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XII.22‑40

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Library of History

of
Diodorus Siculus

published in Vol. V
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1950

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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XII.60‑84

(Vol. V) Diodorus Siculus
Library of History

(Book XII, continued)

p3 41 1 Now the causes of the Peloponnesian War were in general what I have described, as Ephorus has recorded them. And when the leading states had become embroiled in war in this fashion, the Lacedaemonians, sitting in council with the Peloponnesians, voted to make war upon the Athenians, and dispatching ambassadors to the king of the Persians, urged him to ally himself with them, while they also treated by means of ambassadors with their allies in Sicily and Italy and persuaded them to come to their aid with two hundred triremes; 2 and for their own part they, together with the Peloponnesians, got ready their land forces, made all other preparations for the war, and were the first to commence the conflict. For in Boeotia the city of the Plataeans was an independent state and had an alliance with the Athenians.1 3 But certain of its citizens, wishing to destroy its independence, had engaged in parleys with the Boeotians, promising that they would range p5that state under the confederacy2 organized by the Thebans and hand Plataea over to them if they would send soldiers to aid in the undertaking. 4 Consequently, when the Boeotians dispatched by night three hundred picked soldiers, the traitors got them inside the walls and made them masters of the city. 5 The Plataeans, wishing to maintain their alliance with the Athenians, since at first they assumed that the Thebans were present in full force, began negotiations with the captors of the city and urged them to agree to a truce; but as the night wore on and they perceived that the Thebans were few in number, they rallied en masse and began putting up a vigorous struggle for their freedom. 6 The fighting took place in the streets, and at first the Thebans held the upper hand because of their valour and were slaying many of their opponents; but when the slaves and children began pelting the Thebans with tiles from the houses and wounding them, they turned in flight; and some of them escaped from the city to safety, but some who found refuge in a house were forced to give themselves up. 7 When the Thebans learned the outcome of the attempt from the survivors of the battle, they at once marched forth in all haste in full force. And since the Plataeans who dwelt in the rural districts were unprepared because they were not expecting the attack, many of them were slain and not a small number were taken captive alive, and the whole land was filled with tumult and plundering.

42 1 The Plataeans dispatched ambassadors to the Thebans demanding that they leave Plataean territory and receive their own captives back. And so, when p7this had been agreed upon, the Thebans received their captives back,3 restored the booty they had taken, and returned to Thebes. The Plataeans dispatched ambassadors to the Athenians asking for aid, while they themselves gathered the larger part of their possessions into the city. 2 The Athenians, when they learned of what had taken place in Plataea, at once sent a considerable body of soldiers; these arrived in haste, although not before the Thebans, and gathered the rest of the property from the countryside into the city, and then, collecting both the children and women and the rabble,4 sent them off to Athens.

3 The Lacedaemonians, deciding that the Athenians had broken the truce,5 mustered a strong army from both Lacedaemon and the rest of the Peloponnesians. 4 The allies of the Lacedaemonians at this time were all the inhabitants of the Peloponnesus with the exception of the Argives, who remained neutral; and of the peoples outside of the Peloponnesus the Megarians, Ambraciotes, Leucadians, Phocians, Boeotians, and of the Locrians,6 the majority of those facing Euboea, and the Amphissians of the rest. 5 The Athenians had as allies the peoples of the coast of Asia, namely, the Carians, Dorians, Ionians and Hellespontines, also all the islanders except the inhabitants of Melos and Thera, likewise the dwellers in Thrace except the Chalcidians and Potidaeans, furthermore the Messenians who dwelt in Naupactus and the Cercyraeans. Of these, the Chians, Lesbians, p9and Cercyraeans furnished ships,7 and all the rest supplied infantry. The allies, then, on both sides were as we have listed them.

6 After the Lacedaemonians had prepared for service a strong army, they placed the command in the hands of Archidamus their king. He invaded Attica with his army, made repeated assaults upon its fortified places, and ravaged a large part of the countryside. And when the Athenians, being incensed because of the raiding of their countryside, wished to offer battle to the enemy, Pericles, who was a general8 and held in his hands the entire leadership of the state, urged the young men to make no move, promising that he would expel the Lacedaemonians from Attica without the peril of battle. 7 Whereupon, fitting out one hundred triremes and putting on them a strong force of men, he appointed Carcinus general over them together with certain others and sent them against the Peloponnesus. This force, by ravaging a large extent of the Peloponnesian territory along the sea and capturing some fortresses, struck terror into the Lacedaemonians; consequently they speedily recalled their army from Attica and thus provided a large measure of safety to the Peloponnesians.9 8 In this manner Athens was delivered from the enemy, and Pericles received approbation among his fellow p11citizens as having the ability to perform the duties of a general and to fight it out with the Lacedaemonians.

