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The eighth year of the war, on which we now touch, presents events of a more important and decisive character than any of the preceding. In reviewing the preceding years we observe that though there is much fighting, with hardship and privation inflicted on both sides, yet the operations are mostly of a desultory character, not calculated to determine the event of the war. But the capture of Sphacteria and its prisoners, coupled with the surrender of the whole Lacedaemonian fleet, was an event full of consequences and imposing in the eyes of all Greece. It stimulated the Athenians to a series of operations, larger and more ambitious than anything which they had yet conceived—directed, not merely against Sparta in her own country, but also to the reconquest of that ascendency in Megara and Boeotia which they had lost on or before the Thirty years’ truce. On the other hand, it intimidated so much both the Lacedaemonians, the revolted Chalcidic allies of Athens in Thrace, and Perdiccas king of Macedonia—that between them the expedition of Brasidas, which struck so serious a blow at the Athenian empire, was concerted. This year is thus the turning-point of the war. If the operations of Athens had succeeded, she would have regained nearly as great a power as she enjoyed before the Thirty years’ truce. But it happened that Sparta, or rather the Spartan Brasidas, proved successful, gaining enough to neutralize all the advantages derived by Athens from the capture of Sphacteria.

The first enterprise undertaken by the Athenians in the course of the spring was against the island of Kythera, on the southern coast of Laconia. It was inhabited by Lacedaemonian Perioeki, and administered by a governor and garrison of hoplites annually sent thither. It was the usual point of landing for merchantmen from Libya and Egypt; and as it lay very near to Cape Malea, immediately over against the Gulf of Gythium—the only accessible portion of the generally inhospitable coast of Laconia—the chance that it might fall into the hands of an enemy was considered as so menacing to Sparta, that some politicians are said to have wished the island at the bottom of the sea. Nikias, in conjunction with Nicostratus and Autocles, conducted thither a fleet of sixty triremes, with 2,000 Athenian hoplites, some few horsemen, and a body of allies mainly Milesians. There were in the island two towns—Kythera and Skandeia; the former having a lower town close to the sea, fronting Cape Malea, and an upper town on the hill above; the latter seemingly on the south or west coast. Both were attacked at the same time by order of Nikias: ten triremes and a body of Milesian hoplites disembarked and captured Skandeia; while the Athenians landed at Kythera, and drove the inhabitants out of the lower town into the upper, where they speedily capitulated. A certain party among them had, indeed, secretly invited the coming of Nikias, through which intrigue easy terms were obtained for the inhabitants. Some few men, indicated by the Cytherians in intelligence with Nicias, were carried away as prisoners to Athens; but the remainder were left undisturbed and enrolled among the tributary allies under obligation to pay four talents per annum; an Athenian garrison being placed at Kythera for the protection of the island. From hence Nikias employed seven days in descents and inroads upon the coast, near Helos, Asine, Aphrodisia, Kotyrta, and elsewhere. The Lacedaemonian force was disseminated in petty garrisons, which remained each for the defence of its own separate post, without uniting to repel the Athenians, so that there was only one action, and that of little importance, which the Athenians deemed worthy of a trophy.

