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The History of the Peloponnesian War
By Thucydides

Translated by Richard Crawley



Chapter I 

The State of Greece from the earliest Times to the Commencement of
the Peloponnesian War 

Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war between the
Peloponnesians and the Athenians, beginning at the moment that it
broke out, and believing that it would be a great war and more worthy
of relation than any that had preceded it. This belief was not without
its grounds. The preparations of both the combatants were in every
department in the last state of perfection; and he could see the rest
of the Hellenic race taking sides in the quarrel; those who delayed
doing so at once having it in contemplation. Indeed this was the greatest
movement yet known in history, not only of the Hellenes, but of a
large part of the barbarian world- I had almost said of mankind. For
though the events of remote antiquity, and even those that more immediately
preceded the war, could not from lapse of time be clearly ascertained,
yet the evidences which an inquiry carried as far back as was practicable
leads me to trust, all point to the conclusion that there was nothing
on a great scale, either in war or in other matters. 

For instance, it is evident that the country now called Hellas had
in ancient times no settled population; on the contrary, migrations
were of frequent occurrence, the several tribes readily abandoning
their homes under the pressure of superior numbers. Without commerce,
without freedom of communication either by land or sea, cultivating
no more of their territory than the exigencies of life required, destitute
of capital, never planting their land (for they could not tell when
an invader might not come and take it all away, and when he did come
they had no walls to stop him), thinking that the necessities of daily
sustenance could be supplied at one place as well as another, they
cared little for shifting their habitation, and consequently neither
built large cities nor attained to any other form of greatness. The
richest soils were always most subject to this change of masters;
such as the district now called Thessaly, Boeotia, most of the Peloponnese,
Arcadia excepted, and the most fertile parts of the rest of Hellas.
The goodness of the land favoured the aggrandizement of particular
individuals, and thus created faction which proved a fertile source
of ruin. It also invited invasion. Accordingly Attica, from the poverty
of its soil enjoying from a very remote period freedom from faction,
never changed its inhabitants. And here is no inconsiderable exemplification
of my assertion that the migrations were the cause of there being
no correspondent growth in other parts. The most powerful victims
of war or faction from the rest of Hellas took refuge with the Athenians
as a safe retreat; and at an early period, becoming naturalized, swelled
the already large population of the city to such a height that Attica
became at last too small to hold them, and they had to send out colonies
to Ionia. 

There is also another circumstance that contributes not a little to
my conviction of the weakness of ancient times. Before the Trojan
war there is no indication of any common action in Hellas, nor indeed
of the universal prevalence of the name; on the contrary, before the
time of Hellen, son of Deucalion, no such appellation existed, but
the country went by the names of the different tribes, in particular
of the Pelasgian. It was not till Hellen and his sons grew strong
in Phthiotis, and were invited as allies into the other cities, that
one by one they gradually acquired from the connection the name of
Hellenes; though a long time elapsed before that name could fasten
itself upon all. The best proof of this is furnished by Homer. Born
long after the Trojan War, he nowhere calls all of them by that name,
nor indeed any of them except the followers of Achilles from Phthiotis,
who were the original Hellenes: in his poems they are called Danaans,
Argives, and Achaeans. He does not even use the term barbarian, probably
because the Hellenes had not yet been marked off from the rest of
the world by one distinctive appellation. It appears therefore that
the several Hellenic communities, comprising not only those who first
acquired the name, city by city, as they came to understand each other,
but also those who assumed it afterwards as the name of the whole
people, were before the Trojan war prevented by their want of strength
and the absence of mutual intercourse from displaying any collective

Indeed, they could not unite for this expedition till they had gained
increased familiarity with the sea. And the first person known to
us by tradition as having established a navy is Minos. He made himself
master of what is now called the Hellenic sea, and ruled over the
Cyclades, into most of which he sent the first colonies, expelling
the Carians and appointing his own sons governors; and thus did his
best to put down piracy in those waters, a necessary step to secure
the revenues for his own use. 

For in early times the Hellenes and the barbarians of the coast and
islands, as communication by sea became more common, were tempted
to turn pirates, under the conduct of their most powerful men; the
motives being to serve their own cupidity and to support the needy.
They would fall upon a town unprotected by walls, and consisting of
a mere collection of villages, and would plunder it; indeed, this
came to be the main source of their livelihood, no disgrace being
yet attached to such an achievement, but even some glory. An illustration
of this is furnished by the honour with which some of the inhabitants
of the continent still regard a successful marauder, and by the question
we find the old poets everywhere representing the people as asking
of voyagers- "Are they pirates?"- as if those who are asked the question
would have no idea of disclaiming the imputation, or their interrogators
of reproaching them for it. The same rapine prevailed also by land.

And even at the present day many of Hellas still follow the old fashion,
the Ozolian Locrians for instance, the Aetolians, the Acarnanians,
and that region of the continent; and the custom of carrying arms
is still kept up among these continentals, from the old piratical
habits. The whole of Hellas used once to carry arms, their habitations
being unprotected and their communication with each other unsafe;
indeed, to wear arms was as much a part of everyday life with them
as with the barbarians. And the fact that the people in these parts
of Hellas are still living in the old way points to a time when the
same mode of life was once equally common to all. The Athenians were
the first to lay aside their weapons, and to adopt an easier and more
luxurious mode of life; indeed, it is only lately that their rich
old men left off the luxury of wearing undergarments of linen, and
fastening a knot of their hair with a tie of golden grasshoppers,
a fashion which spread to their Ionian kindred and long prevailed
among the old men there. On the contrary, a modest style of dressing,
more in conformity with modern ideas, was first adopted by the Lacedaemonians,
the rich doing their best to assimilate their way of life to that
of the common people. They also set the example of contending naked,
publicly stripping and anointing themselves with oil in their gymnastic
exercises. Formerly, even in the Olympic contests, the athletes who
contended wore belts across their middles; and it is but a few years
since that the practice ceased. To this day among some of the barbarians,
especially in Asia, when prizes for boxing and wrestling are offered,
belts are worn by the combatants. And there are many other points
in which a likeness might be shown between the life of the Hellenic
world of old and the barbarian of to-day. 

With respect to their towns, later on, at an era of increased facilities
of navigation and a greater supply of capital, we find the shores
becoming the site of walled towns, and the isthmuses being occupied
for the purposes of commerce and defence against a neighbour. But
the old towns, on account of the great prevalence of piracy, were
built away from the sea, whether on the islands or the continent,
and still remain in their old sites. For the pirates used to plunder
one another, and indeed all coast populations, whether seafaring or

The islanders, too, were great pirates. These islanders were Carians
and Phoenicians, by whom most of the islands were colonized, as was
proved by the following fact. During the purification of Delos by
Athens in this war all the graves in the island were taken up, and
it was found that above half their inmates were Carians: they were
identified by the fashion of the arms buried with them, and by the
method of interment, which was the same as the Carians still follow.
But as soon as Minos had formed his navy, communication by sea became
easier, as he colonized most of the islands, and thus expelled the
malefactors. The coast population now began to apply themselves more
closely to the acquisition of wealth, and their life became more settled;
some even began to build themselves walls on the strength of their
newly acquired riches. For the love of gain would reconcile the weaker
to the dominion of the stronger, and the possession of capital enabled
the more powerful to reduce the smaller towns to subjection. And it
was at a somewhat later stage of this development that they went on
the expedition against Troy. 

What enabled Agamemnon to raise the armament was more, in my opinion,
his superiority in strength, than the oaths of Tyndareus, which bound
the suitors to follow him. Indeed, the account given by those Peloponnesians
who have been the recipients of the most credible tradition is this.
First of all Pelops, arriving among a needy population from Asia with
vast wealth, acquired such power that, stranger though he was, the
country was called after him; and this power fortune saw fit materially
to increase in the hands of his descendants. Eurystheus had been killed
in Attica by the Heraclids. Atreus was his mother's brother; and to
the hands of his relation, who had left his father on account of the
death of Chrysippus, Eurystheus, when he set out on his expedition,
had committed Mycenae and the government. As time went on and Eurystheus
did not return, Atreus complied with the wishes of the Mycenaeans,
who were influenced by fear of the Heraclids- besides, his power seemed
considerable, and he had not neglected to court the favour of the
populace- and assumed the sceptre of Mycenae and the rest of the dominions
of Eurystheus. And so the power of the descendants of Pelops came
to be greater than that of the descendants of Perseus. To all this
Agamemnon succeeded. He had also a navy far stronger than his contemporaries,
so that, in my opinion, fear was quite as strong an element as love
in the formation of the confederate expedition. The strength of his
navy is shown by the fact that his own was the largest contingent,
and that of the Arcadians was furnished by him; this at least is what
Homer says, if his testimony is deemed sufficient. Besides, in his
account of the transmission of the sceptre, he calls him "Of many
an isle, and of all Argos king." Now Agamemnon's was a continental
power; and he could not have been master of any except the adjacent
islands (and these would not be many), but through the possession
of a fleet. 