43 1 When Apollodorus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Marcus Geganius and Lucius Sergius. During this year the general of the Athenians never ceased plundering and harrying the territory of the Peloponnesians and laying siege to their fortresses; and when there were added to his command fifty triremes from Cercyra, he ravaged all the more the territory of the Peloponnesians, and in particular he laid waste the part of the coast which is called Actê10 and sent up the farm-buildings in flames. 2 After this, sailing to Methonê in Laconia, he both ravaged the countryside and made repeated assaults upon the city. There Brasidas11 the Spartan, who was still a youth in years but already distinguished for his strength and courage, seeing that Methonê was in danger of capture by assault, took some Spartans, and boldly breaking through the hostile forces, which were scattered, he slew many of them and got into the stronghold. 3 In the siege which followed Brasidas fought so brilliantly that the Athenians found themselves unable to take the stronghold and withdrew to their ships, and Brasidas, who had saved Methonê by his individual bravery and valour, received the approbation of the Spartans. And because of this hardihood of his, Brasidas, having become inordinately proud, on many subsequent occasions fought recklessly and won for himself a great reputation for valour. 4 And the Athenians, sailing around to Elis, ravaged the countryside and p13laid siege to Pheia, a stronghold of the Eleians. The Eleians who came out to its defence they defeated in battle, slaying many of their opponents, and took Pheia by storm. 5 But after this, when the Eleians en masse offered them battle, the Athenians were driven back to their ships, whereupon they sailed off to Cephallenia, where they brought the inhabitants of that island into their alliance, and then voyaged back to Athens.

44 1 After these events the Athenians chose Cleopompus general and sent him to sea with thirty ships under orders both to keep careful guard over Euboea and to make war upon the Locrians. He, sailing forth, ravaged the coast of Locris and reduced by siege the city of Thronium, and the Locrians who opposed him he met in battle and defeated near the city of Alopê.12 Following this he made the island known as Atalantê, which lies off Locris, into a fortress on the border of Locris for his operations against the inhabitants of that country. 2 Also the Athenians, accusing the Aeginetans of having collaborated with the Lacedaemonians, expelled them from their state, and sending colonists there from their own citizens they portioned out to them in allotments both the city of Aegina and its territory. 3 To the Aeginetan refugees the Lacedaemonians gave Thyreae,13 as it is called, to dwell in, because the Athenians had also once given Naupactus as a home for the people whom they had driven out of Messenê.14 The Athenians also dispatched Pericles with an army to make war upon the Megarians. He plundered their territory, laid p15waste their possessions, and returned to Athens with much booty.

45 1 The Lacedaemonians together with the Peloponnesians and their other allies invaded Attica for a second time. In their advance through the country they chopped down orchards and burned the farm-buildings, and they laid waste almost the entire land with the exception of the region known as the Tetrapolis.15 This area they spared because their ancestors had once dwelt there and had gone forth from it as their base on the occasion when they had defeated Eurystheus; for they considered it only fair that the benefactors of their ancestors should in turn receive from their descendants the corresponding benefactions.16 2 As for the Athenians, they could not venture to meet them in a pitched battle, and being confined as they were within the walls, found themselves involved in an emergency caused by a plague; for since a vast multitude of people of every description had streamed together into the city, there was good reason for their falling victim to diseases as they did, because of the cramped quarters, breathing air which had become polluted.17 3 Consequently, since they were unable to expel the enemy from their territory, they again dispatched many ships against the Peloponnesus, appointing Pericles general. He ravaged a large part of the territory bordering on the sea, plundered some cities, and brought it about that the Lacedaemonians withdrew from Attica. 4 After this the Athenians, now that the trees of their countryside had been cut down and the plague was carrying p17off great numbers, were plunged into despondency and became angry with Pericles, considering him to have been responsible for their being at war. Consequently they removed him from the generalship, and on the strength of some petty grounds for accusation they imposed a fine upon him of eighty talents.18 5 After this they dispatched embassies to the Lacedaemonians and asked that the war be brought to an end; but when not a man paid any attention to them, they were forced to elect Pericles general again.

These, then, were the events of this year.

