Translated by Rev. J.S.Watson (1853). See key to translations for an explanation of the format.
← previous books (1-2)
[3.1] L Xerxes, king of Persia, once the terror of the nations around him, became, after his unsuccessful conduct of the war against Greece, an object of contempt even to his own subjects. 2 Artabanus, his chief officer, conceiving hopes of usurping the throne, as the king's authority was every day declining, entered one evening into the palace (which from his intimacy with Xerxes was always open to him), accompanied by his seven stout sons, and, having put the king to death, proceeded to remove by stratagem such of the king's sons as opposed his wishes. 3 Entertaining little apprehension from Artaxerxes, who was but a boy, he pretended that the king had been slain by Darius, who was of full age, that he might have possession of the throne the sooner, and instigated Artaxerxes to revenge parricide by fratricide. 4 When they came to Darius's house, he was found asleep, and killed as if he merely counterfeited sleep. 5 But seeing that one of the king's sons was still uninjured by his villainy, and fearing a struggle for the throne on the part of the nobles, he took into his councils a certain Bacabasus, 6 who, content that the government should remain in the present family, disclosed the whole matter to Artaxerxes, acquainting him "by what means his father had been killed, and how his brother had been murdered on a false suspicion of parricide; and, finally, how a plot was laid for himself." 7 On this information, Artaxerxes, fearing the number of Artabanus' sons, gave orders for the troops to be ready under arms on the following day, as if he meant to ascertain their strength, and their respective efficiency for the field. 8 Artabanus, accordingly, presenting himself under arms among the rest, the king, pretending that his cuirass was too short for him, desired Artabanus to make an exchange with him, and, while he was disarming himself, and defenceless, ran him through with his sword, ordering his sons, at the same time, to be apprehended. 9 Thus this excellent youth at once took revenge for his father's murder, and saved himself from the machinations of Artabanus.
[3.2] L During these transactions in Persia, all Greece, under the leadership of the Lacedaemonians and Athenians, was split into two parties, and turned their arms from foreign wars as it were against their own bowels. 2 Of one people were formed two distinct bodies; and they who had so recently served in the same camp, were divided into two hostile armies. 3 On the one side, the Lacedaemonians drew over to their faction the cities that had before been common auxiliaries to both. On the other side, the Athenians, renowned alike for their antiquity and their exploits, relied on their own strength. 4 Thus the two most powerful people of Greece, made equal by the institutions of Solon and the laws of Lycurgus, rushed into war through envy of each other's power.
5 When Lycurgus had succeeded Polydectes his brother, king of the Lacedaemonians, and might have secured the kingdom for himself, he restored it, with the noblest integrity, to Charilaus, the posthumous son of Polydectes, as soon as he became of age; 6 that all might see how much more the laws of integrity prevail with good men than all the charms of power. 7 In the meantime, while the child was growing up, and he had the guardianship of him, he composed laws for the Spartans, who previously had had none. Nor was he more celebrated for the making of these laws, than for his exemplary conformity to them; 8 for he imposed nothing by law upon others, of the observation of which he did not first give an example in his own conduct. 9 He trained the people to be obedient to those in authority, and those in authority to be just in the exercise of their government. 10 He enjoined frugality on all, thinking that the toils of war would be made more endurable by a constant observance of it. 11 He ordered all purchases to be made, not with money, but by exchange of commodities. 12 The use of gold and silver he prohibited, as being the origin of all evils.
[3.3] L He divided the administration of the government among the several orders; 2 to the kings he gave the power of making war, to the magistrates the seats of justice in yearly succession; to the senate, the guardianship of the laws; to the people, the power of choosing the senate, or of creating what magistrates they pleased. 3 The lands of the whole state he divided equally among all, that equality of possession might leave no one more powerful than another. 4 He ordered all to take their meals in public, that no man might secretly indulge in splendour of luxury. 5 He would not allow the young people to wear more than one garment in a year, nor anyone to walk abroad in finer garments than another, or to fare more sumptuously, lest imitation of such practices should lead to general luxury. 6 He ordered boys to be brought, not into the forum, but into the fields, that they might spend their early years, not in effeminate employments, but in hard labour and exertion; 7 not suffering them to put anything under them to sleep upon, or to live on high seasoned food, and forbidding them to return into the city till they arrived at manhood. 8 He caused virgins to be married without dowries, that wives, not money, might be sought; and that husbands might govern their wives more strictly, being influenced by no regard to dowry. 9 He ordained that the highest respect should be paid, not to the rich and powerful, but to the old, according to that degrees of seniority; nor had old age, indeed, a more honourable habitation anywhere than at Sparta.
10 But seeing that such laws would at first be thought severe, as the state of manners had previously been relaxed, he represented that Apollo of Delphi was the author of them, and that he had brought them from thence at the command of the deity, in order that reverence for religion might overbalance the irksomeness of compliance with them. 11 And to secure perpetuity to his laws, he bound the city by an oath "to make no change in them till he should return," pretending that he was going to ask the oracle at Delphi whether anything seemed necessary to be added to his institutions, or changed in them. 12 But he went in reality to Crete, and continued there in voluntary exile; and, when he was dying, ordered his bones to be thrown into the sea, lest, if they were taken back to Lacedaemon, the Spartans might think themselves absolved from their oath respecting alteration in his laws.
[3.4] L Under such a state of manners, the city acquired, in a short time, such a degree of strength, that, on going to war with the Messenians for offering violence to some of their maidens at a solemn sacrifice of that people, they bound themselves under a severe oath not to return till they had taken Messene, promising themselves so much either from their strength or good fortune. 2 This occurrence was the commencement of dissension in Greece, and the origin and cause of a civil war. 3 But being detained in the siege of this city, contrary to their expectation, for ten years, and called on to return by the complaints of their wives after so long a widowhood, 4 and being afraid that by persevering in the war they might hurt themselves more than the Messenians (for, in Messene, whatever men were lost in the war, were replaced by the fruitfulness of their women, while they themselves suffered constant losses in battle, and could have no offspring from their wives in the absence of their husbands), 5 they in consequence selected, out of the soldiers that had come, after the military oath was first taken, as recruits to the army, a number of young men; whom they sent back to Sparta with permission to form promiscuous connections with all the women of the city, 6 thinking that conception would be more speedy if each of the females made the experiment with several men. 7 Those who sprung from these unions were called Partheniae, as a reflection on their mothers' violated chastity; 8 and, when they came to thirty years of age, being alarmed with the fear of poverty (for not one of them had a father to whose estate he could hope to succeed,) they chose a captain named Phalantus, the son of Aratus, by whose advice the Spartans had sent home the young men to propagate, 9 that, as they had formerly had the father for the author of their birth, they might now have the son as the establisher of their hopes and fortunes. 10 Without taking leave of their mothers, therefore, from whose adultery they thought that they derived dishonour, they set out to seek a place of settlement, 11 and being tossed about a long time, and with various mischances, they at last arrived on the coast of Italy, where, after seizing the citadel of the Tarentines, and expelling the old inhabitants, they fixed their abode. 12 But several years after, their leader Phalantus, being driven into exile by a popular tumult, went to Brundisium, whither the former inhabitants of Tarentum had retreated after they were expelled from their city. 13 When he was at the point of death, he urged the exiles "to have his bones, and last relics, bruised to dust, and privately sprinkled in the forum of Tarentum; 14 for that Apollo at Delphi had signified that by this means they might recover their city." 15 They, thinking that he had revealed the destiny of his countrymen to avenge himself, complied with his directions; 16 but the intention of the oracle was exactly the reverse; for it promised the Spartans, upon the performance of what he had said, not the loss, but the perpetual possession of the city. 17 Thus by the subtlety of their exiled captain, and the agency of their enemies, the possession of Tarentum was secured to the Partheniae forever.