And from this expedition we may infer the character of earlier enterprises.
Now Mycenae may have been a small place, and many of the towns of
that age may appear comparatively insignificant, but no exact observer
would therefore feel justified in rejecting the estimate given by
the poets and by tradition of the magnitude of the armament. For I
suppose if Lacedaemon were to become desolate, and the temples and
the foundations of the public buildings were left, that as time went
on there would be a strong disposition with posterity to refuse to
accept her fame as a true exponent of her power. And yet they occupy
two-fifths of Peloponnese and lead the whole, not to speak of their
numerous allies without. Still, as the city is neither built in a
compact form nor adorned with magnificent temples and public edifices,
but composed of villages after the old fashion of Hellas, there would
be an impression of inadequacy. Whereas, if Athens were to suffer
the same misfortune, I suppose that any inference from the appearance
presented to the eye would make her power to have been twice as great
as it is. We have therefore no right to be sceptical, nor to content
ourselves with an inspection of a town to the exclusion of a consideration
of its power; but we may safely conclude that the armament in question
surpassed all before it, as it fell short of modern efforts; if we
can here also accept the testimony of Homer's poems, in which, without
allowing for the exaggeration which a poet would feel himself licensed
to employ, we can see that it was far from equalling ours. He has
represented it as consisting of twelve hundred vessels; the Boeotian
complement of each ship being a hundred and twenty men, that of the
ships of Philoctetes fifty. By this, I conceive, he meant to convey
the maximum and the minimum complement: at any rate, he does not specify
the amount of any others in his catalogue of the ships. That they
were all rowers as well as warriors we see from his account of the
ships of Philoctetes, in which all the men at the oar are bowmen.
Now it is improbable that many supernumeraries sailed, if we except
the kings and high officers; especially as they had to cross the open
sea with munitions of war, in ships, moreover, that had no decks,
but were equipped in the old piratical fashion. So that if we strike
the average of the largest and smallest ships, the number of those
who sailed will appear inconsiderable, representing, as they did,
the whole force of Hellas. And this was due not so much to scarcity
of men as of money. Difficulty of subsistence made the invaders reduce
the numbers of the army to a point at which it might live on the country
during the prosecution of the war. Even after the victory they obtained
on their arrival- and a victory there must have been, or the fortifications
of the naval camp could never have been built- there is no indication
of their whole force having been employed; on the contrary, they seem
to have turned to cultivation of the Chersonese and to piracy from
want of supplies. This was what really enabled the Trojans to keep
the field for ten years against them; the dispersion of the enemy
making them always a match for the detachment left behind. If they
had brought plenty of supplies with them, and had persevered in the
war without scattering for piracy and agriculture, they would have
easily defeated the Trojans in the field, since they could hold their
own against them with the division on service. In short, if they had
stuck to the siege, the capture of Troy would have cost them less
time and less trouble. But as want of money proved the weakness of
earlier expeditions, so from the same cause even the one in question,
more famous than its predecessors, may be pronounced on the evidence
of what it effected to have been inferior to its renown and to the
current opinion about it formed under the tuition of the poets.

Even after the Trojan War, Hellas was still engaged in removing and
settling, and thus could not attain to the quiet which must precede
growth. The late return of the Hellenes from Ilium caused many revolutions,
and factions ensued almost everywhere; and it was the citizens thus
driven into exile who founded the cities. Sixty years after the capture
of Ilium, the modern Boeotians were driven out of Arne by the Thessalians,
and settled in the present Boeotia, the former Cadmeis; though there
was a division of them there before, some of whom joined the expedition
to Ilium. Twenty years later, the Dorians and the Heraclids became
masters of Peloponnese; so that much had to be done and many years
had to elapse before Hellas could attain to a durable tranquillity
undisturbed by removals, and could begin to send out colonies, as
Athens did to Ionia and most of the islands, and the Peloponnesians
to most of Italy and Sicily and some places in the rest of Hellas.
All these places were founded subsequently to the war with Troy.

But as the power of Hellas grew, and the acquisition of wealth became
more an object, the revenues of the states increasing, tyrannies were
by their means established almost everywhere- the old form of government
being hereditary monarchy with definite prerogatives- and Hellas began
to fit out fleets and apply herself more closely to the sea. It is
said that the Corinthians were the first to approach the modern style
of naval architecture, and that Corinth was the first place in Hellas
where galleys were built; and we have Ameinocles, a Corinthian shipwright,
making four ships for the Samians. Dating from the end of this war,
it is nearly three hundred years ago that Ameinocles went to Samos.
Again, the earliest sea-fight in history was between the Corinthians
and Corcyraeans; this was about two hundred and sixty years ago, dating
from the same time. Planted on an isthmus, Corinth had from time out
of mind been a commercial emporium; as formerly almost all communication
between the Hellenes within and without Peloponnese was carried on
overland, and the Corinthian territory was the highway through which
it travelled. She had consequently great money resources, as is shown
by the epithet "wealthy" bestowed by the old poets on the place, and
this enabled her, when traffic by sea became more common, to procure
her navy and put down piracy; and as she could offer a mart for both
branches of the trade, she acquired for herself all the power which
a large revenue affords. Subsequently the Ionians attained to great
naval strength in the reign of Cyrus, the first king of the Persians,
and of his son Cambyses, and while they were at war with the former
commanded for a while the Ionian sea. Polycrates also, the tyrant
of Samos, had a powerful navy in the reign of Cambyses, with which
he reduced many of the islands, and among them Rhenea, which he consecrated
to the Delian Apollo. About this time also the Phocaeans, while they
were founding Marseilles, defeated the Carthaginians in a sea-fight.
These were the most powerful navies. And even these, although so many
generations had elapsed since the Trojan war, seem to have been principally
composed of the old fifty-oars and long-boats, and to have counted
few galleys among their ranks. Indeed it was only shortly the Persian
war, and the death of Darius the successor of Cambyses, that the Sicilian
tyrants and the Corcyraeans acquired any large number of galleys.
For after these there were no navies of any account in Hellas till
the expedition of Xerxes; Aegina, Athens, and others may have possessed
a few vessels, but they were principally fifty-oars. It was quite
at the end of this period that the war with Aegina and the prospect
of the barbarian invasion enabled Themistocles to persuade the Athenians
to build the fleet with which they fought at Salamis; and even these
vessels had not complete decks. 

The navies, then, of the Hellenes during the period we have traversed
were what I have described. All their insignificance did not prevent
their being an element of the greatest power to those who cultivated
them, alike in revenue and in dominion. They were the means by which
the islands were reached and reduced, those of the smallest area falling
the easiest prey. Wars by land there were none, none at least by which
power was acquired; we have the usual border contests, but of distant
expeditions with conquest for object we hear nothing among the Hellenes.
There was no union of subject cities round a great state, no spontaneous
combination of equals for confederate expeditions; what fighting there
was consisted merely of local warfare between rival neighbours. The
nearest approach to a coalition took place in the old war between
Chalcis and Eretria; this was a quarrel in which the rest of the Hellenic
name did to some extent take sides. 

Various, too, were the obstacles which the national growth encountered
in various localities. The power of the Ionians was advancing with
rapid strides, when it came into collision with Persia, under King
Cyrus, who, after having dethroned Croesus and overrun everything
between the Halys and the sea, stopped not till he had reduced the
cities of the coast; the islands being only left to be subdued by
Darius and the Phoenician navy. 

Again, wherever there were tyrants, their habit of providing simply
for themselves, of looking solely to their personal comfort and family
aggrandizement, made safety the great aim of their policy, and prevented
anything great proceeding from them; though they would each have their
affairs with their immediate neighbours. All this is only true of
the mother country, for in Sicily they attained to very great power.
Thus for a long time everywhere in Hellas do we find causes which
make the states alike incapable of combination for great and national
ends, or of any vigorous action of their own. 

But at last a time came when the tyrants of Athens and the far older
tyrannies of the rest of Hellas were, with the exception of those
in Sicily, once and for all put down by Lacedaemon; for this city,
though after the settlement of the Dorians, its present inhabitants,
it suffered from factions for an unparalleled length of time, still
at a very early period obtained good laws, and enjoyed a freedom from
tyrants which was unbroken; it has possessed the same form of government
for more than four hundred years, reckoning to the end of the late
war, and has thus been in a position to arrange the affairs of the
other states. Not many years after the deposition of the tyrants,
the battle of Marathon was fought between the Medes and the Athenians.
Ten years afterwards, the barbarian returned with the armada for the
subjugation of Hellas. In the face of this great danger, the command
of the confederate Hellenes was assumed by the Lacedaemonians in virtue
of their superior power; and the Athenians, having made up their minds
to abandon their city, broke up their homes, threw themselves into
their ships, and became a naval people. This coalition, after repulsing
the barbarian, soon afterwards split into two sections, which included
the Hellenes who had revolted from the King, as well as those who
had aided him in the war. At the end of the one stood Athens, at the
head of the other Lacedaemon, one the first naval, the other the first
military power in Hellas. For a short time the league held together,
till the Lacedaemonians and Athenians quarrelled and made war upon
each other with their allies, a duel into which all the Hellenes sooner
or later were drawn, though some might at first remain neutral. So
that the whole period from the Median war to this, with some peaceful
intervals, was spent by each power in war, either with its rival,
or with its own revolted allies, and consequently afforded them constant
practice in military matters, and that experience which is learnt
in the school of danger. 

The policy of Lacedaemon was not to exact tribute from her allies,
but merely to secure their subservience to her interests by establishing
oligarchies among them; Athens, on the contrary, had by degrees deprived
hers of their ships, and imposed instead contributions in money on
all except Chios and Lesbos. Both found their resources for this war
separately to exceed the sum of their strength when the alliance flourished

Having now given the result of my inquiries into early times, I grant
that there will be a difficulty in believing every particular detail.
The way that most men deal with traditions, even traditions of their
own country, is to receive them all alike as they are delivered, without
applying any critical test whatever. The general Athenian public fancy
that Hipparchus was tyrant when he fell by the hands of Harmodius
and Aristogiton, not knowing that Hippias, the eldest of the sons
of Pisistratus, was really supreme, and that Hipparchus and Thessalus
were his brothers; and that Harmodius and Aristogiton suspecting,
on the very day, nay at the very moment fixed on for the deed, that
information had been conveyed to Hippias by their accomplices, concluded
that he had been warned, and did not attack him, yet, not liking to
be apprehended and risk their lives for nothing, fell upon Hipparchus
near the temple of the daughters of Leos, and slew him as he was arranging
the Panathenaic procession. 

There are many other unfounded ideas current among the rest of the
Hellenes, even on matters of contemporary history, which have not
been obscured by time. For instance, there is the notion that the
Lacedaemonian kings have two votes each, the fact being that they
have only one; and that there is a company of Pitane, there being
simply no such thing. So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation
of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand. On
the whole, however, the conclusions I have drawn from the proofs quoted
may, I believe, safely be relied on. Assuredly they will not be disturbed
either by the lays of a poet displaying the exaggeration of his craft,
or by the compositions of the chroniclers that are attractive at truth's
expense; the subjects they treat of being out of the reach of evidence,
and time having robbed most of them of historical value by enthroning
them in the region of legend. Turning from these, we can rest satisfied
with having proceeded upon the clearest data, and having arrived at
conclusions as exact as can be expected in matters of such antiquity.
To come to this war: despite the known disposition of the actors in
a struggle to overrate its importance, and when it is over to return
to their admiration of earlier events, yet an examination of the facts
will show that it was much greater than the wars which preceded it.