In returning home from Kythera, Nikias first ravaged the small strip of cultivated land near Epidaurus Limera, on the rocky eastern coast of Laconia, and then attacked the Aeginetan settlement at Thyrea, the frontier strip between Laconia and Argolis. This town and district had been made over by Sparta to the Aeginetans, at the time when they were expelled from their own island by Athens in the first year of the war. The new inhabitants, finding the town too distant from the sea for their maritime habits, were now employed in constructing a fortification close on the shore; in which work a Lacedaemonian detachment under Tantalus, on guard in that neighbourhood, was assisting them. When the Athenians landed, both Aeginetans and Lacedaemonians at once abandoned the new fortification. The Aeginetans, with the commanding officer Tantalus, occupied the upper town of Thyrea; but the Lacedaemonian troops, not thinking it tenable, refused to take part in the defence, and retired to the neighbouring mountains, in spite of urgent entreaty from the Aeginetans. Immediately after landing, the Athenians marched up to the town of Thyrea, and carried it by storm, burning or destroying everything within it. All the Aeginetans were either killed or made prisoners, and even Tantalus, disabled by his wounds, became prisoner also. From hence the armament returned to Athens, where a vote was taken as to the disposal of the prisoners. The Kytherians brought home were distributed for safe custody among the dependent islands: Tantalus was retained along with the prisoners from Sphacteria; but a harder fate was reserved for the Aeginetans. They were all put to death, victims to the long-standing antipathy between Athens and Aegina. This cruel act was nothing more than a strict application of admitted customs of war in those days. Had the Lacedaemonians been the victors, there can be little doubt that they would have acted with equal rigor.

The occupation of Kythera, in addition to Pylus, by an Athenian garrison, following so closely upon the capital disaster in Sphacteria, produced in the minds of the Spartans feelings of alarm and depression such as they had never before experienced. Within the course of a few short months their position had completely changed from superiority and aggression abroad, to insult and insecurity at home. They anticipated nothing less than incessant foreign attacks on all their weak points, with every probability of internal defection, from the standing discontent of the Helots. It was not unknown to them probably that even Kythera itself had been lost partly through betrayal. The capture of Sphacteria had caused peculiar emotion among the Helots, to whom the Lacedaemonians had addressed both appeals and promises of emancipation, in order to procure succour for their hoplites while blockaded in the island. If the ultimate surrender of these hoplites had abated the terrors of Lacedaemonian prowess throughout all Greece, such effect had been produced to a still greater degree among the oppressed Helots. A refuge at Pylus, and a nucleus which presented some possibility of expanding into regenerated Messenia, were now before their eyes while the establishment of an Athenian garrison at Kythera opened a new channel of communication with the enemies of Sparta, so as to tempt all the Helots of daring temper to stand forward as liberators of their enslaved race. The Lacedaemonians, habitually cautious at all times, felt now as if the tide of fortune had turned decidedly against them, and acted with confirmed mistrust and dismay—confining themselves to measures strictly defensive, but organizing a force of 400 cavalry, together with a body of bowmen, beyond their ordinary establishment.

But the precautions which they thought it necessary to take in regard to the Helots afford the best measure of their apprehensions at the moment, and exhibit, moreover, a refinement of fraud and cruelty rarely equalled in history. Wishing to single out from the general body such as were most high-couraged and valiant, the Ephors made proclamation, that those Helots, who conceived themselves to have earned their liberty by distinguished services in war, might stand forward to claim it. A considerable number obeyed the call—probably many who had undergone imminent hazards during the preceding summer in order to convey provisions to the blockaded soldiers in Sphacteria. After being examined by the government, 2,000 of them were selected as fully worthy of emancipation; which was forthwith bestowed upon them in public ceremonial—with garlands, visits to the temples, and the full measure of religious solemnity. The government had now made the selection which it desired; presently every man among these newly enfranchised Helots was made away with—no one knew how. A stratagem at once so perfidious in the contrivance, so murderous in the purpose, and so complete in the execution, stands without parallel in Grecian history—we might almost say, without a parallel in any history. It implies a depravity far greater than the rigorous execution of a barbarous customary law against prisoners of war or rebels, even in large numbers. The Ephors must have employed numerous instruments, apart from each other, for the performance of this bloody deed. Yet it appears that no certain knowledge could be obtained of the details—a striking proof of the mysterious efficiency of this Council of Five, surpassing even that of the Council of Ten at Venice—as well as of the utter absence of public inquiry or discussion.