[3.5] L Meantime the Messenians, who could not be conquered by valour, were reduced by stratagem. 2 For eighty years they bore the severe afflictions of slaves, as frequent stripes, and chains, and other evils of subjugation; and then, after so long an endurance of suffering, they proceeded to resume hostilities. 3 The Lacedaemonians, at the same time, ran to arms with the greater ardour and unanimity, because they seemed to be called upon to fight against their own slaves. 4 While ill-treatment, therefore, on the one side, and indignation on the other, exasperated their feelings, the Lacedaemonians consulted the oracle at Delphi concerning the event of the war, and were directed to ask the Athenians for a leader to conduct it. 5 The Athenians, learning the answer of the oracle, sent, to express their contempt of the Spartans a lame poet, named Tyrtaeus; 6 who, being routed in three battles, reduced the Lacedaemonians to so desperate a condition, that, to recruit their army, they liberated a portion of their slaves, promising that they should marry the widows of those who were slain, 7 and thus fill up, not merely the number of the lost citizens, but their offices. 8 The kings of Sparta, however, lest, by contending against fortune, they should bring greater losses on their city, would have drawn off their army, 9 had not Tyrtaeus interposed, and recited to the soldiers, in a public assembly, some verses of his own composition, in which he had comprised exhortations to courage, consolations for their losses, and counsels concerning the war. 10 By this means he inspired the soldiers with such resolution, that, being no longer concerned for their lives, but merely for the rites of burial, they tied on their right arms tickets, inscribed with their names and those of their fathers, 11 that if an unsuccessful battle should cut them off, and their features after a time become indistinct, they might be consigned to burial according to the indication of the inscriptions. 12 When the kings saw the army thus animated, they took care that the state of it should be made known to the enemy; 13 the report, however, raised in the Messenians no alarm, but a correspondent ardour. 14 Both sides accordingly encountered with such fury, that there scarcely ever was a more bloody battle. 15 But at last victory fell to the Lacedaemonians.
[3.6] L Some time after, the Messenians renewed the war a third time, 2 when the Lacedaemonians, among their other allies, called also upon the Athenians for assistance; 3 but afterwards, conceiving some mistrust of them, they prevented them from joining in the war, pretending that they had no need for their services. 4 The Athenians, not liking this proceeding, removed the money, which had been contributed by the whole of Greece to defray the expense of the Persian war, from Delos to Athens, that, if the Lacedaemonians broke their faith as allies, it might not be an object of plunder to them. 5 The Lacedaemonians, on the other hand, did not rest, for though they were engaged in the war with the Messenians, they set the people of the Peloponnesus to make war on the Athenians. 6 The forces of the Athenians at home were at that time inconsiderable, as their fleet had been despatched into Egypt, so that, engaging in battle by sea, they were quickly worsted. 7 Soon after, on the return of their fleet, being strengthened both by sea and land, they renewed the war; 8 when the Lacedaemonians, leaving the Messenians at rest, turned their full force against the Athenians. 9 Victory was long doubtful, and at last both parties gave over with equal loss. 10 The Lacedaemonians being then recalled to the war with the Messenians, but not wishing to leave the Athenians in the meantime unmolested, bargained with the Thebans to restore them the supremacy of Boeotia, which they had lost in the time of the Persian war, if they would but take up arms against the Athenians. 11 Such was the fury of the Spartans, that, though they were involved in two wars, they did not hesitate to occasion a third, if they might but raise up enemies against their enemies. 12 The Athenians, therefore, to meet this storm of war, made choice of two eminent leaders, Pericles, a man of tried courage, and Sophocles, the writer of tragedies; 13 who, dividing their forces, laid waste the lands of the Spartans, and brought many cities of Asia under the power of the Athenians.
[3.7] L The Lacedaemonians, being humbled by these losses, agreed upon a peace for thirty years. But their hostile feelings did not allow of so long a period of repose. 2 Hence, having broken the treaty before the fifteenth year was ended, they laid waste the territories of Attica in violation of their obligations towards the gods and towards men. 3 And lest they should seem to have desired to plunder rather than to fight, they challenged the enemy to the field. 4 But the Athenians, by the advice of their leader Pericles, deferred revenge for the spoliation of their lands to a fitter time of exacting it, thinking it needless to hazard a battle, when they could avenge themselves on the enemy without risk. 5 Some days afterwards, accordingly, they embarked in their fleet, and, while the Lacedaemonians expected nothing of the kind, laid waste all Sparta, carrying off much more than they had lost; 6 so that, in a comparison of their respective sufferings, the retaliation was much greater than the injury at first received. 7 This expedition of Pericles was considered as greatly to his honour; but his disregard of his private property was far more honourable. 8 The enemy, while they wasted the lands of others, had left his uninjured; hoping, by this means, either to bring danger on him by rendering him unpopular, or dishonour by making him suspected of treachery. 9 But Pericles, foreseeing what would happen, had both foretold it to the people, and, to escape the effects of popular odium, had made over his lands to the state as a gift; 10 and thus obtained the greatest honour from that by which his ruin had been intended. 11 Some days afterwards, an engagement took place by sea; and the Lacedaemonians, being worsted, fled. 12 Nevertheless they did not cease from fierce attacks on one another, by sea or land, with various success. 13 At last, exhausted with disasters on both sides, they made peace for fifty years, which however they maintained only for six; 14 for they broke the treaty which they had concluded on their own account, under pretence of assisting their allies; 15 as if they were less guilty of perjury by aiding their dependants, than by engaging in open hostilities themselves.
16 The war was in consequence transferred into Sicily; but before I relate its progress, it is proper to give some account of the situation of that island.
[4.1] L It is said that Sicily was formerly joined to Italy by a narrow pass, and was torn off, as it were, from the larger body, by the violence of the upper sea, which impels itself in that direction with the whole force of its waters. 2 The soil itself, too, is light and frangible, and so perforated with caverns and passages, that it is almost everywhere open to blasts of wind; 3 and the very matter of it is naturally adapted for generating and nourishing fire, as it is said to be impregnated with sulphur and bitumen, 4 a circumstance which is the cause that when air contends with fire in the subterraneous parts, the earth frequently, and in several places, sends forth flame, or vapour, or smoke. 5 Hence it is that the fire of Mount Aetna has lasted through so many ages. 6 And when a strong wind passes in through the openings of the cavities, heaps of sand are cast up.
