,
partly also for the Syracusan victors, themselves a few months before
on the verge of apparent ruin. But the distant and collateral effects
of the catastrophe throughout Greece, were yet more momentous than
those within the island in which it occurred.

I have already mentioned that even at the moment when Demosthenês
with his powerful armament left Peiræus to go to Sicily, the
hostilities of the Peloponnesian confederacy against Athens herself
had been already recommenced. Not only was the Spartan king Agis
ravaging Attica, but the far more important step of fortifying
Dekeleia, for the abode of a permanent garrison, was in course of
completion. That fortress, having been begun about the middle of
March, was probably by the month of June in a situation to shelter
its garrison, which consisted of contingents periodically furnished,
and relieving each other alternately, from all the different states
of the confederacy, under the permanent command of king Agis himself.

And now began that incessant marauding of domiciliated
enemies—destined to last for nine years until the final capture
of Athens—partially contemplated even at the beginning of the
Peloponnesian war, and recently enforced, with full comprehension
of its disastrous effects, by the virulent antipathy of the exile
Alkibiadês.[529] The earlier invasions of Attica had been all
temporary, continuing for five or six weeks at the farthest, and
leaving the country in repose for the remainder of the year. But the
Athenians now underwent from henceforward the fatal experience of a
hostile garrison within fifteen miles of their city; an experience
peculiarly painful this summer, as well from its novelty as from
the extraordinary vigor which Agis displayed in his operations. His
excursions were so widely extended, that no part of Attica was secure
or could be rendered productive. Not only were all the sheep and
cattle destroyed, but the slaves too, especially the most valuable
slaves, or artisans, began to desert to Dekeleia in great numbers;
more than twenty thousand of them soon disappeared in this way.
So terrible a loss of income, both to proprietors of land and to
employers in the city, was farther aggravated by the increased cost
and difficulty of import from Eubœa. Provisions and cattle from that
island had previously come over land from Oropus, but as that road
was completely stopped by the garrison of Dekeleia, they were now of
necessity sent round Cape Sunium by sea; a transit more circuitous
and expensive, besides being open to attack from the enemy’s
privateers.[530] In the midst of such heavy privations, the demands
on citizens and metics for military duty were multiplied beyond
measure. The presence of the enemy at Dekeleia forced them to keep
watch day and night throughout their long extent of wall, comprising
both Athens and Peiræus: in the daytime the hoplites of the city
relieved each other on guard, but at night, nearly all of them were
either on the battlements or at the various military stations in
the city. Instead of a city, in fact, Athens was reduced to the
condition of something like a military post.[531] Moreover, the rich
citizens of the state, who served as horsemen, shared in the general
hardship; being called on for daily duty in order to restrain at
least, since they could not entirely prevent, the excursions of the
garrison of Dekeleia, their efficiency was, however, soon impaired by
the laming of their horses on the hard and stony soil.[532]

  [529] Thucyd. i, 122-142; vi, 90.

  [530] Thucyd. viii. 4. About the extensive ruin caused by the
  Lacedæmonians to the olive-grounds in Attica, see Lysias, Or.
  vii, De Oleâ Sacrâ, sects. 6, 7.

  An inscription preserved in M. Boeckh’s Corp. Inscr. (part ii,
  No. 93, p. 132), gives some hint how landlords and tenants met
  this inevitable damage from the hands of the invaders. The deme
  Æxôneis lets a farm to a certain tenant for forty years, at a
  fixed rent of one hundred and forty drachmæ; but if an invading
  enemy shall drive him out or injure his farm, the deme is to
  receive one half of the year’s produce, in place of the year’s

  [531] Thucyd. vii, 28, 29.

  [532] Thucyd. vii, 27.

Besides the personal efforts of the citizens, such exigencies
pressed heavily on the financial resources of the state. Already the
immense expense incurred in fitting out the two large armaments for
Sicily, had exhausted all the accumulations laid by in the treasury
during the interval since the Peace of Nikias; so that the attacks
from Dekeleia, not only imposing heavy additional cost, but at the
same time cutting up the means of paying, brought the finances of
Athens into positive embarrassment. With the view of increasing her
revenues, she altered the principle on which her subject-allies had
hitherto been assessed: instead of a fixed sum of annual tribute, she
now required from them payment of a duty of five per cent. on all
imports and exports by sea.[533] How this new principle of assessment
worked, we have unfortunately no information. To collect the duty and
take precautions against evasion, an Athenian custom-house officer
must have been required in each allied city. Yet it is difficult to
understand how Athens could have enforced a system at once novel,
extensive, vexatious, and more burdensome to the payers, when we
come to see how much her hold over those payers, as well as her
naval force, became enfeebled, before the close even of the actual

  [533] Thucyd. vii, 28.

  [534] Upon this new assessment on the allies, determined by the
  Athenians, Mr. Mitford remarks as follows:—

  “Thus light, in comparison of what we have laid upon ourselves,
  was the heaviest tax, as far as we learn from history, at that
  time known in the world. Yet it caused much discontent among the
  dependent commonwealths; the arbitrary power by which it was
  imposed being indeed reasonably execrated, though the burden
  itself was comparatively a nothing.”

  This admission is not easily reconciled with the frequent
  invectives in which Mr. Mitford indulges against the empire
  of Athens, as practising a system of extortion and oppression
  ruinous to the subject-allies.

  I do not know, however, on what authority he affirms that this
  was “the heaviest tax then known in the world;” and that “it
  caused much discontent among the subject commonwealths.” The
  latter assertion would indeed be sufficiently probable, if it
  be true that the tax ever came into operation; but we are not
  entitled to affirm it.

  Considering how very soon the terrible misfortunes of Athens came
  on, I cannot but think it a matter of uncertainty whether the new
  assessment ever became a reality throughout the Athenian empire.
  And the fact that Thucydidês does not notice it as an additional
  cause of discontent among the allies, is one reason for such

Her impoverished finances also compelled her to dismiss a body of
Thracian mercenaries, whose aid would have been very useful against
the enemy at Dekeleia. These Thracian peltasts, thirteen hundred in
number, had been hired at a drachma per day each man, to go with
Demosthenês to Syracuse, but had not reached Athens in time. As soon
as they came thither, the Athenians placed them under the command
of Diitrephês, to conduct them back to their native country, with
instructions to do damage to the Bœotians, as opportunity might
occur, in his way through the Euripus. Accordingly, Diitrephês,
putting them on shipboard, sailed round Sunium and northward along
the eastern coast of Attica. After a short disembarkation near
Tanagra, he passed on to Chalkis in Eubœa in the narrowest part
of the strait, from whence he crossed in the night to the Bœotian
coast opposite, and marched up some distance from the sea to the
neighborhood of the Bœotian town Mykalêssus. He arrived here unseen,
lay in wait near a temple of Hermês about two miles distant, and fell
upon the town unexpectedly at break of day. To the Mykalessians,
dwelling in the centre of Bœotia, not far from Thebes, and at a
considerable distance from the sea, such an assault was not less
unexpected than formidable. Their fortifications were feeble, in
some parts low, in other parts even tumbling down; nor had they even
taken the precaution to close their gates at night: so that the
barbarians under Diitrephês, entering the town without the smallest
difficulty, began at once the work of pillage and destruction. The
scene which followed was something alike novel and revolting to
Grecian eyes. Not only were all the houses and even the temples
plundered, but the Thracians farther manifested that raging thirst
for blood which seemed inherent in their race. They slew every living
thing that came in their way; men, women, children, horses, cattle,
etc. They burst into a school, wherein many boys had just been
assembled, and massacred them all. This scene of bloodshed, committed
by barbarians who had not been seen in Greece since the days of
Xerxes, was recounted with horror and sympathy throughout all Grecian
communities, though Mykalêssus was in itself a town of second-rate or
third-rate magnitude.[535]

  [535] Thucyd. vii, 29, 30, 31. I conceive that οὔσῃ ~οὐ~ μεγάλῃ
  is the right reading, and not οὔσῃ μεγάλῃ, in reference to
  Mykalêssus. The words ὡς ἐπὶ μεγέθει, in c. 31, refer to the size
  of the city.

  The reading is, however, disputed among critics. It is evident
  from the language of Thucydidês that the catastrophe at
  Mykalêssus made a profound impression throughout Greece.

The succor brought from Thebes, by Mykalessian fugitives, arrived
unhappily only in time to avenge, but not to save, the inhabitants.
The Thracians were already retiring with the booty which they could
carry away, when the bœotarch Skirphondas overtook them, both
with cavalry and hoplites, after having put to death some greedy
plunderers who tarried too long in the town. He compelled them to
relinquish most of their booty, and pursued them to the sea-shore;
not without a brave resistance from these peltasts, who had a
peculiar way of fighting which disconcerted the Thebans. But when
they arrived at the sea-shore, the Athenian ships did not think it
safe to approach very close, so that not less than two hundred and
fifty Thracians were slain before they could get aboard;[536] and the
Athenian commander, Diitrephês was so severely wounded that he died
shortly afterwards. The rest pursued their voyage homeward.