46 1 When Epameinon was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Lucius Papirius and Aulus Cornelius Macerinus. This year in Athens Pericles the general died, a man who not only in birth and wealth, but also in eloquence and skill as a general, far surpassed his fellow citizens.

2 Since the people of Athens desired for the glory of it to take Potidaea by storm,19 they sent Hagnon there as general with the army which Pericles had formerly commanded. He put in at Potidaea with the whole expedition and made all his preparations for the siege; for he had made ready every kind of engine used in sieges, a multitude of arms and missiles, and an abundance of grain, sufficient for the entire army. Hagnon spent much time making continuous assaults p19every day, but without the power to take the city. 3 For on the one side the besieged, spurred on by their fear of capture, were putting up a sturdy resistance and, confiding in the superior height of the walls, held the advantage over the Athenians attacking from the harbour, whereas the besiegers were dying in large numbers from the plague and despondency prevailed throughout the army. 4 Hagnon, knowing that the Athenians had spent more than a thousand talents on the siege and were angry with the Potidaeans because they were the first to go over to the Lacedaemonians, was afraid to raise the siege; consequently he felt compelled to continue it and to compel the soldiers, beyond their strength, to force the issue against the city. 5 But since many Athens citizens were being slain in the assaults and by the ravages of the plague, he left a part of his army to maintain the siege and sailed back to Athens, having lost more than a thousand of his soldiers. 6 After Hagnon had withdrawn, the Potidaeans, since their grain supply was entirely exhausted and the people in the city were disheartened, sent heralds to the besiegers to discuss terms of capitulation. These were received eagerly and an agreement to cessation of hostilities was reached on the following terms: All the Potidaeans should depart from the city, taking nothing with them, with the exception that men could have one garment and women two. 7 When this truce had been agreed upon, all the Potidaeans together with their wives and children left their native land in accordance with the terms of the compact and went to the Chalcidians in Thrace among p21whom they made their home; and the Athenians sent out as many as a thousand of their citizens to Potidaea as colonists and portioned out to them in allotments both the city and its territory.

47 1 The Athenians elected Phormio general and sent him to sea with twenty triremes. He sailed around the Peloponnesus and put in at Naupactus, and by gaining the mastery of the Crisaean Gulf20 prevented the Lacedaemonians21 from sailing in those parts. And the Lacedaemonians sent out a strong army under Archidamus their king, who marched into Boeotia and took up positions before Plataea. Under the threat of ravaging the territory of the Plataeans he called upon them to revolt from the Athenians, and when they paid no attention to him, he plundered their territory and laid waste their possessions everywhere. 2 After this he threw a wall about the city, in the hope that he could force the Plataeans to capitulate because of lack of the necessities of life; at the same time the Lacedaemonians continued bringing up engines with which they kept shattering the walls and making assaults without interruption. But when they found themselves unable to take the city through their assaults, they left an adequate guard before it and returned to the Peloponnesus.

3 The Athenians appointed Xenophon and Phanomachus generals and sent them to Thrace with a thousand soldiers. When this force arrived at Spartolus22 in the territory of Botticê, it laid waste the land and cut the grain in the first growth. But p23the Olynthians came to the aid of the Bottiaeans and defeated them in battle; and there were slain of the Athenians both the generals and the larger part of the soldiers. 4 And while this was taking place, the Lacedaemonians, yielding to the request of the Ambraciotes, made a campaign against Acarnania. Their leader was Cnemus and he had a thousand foot-soldiers and a few ships. To these he added a considerable number of soldiers from their allies and entered Acarnania, pitching his camp near the city known as Stratus. 5 But the Acarnanians gathered their forces and, laying an ambush, slew many of the enemy, and they forced Cnemus to withdraw his army to the city called Oeniadae.23

48 1 During the same time Phormio, the Athenian general, with twenty triremes fell in with forty-seven Lacedaemonian warships. And engaging them in battle he sank the flag-ship of the enemy and put many of the rest of the ships out of action, capturing twelve together with their crews and pursuing the remaining as far as the land.24 The Lacedaemonians, after having suffered defeat contrary to their expectations, fled for safety with the ships which were left them to Patrae in Achaea. This sea battle took place off Rhium,25 as it is called. The Athenians set up a trophy, dedicated a ship to Poseidon at the strait,26 and then sailed off to the city of Naupactus, which p25was in their alliance. 2 The Lacedaemonians sent other ships to Patrae. These ships joined to themselves the triremes which had survived the battle and assembled at Rhium, and also the land force of the Peloponnesians met them at the same place and pitched camp near the fleet. 3 And Phormio, having become puffed up with pride over the victory he had just won, had the daring to attack the ships of the enemy, although they far outnumbered his;27 and some of them he sank, though losing ships of his own, so that the victory he won was equivocal. After this, when the Athenians had dispatched twenty triremes,28 the Lacedaemonians sailed off in fear to Corinth, not daring to offer battle.