7 The promontory of Italy on the side nearest to Sicily, is called Rhegium, because "things broken off" are designated by that word in Greek. 8 Nor is it strange that antiquity should have been full of fables concerning these parts, in which so many extraordinary things are found together. 9 The sea, in the first place, is nowhere so impetuous, pouring on with a current not only rapid but furious, not only frightful to those who feel its effects, but to those who view it from a distance. 10 So fierce is the conflict of the waves as they meet, that you may see some of them, put to flight as it were, sink down into the depths, and others, as if victorious, rising up to the skies. Sometimes, in one part, you may hear the roaring of the sea as it boils up; and again, in another part, the groaning of it as it sinks into a whirlpool. 11 Next are to be observed the adjacent and everlasting fires of Mount Aetna and the Aeolian islands, which burn as if their heat were nourished by the sea itself; 12 nor indeed could such a quantity of fire have endured in such narrow bounds for so many ages unless it were supported by nourishment from the water. 13 Hence fables produced Scylla and Charybdis; hence barkings were thought to have been heard; hence the appearances of monsters gained credit, as the sailors, frightened at the vast whirlpools of the subsiding waters, imagined that the waves, which the vortex of the absorbent gulf clashes together, actually barked. 14 The same cause makes the fires of Mount Aetna perpetual; 15 for the shock of the waters forces into the depths a portion of air hurried along with it, and then keeps it confined till, being diffused through the pores of the earth, it kindles the matter which nourishes the fire.
16 In addition, the proximity of Italy and Sicily is to be noticed, with the heights of their respective promontories, which are so similar, that, whatever wonder they raise in us in the present day, they excited proportionate terror in the ancients, who believed that whole ships were intercepted and destroyed by the promontories closing together and opening. 17 Nor was this invented by the ancients to gratify the hearer with a fabulous wonder, but occasioned by the terror and consternation of those who passed by those parts; 18 for such is the appearance of the coasts to any one beholding them from a distance, that you would take the passage between them for a bay in the sea, and not a strait; and, as you draw nearer, you would think that the promontories, which were before united, part asunder and separate.
[4.2] L At first Sicily had the name of Trinacria; afterwards it was called Sicania. 2 It was originally the abode of the Cyclops; when they became extinct, Cocalus made himself ruler of the island. 3 After his time the cities fell severally under the dominion of tyrants, of whom no country was more productive. 4 One of them, Anaxilaus, strove to be as just as the others were cruel, and reaped no small advantage from his equity; 5 for having left, at his death, some sons very young, and having committed the guardianship of them to Micythus, a slave of tried fidelity, so great was the respect paid to his memory among all his subjects, that they chose rather to submit to a slave than to abandon the king's children; and the noblemen of the state, forgetful of their dignity, suffered the authority of government to be exercised by a slave. 6 The Carthaginians, too, attempted to gain the sovereignty of Sicily, and fought against the tyrants for a long time with various success; 7 but at length, after losing their general Hamilcar and his army, they remained quiet for some time in consequence of that defeat.
[4.3] L In the meantime, the people of Rhegium being troubled with dissension, and the city being divided by disputes into two factions, a body of veteran soldiers from Himera, who were invited by one of the parties to their assistance, having first expelled from the city those against whom they had been called, and then put to the sword those whom they had come to aid, took the government into their own hands, and made prisoners of the wives and children of their allies; 2 venturing upon an atrocity to which that of no tyrant can be compared; so that it would have been better for the Rhegians to have been conquered than to conquer; 3 for whether they had become slaves to their conquerors by the laws of war, or, withdrawing from their country, had been necessitated to live in exile, yet they would not have been butchered amidst their altars and household gods, and have left their country, with their wives and children, a prey to the most cruel of tyrants.
4 The people of Catana, also, finding themselves oppressed by the Syracusans, and distrusting their own power to withstand them, requested assistance from the Athenians, 5 who, whether from desire of enlarging their dominions, so that they might master all Greece and Asia, or from apprehension of a fleet lately built by the Syracusans, and to prevent such a force from joining the Lacedaemonians, sent Lamponius, as general, with a naval armament into Sicily, that under pretence of assisting the people of Catana, they might endeavour to secure the sovereignty of the whole island. 6 Having succeeded in their first attempts, and made havoc among the enemy on several occasions, they despatched another expedition to Sicily, with a greater fleet and more numerous army, under the command of Laches and Chariades. 7 But the people of Catana, whether from fear of the Athenians, or from being weary of the war, made peace with the Syracusans, and sent back the Athenian force that had come to assist them.
[4.4] L After a lapse of some time, however, as the articles of the peace were not observed by the Syracusans, they sent ambassadors a second time to Athens, who, arriving in a mean dress, with long hair and beards, and every sign of distress adapted to move pity, presented themselves in that wretched plight before the public assembly. 2 To their entreaties were added tears; and the suppliants so moved the people to compassion, that the commanders who had withdrawn the auxiliary force from them received a sentence of condemnation. 3 A powerful fleet was then appointed to aid them; Nicias, Alcibiades, and Lamachus were made captains; and Sicily was revisited with such a force as was a terror even to those to whose aid it was sent. 4 In a short time, Alcibiades being recalled to answer certain charges made against him, Nicias and Lamachus fought two successful battles by land, 5 and, drawing lines of circumvallation around Syracuse, cut off all supplies from the enemy by sea, keeping them closely blocked up in the city. 6 The Syracusans, being greatly reduced by these measures, sought assistance from the Lacedaemonians, 7 by whom Gylippus alone was sent; but he was a man equal to whole troops of auxiliaries. 8 He, having heard on his way of the perilous state of the war, and having collected some support partly from Greece and partly from Sicily, took possession of some posts suitable for carrying on the war. 9 He was then conquered in two battles, but engaging in a third, he killed Lamachus, put the enemy to flight, and rescued his allies from the siege. 10 But as the Athenians transferred their warlike efforts from the land to the sea, Gylippus sent for a fleet and army from Lacedaemon; 11 upon intelligence of which the Athenians themselves, too, sent out Demosthenes and Eurymedon, in place of their late leader, with a reinforcement to their troops. 12 The Peloponnesians again, by a general resolution of their cities, sent powerful assistance to the Syracusans, and, as if the Greek war had been transported into Sicily, the contest was pursued on both sides with the utmost vigour.