  [536] Thucyd. vii, 30; Pausanias. i, 23, 3. Compare Meineke, ad
  Aristophanis Fragment. Ἥρωες, vol. ii, p. 1069.

Meanwhile, the important station of Naupaktus and the mouth of
the Corinthian gulf again became the theatre of naval encounter.
It will be recollected that this was the scene of the memorable
victories gained by the Athenian admiral Phormion in the second year
of the Peloponnesian war,[537] wherein the nautical superiority
of Athens over her enemies, as to ships, crews, and admiral, had
been so transcendently manifested. In that respect matters had now
considerably changed. While the navy of Athens had fallen off since
the days of Phormion, that of her enemy had improved: Ariston,
and other skilful Corinthian steersmen, not attempting to copy
Athenian tactics, had studied the best mode of coping with them, and
had modified the build of their own triremes accordingly,[538] at
Corinth as well as at Syracuse. Seventeen years before, Phormion with
eighteen Athenian triremes would have thought himself a full match
for twenty-five Corinthian; but the Athenian admiral of this year,
Konon, also a perfectly brave man, now judged so differently, that
he constrained Demosthenês and Eurymedon to reinforce his eighteen
triremes with ten others,—out of the best of their fleet, at a
time when they had certainly none to spare,—on the ground that the
Corinthian fleet opposite, of twenty-five sail, was about to assume
the offensive against him.[539]

  [537] See above, vol. vi, ch. xlix, p. 196 of this History.

  [538] See the preceding chapter.

  [539] Thucyd. vii, 31. Compare the language of Phormion, ii. 88,

Soon afterwards Diphilus came to supersede Konon, with some
fresh ships from Athens, which made the total number of triremes
thirty-three. The Corinthian fleet, reinforced so as to be nearly of
the same number, took up a station on the coast of Achaia opposite
Naupaktus, at a spot called Erineus, in the territory of Rhypes.
They ranged themselves across the mouth of a little indentation of
the coast, or bay, in the shape of a crescent, with two projecting
promontories as horns: each of these promontories was occupied by a
friendly land-force, thus supporting the line of triremes at both
flanks. This was a position which did not permit the Athenians to
sail through the line, or manœuvre round it and in the rear of it.
Accordingly, when the fleet of Diphilus came across from Naupaktus,
it remained for some time close in front of the Corinthians, neither
party venturing to attack; for the straightforward collision was
destructive to the Athenian ships with their sharp, but light and
feeble beaks, while it was favorable to the solid bows and thick
epôtids, or ear-projections, of the Corinthian trireme. After
considerable delay, the Corinthians at length began the attack on
their side, yet not advancing far enough out to sea to admit of the
manœuvring and evolutions of the Athenians. The battle lasted some
time, terminating with no decisive advantage to either party. Three
Corinthian triremes were completely disabled, though the crews of
all escaped by swimming to their friends ashore: on the Athenian
side, not one trireme became absolutely water-logged, but seven
were so much damaged, by straightforward collision with the stronger
bows of the enemy, that they became almost useless after they got
back to Naupaktus. The Athenians had so far the advantage, that they
maintained their station, while the Corinthians did not venture to
renew the fight: moreover, both the wind and the current set towards
the northern shore, so that the floating fragments and dead bodies
came into possession of the Athenians. Each party thought itself
entitled to erect a trophy, but the real feeling of victory lay on
the side of Corinth, and that of defeat on the side of Athens. The
reputed maritime superiority of the latter was felt by both parties
to have sustained a diminution; and such assuredly would have been
the impression of Phormion, had he been alive to witness it.[540]

  [540] Thucyd. vii, 34.

This battle appears to have taken place, so far as we can make out,
a short time before the arrival of Demosthenês at Syracuse, about
the close of the month of May. We cannot doubt that the Athenians
most anxiously expected news from that officer, with some account
of victories obtained in Sicily, to console them for having sent
him away at a moment when his services were so cruelly wanted at
home. Perhaps they may even have indulged hopes of the near capture
of Syracuse, as a means of restoring their crippled finances. Their
disappointment would be all the more bitter when they came to
receive, towards the end of June or beginning of July, despatches
announcing the capital defeat of Demosthenês in his attempt upon
Epipolæ, and the consequent extinction of all hope that Syracuse
could ever be taken. After these despatches, we may perhaps doubt
whether any others subsequently reached Athens. The generals would
not write home during the month of indecision immediately succeeding,
when Demosthenês was pressing for retreat, and Nikias resisting it.
They might possibly, however, write immediately on taking their
resolution to retreat, at the time when they sent to Katana to forbid
farther supplies of provisions, but this was the last practicable
opportunity; for closely afterwards followed their naval defeat, and
the blocking up of the mouth of the Great Harbor. The mere absence
of intelligence would satisfy the Athenians that their affairs in
Sicily were proceeding badly; but the closing series of calamities,
down to the final catastrophe, would only come to their knowledge
indirectly; partly through the triumphant despatches transmitted from
Syracuse to Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes, partly through individual
soldiers of their own armament who escaped.

According to the tale of Plutarch, the news was first made known at
Athens through a stranger, who, arriving at Peiræus, went into a
barber’s shop and began to converse about it, as upon a theme which
must of course be uppermost in every one’s mind.

The astonished barber, hearing for the first time such fearful
tidings, ran up to Athens to communicate it to the archons as well
as to the public in the market-place. The public assembly being
forthwith convoked, he was brought before it, and called upon to
produce his authority, which he was unable to do, as the stranger
had disappeared. He was consequently treated as a fabricator of
uncertified rumors for the disturbance of the public tranquillity,
and even put to the torture.[541] How much of this improbable tale
may be true, we cannot determine; but we may easily believe that
neutrals, passing from Corinth or Megara to Peiræus, were the
earliest communicants of the misfortunes of Nikias and Demosthenês
in Sicily during the months of July and August. Presently came
individual soldiers of the armament, who had got away from the
defeat and found a passage home; so that the bad news was but too
fully confirmed. But the Athenians were long before they could bring
themselves to believe, even upon the testimony of these fugitives,
how entire had been the destruction of their two splendid armaments,
without even a feeble remnant left to console them.[542]

  [541] Plutarch, Nikias, c. 30. He gives the story without much
  confidence, Ἀθηναίους δέ ~φασι~, etc.

  [542] Thucyd. viii, 1.

As soon as the full extent of their loss was at length forced
upon their convictions, the city presented a scene of the deepest
affliction, dismay, and terror. Over and above the extent of private
mourning, from the loss of friends and relatives, which overspread
nearly the whole city, there prevailed utter despair as to the public
safety. Not merely was the empire of Athens apparently lost, but
Athens herself seemed utterly defenceless. Her treasury was empty,
her docks nearly destitute of triremes, the flower of her hoplites
as well as of her seamen had perished in Sicily without leaving their
like behind, and her maritime reputation was irretrievably damaged;
while her enemies, on the contrary, animated by feelings of exuberant
confidence and triumph, were farther strengthened by the accession
of their new Sicilian allies. In these melancholy months—October,
November, 413 B.C.—the Athenians expected nothing less than a
vigorous attack, both by land and sea, from the Peloponnesian and
Sicilian forces united, with the aid of their own revolted allies, an
attack which they knew themselves to be in no condition to repel.[543]

  [543] Thucyd. viii, 1. Πάντα δὲ πανταχόθεν αὐτοὺς ἐλύπει, etc.

Amidst so gloomy a prospect, without one ray of hope to cheer them
on any side, it was but poor satisfaction to vent their displeasure
on the chief speakers who had recommended their recent disastrous
expedition, or on those prophets and reporters of oracles who had
promised them the divine blessing upon it.[544] After this first
burst both of grief and anger, however, they began gradually to look
their actual situation in the face; and the more energetic speakers
would doubtless administer the salutary lesson of reminding them
how much had been achieved by their forefathers, sixty-seven years
before, when the approach of Xerxes threatened them with dangers
not less overwhelming. Under the peril of the moment, the energy of
despair revived in their bosoms; they resolved to get together, as
speedily as they could, both ships and money,—to keep watch over
their allies, especially Eubœa,—and to defend themselves to the last.
A Board of ten elderly men, under the title of Probûli, was named
to review the expenditure, to suggest all practicable economies,
and propose for the future such measures as occasion might seem to
require. The propositions of these probûli were for the most part
adopted, with a degree of unanimity and promptitude rarely seen in
an Athenian assembly, springing out of that pressure and alarm of
the moment which silenced all criticism.[545] Among other economies,
the Athenians abridged the costly splendor of their choric and
liturgic ceremonies at home, and brought back the recent garrison
which they had established on the Laconian coast; they at the same
time collected timber, commenced the construction of new ships, and
fortified Cape Sunium, in order to protect their numerous transport
ships in the passage from Eubœa to Peiræus.[546]

  [544] Thucyd. viii, 1. Ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἔγνωσαν, χαλεποὶ μὲν ἦσαν
  τοῖς ξυμπροθυμηθεῖσι τῶν ῥητόρων τὸν ἔκπλουν, ~ὥσπερ οὐκ αὐτοὶ
  ψηφισάμενοι~, etc.