These, then, were the events of this year.

49 1 When Diotimus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Gaius Julius and Proculus Verginius Tricostus, and the Eleians celebrated the Eighty-eighth Olympiad, that in which Symmachus of Messenê in Sicily won the "stadion." 2 In this year Cnemus, the Lacedaemonian admiral, who was inactive in Corinth, decided to seize the Peiraeus. He had received information that no ships in the harbour had been put into the water for duty and no soldiers had been detailed to guard the port; for the Athenians, as he learned, had become negligent about guarding it because they by no means expected any enemy would have the audacity to seize the place. 3 Consequently Cnemus, launching forty triremes which had been hauled up on the beach at Megara, sailed by night to Salamis, and falling p27unexpectedly on the fortress on Salamis called Boudorium, he towed away three ships and overran the entire island. 4 When the Salaminians signalled by beacon-fires to the inhabitants of Attica, the Athenians, thinking that the Peiraeus had been seized, quickly rushed forth in great confusion to its succour; but when they learned what had taken place, they quickly manned a considerable number of warships and sailed to Salamis. 5 The Peloponnesians, having been disappointed in their main design, sailed away from Salamis and returned home. And the Athenians, after the retreat of the enemy, in the case of Salamis gave it a more vigilant guard and left on it a considerable garrison, and the Peiraeus they strengthened here and there with booms29 and adequate guards.

50 1 In the same period Sitalces, the king of the Thracians, had succeeded to the kingship of a small land indeed but nonetheless by his personal courage and wisdom he greatly increased his dominion, equitably governing his subjects, playing the part of a brave soldier in battle and of a skilful general, and furthermore giving close attention to his revenues. In the end he attained to such power that he ruled over more extensive territory than had any who had preceded him on the throne of Thrace. 2 For the coastline of his kingdom began at the territory of the Abderites and stretched as far as the Ister30 River, and for a man going from the sea to the interior the distance was so great that a man on foot travelling light required thirteen days for the journey. Ruling as he did over a territory so extensive he enjoyed annual p29revenues of more than a thousand talents; 3 and when he was waging war in the period we are discussing he mustered from Thrace more than one hundred and twenty thousand infantry and fifty thousand cavalry. But with respect to this war we must set forth its causes, in order that the discussion of it may be clear to our readers.

Now Sitalces, since he had entered into a treaty of friendship with the Athenians,31 agreed to support them in their war in Thrace; and consequently, since he desired, with the help of the Athenians, to subdue the Chalcidians, he made ready a very considerable army. 4 And since he was at the same time on bad terms with Perdiccas, the king of the Macedonians, he decided to bring back Amyntas, the son of Philip, and place him upon the Macedonian throne.32 It was for these two reasons, therefore, as we have described them, that he was forced to raise an imposing army. When all his preparations for the campaign had been made, he led forth the whole army, marched through Thrace, and invaded Macedonia. 5 The Macedonians, dismayed at the great size of the army, did not dare face him in battle, but they removed both the grain and all the property they could into their most powerful strongholds, in which they remained inactive. 6 The Thracians, after placing Amyntas upon the throne, at the outset made an effort to win over the cities by means of parleys and embassies, but when no one paid any attention to them, they forthwith made an assault on the first stronghold and took it by storm. 7 After this some of the cities and strongholds p31submitted to them of their own accord through fear. And after plundering all Macedonia and appropriating much booty the Thracians turned against the Greek cities in Chalcidicê.

51 1 While Sitalces was engaged in these operations, the Thessalians, Achaeans, Magnesians, and all the other Greeks dwelling between Macedonia and Thermopylae took counsel together and united in raising a considerable army; for they were apprehensive lest the Thracians with all their myriads of soldiers should invade their territory and they themselves should be in peril of losing their native lands. 2 Since the Chalcidians made the same preparations, Sitalces, having learned that the Greeks had mustered strong armies and realizing that his soldiers were suffering from the hardships of the winter, came to terms with Perdiccas, concluded a connection by marriage with him,33 and then led his forces back to Thrace.