[4.5] L In the first encounter at sea, the Athenians were worsted, and lost their camp, with all their money, both what was public and what belonged to private individuals. 2 When, in addition to these disasters, they were also beaten in a battle on land, Demosthenes began to advise that "they should quit Sicily, while their condition, though bad, was not yet desperate; 3 and that they should not persist in a war so inauspiciously commenced, as there were more considerable, and perhaps more unhappy wars, to be dreaded at home, for which it was expedient that they should reserve the present force of their city." 4 But Nicias, whether from shame at his ill success, from fear of the resentment of his countrymen for the disappointment of their hopes, or from the impulse of destiny, contended for staying. 5 The war by sea was therefore renewed, and their thoughts turned from reflections on their previous ill-fortune to the hopes of a successful struggle, 6 but, through the unskilfulness of their leaders, who attacked the Syracusans when advantageously posted in a strait, they were easily overcome. 7 Their general, (?) Eurymedon, was the first to fall, fighting bravely in the front of the battle; and thirty ships which he commanded were burnt. 8 Demosthenes and Nicias being also defeated, set their forces on shore, thinking that retreat would be safer by land. 9 Gylippus seized a hundred and thirty ships which they had left, and then, pursuing them as they fled, took some of them prisoners, and put others to death. 10 Demosthenes, after the loss of his troops saved himself from captivity by voluntarily falling on his sword. 11 But Nicias, not induced, even by the example of Demosthenes, to put himself out of the power of fortune, added to the loss of his army the disgrace of being made prisoner.
[5.1] L Whilst the Athenians, during two years, were carrying on the war in Sicily, with more eagerness than success, Alcibiades, the promoter and leader of it, was accused at Athens in his absence of having divulged the mysteries of Ceres, which were rendered sacred by nothing more than by their secrecy. 2 Being recalled from the war to take his trial, and being unwilling, either from the consciousness of guilt or from the affront put upon him, to obey, he retired, without offering to defend himself, to Elis. 3 From thence, having learned that he was not only condemned, but devoted to destruction with execrations in the religious ceremonies of all the priests, he betook himself to Lacedaemon, 4 where he urged the king of the Lacedaemonians to make war on the Athenians in the midst of their distress at the unfortunate result of the struggle in Sicily. 5 This being done, all the powers of Greece conspired against the Athenians, as if to extinguish a common conflagration; 6 such hatred had they brought upon themselves by their desire of too great power. 7 Darius also, the king of Persia, not forgetting his father's and grandfather's hostility to that city, concluded an alliance with the Lacedaemonians through Tissaphernes, satrap of Lydia, and promised to defray all the expense of the war. 8 Such at least was his pretext for meddling in the affairs of Greece, but in reality he was afraid that the Lacedaemonians, if they conquered the Athenians, should turn their arms against himself. 9 Who then can wonder that the flourishing state of Athens went to ruin, when the whole strength of the east conspired to overwhelm one city? 10 Yet they did not fall with merely a faint struggle, or without bloodshed, but fighting to the last, and sometimes victorious, being rather worn out by changes of fortune than overcome by force of arms. 11 At the commencement of the war, too, all their allies deserted them, according to common practice; for whatever way fortune leans, in the same direction does the favour of mankind turn.
[5.2] L Alcibiades also supported the war raised against his country, not with the services of a common soldier, but with the abilities of a general. 2 Having received a squadron of five ships, he sailed directly to Asia, and, by the authority of his name, prevailed on the cities tributary to the Athenians to revolt from them. 3 They knew his eminence at home; nor did they think his influence weakened by his banishment, but looked on him rather as a leader taken from the Athenians, than added to the Lacedaemonians, and balanced the command which he had gained against that which he had lost. 4 But among the Lacedaemonians the abilities of Alcibiades had gained him more envy than favour; 5 and the chief men having formed a plot to kill him, as their rival in glory, Alcibiades, receiving intelligence of their design from the wife of Agis, with whom he had an intrigue, fled to Tissaphernes, the satrap of king Darius, with whom he quickly ingratiated himself by his affability and obligingness of manners. 6 He was then in the flower of youth, and distinguished for personal graces, and not less for oratory, even among the Athenians. 7 But he was better fitted to gain the affections of friends than to keep them; because the vices in his character were thrown into the shade by the splendour of his eloquence. 8 He succeeded in persuading Tissaphernes not to furnish such supplies of money for the Lacedaemonians' fleet; 9 "for the Ionians," he said, "should be called upon to pay their share, since it was for their deliverance, when they were paying tribute to the Lacedaemonians, that the war was undertaken. 10 Neither, however," he added, "should the Lacedaemonians be too greatly assisted; for he should remember that he was preparing a way for the supremacy of others, not for his own; and that the war was only so far to be supported, that it might not be broken off for want of supplies, 11 as the king of Persia, while the Greeks were distracted by dissensions, would be the arbiter of peace and war, and would vanquish with their own arms those whom he could not overcome with his own; but that, if the war were brought to a conclusion, he would immediately have to fight with the conquerors. 12 That Greece, therefore, ought to be reduced by civil wars, so that it might have no opportunity to engage in foreign ones; that the strength of its two parties should be kept equal, the weaker being constantly supported; 13 since the Spartans, who professed themselves the defenders of the liberty of Greece, would not remain quiet after their present elevation." 14 Such arguments were very agreeable to Tissaphernes; and he accordingly furnished supplies to the Spartans but sparingly, and did not send the whole of the king's fleet to assist them, lest he should gain them a complete victory, or bring the other party under the necessity of abandoning the war.
[5.3] L Meanwhile Alcibiades boasted of this service to his countrymen; 2 and when deputies from the Athenians came to him, he promised to secure them the king's friendship, if the government should be transferred from the hands of the people to those of the senate; 3 in hopes, either that, if the citizens could agree, he should be chosen general unanimously, or that, if dissension arose between the two orders, he should be invited by one of the parties to their assistance. 4 The Athenians, as a dangerous war hung over them, were more solicitous about their safety than their dignity. 5 The government, accordingly, was transferred, with the consent of the people, to the senate. 6 But as the nobility, with the pride natural to their order, treated the common people cruelly, and each arrogated to himself the exorbitant power of tyranny, the banished Alcibiades was recalled by the army, and appointed to the command of the fleet. 7 Upon this, he at once sent notice to Athens that, "he would instantly march to the city with his army, and recover the rights of the people from the four hundred, unless they restored them of themselves." 8 The aristocracy, alarmed at this denunciation, at first attempted to betray the city to the Lacedaemonians, but being unable to succeed, went into exile. 9 Alcibiades, having delivered his country from this intestine evil, fitted out his fleet with the utmost care, and proceeded to carry forward the war with the Lacedaemonians.