With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered
before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself,
others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult
to carry them word for word in one's memory, so my habit has been
to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by
the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to
the general sense of what they really said. And with reference to
the narrative of events, far from permitting myself to derive it from
the first source that came to hand, I did not even trust my own impressions,
but it rests partly on what I saw myself, partly on what others saw
for me, the accuracy of the report being always tried by the most
severe and detailed tests possible. My conclusions have cost me some
labour from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences
by different eye-witnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory,
sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other. The absence
of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest;
but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact
knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future,
which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect
it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work, not as an
essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession
for all time. 

The Median War, the greatest achievement of past times, yet found
a speedy decision in two actions by sea and two by land. The Peloponnesian
War was prolonged to an immense length, and, long as it was, it was
short without parallel for the misfortunes that it brought upon Hellas.
Never had so many cities been taken and laid desolate, here by the
barbarians, here by the parties contending (the old inhabitants being
sometimes removed to make room for others); never was there so much
banishing and blood-shedding, now on the field of battle, now in the
strife of faction. Old stories of occurrences handed down by tradition,
but scantily confirmed by experience, suddenly ceased to be incredible;
there were earthquakes of unparalleled extent and violence; eclipses
of the sun occurred with a frequency unrecorded in previous history;
there were great droughts in sundry places and consequent famines,
and that most calamitous and awfully fatal visitation, the plague.
All this came upon them with the late war, which was begun by the
Athenians and Peloponnesians by the dissolution of the thirty years'
truce made after the conquest of Euboea. To the question why they
broke the treaty, I answer by placing first an account of their grounds
of complaint and points of difference, that no one may ever have to
ask the immediate cause which plunged the Hellenes into a war of such
magnitude. The real cause I consider to be the one which was formally
most kept out of sight. The growth of the power of Athens, and the
alarm which this inspired in Lacedaemon, made war inevitable. Still
it is well to give the grounds alleged by either side which led to
the dissolution of the treaty and the breaking out of the war.

Chapter II

Causes of the War - The Affair of Epidamnus - The Affair of Potidaea

The city of Epidamnus stands on the right of the entrance of the Ionic
Gulf. Its vicinity is inhabited by the Taulantians, an Illyrian people.
The place is a colony from Corcyra, founded by Phalius, son of Eratocleides,
of the family of the Heraclids, who had according to ancient usage
been summoned for the purpose from Corinth, the mother country. The
colonists were joined by some Corinthians, and others of the Dorian
race. Now, as time went on, the city of Epidamnus became great and
populous; but falling a prey to factions arising, it is said, from
a war with her neighbours the barbarians, she became much enfeebled,
and lost a considerable amount of her power. The last act before the
war was the expulsion of the nobles by the people. The exiled party
joined the barbarians, and proceeded to plunder those in the city
by sea and land; and the Epidamnians, finding themselves hard pressed,
sent ambassadors to Corcyra beseeching their mother country not to
allow them to perish, but to make up matters between them and the
exiles, and to rid them of the war with the barbarians. The ambassadors
seated themselves in the temple of Hera as suppliants, and made the
above requests to the Corcyraeans. But the Corcyraeans refused to
accept their supplication, and they were dismissed without having
effected anything. 

When the Epidamnians found that no help could be expected from Corcyra,
they were in a strait what to do next. So they sent to Delphi and
inquired of the God whether they should deliver their city to the
Corinthians and endeavour to obtain some assistance from their founders.
The answer he gave them was to deliver the city and place themselves
under Corinthian protection. So the Epidamnians went to Corinth and
delivered over the colony in obedience to the commands of the oracle.
They showed that their founder came from Corinth, and revealed the
answer of the god; and they begged them not to allow them to perish,
but to assist them. This the Corinthians consented to do. Believing
the colony to belong as much to themselves as to the Corcyraeans,
they felt it to be a kind of duty to undertake their protection. Besides,
they hated the Corcyraeans for their contempt of the mother country.
Instead of meeting with the usual honours accorded to the parent city
by every other colony at public assemblies, such as precedence at
sacrifices, Corinth found herself treated with contempt by a power
which in point of wealth could stand comparison with any even of the
richest communities in Hellas, which possessed great military strength,
and which sometimes could not repress a pride in the high naval position
of an, island whose nautical renown dated from the days of its old
inhabitants, the Phaeacians. This was one reason of the care that
they lavished on their fleet, which became very efficient; indeed
they began the war with a force of a hundred and twenty galleys.

All these grievances made Corinth eager to send the promised aid to
Epidamnus. Advertisement was made for volunteer settlers, and a force
of Ambraciots, Leucadians, and Corinthians was dispatched. They marched
by land to Apollonia, a Corinthian colony, the route by sea being
avoided from fear of Corcyraean interruption. When the Corcyraeans
heard of the arrival of the settlers and troops in Epidamnus, and
the surrender of the colony to Corinth, they took fire. Instantly
putting to sea with five-and-twenty ships, which were quickly followed
by others, they insolently commanded the Epidamnians to receive back
the banished nobles- (it must be premised that the Epidamnian exiles
had come to Corcyra and, pointing to the sepulchres of their ancestors,
had appealed to their kindred to restore them)- and to dismiss the
Corinthian garrison and settlers. But to all this the Epidamnians
turned a deaf ear. Upon this the Corcyraeans commenced operations
against them with a fleet of forty sail. They took with them the exiles,
with a view to their restoration, and also secured the services of
the Illyrians. Sitting down before the city, they issued a proclamation
to the effect that any of the natives that chose, and the foreigners,
might depart unharmed, with the alternative of being treated as enemies.
On their refusal the Corcyraeans proceeded to besiege the city, which
stands on an isthmus; and the Corinthians, receiving intelligence
of the investment of Epidamnus, got together an armament and proclaimed
a colony to Epidamnus, perfect political equality being guaranteed
to all who chose to go. Any who were not prepared to sail at once
might, by paying down the sum of fifty Corinthian drachmae, have a
share in the colony without leaving Corinth. Great numbers took advantage
of this proclamation, some being ready to start directly, others paying
the requisite forfeit. In case of their passage being disputed by
the Corcyraeans, several cities were asked to lend them a convoy.
Megara prepared to accompany them with eight ships, Pale in Cephallonia
with four; Epidaurus furnished five, Hermione one, Troezen two, Leucas
ten, and Ambracia eight. The Thebans and Phliasians were asked for
money, the Eleans for hulls as well; while Corinth herself furnished
thirty ships and three thousand heavy infantry. 

When the Corcyraeans heard of their preparations they came to Corinth
with envoys from Lacedaemon and Sicyon, whom they persuaded to accompany
them, and bade her recall the garrison and settlers, as she had nothing
to do with Epidamnus. If, however, she had any claims to make, they
were willing to submit the matter to the arbitration of such of the
cities in Peloponnese as should be chosen by mutual agreement, and
that the colony should remain with the city to whom the arbitrators
might assign it. They were also willing to refer the matter to the
oracle at Delphi. If, in defiance of their protestations, war was
appealed to, they should be themselves compelled by this violence
to seek friends in quarters where they had no desire to seek them,
and to make even old ties give way to the necessity of assistance.
The answer they got from Corinth was that, if they would withdraw
their fleet and the barbarians from Epidamnus, negotiation might be
possible; but, while the town was still being besieged, going before
arbitrators was out of the question. The Corcyraeans retorted that
if Corinth would withdraw her troops from Epidamnus they would withdraw
theirs, or they were ready to let both parties remain in statu quo,
an armistice being concluded till judgment could be given.

Turning a deaf ear to all these proposals, when their ships were manned
and their allies had come in, the Corinthians sent a herald before
them to declare war and, getting under way with seventy-five ships
and two thousand heavy infantry, sailed for Epidamnus to give battle
to the Corcyraeans. The fleet was under the command of Aristeus, son
of Pellichas, Callicrates, son of Callias, and Timanor, son of Timanthes;
the troops under that of Archetimus, son of Eurytimus, and Isarchidas,
son of Isarchus. When they had reached Actium in the territory of
Anactorium, at the mouth of the mouth of the Gulf of Ambracia, where
the temple of Apollo stands, the Corcyraeans sent on a herald in a
light boat to warn them not to sail against them. Meanwhile they proceeded
to man their ships, all of which had been equipped for action, the
old vessels being undergirded to make them seaworthy. On the return
of the herald without any peaceful answer from the Corinthians, their
ships being now manned, they put out to sea to meet the enemy with
a fleet of eighty sail (forty were engaged in the siege of Epidamnus),
formed line, and went into action, and gained a decisive victory,
and destroyed fifteen of the Corinthian vessels. The same day had
seen Epidamnus compelled by its besiegers to capitulate; the conditions
being that the foreigners should be sold, and the Corinthians kept
as prisoners of war, till their fate should be otherwise decided.