  From these latter words, it would seem that Thucydidês considered
  the Athenians, after having adopted the expedition by their
  votes, to have debarred themselves from the right of complaining
  of those speakers who had stood forward prominently to advise the
  step. I do not at all concur in his opinion. The adviser of any
  important measure always makes himself morally responsible for
  its justice, usefulness, and practicability; and he very properly
  incurs disgrace, more or less according to the case, if it turns
  out to present results totally contrary to those which he had
  predicted. We know that the Athenian law often imposed upon the
  mover of a proposition not merely _moral_, but even _legal_,
  responsibility; a regulation of doubtful propriety under other
  circumstances, but which I believe to have been useful at Athens.

  It must be admitted, however, to have been hard upon the advisers
  of this expedition, that—from the total destruction of the
  armament, neither generals nor soldiers returning—they were not
  enabled to show how much of the ruin had arisen from faults in
  the execution, not in the plan conceived. The speaker in the
  Oration of Lysias—περὶ δημεύσεως τοῦ Νικίου ἀδελφοῦ (Or. xviii,
  sect. 2)—attempts to transfer the blame from Nikias upon the
  advisers of the expedition, a manifest injustice.

  Demosthenês (in the Oration De Coronâ, c. 73) gives an emphatic
  and noble statement of the responsibility which he cheerfully
  accepts for himself as a political speaker and adviser;
  responsibility for seeing the beginnings and understanding the
  premonitory signs of coming events, and giving his countrymen
  warning beforehand: ἰδεῖν τὰ πράγματα ἀρχόμενα καὶ προαισθέσθαι
  καὶ προειπεῖν τοῖς ἄλλοις. This is the just view of the subject;
  and, applying the measure proposed by Demosthenês, the Athenians
  had ample ground to be displeased with their orators.

  [545] Thucyd. viii, 1. πάντα δὲ πρὸς τὸ παραχρῆμα περιδεὲς, ὅπερ
  φιλεῖ δῆμος ποιεῖν, ἑτοῖμοι ἦσαν εὐτακτεῖν; compare Xenoph. Mem.
  iii, 5, 5.

  [546] Thucyd. viii, 1-4. About the functions of this Board of
  Probûli, much has been said for which there is no warrant in
  Thucydidês: τῶν τε κατὰ τὴν πόλιν τι ἐς εὐτέλειαν σωφρονίσαι, καὶ
  ἀρχήν τινα πρεσβυτέρων ἀνδρῶν ἑλέσθαι, οἵτινες περὶ τῶν παρόντων
  ὡς ἂν καιρὸς ᾖ προβουλεύσουσι. Πάντα δὲ πρὸς τὸ παραχρῆμα
  περιδεὲς, ὅπερ φιλεῖ δῆμος ποιεῖν, ἑτοῖμοι ἦσαν εὐτακτεῖν.

  Upon which Dr. Arnold remarks: “That is, no measure was to be
  submitted to the people, till it had first been approved by
  this council of elders.” And such is the general view of the

  No such meaning as this, however, is necessarily contained in
  the word Πρόβουλοι. It is, indeed, conceivable that persons
  so denominated might be invested with such a control; but we
  cannot infer it, or affirm it, simply from the name. Nor will
  the passages in Aristotle’s Politics, wherein the word Πρόβουλοι
  occurs, authorize any inference with respect to this Board in the
  special case of Athens (Aristotel. Politic. iv, 11, 9; iv, 12, 8;
  vi, 5, 10-13).

  The Board only seems to have lasted for a short time at Athens,
  being named for a temporary purpose, at a moment of peculiar
  pressure and discouragement. During such a state of feeling,
  there was little necessity for throwing additional obstacles
  in the way of new propositions to be made to the people. It
  was rather of importance to _encourage_ the suggestion of new
  measures, from men of sense and experience. A Board destined
  merely for control and hindrance, would have been mischievous
  instead of useful under the reigning melancholy at Athens.

  The Board was doubtless merged in the Oligarchy of Four Hundred,
  like all the other magistracies of the state, and was not
  reconstituted after their deposition.

  I cannot think it admissible to draw inferences as to the
  functions of this Board of Probûli now constituted, from the
  proceedings of the Probûlus in Aristophanis Lysistrata, as is
  done by Wachsmuth (Hellenische Alterthumskunde, i, 2, p. 198),
  and by Wattenbach (De Quadringentorum Athenis Factione, pp.
  17-21, Berlin 1842).

  Schömann (Ant. Jur. Pub. Græcor. v, xii, p. 181) says of these
  Πρόβουλοι: “Videtur autem eorum potestas fere annua fuisse.” I do
  not distinctly understand what he means by these words; whether
  he means that the Board continued permanent, but that the members
  were annually changed. If this be his meaning, I dissent from
  it. I think that the Board lasted until the time of the Four
  Hundred, which would be about a year and a half after its first

While Athens was thus struggling to make head against her
misfortunes, all the rest of Greece was full of excitement and
aggressive scheming against her. So vast an event as the destruction
of this great armament had never happened since the expedition of
Xerxes against Greece. It not only roused the most distant cities
of the Grecian world, but also the Persian satraps and the court of
Susa. It stimulated the enemies of Athens to redoubled activity;
it emboldened her subject-allies to revolt; it pushed the neutral
states, who all feared what she would have done if successful against
Syracuse, now to declare war against her, and put the finishing
stroke to her power as well as to her ambition. All of them, enemies,
subjects, and neutrals, alike believed that the doom of Athens was
sealed, and that the coming spring would see her captured. Earlier
than the ensuing spring, the Lacedæmonians did not feel disposed
to act; but they sent round their instructions to the allies for
operations both by land and sea to be then commenced; all these
allies being prepared to do their best, in hopes that this effort
would be the last required from them, and the most richly rewarded.
A fleet of one hundred triremes was directed to be prepared against
the spring; fifty of these being imposed in equal proportion on
the Lacedæmonians themselves and the Bœotians; fifteen on Corinth;
fifteen on the Phocians and Lokrians; ten on the Arcadians, with
Pellênê and Sikyon; ten on Megara, Trœzen, Epidaurus, and Hermionê.
It seems to have been considered that these ships might be built
and launched during the interval between September and March.[547]
The same large hopes, which had worked upon men’s minds at the
beginning of the war, were now again rife in the bosoms of the
Peloponnesians;[548] the rather as that powerful force from Sicily,
which they had then been disappointed in obtaining, might now be
anticipated with tolerable assurance as really forthcoming.[549]

  [547] Thucyd. viii, 2, 3. Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ τὴν πρόσταξιν ταῖς
  πόλεσιν ἑκατὸν νεῶν ~τῆς ναυπηγίας~ ἐποιοῦντο, etc.; compare also
  c. 4—παρεσκευάζοντο τὴν ~ναυπηγίαν~, etc.

  [548] Thucyd. viii, 5. ὄντων οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἢ ὥσπερ ἀρχομένων ἐν
  κατασκευῇ τοῦ πολέμου: compare ii, 7.

  [549] Thucyd. viii, 2: compare ii, 7; iii, 86.

From the smaller allies, contributions in money were exacted for the
intended fleet by Agis, who moved about during this autumn with a
portion of the garrison of Dekeleia. In the course of his circuit, he
visited the town of Herakleia, near the Maliac gulf, and levied large
contributions on the neighboring Œtæans, in reprisal for the plunder
which they had taken from that town, as well as from the Phthiot
Achæans and other subjects of the Thessalians, though the latter
vainly entered their protest against his proceedings.[550]

  [550] Thucyd. viii, 3.