52 1 While these events were taking place, the Lacedaemonians, accompanied by their allies of the Peloponnesus, invaded Attica under the command of Archidamus their king, destroyed the grain, which was in its first growth, ravaged the countryside, and then returned home. 2 The Athenians, since they did not dare meet the invaders in the field and were distressed because of the plague and the lack of provisions, had only bleak hopes for the future.

These, then, were the events of this year.

53 1 When Eucleides was archon in Athens, the Romans elected in place of consuls three military tribunes, Marcus Manius, Quintus Sulpicius Praetextatus, p33and Servius Cornelius Cossus. This year in Sicily the Leontines, who were colonists from Chalcis but also kinsmen of the Athenians, were attacked, as it happened, by the Syracusans. And being hard-pressed in the war and in danger of having their city taken by storm because of the superior power of the Syracusans, they dispatched ambassadors to Athens asking the Athenian people to send them immediate aid and save their city from the perils threatening it. 2 The leader of the embassy was Gorgias the rhetorician, who in eloquence far surpassed all his contemporaries. He was the first man to devise rules of rhetoric and so far excelled all other men in the instruction offered by sophists that he received from his pupils a fee of one hundred minas.34 3 Now when Gorgias had arrived in Athens and been introduced to the people in assembly, he discoursed to them upon the subject of the alliance, and by the novelty of his speech he filled the Athenians, who are by nature clever and fond of dialectic, with wonder. 4 For he was the first to use the rather unusual and carefully devised structures of space, such as antithesis, sentences with equal members or balanced clauses or similar endings, and the like, all of which at that time was enthusiastically received because the advice was exotic, but is now looked upon as laboured and to be ridiculed when employed too frequently and tediously. 5 In the end he won the Athenians over to an alliance with the Leontines, and after having been admired in Athens for his rhetorical skill he made his return to Leontini.

54 1 For some time past the Athenians had been covetous of Sicily because of the fertility of its land, p35and so at the moment, gladly accepting the proposals of Gorgias, they voted to send an allied force to the Leontines, offering as their excuse the need and request of their kinsmen, whereas in fact they were eager to get possession of the island. 2 And indeed not many years previously, when the Corinthians and Cercyraeans were at war with one another and both were bent upon getting the Athenians allies,35 the popular Assembly chose the alliance with the Cercyraeans for the reason that Cercyra was advantageously situated on the sea route to Sicily. 3 For, speaking generally, the Athenians, having won the supremacy of the sea and accomplished great deeds, not only enjoyed the aid of many allies and possessed powerful armaments, but also had taken over a great sum of ready money, since they had transferred from Delos to Athens the funds of the confederacy of the Greeks,36 which amounted to more than ten thousand talents; they also enjoyed the services of great commanders who had stood the test of actual leadership; and by means of all these assets it was their hope not only to defeat the Lacedaemonians but also, after they had won the supremacy over all Greece, to lay hands on Sicily.

4 These, then, were the reasons why the Athenians voted to give aid to the Leontines, and they sent twenty ships to Sicily and as generals Laches and Charoeades. These sailed to Rhegium, where they added to their force twenty ships from the Rhegians and the other Chalcidian colonists. Making Rhegium their base they first of all overran the islands of the p37Liparaeans37 because they were allies of the Syracusans, and after this they sailed to Locri,38 where they captured five ships of the Locrians, and then laid siege to the stronghold of Mylae.39 5 When the neighbouring Sicilian Greeks came to the aid of the Mylaeans, a battle developed in which the Athenians were victorious, slaying more than a thousand men and taking prisoner not less than six hundred; and at once they captured and occupied the stronghold.

6 While these events were taking place there arrived forty ships which the Athenian people had sent, deciding to push the war more vigorously; the commanders were Eurymedon and Sophocles. When all the triremes were gathered into one place, a fleet of considerable strength had been fitted out, consisting as it did of eighty triremes. 7 But since the war was dragging on, the Leontines entered into negotiations with the Syracusans and came to terms with them. Consequently the Athenian triremes sailed back home, and the Syracusans, granting the Leontines the right of citizenship, made them all Syracusans and their city a stronghold of the Syracusans.

Such were the affairs in Sicily at this time.