After the engagement the Corcyraeans set up a trophy on Leukimme,
a headland of Corcyra, and slew all their captives except the Corinthians,
whom they kept as prisoners of war. Defeated at sea, the Corinthians
and their allies repaired home, and left the Corcyraeans masters of
all the sea about those parts. Sailing to Leucas, a Corinthian colony,
they ravaged their territory, and burnt Cyllene, the harbour of the
Eleans, because they had furnished ships and money to Corinth. For
almost the whole of the period that followed the battle they remained
masters of the sea, and the allies of Corinth were harassed by Corcyraean
cruisers. At last Corinth, roused by the sufferings of her allies,
sent out ships and troops in the fall of the summer, who formed an
encampment at Actium and about Chimerium, in Thesprotis, for the protection
of Leucas and the rest of the friendly cities. The Corcyraeans on
their part formed a similar station on Leukimme. Neither party made
any movement, but they remained confronting each other till the end
of the summer, and winter was at hand before either of them returned

Corinth, exasperated by the war with the Corcyraeans, spent the whole
of the year after the engagement and that succeeding it in building
ships, and in straining every nerve to form an efficient fleet; rowers
being drawn from Peloponnese and the rest of Hellas by the inducement
of large bounties. The Corcyraeans, alarmed at the news of their preparations,
being without a single ally in Hellas (for they had not enrolled themselves
either in the Athenian or in the Lacedaemonian confederacy), decided
to repair to Athens in order to enter into alliance and to endeavour
to procure support from her. Corinth also, hearing of their intentions,
sent an embassy to Athens to prevent the Corcyraean navy being joined
by the Athenian, and her prospect of ordering the war according to
her wishes being thus impeded. An assembly was convoked, and the rival
advocates appeared: the Corcyraeans spoke as follows: 

"Athenians! when a people that have not rendered any important service
or support to their neighbours in times past, for which they might
claim to be repaid, appear before them as we now appear before you
to solicit their assistance, they may fairly be required to satisfy
certain preliminary conditions. They should show, first, that it is
expedient or at least safe to grant their request; next, that they
will retain a lasting sense of the kindness. But if they cannot clearly
establish any of these points, they must not be annoyed if they meet
with a rebuff. Now the Corcyraeans believe that with their petition
for assistance they can also give you a satisfactory answer on these
points, and they have therefore dispatched us hither. It has so happened
that our policy as regards you with respect to this request, turns
out to be inconsistent, and as regards our interests, to be at the
present crisis inexpedient. We say inconsistent, because a power which
has never in the whole of her past history been willing to ally herself
with any of her neighbours, is now found asking them to ally themselves
with her. And we say inexpedient, because in our present war with
Corinth it has left us in a position of entire isolation, and what
once seemed the wise precaution of refusing to involve ourselves in
alliances with other powers, lest we should also involve ourselves
in risks of their choosing, has now proved to be folly and weakness.
It is true that in the late naval engagement we drove back the Corinthians
from our shores single-handed. But they have now got together a still
larger armament from Peloponnese and the rest of Hellas; and we, seeing
our utter inability to cope with them without foreign aid, and the
magnitude of the danger which subjection to them implies, find it
necessary to ask help from you and from every other power. And we
hope to be excused if we forswear our old principle of complete political
isolation, a principle which was not adopted with any sinister intention,
but was rather the consequence of an error in judgment. 

"Now there are many reasons why in the event of your compliance you
will congratulate yourselves on this request having been made to you.
First, because your assistance will be rendered to a power which,
herself inoffensive, is a victim to the injustice of others. Secondly,
because all that we most value is at stake in the present contest,
and your welcome of us under these circumstances will be a proof of
goodwill which will ever keep alive the gratitude you will lay up
in our hearts. Thirdly, yourselves excepted, we are the greatest naval
power in Hellas. Moreover, can you conceive a stroke of good fortune
more rare in itself, or more disheartening to your enemies, than that
the power whose adhesion you would have valued above much material
and moral strength should present herself self-invited, should deliver
herself into your hands without danger and without expense, and should
lastly put you in the way of gaining a high character in the eyes
of the world, the gratitude of those whom you shall assist, and a
great accession of strength for yourselves? You may search all history
without finding many instances of a people gaining all these advantages
at once, or many instances of a power that comes in quest of assistance
being in a position to give to the people whose alliance she solicits
as much safety and honour as she will receive. But it will be urged
that it is only in the case of a war that we shall be found useful.
To this we answer that if any of you imagine that that war is far
off, he is grievously mistaken, and is blind to the fact that Lacedaemon
regards you with jealousy and desires war, and that Corinth is powerful
there- the same, remember, that is your enemy, and is even now trying
to subdue us as a preliminary to attacking you. And this she does
to prevent our becoming united by a common enmity, and her having
us both on her hands, and also to ensure getting the start of you
in one of two ways, either by crippling our power or by making its
strength her own. Now it is our policy to be beforehand with her-
that is, for Corcyra to make an offer of alliance and for you to accept
it; in fact, we ought to form plans against her instead of waiting
to defeat the plans she forms against us. 

"If she asserts that for you to receive a colony of hers into alliance
is not right, let her know that every colony that is well treated
honours its parent state, but becomes estranged from it by injustice.
For colonists are not sent forth on the understanding that they are
to be the slaves of those that remain behind, but that they are to
be their equals. And that Corinth was injuring us is clear. Invited
to refer the dispute about Epidamnus to arbitration, they chose to
prosecute their complaints war rather than by a fair trial. And let
their conduct towards us who are their kindred be a warning to you
not to be misled by their deceit, nor to yield to their direct requests;
concessions to adversaries only end in self-reproach, and the more
strictly they are avoided the greater will be the chance of security.

"If it be urged that your reception of us will be a breach of the
treaty existing between you and Lacedaemon, the answer is that we
are a neutral state, and that one of the express provisions of that
treaty is that it shall be competent for any Hellenic state that is
neutral to join whichever side it pleases. And it is intolerable for
Corinth to be allowed to obtain men for her navy not only from her
allies, but also from the rest of Hellas, no small number being furnished
by your own subjects; while we are to be excluded both from the alliance
left open to us by treaty, and from any assistance that we might get
from other quarters, and you are to be accused of political immorality
if you comply with our request. On the other hand, we shall have much
greater cause to complain of you, if you do not comply with it; if
we, who are in peril and are no enemies of yours, meet with a repulse
at your hands, while Corinth, who is the aggressor and your enemy,
not only meets with no hindrance from you, but is even allowed to
draw material for war from your dependencies. This ought not to be,
but you should either forbid her enlisting men in your dominions,
or you should lend us too what help you may think advisable.

"But your real policy is to afford us avowed countenance and support.
The advantages of this course, as we premised in the beginning of
our speech, are many. We mention one that is perhaps the chief. Could
there be a clearer guarantee of our good faith than is offered by
the fact that the power which is at enmity with you is also at enmity
with us, and that that power is fully able to punish defection? And
there is a wide difference between declining the alliance of an inland
and of a maritime power. For your first endeavour should be to prevent,
if possible, the existence of any naval power except your own; failing
this, to secure the friendship of the strongest that does exist. And
if any of you believe that what we urge is expedient, but fear to
act upon this belief, lest it should lead to a breach of the treaty,
you must remember that on the one hand, whatever your fears, your
strength will be formidable to your antagonists; on the other, whatever
the confidence you derive from refusing to receive us, your weakness
will have no terrors for a strong enemy. You must also remember that
your decision is for Athens no less than Corcyra, and that you are
not making the best provision for her interests, if at a time when
you are anxiously scanning the horizon that you may be in readiness
for the breaking out of the war which is all but upon you, you hesitate
to attach to your side a place whose adhesion or estrangement is alike
pregnant with the most vital consequences. For it lies conveniently
for the coast- navigation in the direction of Italy and Sicily, being
able to bar the passage of naval reinforcements from thence to Peloponnese,
and from Peloponnese thither; and it is in other respects a most desirable
station. To sum up as shortly as possible, embracing both general
and particular considerations, let this show you the folly of sacrificing
us. Remember that there are but three considerable naval powers in
Hellas- Athens, Corcyra, and Corinth- and that if you allow two of
these three to become one, and Corinth to secure us for herself, you
will have to hold the sea against the united fleets of Corcyra and
Peloponnese. But if you receive us, you will have our ships to reinforce
you in the struggle." 

Such were the words of the Corcyraeans. After they had finished, the
Corinthians spoke as follows: 

"These Corcyraeans in the speech we have just heard do not confine
themselves to the question of their reception into your alliance.
They also talk of our being guilty of injustice, and their being the
victims of an unjustifiable war. It becomes necessary for us to touch
upon both these points before we proceed to the rest of what we have
to say, that you may have a more correct idea of the grounds of our
claim, and have good cause to reject their petition. According to
them, their old policy of refusing all offers of alliance was a policy
of moderation. It was in fact adopted for bad ends, not for good;
indeed their conduct is such as to make them by no means desirous
of having allies present to witness it, or of having the shame of
asking their concurrence. Besides, their geographical situation makes
them independent of others, and consequently the decision in cases
where they injure any lies not with judges appointed by mutual agreement,
but with themselves, because, while they seldom make voyages to their
neighbours, they are constantly being visited by foreign vessels which
are compelled to put in to Corcyra. In short, the object that they
propose to themselves, in their specious policy of complete isolation,
is not to avoid sharing in the crimes of others, but to secure monopoly
of crime to themselves- the licence of outrage wherever they can compel,
of fraud wherever they can elude, and the enjoyment of their gains
without shame. And yet if they were the honest men they pretend to
be, the less hold that others had upon them, the stronger would be
the light in which they might have put their honesty by giving and
taking what was just. 

"But such has not been their conduct either towards others or towards
us. The attitude of our colony towards us has always been one of estrangement
and is now one of hostility; for, say they: 'We were not sent out
to be ill-treated.' We rejoin that we did not found the colony to
be insulted by them, but to be their head and to be regarded with
a proper respect. At any rate our other colonies honour us, and we
are much beloved by our colonists; and clearly, if the majority are
satisfied with us, these can have no good reason for a dissatisfaction
in which they stand alone, and we are not acting improperly in making
war against them, nor are we making war against them without having
received signal provocation. Besides, if we were in the wrong, it
would be honourable in them to give way to our wishes, and disgraceful
for us to trample on their moderation; but in the pride and licence
of wealth they have sinned again and again against us, and never more
deeply than when Epidamnus, our dependency, which they took no steps
to claim in its distress upon our coming to relieve it, was by them
seized, and is now held by force of arms. 

"As to their allegation that they wished the question to be first
submitted to arbitration, it is obvious that a challenge coming from
the party who is safe in a commanding position cannot gain the credit
due only to him who, before appealing to arms, in deeds as well as
words, places himself on a level with his adversary. In their case,
it was not before they laid siege to the place, but after they at
length understood that we should not tamely suffer it, that they thought
of the specious word arbitration. And not satisfied with their own
misconduct there, they appear here now requiring you to join with
them not in alliance but in crime, and to receive them in spite of
their being at enmity with us. But it was when they stood firmest
that they should have made overtures to you, and not at a time when
we have been wronged and they are in peril; nor yet at a time when
you will be admitting to a share in your protection those who never
admitted you to a share in their power, and will be incurring an equal
amount of blame from us with those in whose offences you had no hand.
No, they should have shared their power with you before they asked
you to share your fortunes with them. 