It was during the march of Agis through Bœotia that the inhabitants
of Eubœa—probably of Chalkis and Eretria—applied to him, entreating
his aid to enable them to revolt from Athens; which he readily
promised, sending for Alkamenês at the head of three hundred
Neodamode hoplites from Sparta, to be despatched across to the
island as harmost. Having a force permanently at his disposal, with
full liberty of military action, the Spartan king at Dekeleia was
more influential even than the authorities at home, so that the
disaffected allies of Athens addressed themselves in preference to
him. It was not long before envoys from Lesbos visited him for this
purpose. So powerfully was their claim enforced by the Bœotians
(their kinsmen of the Æolic race), who engaged to furnish ten
triremes for their aid, provided Agis would send ten others, that he
was induced to postpone his promise to the Eubœans, and to direct
Alkamenês as harmost to Lesbos instead of Eubœa,[551] without at all
consulting the authorities at Sparta.

  [551] Thucyd. viii, 5.

The threatened revolt of Lesbos and Eubœa, especially the latter,
was a vital blow to the empire of Athens. But this was not the
worst. At the same time that these two islands were negotiating with
Agis, envoys from Chios, the first and most powerful of all Athenian
allies, had gone to Sparta for the same purpose. The government of
Chios,—an oligarchy, but distinguished for its prudent management and
caution in avoiding risks,—considering Athens to be now on the verge
of ruin, even in the estimation of the Athenians themselves, thought
itself safe, together with the opposite city of Erythræ, in taking
measures for achieving independence.[552]

  [552] Thucyd. viii, 7-24.

Besides these three great allies, whose example in revolting was
sure to be followed by others, Athens was now on the point of being
assailed by other enemies yet more unexpected, the two Persian
satraps of the Asiatic seaboard, Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus. No
sooner was the Athenian catastrophe in Sicily known at the court
of Susa, than the Great King claimed from these two satraps the
tribute due from the Asiatic Greeks on the coast; for which they
had always stood enrolled in the tribute records, though it had
never been actually levied since the complete establishment of the
Athenian empire. The only way to realize this tribute, for which the
satraps were thus made debtors, was to detach the towns from Athens,
and break up her empire;[553] for which purpose Tissaphernes sent
an envoy to Sparta, in conjunction with those of the Chians and
Erythræans. He invited the Lacedæmonians to conclude an alliance with
the Great King, for joint operations against the Athenian empire in
Asia; promising to furnish pay and maintenance for any forces which
they might send, at the rate of one drachma per day for each man
of the ship’s crews.[554] He farther hoped by means of this aid to
reduce Amorgês the revolted son of the late satrap Pissuthnês, who
was established in the strong maritime town of Iasus, with a Grecian
mercenary force and a considerable treasure, and was in alliance
with Athens. The Great King had sent down a peremptory mandate, that
Amorgês should be either brought prisoner to Susa or slain.

  [553] Thucyd. viii, 5. Ὑπὸ βασιλέως γὰρ ~νεωστὶ~ ἐτύγχανε
  πεπραγμένος (Tissaphernes) τοὺς ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ ἀρχῆς φόρους, οὓς
  δι’ Ἀθηναίους ἀπὸ τῶν Ἑλληνίδων πόλεων οὐ δυνάμενος πράσσεσθαι
  ἐπωφείλησε. Τούς τε οὖν φόρους μᾶλλον ἐνόμιζε κομιεῖσθαι κακώσας
  τοὺς Ἀθηναίους, etc.

  I have already discussed this important passage at some length,
  in its bearing upon the treaty concluded thirty-seven years
  before this time between Athens and Persia. See the note to
  volume v, chap. xlv, pp. 337-339, of this History.

  [554] Thucyd. viii, 29. Καὶ μηνὸς μὲν τροφήν, ~ὥσπερ ὑπέστη ἐν
  τῇ Λακεδαίμονι~, ἐς δραχμὴν Ἀττικὴν ἑκάστῳ πάσαις ταῖς ναυσὶ
  διέδωκε, τοῦ δὲ λοιποῦ χρόνου ἐβούλετο τριώβολον διδόναι, etc.

At the same moment, though without any concert, there arrived at
Sparta Kalligeitus and Timagoras, two Grecian exiles in the service
of Pharnabazus, bringing propositions of a similar character from
that satrap, whose government[555] comprehended the coast lands north
of Æolis, from the Euxine and Propontis, to the northeast corner of
the Elæatic gulf. Eager to have the assistance of a Lacedæmonian
fleet in order to detach the Hellespontine Greeks from Athens, and
realize the tribute required by the court of Susa, Pharnabazus was at
the same time desirous of forestalling Tissaphernes as the medium of
alliance between Sparta and the Great King. The two missions having
thus arrived simultaneously at Sparta, a strong competition arose
between them, one striving to attract the projected expedition to
Chios, the other to the Hellespont:[556] for which latter purpose,
Kalligeitus had brought twenty-five talents, which he tendered as a
first payment in part.

  [555] The satrapy of Tissaphernes extended as far north as
  Antandrus and Adramyttium (Thucyd. viii, 108).

  [556] Thucyd. viii, 6.

From all quarters, new enemies were thus springing up against Athens
in the hour of her distress, and the Lacedæmonians had only to
choose which they would prefer; a choice in which they were much
guided by the exile Alkibiadês. It so happened that his family
friend Endius was at this moment one of the board of ephors; while
his personal enemy king Agis, with whose wife Timæa he carried on
an intrigue,[557] was absent in command at Dekeleia. Knowing well
the great power and importance of Chios, Alkibiadês strenuously
exhorted the Spartan authorities to devote their first attention to
that island. A periœkus named Phrynis, being sent thither to examine
whether the resources alleged by the envoys were really forthcoming,
brought back a satisfactory report, that the Chian fleet was not less
than sixty triremes strong: upon which the Lacedæmonians concluded
an alliance with Chios and Erythræ, engaging to send a fleet of
forty sail to their aid. Ten of these triremes, now ready in the
Lacedæmonian ports—probably at Gythium—were directed immediately
to sail to Chios, under the admiral Melanchridas. It seems to have
been now midwinter; but Alkibiadês, and still more the Chian envoys,
insisted on the necessity of prompt action, for fear that the
Athenians should detect the intrigue. However, an earthquake just
then intervening, was construed by the Spartans as an index of divine
displeasure, so that they would not persist in sending either the
same commander or the same ships. Chalkideus was named to supersede
Melanchridas, while five new ships were directed to be equipped, so
as to be ready to sail in the early spring along with the larger
fleet from Corinth.[558]

  [557] Thucyd. viii, 6-12; Plutarch, Alkibiad. c. 23, 24;
  Cornelius Nepos, Alkibiad. c. 3.

  [558] Thucyd. viii, 6.

As soon as spring arrived, three Spartan commissioners were sent
to Corinth—in compliance with the pressing instances of the Chian
envoys—to transport across the isthmus from the Corinthian to the
Saronic gulf, the thirty-nine triremes now in the Corinthian port of
Lechæum. It was at first proposed to send off all, at one and the
same time, to Chios, even those which Agis had been equipping for the
assistance of Lesbos; although Kalligeitus declined any concern with
Chios, and refused to contribute for this purpose any of the money
which he had brought. A general synod of deputies from the allies
was held at Corinth, wherein it was determined, with the concurrence
of Agis, to despatch the fleet first to Chios, under Chalkideus;
next, to Lesbos, under Alkamenês; lastly, to the Hellespont, under
Klearchus. But it was judged expedient to divide the fleet, and bring
across twenty-one triremes out of the thirty-nine, so as to distract
the attention of Athens, and divide her means of resistance. So low
was the estimate formed of these means, that the Lacedæmonians did
not scruple to despatch their expedition openly from the Saronic
gulf, where the Athenians would have full knowledge both of its
numbers and of its movements.[559]

  [559] Thucyd. viii, 8.

Hardly had the twenty-one triremes, however, been brought across
to Kenchreæ, when a fresh delay arose to obstruct their departure.
The Isthmian festival, celebrated every alternate year, and kept
especially holy by the Corinthians, was just approaching; nor would
they consent to begin any military operations until it was concluded,
though Agis tried to elude their scruples by offering to adopt the
intended expedition as his own. It was during the delay which thus
ensued that the Athenians were first led to conceive suspicions about
Chios, whither they despatched Aristokratês, one of the generals of
the year. The Chian authorities strenuously denied all projects of
revolt, and being required by Aristokratês to furnish some evidence
of their good faith, sent back along with him seven triremes to the
aid of Athens. It was much against their own will that they were
compelled thus to act; but they knew that the Chian people were in
general averse to the idea of revolting from Athens, nor did they
feel confidence enough to proclaim their secret designs without some
manifestation of support from Peloponnesus, which had been so much
delayed that they knew not when it would arrive. The Athenians, in
their present state of weakness, perhaps thought it prudent to accept
insufficient assurances, for fear of driving this powerful island to
open revolt. But during the Isthmian festival, to which they were
invited along with other Greeks, they discovered farther evidences
of the plot which was going on, and resolved to keep strict watch
on the motions of the fleet now assembled at Kenchreæ, suspecting
that this squadron was intended to second the revolting party in

  [560] Thucyd. viii, 10. Ἐν δὲ τούτῳ τὰ Ἴσθμια ἐγένετο· καὶ οἱ
  Ἀθηναῖοι (ἐπηγγέλθησαν γὰρ) ἐθεώρουν ἐς αὐτά· καὶ κατάδηλα μᾶλλον
  αὐτοῖς τὰ τῶν Χίων ἐφάνη.