[5.4] L Mindarus and Pharnabazus, the leaders of the Lacedaemonians, were already waiting at Sestus with their fleet drawn up. 2 A battle being fought, the victory fell to the Athenians. In this engagement, the greater part of the army and almost all the enemy's officers, were killed, and eighty ships taken. 3 Some days after, the Lacedaemonians, transferring the war from the sea to the land, were defeated a second time. 4 Weakened by these disasters, they sued for peace, but were prevented from obtaining it by the efforts of those to whom the war brought private advantage. 5 In the meantime, too, a war made upon Sicily by the Carthaginians called home the aid sent by the Syracusans, 6 and the Lacedaemonians, in consequence, being wholly unsupported, Alcibiades ravaged the coast of Asia with his victorious fleet, fought several battles, and being everywhere victorious, recovered the cities which had revolted, took some others, and added them to the dominion of the Athenians. 7 Having thus re-established their ancient glory by sea, and united to it reputation in war by land, he returned to Athens to gratify the longing of his countrymen to behold him. 8 In all these battles two hundred ships of the enemy, and a vast quantity of spoils, were taken.
9 Upon this triumphant return of the army, the whole multitude from Athens poured forth to meet them, and gazed with admiration on all the soldiers, but especially on Alcibiades; 10 on him the whole city turned their eyes with looks of wonder; they regarded him as sent down from heaven, and as victory in person; 11 they extolled what he had done for his country, nor did they less admire what he had done against it in his exile, excusing his conduct as the result of anger and provocation. 12 Such power indeed, strange to say, was there in that one man, that he was the cause of a great state being subverted and again re-established; victory removed herself to the side on which he stood; and a wonderful change of fortune always attended him. 13 They therefore heaped upon him not only all human, but divine honours; they made it an object of contention, whether the contumely with which they banished him, or the honour with which they recalled him, should be the greater. 14 They, by whose execrations he had been devoted, carried their gods to meet and congratulate him; 15 and him to whom they had lately refused all human aid, they now desired, if they could, to exalt to heaven; 16 they made amends for indignities with praises, for confiscations with gifts, for imprecations with prayers. 17 The unfortunate battle on the coast of Sicily was no longer in their mouths, but their success in Greece; the fleets which he had lost were no more mentioned, but those which he had taken; they did not speak of Syracuse, but of Ionia and the Hellespont. 18 Thus Alcibiades was never received with moderate feelings on the part of his countrymen, either when they were offended, or when they were pleased with him.
[5.5] L During these occurrences at Athens, Lysander was appointed by the Lacedaemonians to the command of their fleet and army; and Darius, king of Persia, made, in the room of Tissaphernes, his son Cyrus governor of Ionia and Lydia; who, by his assistance and support, inspired the Lacedaemonians with hopes of recovering their former position. 2 Their strength being therefore recruited, the Spartans, when their approach was wholly unexpected, surprised Alcibiades, who had gone with a hundred vessels to Asia, while he was laying waste the country, which was in excellent condition from a long continuance of peace, and while, unapprehensive of any attack, he had allowed his soldiers to disperse themselves under the attractions of plunder; 3 and such was the havoc among the scattered troops, that the Athenians received more injury from that single onslaught, than they had caused the enemy in their previous battles with them. 4 Such, too, was the desperation of the Athenians on the occasion, that they immediately deposed Alcibiades to make room for Conon, 5 thinking that they had been defeated, not by the fortune of war, but by the treachery of their general, on whom their former injuries had had more influence than their recent favours, 6 and that he had conquered in the former part of the war, only to show the enemy what a leader they had despised, and to make his countrymen pay so much the dearer for their previous victory; 7 for his vigour of mind and laxity of morals made everything that was said of Alcibiades credible. 8 Fearing therefore the rage of the people, he went again into voluntary exile.
[5.6] L Conon, being put in the place of Alcibiades, and seeing to what sort of commander he had succeeded, fitted out his fleet with the utmost exertion; 2 but troops were wanting to man the vessels, as the stoutest men had been cut off in the plundering of Asia. 3 Old men, however, and boys under age, were furnished with arms, and the number of an army was completed, but without the strength. 4 But soldiers of an age so unfit for war could not long protract the contest; they were everywhere cut to pieces, or taken prisoners as they fled; 5 and so great was the loss in slain and captured, that not merely the power of the Athenians, but even their very name, seemed to be extinct. 6 Their affairs being ruined and rendered desperate in the contest, they were reduced to such want of men, all of military age being lost, that they gave the freedom of the city to foreigners, liberty to slaves, and pardon to condemned malefactors. With an army raised from such a mixture of human beings, they who had lately been lords of Greece could scarcely preserve their liberty. 7 Yet they resolved once more to try their fortune at sea; 8 and such was their spirit, that though they had recently despaired of safety, they now did not despair even of victory. 9 But it was not such a soldiery that could support the Athenian name; it was not such troops with which they had been used to conquer; nor were there the requisite military accomplishments in those whom prisons, not camps, had confined. All were in consequence either taken prisoners or slain; 10 and the general Conon alone surviving the battle, and dreading the resentment of his countrymen, went off with eight ships to Euagoras, king of Cyprus.
[5.7] L The general of the Lacedaemonians, after managing his affairs so successfully, grew insolent towards his enemies in their evil fortune. He sent the ships which he had taken, laden with spoil, and decorated as in triumph, to Lacedaemon. 3 He received at the same time voluntary tenders of submission from cities which dread of the doubtful fortune of war had kept in allegiance to the Athenians. Nor did he leave anything in possession of the Athenians but their city itself.
4 When all this was understood at Athens, the inhabitants, leaving their houses, ran up and down the streets in a frantic manner, asking questions of one another, and inquiring for the author of the news. 5 Neither did incapacity keep the children at home, nor infirmity the old men, nor the weakness of their sex the women: so deeply had the feeling of such calamity affected every age. 6 They met together in the forum, where, through the whole night, they bewailed the public distress. 7 Some wept for their lost brothers, or sons, or parents; some for other relatives; others for friends dearer than relatives; all mingling their lamentations for their country with plaints for their private sufferings; 8 sometimes regarding themselves, sometimes their city, as on the brink of ruin; and deeming the fate of those who survived more unhappy than that of the slain. 9 Each represented to himself a siege, a famine, and an enemy overbearing and flushed with victory; 10 sometimes contemplating in imagination the desolation and burning of the city, and sometimes the captivity and wretched slavery of all its inhabitants; 11 and thinking the former destruction of Athens, which was attended only with the ruin of their houses, while their children and parents were safe, much less calamitous than what was now to befall them; 12 since there remained no fleet in which, as before, they might find a refuge, and no army by whose valour they might be saved to erect a finer city.
[5.8] L While the city was thus wept over and almost brought to nothing, the enemy came upon it, pressed the inhabitants with a siege, and distressed them with famine. 2 They knew that little remained of the provisions which they had laid up, and had taken care that no new ones should be imported. 3 The Athenians, exhausted by their sufferings, from long endurance of famine, and daily losses of men, sued for peace; but it was long disputed between the Spartans and their allies whether it should be granted or not. 4 Many gave their opinion that the very name of the Athenians should be blotted out, and the city destroyed by fire; but the Spartans refused "to pluck out one of the two eyes of Greece," 5 and promised the Athenians peace, on condition ''that they should demolish the walls extending down to the Piraeus, and deliver up the ships which they had left; and that the state should receive from them thirty governors of their own citizens." 6 The city being surrendered on these terms, the Lacedaemonians committed it to Lysander to model the government of it. 7 This year was rendered remarkable, not only for the reduction of Athens, but for the death of Darius, king of Persia, and the banishment of Dionysius, tyrant of Sicily.