"So then the reality of the grievances we come to complain of, and
the violence and rapacity of our opponents, have both been proved.
But that you cannot equitably receive them, this you have still to
learn. It may be true that one of the provisions of the treaty is
that it shall be competent for any state, whose name was not down
on the list, to join whichever side it pleases. But this agreement
is not meant for those whose object in joining is the injury of other
powers, but for those whose need of support does not arise from the
fact of defection, and whose adhesion will not bring to the power
that is mad enough to receive them war instead of peace; which will
be the case with you, if you refuse to listen to us. For you cannot
become their auxiliary and remain our friend; if you join in their
attack, you must share the punishment which the defenders inflict
on them. And yet you have the best possible right to be neutral, or,
failing this, you should on the contrary join us against them. Corinth
is at least in treaty with you; with Corcyra you were never even in
truce. But do not lay down the principle that defection is to be patronized.
Did we on the defection of the Samians record our vote against you,
when the rest of the Peloponnesian powers were equally divided on
the question whether they should assist them? No, we told them to
their face that every power has a right to punish its own allies.
Why, if you make it your policy to receive and assist all offenders,
you will find that just as many of your dependencies will come over
to us, and the principle that you establish will press less heavily
on us than on yourselves. 

"This then is what Hellenic law entitles us to demand as a right.
But we have also advice to offer and claims on your gratitude, which,
since there is no danger of our injuring you, as we are not enemies,
and since our friendship does not amount to very frequent intercourse,
we say ought to be liquidated at the present juncture. When you were
in want of ships of war for the war against the Aeginetans, before
the Persian invasion, Corinth supplied you with twenty vessels. That
good turn, and the line we took on the Samian question, when we were
the cause of the Peloponnesians refusing to assist them, enabled you
to conquer Aegina and to punish Samos. And we acted thus at crises
when, if ever, men are wont in their efforts against their enemies
to forget everything for the sake of victory, regarding him who assists
them then as a friend, even if thus far he has been a foe, and him
who opposes them then as a foe, even if he has thus far been a friend;
indeed they allow their real interests to suffer from their absorbing
preoccupation in the struggle. 

"Weigh well these considerations, and let your youth learn what they
are from their elders, and let them determine to do unto us as we
have done unto you. And let them not acknowledge the justice of what
we say, but dispute its wisdom in the contingency of war. Not only
is the straightest path generally speaking the wisest; but the coming
of the war, which the Corcyraeans have used as a bugbear to persuade
you to do wrong, is still uncertain, and it is not worth while to
be carried away by it into gaining the instant and declared enmity
of Corinth. It were, rather, wise to try and counteract the unfavourable
impression which your conduct to Megara has created. For kindness
opportunely shown has a greater power of removing old grievances than
the facts of the case may warrant. And do not be seduced by the prospect
of a great naval alliance. Abstinence from all injustice to other
first-rate powers is a greater tower of strength than anything that
can be gained by the sacrifice of permanent tranquillity for an apparent
temporary advantage. It is now our turn to benefit by the principle
that we laid down at Lacedaemon, that every power has a right to punish
her own allies. We now claim to receive the same from you, and protest
against your rewarding us for benefiting you by our vote by injuring
us by yours. On the contrary, return us like for like, remembering
that this is that very crisis in which he who lends aid is most a
friend, and he who opposes is most a foe. And for these Corcyraeans-
neither receive them into alliance in our despite, nor be their abettors
in crime. So do, and you will act as we have a right to expect of
you, and at the same time best consult your own interests."

Such were the words of the Corinthians. 

When the Athenians had heard both out, two assemblies were held. In
the first there was a manifest disposition to listen to the representations
of Corinth; in the second, public feeling had changed and an alliance
with Corcyra was decided on, with certain reservations. It was to
be a defensive, not an offensive alliance. It did not involve a breach
of the treaty with Peloponnese: Athens could not be required to join
Corcyra in any attack upon Corinth. But each of the contracting parties
had a right to the other's assistance against invasion, whether of
his own territory or that of an ally. For it began now to be felt
that the coming of the Peloponnesian war was only a question of time,
and no one was willing to see a naval power of such magnitude as Corcyra
sacrificed to Corinth; though if they could let them weaken each other
by mutual conflict, it would be no bad preparation for the struggle
which Athens might one day have to wage with Corinth and the other
naval powers. At the same time the island seemed to lie conveniently
on the coasting passage to Italy and Sicily. With these views, Athens
received Corcyra into alliance and, on the departure of the Corinthians
not long afterwards, sent ten ships to their assistance. They were
commanded by Lacedaemonius, the son of Cimon, Diotimus, the son of
Strombichus, and Proteas, the son of Epicles. Their instructions were
to avoid collision with the Corinthian fleet except under certain
circumstances. If it sailed to Corcyra and threatened a landing on
her coast, or in any of her possessions, they were to do their utmost
to prevent it. These instructions were prompted by an anxiety to avoid
a breach of the treaty. 

Meanwhile the Corinthians completed their preparations, and sailed
for Corcyra with a hundred and fifty ships. Of these Elis furnished
ten, Megara twelve, Leucas ten, Ambracia twenty-seven, Anactorium
one, and Corinth herself ninety. Each of these contingents had its
own admiral, the Corinthian being under the command of Xenoclides,
son of Euthycles, with four colleagues. Sailing from Leucas, they
made land at the part of the continent opposite Corcyra. They anchored
in the harbour of Chimerium, in the territory of Thesprotis, above
which, at some distance from the sea, lies the city of Ephyre, in
the Elean district. By this city the Acherusian lake pours its waters
into the sea. It gets its name from the river Acheron, which flows
through Thesprotis and falls into the lake. There also the river Thyamis
flows, forming the boundary between Thesprotis and Kestrine; and between
these rivers rises the point of Chimerium. In this part of the continent
the Corinthians now came to anchor, and formed an encampment. When
the Corcyraeans saw them coming, they manned a hundred and ten ships,
commanded by Meikiades, Aisimides, and Eurybatus, and stationed themselves
at one of the Sybota isles; the ten Athenian ships being present.
On Point Leukimme they posted their land forces, and a thousand heavy
infantry who had come from Zacynthus to their assistance. Nor were
the Corinthians on the mainland without their allies. The barbarians
flocked in large numbers to their assistance, the inhabitants of this
part of the continent being old allies of theirs. 

When the Corinthian preparations were completed, they took three days'
provisions and put out from Chimerium by night, ready for action.
Sailing with the dawn, they sighted the Corcyraean fleet out at sea
and coming towards them. When they perceived each other, both sides
formed in order of battle. On the Corcyraean right wing lay the Athenian
ships, the rest of the line being occupied by their own vessels formed
in three squadrons, each of which was commanded by one of the three
admirals. Such was the Corcyraean formation. The Corinthian was as
follows: on the right wing lay the Megarian and Ambraciot ships, in
the centre the rest of the allies in order. But the left was composed
of the best sailers in the Corinthian navy, to encounter the Athenians
and the right wing of the Corcyraeans. As soon as the signals were
raised on either side, they joined battle. Both sides had a large
number of heavy infantry on their decks, and a large number of archers
and darters, the old imperfect armament still prevailing. The sea-fight
was an obstinate one, though not remarkable for its science; indeed
it was more like a battle by land. Whenever they charged each other,
the multitude and crush of the vessels made it by no means easy to
get loose; besides, their hopes of victory lay principally in the
heavy infantry on the decks, who stood and fought in order, the ships
remaining stationary. The manoeuvre of breaking the line was not tried;
in short, strength and pluck had more share in the fight than science.
Everywhere tumult reigned, the battle being one scene of confusion;
meanwhile the Athenian ships, by coming up to the Corcyraeans whenever
they were pressed, served to alarm the enemy, though their commanders
could not join in the battle from fear of their instructions. The
right wing of the Corinthians suffered most. The Corcyraeans routed
it, and chased them in disorder to the continent with twenty ships,
sailed up to their camp, and burnt the tents which they found empty,
and plundered the stuff. So in this quarter the Corinthians and their
allies were defeated, and the Corcyraeans were victorious. But where
the Corinthians themselves were, on the left, they gained a decided
success; the scanty forces of the Corcyraeans being further weakened
by the want of the twenty ships absent on the pursuit. Seeing the
Corcyraeans hard pressed, the Athenians began at length to assist
them more unequivocally. At first, it is true, they refrained from
charging any ships; but when the rout was becoming patent, and the
Corinthians were pressing on, the time at last came when every one
set to, and all distinction was laid aside, and it came to this point,
that the Corinthians and Athenians raised their hands against each

After the rout, the Corinthians, instead of employing themselves in
lashing fast and hauling after them the hulls of the vessels which
they had disabled, turned their attention to the men, whom they butchered
as they sailed through, not caring so much to make prisoners. Some
even of their own friends were slain by them, by mistake, in their
ignorance of the defeat of the right wing For the number of the ships
on both sides, and the distance to which they covered the sea, made
it difficult, after they had once joined, to distinguish between the
conquering and the conquered; this battle proving far greater than
any before it, any at least between Hellenes, for the number of vessels
engaged. After the Corinthians had chased the Corcyraeans to the land,
they turned to the wrecks and their dead, most of whom they succeeded
in getting hold of and conveying to Sybota, the rendezvous of the
land forces furnished by their barbarian allies. Sybota, it must be
known, is a desert harbour of Thesprotis. This task over, they mustered
anew, and sailed against the Corcyraeans, who on their part advanced
to meet them with all their ships that were fit for service and remaining
to them, accompanied by the Athenian vessels, fearing that they might
attempt a landing in their territory. It was by this time getting
late, and the paean had been sung for the attack, when the Corinthians
suddenly began to back water. They had observed twenty Athenian ships
sailing up, which had been sent out afterwards to reinforce the ten
vessels by the Athenians, who feared, as it turned out justly, the
defeat of the Corcyraeans and the inability of their handful of ships
to protect them. These ships were thus seen by the Corinthians first.
They suspected that they were from Athens, and that those which they
saw were not all, but that there were more behind; they accordingly
began to retire. The Corcyraeans meanwhile had not sighted them, as
they were advancing from a point which they could not so well see,
and were wondering why the Corinthians were backing water, when some
caught sight of them, and cried out that there were ships in sight
ahead. Upon this they also retired; for it was now getting dark, and
the retreat of the Corinthians had suspended hostilities. Thus they
parted from each other, and the battle ceased with night. The Corcyraeans
were in their camp at Leukimme, when these twenty ships from Athens,
under the command of Glaucon, the son of Leagrus, and Andocides, son
of Leogoras, bore on through the corpses and the wrecks, and sailed
up to the camp, not long after they were sighted. It was now night,
and the Corcyraeans feared that they might be hostile vessels; but
they soon knew them, and the ships came to anchor. 