  The language of Thucydidês in this passage deserves notice. The
  Athenians were now at enmity with Corinth: it was therefore
  remarkable, and contrary to what would be expected among Greeks,
  that they should be present with their theôry, or solemn
  sacrifice, at the Isthmian festival. Accordingly Thucydidês, when
  he mentions that they went thither, thinks it right to add the
  explanation—~ἐπηγγέλθησαν γὰρ~—“for they had been invited;” “for
  the festival truce had been formally signified to them.” That
  the heralds who proclaimed the truce should come and proclaim it
  to a state in hostility with Corinth, was something unusual, and
  merited special notice: otherwise, Thucydidês would never have
  thought it worth while to mention the proclamation, it being the
  uniform practice.

  We must recollect that this was the first Isthmian festival
  which had taken place since the resumption of the war between
  Athens and the Peloponnesian alliance. The habit of leaving out
  Athens from the Corinthian herald’s proclamation had not yet been
  renewed. In regard to the Isthmian festival, there was probably
  greater reluctance to leave her out, because that festival was
  in its origin half Athenian; said to have been established, or
  revived after interruption, by Theseus; and the Athenian theôry
  enjoyed a προεδρία, or privileged place, at the games (Plutarch,
  Theseus, c. 25; Argument. ad Pindar. Isthm. Schol.).

Shortly after the Isthmian festival, the squadron actually started
from Kenchreæ to Chios, under Alkamenês; but an equal number of
Athenian ships watched them as they sailed along the shore, and
tried to tempt them farther out to sea, with a view to fight them.
Alkamenês, however, desirous of avoiding a battle, thought it best
to return back; upon which the Athenians also returned to Peiræus,
mistrusting the fidelity of the seven Chian triremes which formed
part of their fleet. Reappearing presently with a larger squadron of
thirty-seven triremes, they pursued Alkamenês, who had again begun
his voyage along the shore southward, and attacked him near the
uninhabited harbor called Peiræum, on the frontiers of Corinth and
Epidaurus. They here gained a victory, captured one of his ships,
and damaged or disabled most of the remainder. Alkamenês himself
was slain, and the ships were run ashore, where on the morrow the
Peloponnesian land-force arrived in sufficient numbers to defend
them. So inconvenient, however, was their station on this desert
spot, that they at first determined to burn the vessels and depart.
Nor was it without difficulty that they were induced, partly by the
instances of king Agis, to guard the ships until an opportunity could
be found for eluding the blockading Athenian fleet; a part of which
still kept watch off the shore, while the rest were stationed at a
neighboring islet.[561]

  [561] Thucyd. viii, 11.

The Spartan ephors had directed Alkamenês, at the moment of his
departure from Kenchræa, to despatch a messenger to Sparta, in order
that the five triremes under Chalkideus and Alkibiadês might leave
Laconia at the same moment. And these latter appear to have been
actually under way, when a second messenger brought the news of the
defeat and death of Alkamenês at Peiræum. Besides the discouragement
arising from such a check at the outset of their plans against Ionia,
the ephors thought it impossible to begin operations with so small a
squadron as five triremes, so that the departure of Chalkideus was
for the present countermanded. This resolution, perfectly natural to
adopt, was only reversed at the strenuous instance of the Athenian
exile Alkibiadês, who urged them to permit Chalkideus and himself to
start forthwith. Small as the squadron was, yet as it would reach
Chios before the defeat at Peiræum became public, it might be passed
off as the precursor of the main fleet; while he (Alkibiadês) pledged
himself to procure the revolt of Chios and the other Ionic cities,
through his personal connection with the leading men, who would
repose confidence in his assurances of the helplessness of Athens, as
well as of the thorough determination of Sparta to stand by them. To
these arguments, Alkibiadês added an appeal to the personal vanity
of Endius; whom he instigated to assume for himself the glory of
liberating Ionia as well as of first commencing the Persian alliance,
instead of leaving this enterprise to king Agis.[562]

  [562] Thucyd. viii, 12.

By these arguments—assisted doubtless by his personal influence,
since his advice respecting Gylippus and respecting Dekeleia had
turned out so successful—Alkibiadês obtained the consent of the
Spartan ephors, and sailed along with Chalkideus in the five
triremes to Chios. Nothing less than his energy and ascendency could
have extorted from men both dull and backward, a determination
apparently so rash, yet, in spite of such appearance, admirably
conceived, and of the highest importance. Had the Chians waited for
the fleet now blocked up at Peiræum, their revolt would at least have
been long delayed, and perhaps might not have occurred at all: the
accomplishment of that revolt by the little squadron of Alkibiadês
was the proximate cause of all the Spartan successes in Ionia, and
was ultimately the means even of disengaging the fleet at Peiræum, by
distracting the attention of Athens. So well did this unprincipled
exile, while playing the game of Sparta, know where to inflict the
dangerous wounds upon his country!

There was, indeed, little danger in crossing the Ægean to Ionia,
with ever so small a squadron; for Athens in her present destitute
condition had no fleet there, and although Strombichidês was detached
with eight triremes from the blockading fleet off Peiræum, to pursue
Chalkideus and Alkibiadês as soon as their departure was known, he
was far behind them, and soon returned without success. To keep their
voyage secret, they detained the boats and vessels which they met,
and did not liberate them, until they reached Korykus in Asia Minor,
the mountainous land southward of Erythræ. They were here visited by
their leading partisans from Chios, who urged them to sail thither
at once before their arrival could be proclaimed. Accordingly,
they reached the town of Chios—on the eastern coast of the island,
immediately opposite to Erythræ on the continent—to the astonishment
and dismay of every one, except the oligarchical plotters who had
invited them. By the contrivance of these latter, the council was
found just assembling, so that Alkibiadês was admitted without
delay, and invited to state his case. Suppressing all mention of
the defeat at Peiræum, he represented his squadron as the foremost
of a large Lacedæmonian fleet actually at sea and approaching,
and affirmed Athens to be now helpless by sea as well as by land,
incapable of maintaining any farther hold upon her allies. Under
these impressions, and while the population were yet under their
first impulse of surprise and alarm, the oligarchical council took
the resolution of revolting. The example was followed by Erythræ,
and soon afterwards by Klazomenæ, determined by three triremes from
Chios. The Klazomenians had hitherto dwelt upon an islet close to the
continent; on which latter, however, a portion of their town, called
Polichnê, was situated, which they now resolved, in anticipation of
attack from Athens, to fortify as their main residence. Both the
Chians and Erythræans also actively employed themselves in fortifying
their towns and preparing for war.[563]

  [563] Thucyd. viii, 14.

In reviewing this account of the revolt of Chios, we find occasion
to repeat remarks already suggested by previous revolts of other
allies of Athens,—Lesbos, Akanthus, Torônê, Mendê, Amphipolis,
etc. Contrary to what is commonly intimated by historians, we may
observe first, that Athens did not systematically interfere to
impose her own democratical government upon her allies; next, that
the empire of Athens, though upheld mainly by an established belief
in her superior force, was nevertheless by no means odious, nor
the proposition of revolting from her acceptable to the general
population of her allies. She had at this moment no force in Ionia;
and the oligarchical government of Chios, wishing to revolt, was only
prevented from openly declaring its intention by the reluctance of
its own population, a reluctance which it overcame partly by surprise
arising from the sudden arrival of Alkibiadês and Chalkideus, partly
by the fallacious assurance of a still greater Peloponnesian force
approaching.[564] Nor would the Chian oligarchy themselves have
determined to revolt, had they not been persuaded that such was now
the safer course, inasmuch as Athens was now ruined, and her power
to protect, not less than her power to oppress, at an end.[565] The
envoys of Tissaphernês had accompanied those of Chios to Sparta, so
that the Chian government saw plainly that the misfortunes of Athens
had only the effect of reviving the aggressions and pretensions of
their former foreign master, against whom Athens had protected them
for the last fifty years. We may well doubt, therefore, whether
this prudent government looked upon the change as on the whole
advantageous. But they had no motive to stand by Athens in her
misfortunes, and good policy seemed now to advise a timely union with
Sparta as the preponderant force. The sentiment entertained towards
Athens by her allies, as I have before observed, was more negative
than positive. It was favorable rather than otherwise, in the minds
of the general population, to whom she caused little actual hardship
or oppression; but averse, to a certain extent, in the minds of their
leading men, since she wounded their dignity, and offended that love
of town autonomy which was instinctive in the Grecian political mind.