8 When the form of government at Athens was changed, the condition of the citizens was likewise altered. 9 Thirty governors of the state were appointed, who became absolute tyrants; 10 for, at the very first, they organized for themselves a guard of three thousand men, though, after so much slaughter, scarcely as many citizens survived; 11 and as if this force was too small to overawe the city, they received also seven hundred men from the victorious army. 12 They then began to put to death the citizens, intending to commence with Alcibiades, lest he should again seize the government under pretence of delivering the city; 13 and hearing that he was gone to Artaxerxes king of Persia, they despatched men in haste to stop him on his way. 14 By these deputies he was beset, and, as he could not be killed openly, was burnt alive in the apartment in which he slept.
[5.9] L The tyrants, thus freed from the dread of an avenger, wasted the miserable remains of the city with the sword and spoliation; 2 and finding that their proceedings displeased Theramenes, one of their own body, they put him also to death to strike terror into the rest. 3 In consequence a general dispersion of the citizens took place in all directions, and Greece was filled with Athenian fugitives. 4 But the privilege of flight being also taken from them (for the cities were forbidden, by an edict of the Lacedaemonians, to receive the exiles), they all betook themselves to Argos and Thebes, 5 where they had not only safe places of refuge, but also conceived hopes of repossessing themselves of their country. 6 There was among the refugees a man named Thrasybulus, a person of great bravery and of noble extraction, who, thinking that something should be attempted, even at the utmost hazard, for their country and the common interest, called together the exiles, and took post at Phyle, a fort on the borders of Attica. 7 Some of the cities, pitying the severity of their misfortunes, afforded them countenance; 8 Ismenias, a leading man among the Thebans, though he could not assist them publicly, yet supported them with his private means; 9 and Lysias, the Syracusan orator, at that time an exile, sent five hundred soldiers, equipped at his own charge, to the aid of the common country of eloquence. 10 A desperate battle ensued; but as those on the one side fought with their utmost efforts to regain their country, and those on the other, with less eagerness, in support of the power of others, the tyrants were overcome. 11 After their defeat they fled back into the city, which, already exhausted by their slaughters, they despoiled also of its arms. 12 Suspecting all the Athenians, too, of disaffection towards them, they ordered them to remove out of the city, and to take up their abode among the ruins of the walls which had been demolished; supporting their own authority with foreign soldiers. 13 Next they endeavoured to corrupt Thrasybulus, by promising him a share in the government; 14 but, not succeeding, they sought assistance from Lacedaemon, on the arrival of which they took the field again. 15 In this encounter Critias and Hippolochus, the two most cruel of the tyrants, were killed.
[5.10] L The others being defeated, and their army, of which the greater part consisted of Athenians, running away, Thrasybulus called out to them with a loud voice, asking, "Why they should flee from him in the midst of victory, rather than join him as the assertor of their common liberty?" 2 adding, that "they should reflect that his army was composed of their countrymen, not of enemies; that he had not armed himself to take anything away from the conquered, but to restore them what they had lost; and that he was making war, not on the city, but on the thirty tyrants." 3 He then reminded them of their ties of relationship, their laws, their common religion, and their long service as fellow soldiers in so many wars. He conjured them, that, "if they themselves could submit patiently to the yoke, they should yet take pity on their exiled countrymen;" he urged them "to restore him to his country, and to accept liberty for themselves." 4 By these exhortations such an effect was produced, that when the army came back into the city, they ordered the thirty tyrants to retire to Eleusis, appointing ten commissioners to govern in their place; 5 who, however, not at all deterred by the fate of the former tyrants, entered on a similar career, of cruelty. 6 During the course of these proceedings, news arrived at Lacedaemon that war had broken out at Athens, and king Pausanias was sent to suppress it, 7 who, touched with compassion for the exiled people, restored the unhappy citizens to their country, and ordered the ten tyrants to leave the city, and go to the rest at Eleusis. 8 Peace was restored by these means; but, after an interval of some days, the tyrants, enraged at the recall of the exiles not less than at their own expulsion (as if liberty to others was slavery to themselves), suddenly resumed hostilities against Athens. 9 As they were proceeding however to a conference, apparently with the expectation of recovering their power, they were seized by an ambuscade, and offered as sacrifices to peace. The people, whom they had obliged to leave the city, were recalled; 10 and the state, which had been divided into several members, was at length re-united into one body. 11 And that no dissension might arise in consequence of anything that had gone before, the citizens were all bound by an oath that former discords should be forgotten.
12 Meanwhile the Thebans and Corinthians sent ambassadors to the Lacedaemonians, to demand a share of the spoil acquired by their common exertions in war, and at their common risk. 13 Their demand being refused, they did not indeed openly resolve on war with the Lacedaemonians, but tacitly conceived such resentment towards them, that it might be seen that war was likely to arise.
[5.11] L About the same time died Darius, king of Persia, leaving two sons, Artaxerxes and Cyrus. 2 He bequeathed the kingdom to Artaxerxes, and to Cyrus the cities over which he had been satrap. 3 But Cyrus thought the will of his father an injustice, and secretly made preparations for war with his brother. 4 News of his intentions being brought to Artaxerxes, he sent for him, and, when he pretended innocence, and denied all thoughts of war, he bound him with golden fetters, and would have put him to death, had not his mother interposed. 5 Cyrus, in consequence of her intercession, being allowed to depart, began to prepare for war, no longer secretly, but publicly, not with dissimulation, but with an open avowal of it, and assembled auxiliary troops from all quarters. 6 The Lacedaemonians, remembering that they had been vigorously aided by him in the war with Athens, and as if in ignorance against whom hostilities were intended, resolved that "assistance should be sent to Cyrus whenever his necessities should require;" 7 hoping thus to secure favour with Cyrus, and a plea for pardon with Artaxerxes if he should have the advantage, because they had decreed nothing openly against him. 8 But when they came to an encounter, fortune throwing the brothers together in the field, Artaxerxes was first wounded by Cyrus, 9 but being rescued from danger by the speed of his horse, Cyrus was overpowered by the king's battalion, and slain. Thus Artaxerxes being victorious, got possession both of the spoil from the war with his brother, and of his brother's army. 10 In this battle there were ten thousand Greeks on the side of Cyrus, who had the superiority in the wing on which they had been posted, and, after the death of Cyrus, could neither be reduced forcibly by the vast army of their adversaries, nor captured by stratagem, 11 but, returning through so many wild and barbarous nations, and over such vast tracts of land, defended themselves by their valour till they gained the borders of their country.