The next day the thirty Athenian vessels put out to sea, accompanied
by all the Corcyraean ships that were seaworthy, and sailed to the
harbour at Sybota, where the Corinthians lay, to see if they would
engage. The Corinthians put out from the land and formed a line in
the open sea, but beyond this made no further movement, having no
intention of assuming the offensive. For they saw reinforcements arrived
fresh from Athens, and themselves confronted by numerous difficulties,
such as the necessity of guarding the prisoners whom they had on board
and the want of all means of refitting their ships in a desert place.
What they were thinking more about was how their voyage home was to
be effected; they feared that the Athenians might consider that the
treaty was dissolved by the collision which had occurred, and forbid
their departure. 

Accordingly they resolved to put some men on board a boat, and send
them without a herald's wand to the Athenians, as an experiment. Having
done so, they spoke as follows: "You do wrong, Athenians, to begin
war and break the treaty. Engaged in chastising our enemies, we find
you placing yourselves in our path in arms against us. Now if your
intentions are to prevent us sailing to Corcyra, or anywhere else
that we may wish, and if you are for breaking the treaty, first take
us that are here and treat us as enemies." Such was what they said,
and all the Corcyraean armament that were within hearing immediately
called out to take them and kill them. But the Athenians answered
as follows: "Neither are we beginning war, Peloponnesians, nor are
we breaking the treaty; but these Corcyraeans are our allies, and
we are come to help them. So if you want to sail anywhere else, we
place no obstacle in your way; but if you are going to sail against
Corcyra, or any of her possessions, we shall do our best to stop you."

Receiving this answer from the Athenians, the Corinthians commenced
preparations for their voyage home, and set up a trophy in Sybota,
on the continent; while the Corcyraeans took up the wrecks and dead
that had been carried out to them by the current, and by a wind which
rose in the night and scattered them in all directions, and set up
their trophy in Sybota, on the island, as victors. The reasons each
side had for claiming the victory were these. The Corinthians had
been victorious in the sea-fight until night; and having thus been
enabled to carry off most wrecks and dead, they were in possession
of no fewer than a thousand prisoners of war, and had sunk close upon
seventy vessels. The Corcyraeans had destroyed about thirty ships,
and after the arrival of the Athenians had taken up the wrecks and
dead on their side; they had besides seen the Corinthians retire before
them, backing water on sight of the Athenian vessels, and upon the
arrival of the Athenians refuse to sail out against them from Sybota.
Thus both sides claimed the victory. 

The Corinthians on the voyage home took Anactorium, which stands at
the mouth of the Ambracian gulf. The place was taken by treachery,
being common ground to the Corcyraeans and Corinthians. After establishing
Corinthian settlers there, they retired home. Eight hundred of the
Corcyraeans were slaves; these they sold; two hundred and fifty they
retained in captivity, and treated with great attention, in the hope
that they might bring over their country to Corinth on their return;
most of them being, as it happened, men of very high position in Corcyra.
In this way Corcyra maintained her political existence in the war
with Corinth, and the Athenian vessels left the island. This was the
first cause of the war that Corinth had against the Athenians, viz.,
that they had fought against them with the Corcyraeans in time of

Almost immediately after this, fresh differences arose between the
Athenians and Peloponnesians, and contributed their share to the war.
Corinth was forming schemes for retaliation, and Athens suspected
her hostility. The Potidaeans, who inhabit the isthmus of Pallene,
being a Corinthian colony, but tributary allies of Athens, were ordered
to raze the wall looking towards Pallene, to give hostages, to dismiss
the Corinthian magistrates, and in future not to receive the persons
sent from Corinth annually to succeed them. It was feared that they
might be persuaded by Perdiccas and the Corinthians to revolt, and
might draw the rest of the allies in the direction of Thrace to revolt
with them. These precautions against the Potidaeans were taken by
the Athenians immediately after the battle at Corcyra. Not only was
Corinth at length openly hostile, but Perdiccas, son of Alexander,
king of the Macedonians, had from an old friend and ally been made
an enemy. He had been made an enemy by the Athenians entering into
alliance with his brother Philip and Derdas, who were in league against
him. In his alarm he had sent to Lacedaemon to try and involve the
Athenians in a war with the Peloponnesians, and was endeavouring to
win over Corinth in order to bring about the revolt of Potidaea. He
also made overtures to the Chalcidians in the direction of Thrace,
and to the Bottiaeans, to persuade them to join in the revolt; for
he thought that if these places on the border could be made his allies,
it would be easier to carry on the war with their co-operation. Alive
to all this, and wishing to anticipate the revolt of the cities, the
Athenians acted as follows. They were just then sending off thirty
ships and a thousand heavy infantry for his country under the command
of Archestratus, son of Lycomedes, with four colleagues. They instructed
the captains to take hostages of the Potidaeans, to raze the wall,
and to be on their guard against the revolt of the neighbouring cities.

Meanwhile the Potidaeans sent envoys to Athens on the chance of persuading
them to take no new steps in their matters; they also went to Lacedaemon
with the Corinthians to secure support in case of need. Failing after
prolonged negotiation to obtain anything satisfactory from the Athenians;
being unable, for all they could say, to prevent the vessels that
were destined for Macedonia from also sailing against them; and receiving
from the Lacedaemonian government a promise to invade Attica, if the
Athenians should attack Potidaea, the Potidaeans, thus favoured by
the moment, at last entered into league with the Chalcidians and Bottiaeans,
and revolted. And Perdiccas induced the Chalcidians to abandon and
demolish their towns on the seaboard and, settling inland at Olynthus,
to make that one city a strong place: meanwhile to those who followed
his advice he gave a part of his territory in Mygdonia round Lake
Bolbe as a place of abode while the war against the Athenians should
last. They accordingly demolished their towns, removed inland and
prepared for war. The thirty ships of the Athenians, arriving before
the Thracian places, found Potidaea and the rest in revolt. Their
commanders, considering it to be quite impossible with their present
force to carry on war with Perdiccas and with the confederate towns
as well turned to Macedonia, their original destination, and, having
established themselves there, carried on war in co-operation with
Philip, and the brothers of Derdas, who had invaded the country from
the interior. 

Meanwhile the Corinthians, with Potidaea in revolt and the Athenian
ships on the coast of Macedonia, alarmed for the safety of the place
and thinking its danger theirs, sent volunteers from Corinth, and
mercenaries from the rest of Peloponnese, to the number of sixteen
hundred heavy infantry in all, and four hundred light troops. Aristeus,
son of Adimantus, who was always a steady friend to the Potidaeans,
took command of the expedition, and it was principally for love of
him that most of the men from Corinth volunteered. They arrived in
Thrace forty days after the revolt of Potidaea. 

The Athenians also immediately received the news of the revolt of
the cities. On being informed that Aristeus and his reinforcements
were on their way, they sent two thousand heavy infantry of their
own citizens and forty ships against the places in revolt, under the
command of Callias, son of Calliades, and four colleagues. They arrived
in Macedonia first, and found the force of a thousand men that had
been first sent out, just become masters of Therme and besieging Pydna.
Accordingly they also joined in the investment, and besieged Pydna
for a while. Subsequently they came to terms and concluded a forced
alliance with Perdiccas, hastened by the calls of Potidaea and by
the arrival of Aristeus at that place. They withdrew from Macedonia,
going to Beroea and thence to Strepsa, and, after a futile attempt
on the latter place, they pursued by land their march to Potidaea
with three thousand heavy infantry of their own citizens, besides
a number of their allies, and six hundred Macedonian horsemen, the
followers of Philip and Pausanias. With these sailed seventy ships
along the coast. Advancing by short marches, on the third day they
arrived at Gigonus, where they encamped. 

Meanwhile the Potidaeans and the Peloponnesians with Aristeus were
encamped on the side looking towards Olynthus on the isthmus, in expectation
of the Athenians, and had established their market outside the city.
The allies had chosen Aristeus general of all the infantry; while
the command of the cavalry was given to Perdiccas, who had at once
left the alliance of the Athenians and gone back to that of the Potidaeans,
having deputed Iolaus as his general: The plan of Aristeus was to
keep his own force on the isthmus, and await the attack of the Athenians;
leaving the Chalcidians and the allies outside the isthmus, and the
two hundred cavalry from Perdiccas in Olynthus to act upon the Athenian
rear, on the occasion of their advancing against him; and thus to
place the enemy between two fires. While Callias the Athenian general
and his colleagues dispatched the Macedonian horse and a few of the
allies to Olynthus, to prevent any movement being made from that quarter,
the Athenians themselves broke up their camp and marched against Potidaea.
After they had arrived at the isthmus, and saw the enemy preparing
for battle, they formed against him, and soon afterwards engaged.
The wing of Aristeus, with the Corinthians and other picked troops
round him, routed the wing opposed to it, and followed for a considerable
distance in pursuit. But the rest of the army of the Potidaeans and
of the Peloponnesians was defeated by the Athenians, and took refuge
within the fortifications. Returning from the pursuit, Aristeus perceived
the defeat of the rest of the army. Being at a loss which of the two
risks to choose, whether to go to Olynthus or to Potidaea, he at last
determined to draw his men into as small a space as possible, and
force his way with a run into Potidaea. Not without difficulty, through
a storm of missiles, he passed along by the breakwater through the
sea, and brought off most of his men safe, though a few were lost.
Meanwhile the auxiliaries of the Potidaeans from Olynthus, which is
about seven miles off and in sight of Potidaea, when the battle began
and the signals were raised, advanced a little way to render assistance;
and the Macedonian horse formed against them to prevent it. But on
victory speedily declaring for the Athenians and the signals being
taken down, they retired back within the wall; and the Macedonians
returned to the Athenians. Thus there were no cavalry present on either
side. After the battle the Athenians set up a trophy, and gave back
their dead to the Potidaeans under truce. The Potidaeans and their
allies had close upon three hundred killed; the Athenians a hundred
and fifty of their own citizens, and Callias their general.