  [564] Thucyd. viii, 9. Αἴτιον δ’ ἐγένετο τῆς ἀποστολῆς τῶν νεῶν,
  ~οἱ μὲν πολλοὶ τῶν Χίων οὐκ εἰδότες τὰ πρασσόμενα~, οἱ δὲ ὀλίγοι
  ξυνειδότες, ~τό τε πλῆθος οὐ βουλόμενοί πω πολέμιον ἔχειν~,
  πρίν τι καὶ ἰσχυρὸν λάβωσι, καὶ τοὺς Πελοποννησίους οὐκέτι
  προσδεχόμενοι ἥξειν, ὅτι διέτριβον.

  Also viii, 14. Ὁ δὲ Ἀλκιβιάδης καὶ ὁ Χαλκιδεὺς ...
  προξυγγενόμενοι τῶν ξυμπρασσόντων Χίων τισὶ, καὶ κελευόντων
  καταπλεῖν μὴ προειπόντας ἐς τὴν πόλιν, ἀφικνοῦνται αἰφνίδιοι τοῖς
  Χίοις. ~Καὶ οἱ μὲν πολλοὶ ἐν θαύματι ἦσαν καὶ ἐκπλήξει· τοῖς δ’
  ὀλίγοις παρεσκεύαστο~ ὥστε βουλήν τε τυχεῖν ξυλλεγομένην, καὶ
  γενομένων λόγων ἀπό τε τοῦ Ἀλκιβιάδου, ὡς ἄλλαι τε νῆες πολλαὶ
  προσπλέουσι, καὶ τὰ περὶ τῆς πολιορκίας τῶν ἐν Πειραίῳ νεῶν οὐ
  δηλωσάντων, ἀφίστανται Χῖοι, καὶ αὖθις Ἐρυθραῖοι, Ἀθηναίων.

  [565] See the remarkable passage of Thucyd. viii, 24, about the
  calculations of the Chian government.

The revolt of Chios, speedily proclaimed, filled every man at Athens
with dismay. It was the most fearful symptom, as well as the heaviest
aggravation, of their fallen condition; especially as there was every
reason to apprehend that the example of this first and greatest
among the allies would be soon followed by the rest. The Athenians
had no fleet or force even to attempt its reconquest: but they now
felt the full importance of that reserve of one thousand talents,
which Perikles had set aside in the first year of the war against
the special emergency of a hostile fleet approaching Peiræus. The
penalty of death had been decreed against any one who should propose
to devote this fund to any other purpose; and, in spite of severe
financial pressure, it had remained untouched for twenty years.
Now, however, though the special contingency foreseen had not yet
arisen, matters were come to such an extremity, that the only chance
of saving the remaining empire was by the appropriation of this
money. An unanimous vote was accordingly passed to abrogate the penal
enactment, or standing order, against proposing any other mode of
appropriation; after which the resolution was taken to devote this
money to present necessities.[566]

  [566] Thucyd. viii, 15.

By means of this new fund, they were enabled to find pay and
equipment for all the triremes ready or nearly ready in their harbor,
and thus to spare a portion from their blockading fleet off Peiræum;
out of which Strombichidês with his squadron of eight triremes was
despatched immediately to Ionia; followed, after a short interval,
by Thrasyklês, with twelve others. At the same time, the seven
Chian triremes which also formed part of this fleet, were cleared
of their crews; among whom such as were slaves were liberated,
while the freemen were put in custody. Besides fitting out an equal
number of fresh ships to keep up the numbers of the blockading
fleet, the Athenians worked with the utmost ardor to get ready
thirty additional triremes. The extreme exigency of the situation,
since Chios had revolted, was felt by every one: yet with all their
efforts, the force which they were enabled to send was at first
lamentably inadequate. Strombichidês, arriving at Samos, and finding
Chios, Erythræ, and Klazomenæ already in revolt, reinforced his
little squadron with one Samian trireme, and sailed to Teos,—on the
continent, at the southern coast of that isthmus, of which Klazomenæ
is on the northern,—in hopes of preserving that place. But he had not
been long there when Chalkideus arrived from Chios with twenty-three
triremes, all or mostly Chian; while the forces of Erythræ and
Klazomenæ approached by land. Strombichidês was obliged to make a
hasty flight back to Samos, vainly pursued by the Chian fleet. Upon
this evidence of Athenian weakness, and the superiority of the enemy,
the Teians admitted into their town the land-force without; by the
help of which, they now demolished the wall formerly built by Athens
to protect the city against attack from the interior. Some of the
troops of Tissaphernês lending their aid in the demolition, the town
was laid altogether open to the satrap; who, moreover, came himself
shortly afterwards to complete the work.[567]

  [567] Thucyd. viii, 16.

Having themselves revolted from Athens, the Chian government were
prompted by considerations of their own safety to instigate revolt in
all other Athenian dependencies; and Alkibiadês now took advantage
of their forwardness in the cause to make an attempt on Milêtus.
He was eager to acquire this important city, the first among all
the continental allies of Athens, by his own resources and those
of Chios, before the fleet could arrive from Peiræum; in order
that the glory of the exploit might be insured to Endius, and not
to Agis. Accordingly, he and Chalkideus left Chios with a fleet of
twenty-five triremes, twenty of them Chian, together with the five
which they themselves had brought from Laconia: these last five had
been remanned with Chian crews, the Peloponnesian crews having been
armed as hoplites and left as garrison in the island. Conducting
his voyage as secretly as possible, he was fortunate enough to pass
unobserved by the Athenian station at Samos, where Strombichidês had
just been reinforced by Thrasyklês with the twelve fresh triremes
from the blockading fleet at Peiræum. Arriving at Milêtus, where he
possessed established connections among the leading men, and had
already laid his train, as at Chios, for revolt, Alkibiadês prevailed
on them to break with Athens forthwith: so that when Strombichidês
and Thrasyklês, who came in pursuit the moment they learned his
movements, approached, they found the port shut against them, and
were forced to take up a station on the neighboring island of Ladê.
So anxious were the Chians for the success of Alkibiadês in this
enterprise, that they advanced with ten fresh triremes along the
Asiatic coast as far as Anæa, opposite to Samos, in order to hear
the result and to render aid if required. A message from Chalkideus
apprized them that he was master of Milêtus, and that Amorgês, the
Persian ally of Athens at Iasus, was on his way at the head of an
army; upon which they returned to Chios, but were unexpectedly seen
in the way—off the temple of Zeus, between Lebedos and Kolophon—and
pursued, by sixteen fresh ships just arrived from Athens, under the
command of Diomedon. Of the ten Chian triremes, one found refuge at
Ephesus, and five at Teos: the remaining four were obliged to run
ashore and became prizes, though the crews all escaped. In spite
of this check, however, the Chians came out again with fresh ships
and some land-forces, as soon as the Athenian fleet had gone back
to Samos, and procured the revolt both of Lebedos and Eræ from

  [568] Thucyd. viii, 17-19.

It was at Milêtus, immediately after the revolt, that the first
treaty was concluded between Tissaphernês, on behalf of himself and
the Great King, and Chalkideus, for Sparta and her allies. Probably
the aid of Tissaphernês was considered necessary to maintain the
town, when the Athenian fleet was watching it so closely on the
neighboring island: at least it is difficult to explain otherwise an
agreement so eminently dishonorable as well as disadvantageous to the

“The Lacedæmonians and their allies have concluded alliance with the
Great King and Tissaphernês, on the following conditions: The king
shall possess whatever territories and cities he himself had, or his
predecessors had before him. The king, and the Lacedæmonians with
their allies, shall jointly hinder the Athenians from deriving either
money or other advantages from all those cities which have hitherto
furnished to them any such. They shall jointly carry on war against
the Athenians, and shall not renounce the war against them, except by
joint consent. Whoever shall revolt from the king, shall be treated
as an enemy by the Lacedæmonians and their allies; whoever shall
revolt from the Lacedæmonians, shall in like manner be treated as an
enemy by the king.”[569]

  [569] Thucyd. viii, 18.