It was while the Lacedaemonians were in this state of uneasiness at home that envoys reached them from Perdikkas of Macedonia and the Chalcidians of Thrace, entreating aid against Athens; who was considered likely, in her present tide of success, to resume aggressive measures against them. There were, moreover, other parties, in the neighbouring cities subject to Athens, who secretly favoured the application, engaging to stand forward in open revolt as soon as any auxiliary force should arrive to warrant their incurring the hazard. Perdikkas (who had on his hands a dispute with his kinsman Arrhibaeus, prince of the Lynkestae-Macedonians, which he was anxious to be enabled to close successfully) and the Chalcidians offered at the same time to provide the pay and maintenance, as well as to facilitate the transit, of the troops who might be sent to them. And—what was of still greater importance to the success of the enterprise—they specially requested that Brasidas might be invested with the command. He had now recovered from his wounds received at Pylus, and his reputation for adventurous valour, great as it was from positive desert, stood out still more conspicuously, because not a single other Spartan had as yet distinguished himself. His other great qualities, apart from personal valour, had not yet been shown, for he had never been in any supreme command. But he burned with impatience to undertake the operation destined for him by the envoys; although at this time it must have appeared so replete with difficulty and danger, that probably no other Spartan except himself would have entered upon it with hopes of success. To raise up embarrassments for Athens in Thrace was an object of great consequence to Sparta, while she also obtained an opportunity of sending away another large detachment of dangerous Helots. Seven hundred of these latter were armed as hoplites and placed under the orders of Brasidas, but the Lacedaemonians would not assign to him any of their own proper forces. With the sanction of the Spartan name—with 700 Helot hoplites, and with such other hoplites as he could raise in Peloponnesus by means of the funds furnished from the Chalcidians—Brasidas prepared to undertake this expedition, alike adventurous and important.

Had the Athenians entertained any suspicion of his designs, they could easily have prevented him from ever reaching Thrace. But they knew nothing of it until he had actually joined Perdikkas, nor did they anticipate any serious attack from Sparta, in this moment of her depression—much less an enterprise far bolder than any which she had ever been known to undertake. They were now elate with hopes of conquests to come on their own part—their affairs being so prosperous and promising, that parties favourable to their interests began to revive, both in Megara and in Boeotia; while Hippokrates and Demosthenes, the two chief strategi for the year, were men of energy, well qualified both to project and execute military achievements.

The first opportunity presented itself in regard to Megara. The inhabitants of that city had been greater sufferers by the war than any other persons in Greece. They had been the chief cause of bringing down the war upon Athens, and the Athenians revenged upon them all the hardships which they themselves endured from the Lacedaemonian invasion. Twice in every year they laid waste the Megarid, which bordered upon their own territory; and that, too, with such destructive efficacy throughout its limited extent that they intercepted all subsistence from the lands near the town—at the same time keeping the harbour of Nisaea closely blocked up. Under such hard conditions the Megarians found much difficulty in supplying even the primary wants of life. But their case had now, within the last few mouths, become still more intolerable by an intestine commotion in the city, ending in the expulsion of a powerful body of exiles, who seized and held possession of Pegae, the Megarian port in the Gulf of Corinth. Probably imports from Pegae had been their chief previous resource against the destruction which came on them from the side of Athens; so that it became scarcely possible to sustain themselves, when the exiles in Pegae not only deprived them of this resource, but took positive part in harassing them. Those exiles were oligarchical, and the government in Megara had now become more or less democratical. But the privations in the city presently reached such a height, that several citizens began to labour for a compromise, whereby the exiles in Pegae might be readmitted. It was evident to the leaders in Megara that the bulk of the citizens could not long sustain the pressure of enemies from both sides—but it was also their feeling, that the exiles in Pegae, their bitter political rivals, were worse enemies than the Athenians, and that the return of these exiles would be a sentence of death to themselves. To prevent this counter-revolution, they opened a secret correspondence with Hippokrates and Demosthenes, engaging to betray both Megara and Nisaea to the Athenians; though Nisaia, the harbour of Megara, about one mile from the city, was a separate fortress, occupied by a Peloponnesian garrison, and by them exclusively, as well as the Long Walls—for the purpose of holding Megara first to the Lacedaemonian confederacy.