55 1 In Greece the Lesbians revolted from the Athenians; for they harboured against them the complaint that, when they wished to merge all the cities of Lesbos with the city of the Mytilenaeans,40 the p39Athenians had prevented it. 2 Consequently, after dispatching ambassadors to the Peloponnesians and concluding an alliance with them, they advised the Spartans to make an attempt to seize the supremacy at sea, and toward this design they promised to supply many triremes for the war. 3 The Lacedaemonians were glad to accept this offer, but while they were busied with the building of the triremes, the Athenians forestalled their completion by sending forthwith a force against Lesbos, having manned forty ships and chosen Cleinippides as their commander. He gathered reinforcements from the allies and put in at Mytilenê. 4 In a naval battle which followed the Mytilenaeans were defeated and enclosed within a siege of their city. Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians had voted to send aid to the Mytilenaeans and were making ready a strong fleet, but the Athenians forestalled them by sending to Lesbos additional ships along with a thousand hoplites. 5 Their commander, Paches the son of Epiclerus, upon arriving at Mytilenê, took over the force already there, threw a wall about the city, and kept launching continuous assaults upon it not only by land but by sea as well.

6 The Lacedaemonians sent forty-five triremes to Mytilenê under the command of Alcidas, and they also invaded Attica which they had passed by before, ravaged the countryside, and then returned home. 7 And the Mytilenaeans, who were distressed by lack of food and the war and were also quarrelling among themselves, formally surrendered the city to the besiegers. 8 While in Athens the people p41were deliberating on what action they should take against the Mytilenaeans, Cleon, the leader of the populace and a man of cruel and violent nature, spurred on the people, declaring that they should slay all the male Mytilenaeans from the youth upward and sell into slavery the children and women. 9 In the end the Athenians were won over and voted as Cleon had proposed, and messengers were dispatched to Mytilenê to make known to the general the measures decreed by the popular assembly. 10 Even as Paches had finished reading the decree a second decree arrived, the opposite of the first. Paches was glad when he learned that the Athenians had changed their minds, and gathering the Mytilenaeans in assembly he declared them free of the charges as well as of the greatest fears. The Athenians pulled down the walls of Mytilenê and portioned out in allotments41 the entire island of Lesbos with the exception of the territory of the Methymnaeans.

Such, then, was the end of the revolt of the Lesbians from the Athenians.

56 1 About the same time the Lacedaemonians who were besieging Plataea threw a wall about the city and kept a guard over it of many soldiers. And as the siege dragged on and the Athenians still sent them no help, the besieged not only were suffering from lack of food but had also lost many of their fellow citizens in the assaults. 2 While they were thus at a loss and were conferring together how they could be saved, the majority were of the opinion that they should make no move, but the rest, some two hundred in number, decided to force a passage through the p43guards by night and make their way to Athens. 3 And so, on a moonless night for which they had waited, they persuaded the rest of the Plataeans to make an assault upon one side of the encircling wall; they themselves then made ready ladders, and when the enemy rushed to defend the opposite parts of the walls, they managed by means of the ladders to get up on the wall, and after slaying the guards they made their escape to Athens. 4 The next day the Lacedaemonians, provoked at the flight of the men who had got away from the city, made an assault upon the city of the Plataeans and strained every nerve to subdue the besieged by storm; and the Plataeans in dismay sent envoys to the enemy and surrendered to them both themselves and the city. 5 The commanders of the Lacedaemonians, summoning the Plataeans one by one, asked what good deed he had ever performed for the Lacedaemonians, and when each confessed that he had done them no good turn, they asked further if he had ever done the Spartans any harm; and when not a man could deny that he had, they condemned all of them to death. 6 Consequently they slew all who still remained, razed the city to the ground, and farmed out its territory. So the Plataeans, who had maintained with the greatest constancy their alliance with the Athenians, fell unjust victims to the most tragic fate.

57 1 While these events were taking place, in Cercyra bitter civil strife and contentiousness arose for the feeling reasons. In the fighting about Epidamnus42 many Cercyraeans had been taken prisoner and cast into the state prison, and these men promised the Corinthians that, if the Corinthians set p45them free, they would hand Cercyra over to them. 2 The Corinthians gladly agreed to the proposals, and the Cercyraeans, after going through the pretence of paying a ransom, were released on bail of a considerable sum of talents furnished by the proxeni.43 3 Faithful to their promises the Cercyraeans, as soon as they had returned to their native land, arrested and put to death the men who had always been popular leaders and had acted as champions of the people. They also put an end to the democracy; but when, a little after this time, the Athenians came to the help of the popular party, the Cercyraeans, who had now recovered their liberty, undertook to mete out punishment to the men responsible for the revolt against the established government. These, in fear of the usual punishment, fledfor refuge to the altars of the gods and became suppliants of the people and of the gods. 4 And the Cercyraeans, out of reverence for the gods, absolved them from that punishment but expelled them from the city. But these exiles, undertaking a second revolution, fortified a strong position on the island, and continued to harass the Cercyraeans.