As a first step to the execution of this treaty, Milêtus was handed
over to Tissaphernês, who immediately caused a citadel to be erected
and placed a garrison within it.[570] If fully carried out, indeed,
the terms of the treaty would have made the Great King master not
only of all the Asiatic Greeks and all the islanders in the Ægean,
but also of all Thessaly and Bœotia, and the full ground which had
once been covered by Xerxes.[571] Besides this monstrous stipulation,
the treaty farther bound the Lacedæmonians to aid the king in keeping
enslaved any Greeks who might be under his dominion. Nor did it,
on the other hand, secure to them any pecuniary aid from him for
the payment of their armament, which was their great motive for
courting his alliance. We shall find the Lacedæmonian authorities
themselves hereafter refusing to ratify the treaty, on the ground of
its exorbitant concessions. But it stands as a melancholy evidence of
the new source of mischief now opening upon the Asiatic and insular
Greeks, the moment that the empire of Athens was broken up, the
revived pretensions of their ancient lord and master; whom nothing
had hitherto kept in check, for the last fifty years, except Athens,
first as representative and executive agent, next as successor and
mistress, of the confederacy of Delos. We thus see against what evils
Athens had hitherto protected them: we shall presently see, what is
partially disclosed in this very treaty, the manner in which Sparta
realized her promise of conferring autonomy on each separate Grecian

  [570] Thucyd. viii, 84-109.

  [571] Thucyd. viii, 44.

The great stress of the war had now been transferred to Ionia
and the Asiatic side of the Ægean sea. The enemies of Athens had
anticipated that her entire empire in that quarter would fall an
easy prey: yet in spite of two such serious defections as Chios and
Milêtus, she showed an unexpected energy in keeping hold of the
remainder. Her great and capital station, from the present time to
the end of the war, was Samos; and a revolution which now happened,
insuring the fidelity of that island to her alliance, was a condition
indispensable to her power of maintaining the struggle in Ionia.

We have heard nothing about Samos throughout the whole war, since
its reconquest by the Athenians after the revolt of 440 B.C.: but we
now find it under the government of an oligarchy called the Geômori,
the proprietors of land, as at Syracuse before the rule of Gelon.
It cannot be doubted that these geômori were disposed to follow the
example of the Chian oligarchy, and revolt from Athens, while the
people at Samos, as at Chios, were averse to such a change. Under
this state of circumstances, the Chian oligarchy had themselves
conspired with Sparta, to trick and constrain their Demos by surprise
into revolt, through the aid of five Peloponnesian ships. The like
would have happened at Samos, had the people remained quiet. But they
profited by the recent warning, forestalled the designs of their
oligarchy, and rose in insurrection, with the help of three Athenian
triremes which then chanced to be in the port. The oligarchy were
completely defeated, but not without a violent and bloody struggle;
two hundred of them being slain, and four hundred banished. This
revolution secured—and probably nothing less than a democratical
revolution could have secured, under the existing state of Hellenic
affairs—the adherence of Samos to the Athenians; who immediately
recognized the new democracy, and granted to it the privilege of
an equal and autonomous ally. The Samian people confiscated and
divided among themselves the property of such of the geômori as
were slain or banished:[572] the remainder were deprived of all
political privileges, and were even forbidden to intermarry with
any of the families of the remaining citizens.[573] We may fairly
suspect that this latter prohibition is only the retaliation of a
similar exclusion which the oligarchy, when in power, had enforced to
maintain the purity of their own blood. What they had enacted as a
privilege was now thrown back upon them as an insult.

  [572] Thucyd. viii, 21. Ἐγένετο δὲ κατὰ τὸν χρόνον τοῦτον καὶ
  ἡ ἐν Σάμῳ ~ἐπανάστασις ὑπὸ τοῦ δήμου τοῖς δυνατοῖς~, μετὰ
  Ἀθηναίων, οἳ ἔτυχον ἐν τρισὶ ναυσὶ παρόντες. Καὶ ὁ δῆμος ὁ Σαμίων
  ἐς διακοσίους μέν τινας τοὺς πάντας τῶν δυνατῶν ἀπέκτεινε,
  τετρακοσίους δὲ φυγῇ ζημιώσαντες καὶ αὐτοὶ τὴν γῆν αὐτῶν καὶ
  οἰκίας νειμάμενοι, Ἀθηναίων τε σφίσιν αὐτονομίαν μετὰ ταῦτα ~ὡς
  βεβαίοις ἤδη~ ψηφισαμένων, τὰ λοιπὰ διῴκουν τὴν πόλιν, καὶ τοῖς
  γεωμόροις μετεδίδοσαν οὔτε ἄλλου οὐδενὸς, οὔτε ἐκδοῦναι οὐδ’
  ἀγαγέσθαι παρ’ ἐκείνων οὐδ’ ἐς ἐκείνους οὐδενὶ ἔτι τοῦ δήμου ἐξῆν.

  [573] Thucyd. viii, 21. The dispositions and plans of the “higher
  people” at Samos, to call in the Peloponnesians and revolt from
  Athens, are fully admitted even by Mr. Mitford, and implied by
  Dr. Thirlwall, who argues that the government of Samos cannot
  have been oligarchical, because, if it had been so, the island
  would already have revolted from Athens to the Peloponnesians.

  Mr. Mitford says (ch. xix, sect. iii, vol. iv, p. 191):
  “Meanwhile the body of the higher people at Samos, more depressed
  than all others since their reduction on their former revolt,
  were _proposing to seize the opportunity that seemed to offer
  through the prevalence of the Peloponnesian arms, of mending
  their condition_. The lower people, _having intelligence of their
  design_, rose upon them, and, with the assistance of the crews of
  three Athenian ships then at Samos, overpowered them,” etc. etc.

  “The _massacre and robbery_ were rewarded by a decree of the
  Athenian people, granting to the perpetrators the independent
  administration of the affairs of their island; which, since the
  last rebellion, had been kept _under the immediate control of the
  Athenian government_.”

  To call this a _massacre_ is perversion of language. It was an
  insurrection and intestine conflict, in which the “higher people”
  were vanquished, but of which they also were the beginners, by
  their conspiracy—which Mr. Mitford himself admits as a fact—to
  introduce a foreign enemy into the island. Does he imagine that
  the “lower people” were bound to sit still and see this done? And
  what means had they of preventing it, except by insurrection;
  which inevitably became bloody, because the “higher people” were
  a strong party, in possession of the powers of government, with
  great means of resistance. The loss on the part of the assailants
  is not made known to us, nor indeed the loss in so far as it fell
  on the followers of the geômori. Thucydidês specifies only the
  number of the geômori themselves, who were persons of individual

  I do not clearly understand what idea Mr. Mitford forms to
  himself of the government of Samos at this time. He seems to
  conceive it as democratical, yet under great immediate control
  from Athens, and that it kept the “higher people” in a state of
  severe depression, from which they sought to relieve themselves
  by the aid of the Peloponnesian arms.

  But if he means by the expression, “_under the immediate
  control of the Athenian government_,” that there was any
  Athenian governor or garrison at Samos, the account here
  given by Thucydidês distinctly refutes him. The conflict was
  between two intestine parties, “the higher people and the lower
  people.” The only Athenians who took part in it were the crews
  of three triremes, and even they were there by accident (οἳ
  ἔτυχον παρόντες), not as a regular garrison. Samos was under an
  indigenous government; but it was a subject and tributary ally
  of Athens, like all the other allies, with the exception of
  Chios and Methymna (Thucyd. vi, 85). After this resolution, the
  Athenians raised it to the rank of an autonomous ally, which Mr.
  Mitford is pleased to call “rewarding massacre and robbery,” in
  the language of a party orator rather than of an historian.

  But was the government of Samos, immediately before this
  intestine contest, oligarchical or democratical? The language
  of Thucydidês carries to my mind a full conviction that it was
  oligarchical, under an exclusive aristocracy, called The Geômori.
  Dr. Thirlwall, however (whose candid and equitable narrative of
  this event forms a striking contrast to that of Mr. Mitford), is
  of a different opinion. He thinks it certain that a democratical
  government had been established at Samos by the Athenians, when
  it was reconquered by them (B.C. 440) after its revolt. That the
  government continued democratical during the first years of the
  Peloponnesian war, he conceives to be proved by the hostility of
  the Samian exiles at Anæa, whom he looks upon as oligarchical
  refugees. And though not agreeing in Mr. Mitford’s view of the
  peculiarly depressed condition of the “higher people” at Samos
  at this later time, he nevertheless thinks that they were not
  actually in possession of the government. “Still (he says), as
  the island gradually recovered its prosperity, the privileged
  class seems also to have looked upward, perhaps contrived to
  regain a part of the substance of power under different forms,
  and probably betrayed a strong inclination to revive its ancient
  pretensions on the first opportunity. _That it had not yet
  advanced beyond this point, may be regarded as certain; because
  otherwise Samos would have been among the foremost to revolt
  from Athens_: and on the other hand, it is no less clear, that
  the state of parties there was such as to excite a high degree
  of mutual jealousy, and great alarm in the Athenians, to whom
  the loss of the island at this juncture would have been almost
  irreparable.” (Hist. of Gr. ch. xxvii, vol. iii, p. 477 2d edit.)
  Manso (Sparta, book iv, vol. ii, p. 266) is of the same opinion.