The wall on the side of the isthmus had now works at once raised against
it, and manned by the Athenians. That on the side of Pallene had no
works raised against it. They did not think themselves strong enough
at once to keep a garrison in the isthmus and to cross over to Pallene
and raise works there; they were afraid that the Potidaeans and their
allies might take advantage of their division to attack them. Meanwhile
the Athenians at home learning that there were no works at Pallene,
some time afterwards sent off sixteen hundred heavy infantry of their
own citizens under the command of Phormio, son of Asopius. Arrived
at Pallene, he fixed his headquarters at Aphytis, and led his army
against Potidaea by short marches, ravaging the country as he advanced.
No one venturing to meet him in the field, he raised works against
the wall on the side of Pallene. So at length Potidaea was strongly
invested on either side, and from the sea by the ships co-operating
in the blockade. Aristeus, seeing its investment complete, and having
no hope of its salvation, except in the event of some movement from
the Peloponnese, or of some other improbable contingency, advised
all except five hundred to watch for a wind and sail out of the place,
in order that their provisions might last the longer. He was willing
to be himself one of those who remained. Unable to persuade them,
and desirous of acting on the next alternative, and of having things
outside in the best posture possible, he eluded the guardships of
the Athenians and sailed out. Remaining among the Chalcidians, he
continued to carry on the war; in particular he laid an ambuscade
near the city of the Sermylians, and cut off many of them; he also
communicated with Peloponnese, and tried to contrive some method by
which help might be brought. Meanwhile, after the completion of the
investment of Potidaea, Phormio next employed his sixteen hundred
men in ravaging Chalcidice and Bottica: some of the towns also were
taken by him. 

Chapter III

Congress of the Peloponnesian Confederacy at Lacedaemon 

The Athenians and Peloponnesians had these antecedent grounds of complaint
against each other: the complaint of Corinth was that her colony of
Potidaea, and Corinthian and Peloponnesian citizens within it, were
being besieged; that of Athens against the Peloponnesians that they
had incited a town of hers, a member of her alliance and a contributor
to her revenue, to revolt, and had come and were openly fighting against
her on the side of the Potidaeans. For all this, war had not yet broken
out: there was still truce for a while; for this was a private enterprise
on the part of Corinth. 

But the siege of Potidaea put an end to her inaction; she had men
inside it: besides, she feared for the place. Immediately summoning
the allies to Lacedaemon, she came and loudly accused Athens of breach
of the treaty and aggression on the rights of Peloponnese. With her,
the Aeginetans, formally unrepresented from fear of Athens, in secret
proved not the least urgent of the advocates for war, asserting that
they had not the independence guaranteed to them by the treaty. After
extending the summons to any of their allies and others who might
have complaints to make of Athenian aggression, the Lacedaemonians
held their ordinary assembly, and invited them to speak. There were
many who came forward and made their several accusations; among them
the Megarians, in a long list of grievances, called special attention
to the fact of their exclusion from the ports of the Athenian empire
and the market of Athens, in defiance of the treaty. Last of all the
Corinthians came forward, and having let those who preceded them inflame
the Lacedaemonians, now followed with a speech to this effect:

"Lacedaemonians! the confidence which you feel in your constitution
and social order, inclines you to receive any reflections of ours
on other powers with a certain scepticism. Hence springs your moderation,
but hence also the rather limited knowledge which you betray in dealing
with foreign politics. Time after time was our voice raised to warn
you of the blows about to be dealt us by Athens, and time after time,
instead of taking the trouble to ascertain the worth of our communications,
you contented yourselves with suspecting the speakers of being inspired
by private interest. And so, instead of calling these allies together
before the blow fell, you have delayed to do so till we are smarting
under it; allies among whom we have not the worst title to speak,
as having the greatest complaints to make, complaints of Athenian
outrage and Lacedaemonian neglect. Now if these assaults on the rights
of Hellas had been made in the dark, you might be unacquainted with
the facts, and it would be our duty to enlighten you. As it is, long
speeches are not needed where you see servitude accomplished for some
of us, meditated for others- in particular for our allies- and prolonged
preparations in the aggressor against the hour of war. Or what, pray,
is the meaning of their reception of Corcyra by fraud, and their holding
it against us by force? what of the siege of Potidaea?- places one
of which lies most conveniently for any action against the Thracian
towns; while the other would have contributed a very large navy to
the Peloponnesians? 

"For all this you are responsible. You it was who first allowed them
to fortify their city after the Median war, and afterwards to erect
the long walls- you who, then and now, are always depriving of freedom
not only those whom they have enslaved, but also those who have as
yet been your allies. For the true author of the subjugation of a
people is not so much the immediate agent, as the power which permits
it having the means to prevent it; particularly if that power aspires
to the glory of being the liberator of Hellas. We are at last assembled.
It has not been easy to assemble, nor even now are our objects defined.
We ought not to be still inquiring into the fact of our wrongs, but
into the means of our defence. For the aggressors with matured plans
to oppose to our indecision have cast threats aside and betaken themselves
to action. And we know what are the paths by which Athenian aggression
travels, and how insidious is its progress. A degree of confidence
she may feel from the idea that your bluntness of perception prevents
your noticing her; but it is nothing to the impulse which her advance
will receive from the knowledge that you see, but do not care to interfere.
You, Lacedaemonians, of all the Hellenes are alone inactive, and defend
yourselves not by doing anything but by looking as if you would do
something; you alone wait till the power of an enemy is becoming twice
its original size, instead of crushing it in its infancy. And yet
the world used to say that you were to be depended upon; but in your
case, we fear, it said more than the truth. The Mede, we ourselves
know, had time to come from the ends of the earth to Peloponnese,
without any force of yours worthy of the name advancing to meet him.
But this was a distant enemy. Well, Athens at all events is a near
neighbour, and yet Athens you utterly disregard; against Athens you
prefer to act on the defensive instead of on the offensive, and to
make it an affair of chances by deferring the struggle till she has
grown far stronger than at first. And yet you know that on the whole
the rock on which the barbarian was wrecked was himself, and that
if our present enemy Athens has not again and again annihilated us,
we owe it more to her blunders than to your protection; Indeed, expectations
from you have before now been the ruin of some, whose faith induced
them to omit preparation. 

"We hope that none of you will consider these words of remonstrance
to be rather words of hostility; men remonstrate with friends who
are in error, accusations they reserve for enemies who have wronged
them. Besides, we consider that we have as good a right as any one
to point out a neighbour's faults, particularly when we contemplate
the great contrast between the two national characters; a contrast
of which, as far as we can see, you have little perception, having
never yet considered what sort of antagonists you will encounter in
the Athenians, how widely, how absolutely different from yourselves.
The Athenians are addicted to innovation, and their designs are characterized
by swiftness alike in conception and execution; you have a genius
for keeping what you have got, accompanied by a total want of invention,
and when forced to act you never go far enough. Again, they are adventurous
beyond their power, and daring beyond their judgment, and in danger
they are sanguine; your wont is to attempt less than is justified
by your power, to mistrust even what is sanctioned by your judgment,
and to fancy that from danger there is no release. Further, there
is promptitude on their side against procrastination on yours; they
are never at home, you are never from it: for they hope by their absence
to extend their acquisitions, you fear by your advance to endanger
what you have left behind. They are swift to follow up a success,
and slow to recoil from a reverse. Their bodies they spend ungrudgingly
in their country's cause; their intellect they jealously husband to
be employed in her service. A scheme unexecuted is with them a positive
loss, a successful enterprise a comparative failure. The deficiency
created by the miscarriage of an undertaking is soon filled up by
fresh hopes; for they alone are enabled to call a thing hoped for
a thing got, by the speed with which they act upon their resolutions.
Thus they toil on in trouble and danger all the days of their life,
with little opportunity for enjoying, being ever engaged in getting:
their only idea of a holiday is to do what the occasion demands, and
to them laborious occupation is less of a misfortune than the peace
of a quiet life. To describe their character in a word, one might
truly say that they were born into the world to take no rest themselves
and to give none to others. 

"Such is Athens, your antagonist. And yet, Lacedaemonians, you still
delay, and fail to see that peace stays longest with those, who are
not more careful to use their power justly than to show their determination
not to submit to injustice. On the contrary, your ideal of fair dealing
is based on the principle that, if you do not injure others, you need
not risk your own fortunes in preventing others from injuring you.
Now you could scarcely have succeeded in such a policy even with a
neighbour like yourselves; but in the present instance, as we have
just shown, your habits are old-fashioned as compared with theirs.
It is the law as in art, so in politics, that improvements ever prevail;
and though fixed usages may be best for undisturbed communities, constant
necessities of action must be accompanied by the constant improvement
of methods. Thus it happens that the vast experience of Athens has
carried her further than you on the path of innovation. 

"Here, at least, let your procrastination end. For the present, assist
your allies and Potidaea in particular, as you promised, by a speedy
invasion of Attica, and do not sacrifice friends and kindred to their
bitterest enemies, and drive the rest of us in despair to some other
alliance. Such a step would not be condemned either by the Gods who
received our oaths, or by the men who witnessed them. The breach of
a treaty cannot be laid to the people whom desertion compels to seek
new relations, but to the power that fails to assist its confederate.
But if you will only act, we will stand by you; it would be unnatural
for us to change, and never should we meet with such a congenial ally.
For these reasons choose the right course, and endeavour not to let
Peloponnese under your supremacy degenerate from the prestige that
it enjoyed under that of your ancestors." 