These, then, were the events of this year.

58 1 When Euthynes was archon in Athens, the Romans elected in place of consuls three military tribunes, Marcus Fabius, Marcus Falinius, and Lucius Servilius. In this year the Athenians, who had enjoyed a period of relief from the plague,44 became involved again in the same misfortunes; 2 for they p47were so seriously attacked by the disease that of their soldiers they lost more than four thousand infantry and four hundred cavalry, and of the rest of the population, both free and slave, more than ten thousand. And since history seeks to ascertain the cause of the malignancy of this disease, it is our duty to explain these matters.

3 As a result of heavy rains in the previous winter the ground had become soaked with water, and many low-lying regions, having received a vast amount of water, turned into shallow pools and held stagnant water, very much as marshy regions do; and when these waters became warm in the summer and grew putrid, thick foul vapours were formed, which, rising up in fumes, corrupted the surrounding air, the very thing which may be seen taking place in marshy grounds which are by nature pestilential. 4 Contributing also to the disease was the bad character of the food available; for the crops which were raised that year were altogether watery and their natural quality was corrupted. And a third cause of the disease proved to be the failure of the etesian45 winds to blow, by with normally most of the heat in summer is cooled; and when the heat intensified and the air grew fiery, the bodies of the inhabitants, being without anything to cool them, wasted away. 5 Consequently all the illnesses which prevailed at that time were found to be accompanied by fever, the cause of which was the excessive heat. And this was the reason why most of the sick threw themselves into the cisterns and springs in their craving to cool their bodies. 6 The Athenians, however, because the disease p49was so severe, ascribed the causes of their misfortune to the deity. Consequently, acting upon the command of a certain oracle, they purified the island of Delos, which was sacred to Apollo and had been defiled, as men thought, by the burial there of the dead. 7 Digging up, therefore, all the graves on Delos, they transferred the remains to the island of Rheneia, as it is called, which lies near Delos. They also passed a law that neither birth nor burial should be allowed on Delos. And they also celebrated the festival assembly,46 the Delia, which had been held in former days but had not been observed for a long time.

59 1 While the Athenians were busied with these matters, the Lacedaemonians, taking with them the Peloponnesians, pitched camp at the Isthmus47 with the intention of invading Attica again; but when great earthquakes took place, they were filled with superstitious fear and returned to their native lands. 2 And so severe in fact were the shocks in many parts of Greece that the sea actually swept away and destroyed some cities lying on the coast, while in Locris the strip of land forming a peninsula was torn through and the island known as Atalantê48 was formed.

3 While these events were taking place, the Lacedaemonians colonized Trachis, as it was called, and renamed it Heracleia,49 for the following reasons. 4 The Trachinians had been at war with the neighbouring Oetaeans for many years and had lost the larger number of their citizens. Since the city was deserted, they thought it proper that the Lacedaemonians, who were colonists from Trachis, should assume the care of p51it. And the Lacedaemonians, both because of their kinship and because Heracles, their ancestor, in ancient times had made his home in Trachis, decided to make it a great city. 5 Consequently the Lacedaemonians and the Peloponnesians sent forth four thousand colonists and accepted any other Greeks who wished to have a part in the colony; the latter numbered not less than six thousand. The result was that they made Trachis a city of ten thousand inhabitants, and after portioning out the territory in allotments they named the city Heracleia.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 The fuller account of the following incident is in Thucydides, 2.2 ff.

2 The Boeotian League, which had been revived after Athens lost her dominating position in Central Greece in the battle of Coroneia in 447 B.C. (cp. chap. 6).

3 Thucydides (2.5.7) says that the Plataeans persuaded the Thebans to withdraw from their territory and that they then slew the Theban captives.

4 Thucydides (2.6.4) calls these "the least efficient of the men."

5 The thirty-year truce concluded in 446 B.C. (chap. 7).

6 Those facing Euboea were the Opuntian Locrians, those on the Corinthian Gulf the Ozolian.

7 There is a lacuna in the Greek; the preceding words of the sentence are taken from Thucydides, 2.9.5.

8 The ten generals were the most important Athenian magistrates of this period, and Pericles, elected every year as one of the ten, acted as their president.

9 Many editors (see critical note) read "enemy" for "Peloponnesians," thereby making the Athenians the ones who were made safe. But there is no reason to emend the text. The fleet dispatched by Pericles was ravaging the territory of many of Sparta's Peloponnesian allies; cp. the following chapter, and Thucydides, 2.25.30.