  Surely, the conclusion which Dr. Thirlwall here announces as
  certain, cannot be held to rest on adequate premises. Admitting
  that there was an oligarchy in power at Samos, it is perfectly
  possible to explain why this oligarchy had not yet carried into
  act its disposition to revolt from Athens. We see that none
  of the allies of Athens—not even Chios, the most powerful of
  all—revolted without the extraneous pressure and encouragement
  of a foreign fleet. Alkibiadês, after securing Chios, considered
  Milêtus to be next in order of importance, and had, moreover,
  peculiar connections with the leading men there (viii, 17); so
  that he went next to detach that place from Athens. Milêtus,
  being on the continent, placed him in immediate communication
  with Tissaphernês, for which reason he might naturally deem it
  of importance superior even to Samos in his plans. Moreover,
  not only no foreign fleet had yet reached Samos, but several
  Athenian ships had arrived there: for Strombichidês, having come
  across the Ægean too late to save Chios, made Samos a sort of
  central station (viii, 16). These circumstances combined with
  the known reluctance of the Samian demos, or commonalty, are
  surely sufficient to explain why the Samian oligarchy had not
  yet consummated its designs to revolt. And hence the fact, that
  no revolt had yet taken place, cannot be held to warrant Dr.
  Thirlwall’s inference, that the government was _not_ oligarchical.

  We have no information how or when the oligarchical government
  at Samos got up. That the Samian refugees at Anæa, so actively
  hostile to Samos and Athens during the first ten years of the
  Peloponnesian war, were oligarchical exiles acting against a
  democratical government at Samos (iv, 75), is not in itself
  improbable; yet it is not positively stated. The government of
  Samos might have been, even at that time, oligarchical; yet, if
  it acted in the Athenian interest, there would doubtless be a
  body of exiles watching for opportunities of injuring it, by aid
  of the enemies of Athens.

  Moreover, it seems to me, that if we read and put together the
  passages of Thucydidês, viii, 21, 63, 73, it is impossible
  without the greatest violence to put any other sense upon
  them, except as meaning that the government of Samos was now
  in the hands of the oligarchy, or geômori, and that the Demos
  rose in insurrection against them, with ultimate triumph. The
  natural sense of the words ἐπανάστασις, ἐπανίσταμαι, is that
  of _insurrection against an established government: it does
  not mean, “a violent attack by one party upon another;” still
  less does it mean, “an attack made by a party in possession of
  the government:_” which nevertheless it ought to mean, if Dr.
  Thirlwall be correct in supposing that the Samian government was
  now democratical. Thus we have, in the description of the Samian
  revolt from Athens—Thucyd. i, 115 (after Thucydidês has stated
  that the Athenians established a democratical government, he next
  says that the Samian exiles presently came over with a mercenary
  force)—καὶ πρῶτον μὲν τῷ ~δήμῳ ἐπανέστησαν~, καὶ ἐκράτησαν τῶν
  πλείστων, etc. Again, v, 23—about the apprehended insurrection of
  the Helots against the Spartans—ἢν δὲ ἡ δούλεια ~ἐπανίστηται~:
  compare Xenoph. Hellen. v, 4, 19; Plato, Republ. iv, 18, p. 444;
  Herodot. iii, 39-120. So also δυνατοὶ is among the words which
  Thucydidês uses for an oligarchical party, either in government
  or in what may be called _opposition_ (i, 24; v, 4). But it is
  not conceivable to me that Thucydidês would have employed the
  words ἡ ἐπανάστασις ὑπὸ τοῦ δήμου τοῖς δυνατοῖς—if the Demos had
  at that time been actually in the government.

  Again, viii, 63, he says, that the Athenian oligarchical party
  under Peisander αὐτῶν τῶν Σαμίων προὐτρέψαντο τοὺς δυνατοὺς ὥστε
  πειρᾶσθαι μετὰ σφῶν ὀλιγαρχηθῆναι, καίπερ ~ἐπαναστάντας αὐτοὺς
  ἀλλήλοις ἵνα μὴ ὀλιγαρχῶνται~. Here the motive of the previous
  ἐπανάστασις is clearly noted; it was in order that they might
  _not be under an oligarchical government_: for I agree with
  Krüger (in opposition to Dr. Thirlwall), that this is the clear
  meaning of the words, and that the use of the present tense
  prevents our construing it, “in order that their democratical
  government might not be subverted, and an oligarchy put upon
  them,” which ought to be the sense, if Dr. Thirlwall’s view were

  Lastly, viii, 73, we have οἱ γὰρ ~τότε τῶν Σαμίων ἐπαναστάντες
  τοῖς δυνατοῖς καὶ ὄντες δῆμος, μεταβαλλόμενοι αὖθις~—ἐγένοντό
  τε ἐς τριακοσίους ξυνωμόται, καὶ ἔμελλον τοῖς ἄλλοις ~ὡς δήμῳ
  ὄντι~ ἐπιθήσεσθαι. Surely these words—οἱ ἐπαναστάντες τοῖς
  δυνατοῖς καὶ ὄντες δῆμος—“those who having risen in arms against
  the wealthy and powerful, were now a demos, or a democracy,”
  must imply, _that the persons against whom the rising had taken
  place had been a governing oligarchy_. Surely, also, the words
  μεταβαλλόμενοι αὖθις, can mean nothing else except to point out
  the strange antithesis between the conduct of these same men at
  two different epochs not far distant from each other. On the
  first occasion, they rose up against an established oligarchical
  government, and constituted a democratical government. On the
  second occasion, they rose up in conspiracy against this very
  democratical government, in order to subvert it, and constitute
  themselves an oligarchy in its place. If we suppose that on
  the first occasion, the established government was already
  democratical, and that the persons here mentioned were not
  conspirators against an established oligarchy, but merely
  persons making use of the powers of a democratical government
  to do violence to rich citizens, all this antithesis completely

  On the whole, I feel satisfied that the government of Samos, at
  the time when Chios revolted from Athens, was oligarchical, like
  that of Chios itself. Nor do I see any difficulty in believing
  this to be the fact, though I cannot state when and how the
  oligarchy became established there. So long as the island
  performed its duty as a subject ally, Athens did not interfere
  with the form of its government. And she was least of all likely
  to interfere during the seven years of peace intervening between
  the years 421-414 B.C. There was nothing then to excite her
  apprehensions. The degree to which Athens intermeddled generally
  with the internal affairs of her subject-allies, seems to me to
  have been much exaggerated.

  The Samian oligarchy, or geômori, dispossessed of the government
  on this occasion, were restored by Lysander after his victorious
  close of the Peloponnesian war,—Xenoph. Hellen. iii, 3, 6—where
  they are called οἱ ἀρχαῖοι πολῖται.

On the other hand, the Athenian blockading fleet was surprised and
defeated, with the loss of four triremes, by the Peloponnesian fleet
at Peiræum, which was thus enabled to get to Kenchreæ, and to refit
in order that it might be sent to Ionia. The sixteen Peloponnesian
ships which had fought at Syracuse had already come back to Lechæum,
in spite of the obstructions thrown in their way by the Athenian
squadron under Hippoklês at Naupaktus.[574] The Lacedæmonian admiral
Astyochus was sent to Kenchreæ to take the command and proceed to
Ionia as admiral-in-chief: but it was some time before he could
depart for Chios, whither he arrived with only four triremes,
followed by six more afterwards.[575]

  [574] Thucyd. viii, 13.

  [575] Thucyd. viii, 20-23.

Before he reached that island, however, the Chians, zealous in the
new part which they had taken up, and interested for their own safety
in multiplying defections from Athens, had themselves undertaken the
prosecution of the plans concerted by Agis and the Lacedæmonians at
Corinth. They originated an expedition of their own, with thirteen
triremes under a Lacedæmonian periœkus named Deiniadas, to procure
the revolt of Lesbos; with the view, if successful, of proceeding
afterwards to do the same among the Hellespontine dependencies of
Athens. A land force under the Spartan Eualas, partly Peloponnesian,
partly Asiatic, marched along the coast of the mainland northward
towards Kymê, to coöperate in both these objects. Lesbos was at
this time divided into at least five separate city governments;
Methymna at the north of the island, Mitylênê towards the south-east,
Antissa, Eresus, and Pyrrha on the west. Whether these governments
were oligarchical or democratical we do not know, but the Athenian
kleruchs who had been sent to Mitylênê after its revolt sixteen
years before, must have long ago disappeared.[576] The Chian fleet
first went to Methymna and procured the revolt of that p