[6.1] L The more the Lacedaemonians got, the more, according to the nature of mankind, they coveted, and, not satisfied at their strength being doubled by the accession of the Athenian power, they began to aspire to the dominion of all Asia. But the greater part of it was under the government of the Persians; 2 and Dercyllidas, being chosen general to conduct the war against them, and seeing that he would be opposed to two satraps of Artaxerxes, Pharnabazus and Tissaphernes, supported by the strength of powerful nations, resolved to make peace with one of them. 3 As Tissaphernes seemed the fitter of the two for his purpose, being more attentive to business, and better furnished with troops (having with him those of the late prince Cyrus), he was invited to a conference, and induced to lay down his arms on certain conditions. 4 This transaction Pharnabazus made matter of accusation to their common sovereign, acquainting him that "Tissaphernes had not taken arms to repel the Lacedaemonians on their invasion of Asia, but had maintained them at the king's charge, 5 and bargained with them as to what they should put off doing in the war, and what they should carry into execution, as if every loss did not affect the interest of the one empire in general," 6 adding that "it was disgraceful that war should not be decided by the sword, but bought off, and that the enemy should be induced to retire, not by arms, but by money." 7 When by such charges he had irritated the king against Tissaphernes, he advised him to appoint in his place, as commander by sea, Conon the Athenian, who, having left his country on account of his ill success, was living in exile in Cyprus; 8 "for though the power of the Athenians," he said, "was reduced, their experience at sea was still left them, and that, were a choice to be made from them all, no one could be preferred to Conon." Pharnabazus was accordingly furnished with five hundred talents and directed to set Conon over the fleet.
[6.2] L When this arrangement was publicly known, the Lacedaemonians, through their ambassadors, requested aid for their efforts by sea from Hercynio, king of Egypt, 2 by whom a hundred triremes, and six hundred thousand modii of corn, were despatched to them, while from their other allies a great number of forces were also assembled. 3 But for such an army, and against such a leader, an efficient commander was wanting; 4 and when the auxiliaries desired Agesilaus, then king of the Lacedaemonians, for their general, the Lacedaemonians, in consequence of an answer from the oracle at Delphi, were long in doubt whether they should appoint him to the chief command, 5 as it was signified to them that "there would be an end of their power when the kingly authority should be lame;" and Agesilaus was lame of one foot. 6 At last they decided that "it was better for the king to halt in his gait than for the kingdom to halt in its power;" 7 and when they afterwards sent Agesilaus, with a large army into Asia, I cannot easily tell what other two generals were ever so well matched; 8 for the age, valour, conduct, and wisdom of both were nearly equal, as was also the fame of their achievements; 9 and fortune, who had given them equal qualifications, had kept the one from being conquered by the other. 10 Great preparations for war, therefore, were made by both, and great deeds were performed. 11 But a mutiny among his soldiers arose to trouble Conon, in consequence of the king's officers making it a practice to defraud them of their pay; and they demanded their arrears the more obstinately, as they anticipated that service under so great a general would be very severe. 12 Conon, having long importuned the king by letters to no purpose, went at last to him in person, 13 but was debarred from any interview or conference with him, because he would not do him homage after the manner of the Persians. 14 He, however, treated with him through his ministers, and complained that "the wars of the richest king in the world ended in nothing through want of pay; and that he who had an army equal to that of the enemy, was defeated by means of money in which he was their superior, and found inferior to them in that article of power in which he had far the advantage of them." 15 He also desired that one paymaster might be appointed for his troops, as it was evidently detrimental to commit that office to several. 16 Money for his soldiers was then given him, and he returned to the fleet. Nor did he delay to enter on action; he executed many undertakings with resolution, many with success; he laid waste the enemy's country, stormed their towns, and bore down everything before him like a hurricane. 17 The Lacedaemonians were so alarmed at his progress, that they resolved on recalling Agesilaus from Asia to the support of his country.
[6.3] L In the meantime Pisander, who had been left governor of his country by Agesilaus at his departure, fitted out a powerful fleet with the utmost exertion, determining to try the fortune of war. 2 Conon, too, on the other hand, being then to encounter the enemy's army for the first time, put his troops in order with the greatest care. 3 The emulation between the generals in the contest was not greater than that between the soldiers. 4 Conon himself, in his character of leader, did not so much regard the interest of the Persians as the honour of his own country; 5 and as, when the strength of the Athenians was reduced, he had occasioned the utter loss of their power, so he had a desire to be accounted its restorer, as well as to reinstate himself in his country by a victory from which he had been exiled through being defeated; 6 and this the more remarkably as he was not to fight with the aid of the Athenians themselves, but with that of a foreign state; he was going to contend at the risk of the king, but to conquer to the advantage of his country, acquiring glory by means dissimilar from those by which the former generals of Athens had obtained it, 7 for they had defended their country by defeating the Persians, but he would re-establish his country by making the Persians victorious. 8 Pisander too, from his relationship to Agesilaus, was also an emulator of his virtues, and endeavoured not to fall short of his exploits and the brilliancy of his renown, and not to overthrow, by the misconduct of a moment, a power which had been gained by so many wars through so many ages. 9 The anxiety of all the soldiers and sailors was similar, being not so much concerned that they might not lose the power which they had got, as that the Athenians might not recover their former eminence. 10 But the more spirited was the struggle, the more honourable was the victory of Conon. 11 The Lacedaemonians were routed and put to flight; the garrison of the enemy was withdrawn from Athens; 12 the people were restored to their rights, and their bondage was at an end; and several cities were reduced to their former state of obedience.
[6.4] L To the Athenians this event was the beginning of their restoration to power; to the Lacedaemonians it was the termination of their authority; 2 for, as if they had lost their spirit with their pre-eminence, they began to be regarded with contempt by their neighbours. 3 The first people that made war upon them, with the aid of the Athenians, were the Thebans; 4 a state which, by the abilities of its general, Epaminondas, was raised from the most humble condition to the hope of governing Greece. 5 A battle was fought between the two powers by land, with the same fortune on the part of the Lacedaemonians as they had experienced against Conon by sea. 6 In this encounter Lysander, under whose conduct the Athenians had been defeated by the Lacedaemonians, was killed. 7 Pausanias also, the other general of the Lacedaemonians, went into exile in consequence of being accused of treachery.
8 The Thebans, on gaining the victory, led their whole force against Lacedaemon, expecting that it would be easy to reduce the city, as the Spartans were deserted by all their allies. 9 The Lacedaemonians, dreading the event, sent for their king Agesilaus out of Asia, where he was performing great exploits, to defend his country; 10 for since Lysander was slain, they had no confidence in any other general; 11 but, as he was tardy in coming, they raised an army, and proceeded to meet the enemy. 12 Having been once conquered, however, they had neither spirit nor strength to meet those who had recently vanquished them. They were accordingly routed in the very first onset. 13 But Agesilaus came up just when the forces of his countrymen were overthrown; and, having renewed the contest, he, with his fresh troops, invigorated by long service, snatched the victory from the enemy without difficulty, but was himself severely wounded.