The scheme for surprise was concerted, and what is more remarkable—in the extreme publicity of all Athenian affairs, and in a matter to which many persons must have been privy—was kept secret until the instant of execution. A large Athenian force, 4,000 hoplites and 600 cavalry, was appointed to march at night by the high road through Eleusis to Megara; but Hippokrates and Demosthenes themselves went on ship-board from Peiraeus to the island of Minoa, which was close against Nisaea, and had been for some time under occupation by an Athenian garrison. Here Hippocrates concealed himself with 600 hoplites, in a hollow out of which brick earth had been dug, on the mainland opposite to Minoa, and not far from the gate in the Long Wall which opened near the junction of that wall with the ditch and wall surrounding Nisaea; while Demosthenes, with some light-armed Plataeans and a detachment of active young Athenians (called Peripoli, and serving as the movable guard of Attica) in their first or second year of military service, placed himself in ambush in the sacred precincts of Ares, still closer to the same gate. 

To procure that the gate should be opened, was the task of the conspirators within. Amid the shifts to which the Megarians had been reduced in order to obtain supplies (especially since the blockading force had been placed at Minoa), predatory sally by night was not omitted. Some of these conspirators had been in the habit, before the intrigue with Athens was projected, of carrying out a small sculler-boat by night upon a cart, through this gate, by permission of the Peloponnesian commander of Nisaea and the Long Walls. The boat, when thus brought out, was first carried down to the shore along the hollow of the dry ditch which surrounded the wall of Nisaea —then put to sea for some nightly enterprise—and lastly, brought back again along the ditch before daylight in the morning; the gate being opened, by permission, to let it in. This was the only way by which any Megarian vessel could get to sea, since the Athenians at Minoa were complete masters of the harbour. On the night fixed for the surprise, this boat was carried out and brought back at the usual hour. But the moment that the gate in the Long Wall was opened to readmit it, Demosthenes with his comrades sprang forward to force their way in; the Megarians along with the boat at the same time setting upon and killing the guards, in order to facilitate his entrance. This active and determined band were successful in mastering the gate, and keeping it open, until the 600 hoplites under Hippokrates came up, and got in to the interior space between the Long Walls, They immediately mounted the walls on each side, every man as he came in, with little thought of order, to drive off or destroy the Peloponnesian guards; who, taken by surprise, and fancying that the Megarians generally were in concert with the enemy against them—confirmed too in such belief by hearing the Athenian herald proclaim aloud that every Megarian who chose might take his post in the line of Athenian hoplites—made at first some resistance, but were soon discouraged and tied into Nisaea. By a little after daybreak, the Athenians found themselves masters of all the line of the Long Walls, and under the very gates of Megara —as well as re-enforced by the larger force, which having marched by land through Eleusis, arrived at the concerted moment.

Meanwhile the Megarians within the city were in the greatest tumult and consternation. But the conspirators, prepared with their plan, had resolved to propose that the gates should be thrown open and that the whole force of the city should be marched out to fight the Athenians. When once the gates should be open, they themselves intended to take part with the Athenians and facilitate their entrance—and they had rubbed their bodies over with oil in order to be visibly distinguished in the eyes of the latter. The plan was only frustrated the moment before it was about to be put in execution, by the divulgation of one of their own comrades. Their opponents in the city, apprised of what was in contemplation, hastened to the gate, and intercepted the men rubbed with oil as they were about to open it. Without betraying any knowledge of the momentous secret which they had just learned, these opponents loudly protested against opening the gate and going out to fight an enemy for whom they had never conceived themselves, even in moments of greater strength, to be a match in the open field. While insisting only on the public mischiefs of the measure, they at the same time planted themselves in arms against the gate, and declared that they would perish before they would allow it to be opened. For such obstinate resistance the conspirators were not prepared, so that they were forced to abandon their design and leave the gate closed.