Such were the words of the Corinthians. There happened to be Athenian
envoys present at Lacedaemon on other business. On hearing the speeches
they thought themselves called upon to come before the Lacedaemonians.
Their intention was not to offer a defence on any of the charges which
the cities brought against them, but to show on a comprehensive view
that it was not a matter to be hastily decided on, but one that demanded
further consideration. There was also a wish to call attention to
the great power of Athens, and to refresh the memory of the old and
enlighten the ignorance of the young, from a notion that their words
might have the effect of inducing them to prefer tranquillity to war.
So they came to the Lacedaemonians and said that they too, if there
was no objection, wished to speak to their assembly. They replied
by inviting them to come forward. The Athenians advanced, and spoke
as follows: 

"The object of our mission here was not to argue with your allies,
but to attend to the matters on which our state dispatched us. However,
the vehemence of the outcry that we hear against us has prevailed
on us to come forward. It is not to combat the accusations of the
cities (indeed you are not the judges before whom either we or they
can plead), but to prevent your taking the wrong course on matters
of great importance by yielding too readily to the persuasions of
your allies. We also wish to show on a review of the whole indictment
that we have a fair title to our possessions, and that our country
has claims to consideration. We need not refer to remote antiquity:
there we could appeal to the voice of tradition, but not to the experience
of our audience. But to the Median War and contemporary history we
must refer, although we are rather tired of continually bringing this
subject forward. In our action during that war we ran great risk to
obtain certain advantages: you had your share in the solid results,
do not try to rob us of all share in the good that the glory may do
us. However, the story shall be told not so much to deprecate hostility
as to testify against it, and to show, if you are so ill advised as
to enter into a struggle with Athens, what sort of an antagonist she
is likely to prove. We assert that at Marathon we were at the front,
and faced the barbarian single-handed. That when he came the second
time, unable to cope with him by land we went on board our ships with
all our people, and joined in the action at Salamis. This prevented
his taking the Peloponnesian states in detail, and ravaging them with
his fleet; when the multitude of his vessels would have made any combination
for self-defence impossible. The best proof of this was furnished
by the invader himself. Defeated at sea, he considered his power to
be no longer what it had been, and retired as speedily as possible
with the greater part of his army. 

"Such, then, was the result of the matter, and it was clearly proved
that it was on the fleet of Hellas that her cause depended. Well,
to this result we contributed three very useful elements, viz., the
largest number of ships, the ablest commander, and the most unhesitating
patriotism. Our contingent of ships was little less than two-thirds
of the whole four hundred; the commander was Themistocles, through
whom chiefly it was that the battle took place in the straits, the
acknowledged salvation of our cause. Indeed, this was the reason of
your receiving him with honours such as had never been accorded to
any foreign visitor. While for daring patriotism we had no competitors.
Receiving no reinforcements from behind, seeing everything in front
of us already subjugated, we had the spirit, after abandoning our
city, after sacrificing our property (instead of deserting the remainder
of the league or depriving them of our services by dispersing), to
throw ourselves into our ships and meet the danger, without a thought
of resenting your neglect to assist us. We assert, therefore, that
we conferred on you quite as much as we received. For you had a stake
to fight for; the cities which you had left were still filled with
your homes, and you had the prospect of enjoying them again; and your
coming was prompted quite as much by fear for yourselves as for us;
at all events, you never appeared till we had nothing left to lose.
But we left behind us a city that was a city no longer, and staked
our lives for a city that had an existence only in desperate hope,
and so bore our full share in your deliverance and in ours. But if
we had copied others, and allowed fears for our territory to make
us give in our adhesion to the Mede before you came, or if we had
suffered our ruin to break our spirit and prevent us embarking in
our ships, your naval inferiority would have made a sea-fight unnecessary,
and his objects would have been peaceably attained. 

"Surely, Lacedaemonians, neither by the patriotism that we displayed
at that crisis, nor by the wisdom of our counsels, do we merit our
extreme unpopularity with the Hellenes, not at least unpopularity
for our empire. That empire we acquired by no violent means, but because
you were unwilling to prosecute to its conclusion the war against
the barbarian, and because the allies attached themselves to us and
spontaneously asked us to assume the command. And the nature of the
case first compelled us to advance our empire to its present height;
fear being our principal motive, though honour and interest afterwards
came in. And at last, when almost all hated us, when some had already
revolted and had been subdued, when you had ceased to be the friends
that you once were, and had become objects of suspicion and dislike,
it appeared no longer safe to give up our empire; especially as all
who left us would fall to you. And no one can quarrel with a people
for making, in matters of tremendous risk, the best provision that
it can for its interest. 

"You, at all events, Lacedaemonians, have used your supremacy to settle
the states in Peloponnese as is agreeable to you. And if at the period
of which we were speaking you had persevered to the end of the matter,
and had incurred hatred in your command, we are sure that you would
have made yourselves just as galling to the allies, and would have
been forced to choose between a strong government and danger to yourselves.
It follows that it was not a very wonderful action, or contrary to
the common practice of mankind, if we did accept an empire that was
offered to us, and refused to give it up under the pressure of three
of the strongest motives, fear, honour, and interest. And it was not
we who set the example, for it has always been law that the weaker
should be subject to the stronger. Besides, we believed ourselves
to be worthy of our position, and so you thought us till now, when
calculations of interest have made you take up the cry of justice-
a consideration which no one ever yet brought forward to hinder his
ambition when he had a chance of gaining anything by might. And praise
is due to all who, if not so superior to human nature as to refuse
dominion, yet respect justice more than their position compels them
to do. 

"We imagine that our moderation would be best demonstrated by the
conduct of others who should be placed in our position; but even our
equity has very unreasonably subjected us to condemnation instead
of approval. Our abatement of our rights in the contract trials with
our allies, and our causing them to be decided by impartial laws at
Athens, have gained us the character of being litigious. And none
care to inquire why this reproach is not brought against other imperial
powers, who treat their subjects with less moderation than we do;
the secret being that where force can be used, law is not needed.
But our subjects are so habituated to associate with us as equals
that any defeat whatever that clashes with their notions of justice,
whether it proceeds from a legal judgment or from the power which
our empire gives us, makes them forget to be grateful for being allowed
to retain most of their possessions, and more vexed at a part being
taken, than if we had from the first cast law aside and openly gratified
our covetousness. If we had done so, not even would they have disputed
that the weaker must give way to the stronger. Men's indignation,
it seems, is more excited by legal wrong than by violent wrong; the
first looks like being cheated by an equal, the second like being
compelled by a superior. At all events they contrived to put up with
much worse treatment than this from the Mede, yet they think our rule
severe, and this is to be expected, for the present always weighs
heavy on the conquered. This at least is certain. If you were to succeed
in overthrowing us and in taking our place, you would speedily lose
the popularity with which fear of us has invested you, if your policy
of to-day is at all to tally with the sample that you gave of it during
the brief period of your command against the Mede. Not only is your
life at home regulated by rules and institutions incompatible with
those of others, but your citizens abroad act neither on these rules
nor on those which are recognized by the rest of Hellas.

"Take time then in forming your resolution, as the matter is of great
importance; and do not be persuaded by the opinions and complaints
of others to bring trouble on yourselves, but consider the vast influence
of accident in war, before you are engaged in it. As it continues,
it generally becomes an affair of chances, chances from which neither
of us is exempt, and whose event we must risk in the dark. It is a
common mistake in going to war to begin at the wrong end, to act first,
and wait for disaster to discuss the matter. But we are not yet by
any means so misguided, nor, so far as we can see, are you; accordingly,
while it is still open to us both to choose aright, we bid you not
to dissolve the treaty, or to break your oaths, but to have our differences
settled by arbitration according to our agreement. Or else we take
the gods who heard the oaths to witness, and if you begin hostilities,
whatever line of action you choose, we will try not to be behindhand
in repelling you." 

Such were the words of the Athenians. After the Lacedaemonians had
heard the complaints of the allies against the Athenians, and the
observations of the latter, they made all withdraw, and consulted
by themselves on the question before them. The opinions of the majority
all led to the same conclusion; the Athenians were open aggressors,
and war must be declared at once. But Archidamus, the Lacedaemonian
king, came forward, who had the reputation of being at once a wise
and a moderate man, and made the following speech: 

"I have not lived so long, Lacedaemonians, without having had the
experience of many wars, and I see those among you of the same age
as myself, who will not fall into the common misfortune of longing
for war from inexperience or from a belief in its advantage and its
safety. This, the war on which you are now debating, would be one
of the greatest magnitude, on a sober consideration of the matter.
In a struggle with Peloponnesians and neighbours our strength is of
the same character, and it is possible to move swiftly on the different
points. But a struggle with a people who live in a distant land, who
have also an extraordinary familiarity with the sea, and who are in
the highest state of preparation in every other department; with wealth
private and public, with ships, and horses, and heavy infantry, and
a population such as no one other Hellenic place can equal, and lastly
a number of tributary allies- what can justify us in rashly beginning
such a struggle? wherein is our trust that we should rush on it unprepared?
Is it in our ships? There we are inferior; while if we are to practise
and become a match for them, time must intervene. Is it in our money?
There we have a far greater deficiency. We neither have it in our
treasury, nor are we ready to contribute it from our private funds.
Confidence might possibly be felt in our superiority in heavy infantry
and population, which will enable us to invade and devastate their
lands. But the Athenians have plenty of other land in their empire,
and can import what they want by sea. Again, if we are to attempt
an insurrection of their allies, these will have to be supported with
a fleet, most of them being islanders. What then is to be our war?
For unless we can either beat them at sea, or deprive them of the
revenues which feed their navy, we shall meet with little but disaster.
Meanwhile our honour will be pledged to keeping on, particularly if
it be the opinion that we began the quarrel. For let us never be elated
by the fatal hope of the war being quickly ended by the devastation
of their lands. I fear rather that we may leave it as a legacy to
our children; so improbable is it that the Athenian spirit will be
the slave of their land, or Athenian experience be cowed by war.

"Not that I would bid you be so unfeeling as to suffer them