[6.5] L The Athenians, receiving intelligence of this event, and fearing that if the Lacedaemonians obtained another victory, they should be reduced to their former state of bondage, assembled an army, 2 and ordered that it should be conducted to the aid of the Boeotians by Iphicrates, a young man only twenty years of age, but of great abilities. 3 The conduct of this youth was above his years, and greatly to be admired; 4 nor had the Athenians ever before him, among so many and so great leaders, a captain of greater promise, or of talents that sooner came to maturity; 5 and he had not only the qualifications of a general, but also those of an orator.
6 Conon, having heard of the return of Agesilaus, came also himself from Asia to ravage the country of the Lacedaemonians; 7 who, while the terrors of war raged around them, were shut up within their walls, and reduced to the depths of despair. 8 After wasting the enemy's territories, Conon proceeded to Athens, where he was received with great joy on the part of his countrymen; but he felt more sorrow at the state of his native city, which had been burnt and laid in ruins by the Lacedaemonians, than joy at his return to it after so long an absence. 9 He accordingly repaired what had been burnt, and rebuilt what had been demolished, from the price of the spoil which he had taken, and with the help of the Persian troops. 10 Such was the fate of Athens, that having been first burnt by the Persians, it was restored by their labour; and having been afterwards wasted by the Lacedaemonians, it was re-adorned from their spoils; 11 and, the state of things being reversed, it had now for allies those whom it then had for enemies, and those for enemies with whom it had been joined in the closest bonds of alliance.
[6.6] L During the course of these proceedings, Artaxerxes, king of the Persians, sent deputies into Greece, with injunctions, "that they should all lay down their arms," and assurances "that he would treat as enemies those who should act otherwise." He restored to the cities their liberty and all that belonged to them;2 a course which he did not adopt from concern for the troubles of the Greeks, and for their incessant and deadly enmities displayed in the field, 3 but from unwillingness that, while he was engaged in a war with Egypt (which he had undertaken because the Egyptians had sent aid to the Spartans against his satraps), his troops should be obliged to stay in Greece. 4 The Greeks, exhausted with so much fighting, eagerly obeyed his mandate.
5 This year was not only remarkable for a peace being suddenly made throughout Greece, but for the taking of the city of Rome at the same time by the Gauls.
6 But the Lacedaemonians, watching an opportunity of surprising the unguarded, and observing that the Arcadians were absent from their country, stormed one of their fortresses, and, having taken possession of it, placed a garrison in it. 7 The Arcadians in consequence, arming and equipping a body of troops, and calling the Thebans to their assistance, demanded in open war the restitution of what they had lost. 8 In the battle which followed, Archidamus, general of the Lacedaemonians, was wounded, 9 and, seeing his men cut down and apparently defeated, sent a herald to ask the bodies of the slain for burial; 10 this being a sign among the Greeks that the victory is yielded. The Thebans, satisfied with this acknowledgment, made the signal for giving quarter.
[6.7] L After the lapse of a few days, while neither side was offering any hostility, and while, as the Lacedaemonians were engaged in other contentions with their neighbours, a truce was observed as it were by tacit consent, the Thebans, under the leadership of Epaminondas, conceived hopes of seizing the city of Sparta. 2 They accordingly proceeded thither secretly, in the early part of the night, but failed to take the inhabitants by surprise; 3 for the old men, and others of an age unfit for war, observing the approach of the enemy, met them in arms at the very entrance of the gates; 4 and not more than a hundred men, enfeebled with years, offered battle to fifteen thousand. 5 So much spirit and vigour does the sight of our country and homes inspire; and so much more confidence is afforded by the presence, than by the remembrance of them; 6 for when they considered where and for what they took their stand, they resolved either to conquer or die. 7 A few old men, in consequence, held out against an army, which, shortly before, the flower of their troops were unable to withstand. 8 In this battle two generals of the enemy were killed, 9 when, on intelligence being received that Agesilaus was approaching, the Thebans retreated. 10 But there was no long cessation of hostilities; for the Spartan youth, incited by the heroism and glorious deeds of the old men, could not be prevented from promptly engaging in the field. 11 Just as victory inclined to the Thebans, Epaminondas, while he was discharging the duty, not only of a general, but of a gallant soldier, was severely wounded. `2 When this was known, fear fell upon one side from deep concern, and stupefaction on the other from excess of joy; and both parties, as if by mutual agreement, retired from the field.
[6.8] L A few days after, Epaminondas died, and with him fell the spirit of the Theban state. 2 For as, when you break off the point of a dart, you take from the rest of the steel the power of wounding, so when that general of the Thebans (who was, as it were, the point of their weapon) was taken off, the strength of their government was so debilitated, that they seemed not so much to have lost him as to have all died with him. 3 They neither carried on any memorable war before he became their leader, nor were they afterwards remarkable for their successes, but for their defeats; so that it is certain that with him the glory of his country both rose and fell. 4 Whether he was more estimable as a man or a general is undecided; 5 for he never sought power for himself, but for his country, 6 and was so far from coveting money, that he did not leave sufficient to pay for his funeral. 7 Nor was he more desirous of distinction than of wealth; for all the appointments that he held were conferred on him against his will, 8 and he filled his posts in such a manner that he seemed to add lustre to his honours rather than to receive it from them. 9 His application to learning, and his knowledge of philosophy, were such, that it seemed wonderful how a man bred up in literature could have so excellent a knowledge of war. 10 The manner of his death, too, was not at variance with his course of life; 11 for when he was carried back half dead into the camp, and had recovered his breath and voice, he asked only this question of those that stood about him, "whether the enemy had taken his shield from him when he fell?" 12 Hearing that it was saved, he kissed it, when it was brought to him, as the sharer of his toils and glory. He afterwards inquired which side had gained the victory, 13 and hearing that the Thebans had got it, observed, "It is well," and so, as it were congratulating his country, expired.
[6.9] L With his death the spirit of the Athenians also declined. 2 For after he whom they were wont to emulate was gone, they sank into sloth and effeminacy, 3 and spent the public income, not, as formerly, upon fleets and armies, but upon festivals, and the celebration of games; 4 frequenting the theatres for the sake of eminent actors and poets, visiting the stage oftener than the camp, and praising men rather for being good versifiers than good generals. 5 It was then that the public revenues, from which soldiers and sailors used to be maintained, were distributed among the people of the city. 6 By which means it came to pass, that during the absence of exertion on the part of the Greeks, the name of the Macedonians, previously mean and obscure, rose into notice; 7 and Philippus, who had been kept three years as a hostage at Thebes, and had been imbued with the virtues of Epaminondas and Pelopidas, imposed the power of Macedonia, like a yoke of bondage, upon the necks of Greece and Asia.
Following books (7-10) →
Attalus' home page | 15.12.16 | Any comments?