The Athenian generals, who were waiting in expectation that it would be opened, soon perceived by the delay that their friends within had been baffled, and immediately resolved to make sure of Nisaea which lay behind them; an acquisition, important not less in itself, than as a probable means for the mastery of Megara. They set about the work with the characteristic rapidity of Athenians. Masons and tools in abundance being forthwith sent for from Athens, the army distributed among themselves the wall of circumvallation round Nisaea in distinct parts. First, the interior space between the Long Walls themselves was built across, so as to cut off the communication with Megara; next, walls were carried out from the outside of both the Long Walls down to the sea, so as completely to inclose Nisaea with its fortifications and ditch. The scattered houses, which formed a sort of ornamental suburb to Nisaea, furnished bricks for this inclosing circle, or were sometimes even made to form a part of it as they stood, with the parapets on their roofs; while the trees were cut down to supply material wherever palisades were suitable. In a day and a half the work of circumvallation was almost completed, so that the Peloponnesians in Nisaea saw before them nothing but a hopeless state of blockade. Deprived of all communication, they not only fancied that the whole city of Megara had joined the Athenians, but they were moreover without any supply of provisions, which had been always furnished to them in daily rations from the city. Despairing of speedy relief from Peloponnesus, they accepted easy terms of capitulation offered to them by the Athenian generals. After delivering up their arms, each man among them was to be ransomed for a stipulated price; we are not told how much, but doubtless a moderate sum. The Lacedaemonian commander, and such other Lacedaemonians as might be in Nisaea, were however required to surrender themselves as prisoners to the Athenians, to be held at their disposal. On these terms Nisaea was surrendered to the Athenians, who cut off its communication with Megara, by keeping the intermediate space between the Long Walls effectively blocked up—walls, of which they had themselves, in former days, been the original authors.

Such interruption of communication by the Long Walls indicated in the minds of the Athenian generals a conviction that Megara was now out of their reach. But the town in its present distracted state would certainly have fallen into their hands had it not been snatched from them by the accidental neighbourhood and energetic intervention of Brasidas. That officer, occupied in the levy of troops for his Thracian expedition, was near Corinth and Sicyon when he first learnt the surprise and capture of the Long Walls. Partly from the alarm which the news excited among these Peloponnesian towns, partly from his own personal influence, he got together a body of 2,700 Corinthian hoplites, 600 Sicyonian, and 400 Phliasian, besides his own small army, and marched with this united force to Tripodiskus in the Megarid, half-way between Megara and Pegae, on the road over Mount Geraneia; having first dispatched a pressing summons to the Boeotians, to request that they would meet him at that point with re-enforcements. He trusted by a speedy movement to preserve Megara, and perhaps even Nisaea; but on reaching Tripodiskus in the night, he learnt that the latter place had already surrendered. Alarmed for the safety of Megara, he proceeded thither by a night-march without delay. Taking with him only a chosen band of 300 men, he presented himself, without being expected, at the gates of the city; entreating to be admitted, and offering to lend his immediate aid for the recovery of Nisaea. One of the two parties in Megara would have been glad lo comply; but the other, knowing well that in that case the exiles from Pegae would be brought back upon them, was prepared for a strenuous resistance, in which case the Athenian force, still only one mile off, would have been introduced as auxiliaries. Under these circumstances the two parties came to a compromise and mutually agreed to refuse admittance to Brasidas. They expected that a battle would take place bet ween him and the Athenians and each calculated that Megara would follow the fortunes of the victor.