The critical note to the Greek text (πολλὴν ἀσφάλειαν Πελοποννησίοις παρείχοντο) reads:

So the MSS.; πολεμίοις Hermann, followed by Wurm, Dindorf, Bekker, Vogel.

10 The eastern coast between Argolis and Laconia.

11 The single able general the Peloponnesians produced in this ten‑year war. For his further career see below, chaps. 62, 67‑68, 74.

12 Thronium and Alopê are in Opuntian Locris facing the northern tip of Euboea.

13 In northern Laconia near the border of Argolis.

14 Cp. Book 11.84.7.

15 "Four-city." This was the north-eastern part of Attica containing the four demes of Marathon, Oenoë, Probalinthus, and Tricorythus, forming an administrative unit.

16 The Athenians had been the only people to offer a home to the Heracleidae, in Tricorythus of the Tetrapolis; cp. Book 4.57.

17 The detailed description of this plague, whose symptoms resemble more those of typhus than of any other disease, is in Thucydides, 2.47 ff.

18 Thucydides (2.65.3) mentions only "a fine"; Plutarch (Pericles, 35) states that estimates of the fine varied from fifteen to fifty talents; according to Plato (Gorg. 516A) the charge was embezzlement. The scholia on Aristophanes, Clouds, 859, explain that Pericles entered in his accounts an expenditure εἰς τὰ δἐοντα ("for necessary purposes"), which the Lacedaemonians interpreted as being for bribes and accordingly punished some of their leading men. Also mentioned is the charge that the gold on Athena's statue was not of the weight charged; but Pheidias removed and weighed it, disproving the allegation.

19 An Athenian army had been before the city for four years; cp. chap. 34.

20 At about the centre of the north side of the Gulf of Corinth.

21 Specifically the Corinthians, the leading naval allies of the Lacedaemonians.

22 In the Thracian Chalcidicê near Olynthus.

23 In southern Acarnania.

24 Phormio's famous manoeuvring in this battle is described in Thucydides, 2.83‑84.

25 A cape at the entrance of the Corinthian Gulf.

26 The Greek, which reads "at the Isthmus," must be defective, for Thucydides' (2.84.4) account makes it certain that the ship was dedicated near the scene of the battle; the emendation of Wurm (see critical note) would have the dedication made "to Poseidon the patron god of the Isthmus."

The critical note to the Greek text (καὶ Ποσειδῶνι περὶ τὸν πορθμὸν) reads:

περὶ] τῷ περὶ Wurm.

27 Thucydides (2.86.4) states that there were seventy-seven ships against Phormio's twenty.

28 These were reinforcements from Athens.

29 Used to block the entrance; cp. Book 18.64.4.

30 Abdera was on the Nestus River facing the Aegean Sea; the Ister is the Danube.

31 In 431 B.C. the war described below opened two years later.

32 Perdiccas had driven his brother Philip from the kingdom, and Philip had taken refuge at the court of Sitalces; cp. Thucydides, 2.95.

33 Seuthes, a nephew of Sitalces and his successor on the throne, married Stratonicê, Perdiccas' sister (Thucydides, 2.101.6).

34 Some 1800 dollars, 360 pounds sterling.

35 Cp. chap. 33.

36 The Confederacy of Delos.

37 The group of small volcanic islands west of the toe of Italy; cp. Book 5.7.

38 Epizephyrian Locris on the east shore of the toe of Italy.

39 On the north coast of Sicily west of Messenê.

40 By this union of the island (sunoikismos) the separate governments of the different cities would have been dissolved and the inhabitants would all have become citizens of Mytilenê, the capital and seat of rule; just as, traditionally under Theseus, the governments of the several cities of Attica were put down and Athens became the city-state of the entire area.

41 Among Athenian colonists. Thucydides (3.50.2) states that the Lesbians arranged to work the allotments as renters, paying the colonists a fixed rental.

42 Cp. chap. 31.

43 Proxeni were citizens of one city chosen by another city to look after the interests of its citizens who were residing, sojourning, or doing business there; they were a sort of consul in the modern sense.

44 Cp. chap. 45.

45 That is, the "annual" winds, blowing from the north-west in summer.

46 An ancient festival of the Ionian Amphictyony, held in honour of Apollo and Artemis. Cp. Thucydides, 3.104.

47 Of Corinth.

48 Opposite Opus in Opuntian Locris.

49 At the head of the Malian Gulf.


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