Returning back without success to Tripodiskus, Brasidas was joined there early in the morning by 2,000 Boeotian hoplites and 600 cavalry; for the Boeotians had been put in motion by the same news as himself, and had even commenced their march before his messenger arrived, with such celerity as to have already reached Plataea, The total force under Brasidas was thus increased to 6,000 hoplites and 600 cavalry, with whom he marched straight to the neighbourhood of Megara. The Athenian light troops, dispersed over the plain, were surprised and driven in by the Boeotian cavalry; but the Athenian cavalry, coming to their aid, maintained a sharp action with the assailants, wherein, after some loss on both sides, a slight advantage remained on the side of the Athenians. They granted a truce for the burial of the Boeotian officer of cavalry, who was slain with some others. After this indecisive cavalry skirmish, Brasidas advanced with his main force into the plain between Megara and the sea, taking up a position near to the Athenian hoplites, who were drawn up in battle array hard by Nisaea and the Long Walls. He thus offered them battle if they chose it; but each party expected that the other would attack; and each was unwilling to begin the attack on his own side. Brasidas was well aware that if the Athenians refused to fight, Megara would be preserved from falling into their hands—which loss it was his main object to prevent, and which had in fact been prevented only by his arrival. If he attacked and was beaten, he would forfeit this advantage—while if victorious, he could hardly hope to gain much more. The Athenian generals on their side reflected that they had already secured a material acquisition in Nisaea, which cut off Megara from their sea; that the army opposed to them was not only superior in number of hoplites, but composed of contingents from many different cities, so that no one city hazarded much in the action; while their own force was all Athenian and composed of the best hoplites in Athens, which would render a defeat severely ruinous to the city. They did not think it worth while to encounter this risk, even for the purpose of gaining possession of Megara. With such views in the leaders on both sides, the two armies remained for some time in position, each waiting for the other to attack. At length the Athenians, seeing that no aggressive movement was contemplated by their opponents, were the first to retire into Nisaea. Thus left master of the field, Brasidas retired in triumph to Megara, the gates of which were now opened without reserve to admit him.

The army of Brasidas, having gained the chief point for which it was collected, speedily dispersed—he himself resuming his preparations for Thrace; while the Athenians on their side also returned home, leaving an adequate garrison for the occupation both of Nisaea and of the Long Walls. But the interior of Megara underwent a complete and violent revolution. While the leaders friendly to Athens, not thinking it safe to remain, fled forthwith and sought shelter with the Athenians—the opposite party opened communication with the exiles at Pegae and readmitted them into the city; binding them, however, by the most solemn pledges to observe absolute amnesty of the past, and to study nothing but the welfare of the common city. The new-comers only kept their pledge during the interval which elapsed until they acquired power to violate it with effect. They soon got themselves placed in the chief commands of state, and found means to turn the military force to their own purposes. A review, and examination of arms, of the hoplites in the city, having been ordered, the Megarian lochi were so marshalled and tutored as to enable the leaders to single out such victims as they thought expedient. They seized many of their most obnoxious enemies—some of them suspected as accomplices in the recent conspiracy with Athens. The men thus seized were subjected to the forms of a public trial, before that which was called a public assembly; wherein each voter, acting under military terror, was constrained to give his suffrage openly. All were condemned to death and executed, to the number of one hundred. The constitution of Megara was then shaped into an oligarchy of the closest possible kind, a few of the most violent men taking complete possession of the government. But they must probably have conducted it with vigour and prudence for their own purposes, since Thucydides remarks that it was rare to see a revolution accomplished by so small a party, and yet so durable. How long it lasted, he does not mention. A few months after these incidents, the Megarians regained possession of their Long Walls, by capture from the Athenians (to whom indeed they could have been of no material service), and levelled the whole line of them to the ground: but the Athenians still retained Nisaea. We may remark, as explaining in part the durability of this new government, that the truce concluded at the beginning of the ensuing year must have greatly lightened the difficulties of any government, whether oligarchical or democratical, in Megara.

The scheme for surprising Megara had been both laid and executed with skill, and only miscarried through an accident to which such schemes are always liable, as well as by the unexpected celerity of Brasidas. It had moreover succeeded so far as to enable the Athenians to carry Nisaea—one of the posts which they had surrendered by the Thirty years’ truce, and of considerable positive value to them: so that it counted on the whole as a victory, leaving the generals with increased encouragement to turn their activity elsewhere. Accordingly, very soon after the troops had been brought back from the Megarid, Hippokrates and Demosthenes concerted a still more extensive plan for the invasion of Boeotia, in conjunction with some malcontents in the Boeotian towns, who desired to break down and democratize the oligarchical governments—and especially through the agency of a Theban exile named Ptoeodorus. Demosthenes, with forty triremes, was sent round. Peloponnesus to Naupaktus, with instructions to collect an Acarnanian force—to sail into the inmost recess of the Corinthian or Krissaean Gulf—and to occupy Siphae, a maritime town belonging to the Boeotian Thespiae, where intelligences had been already established. On the same day, determined before­hand, Hippokrates engaged to enter Boeotia, with the main force of Athens, at the south-eastern corner of the territory near Tanagra, and to fortify Delium, the temple of Apollo on the coast of the Euboean strait; while at the same time it was concerted that some Boeotian and Phocian malcontents should make themselves masters of Chaeronea on the borders of Phocis. Boeotia would thus be assailed on three sides at the same moment, so that the forces of the country would be distracted and unable to co-operate. Internal movements were farther expected to take place in some of the cities, such as perhaps to establish democratical governments and place them at once in alliance with the Athenians.

Accordingly, about the month of August, Demosthenes sallied from Athens to Naupaktus, where he collected his Acarnanian allies—now stronger and more united than ever, since the refractory inhabitants of Oeniadae had been at length compelled to join their Acarnanian brethren: moreover the neighbouring Agraeans with their prince Salynthius were also brought into the Athenian alliance. On the appointed day, seemingly about the beginning of October, he sailed with a strong force of these allies up to Siphae, in full expectation that it would be betrayed to him. But the execution of this enterprise was less happy than that against Megara. In the first place, there was a mistake as to the day understood between Hippokrates and Demosthenes: in the next place, the entire plot was discovered and betrayed by a Phocian of Phanoteus (bordering on Chaeronea) named Nikomachus—communicated first to the Lacedaemonians, and through them to the boeotarchs. Siphae and Chaeroneia were immediately placed in so good a state of defense that Demosthenes, on arriving at the former place, found not only no party within it favourable to him, but a formidable Boeotian force which rendered attack unavailing. Moreover Hippokrates had not yet begun his march, so that the defenders had nothing to distract their attention from Siphae. Under these circumstances, while Demosthenes was obliged to withdraw without striking a blow, and to content himself with an unsuccessful descent upon the territory of Sicyon—all the expected internal movements in Boeotia were prevented from breaking out.

It was not till after the Boeotian troops, having repelled the attack by sea, had retired from Siphae, that Hippokrates commenced his march from Athens to invade the Boeotian territory near Tanagra. He was probably encouraged by false promises from the Boeotian exiles, otherwise it seems remarkable that he should have persisted in executing his part of the scheme alone, after the known failure of the other part. It was however executed in a manner which implies unusual alacrity and confidence. The whole military population of Athens was marched into Boeotia, to the neighbourhood of Delium, the eastern coast-extremity of the territory belonging to the Boeotian town of Tanagra; the expedition comprising all classes, not merely citizens, but also metics or resident non-freemen, and even non-resident strangers then by accident at Athens. Of course this statement must be understood with the reserve of ample guards being left behind for the city; but besides the really effective force of 7,000 hoplites, and several hundred horsemen, there appear to have been not less than 25,000 light-armed, half-armed, or unarmed, attendants accompanying the march. The number of hoplites is here prodigiously great; brought together by general and indiscriminate proclamation, not selected by a special choice of the Strategi out of the names on the muster-roll, as was usually the case for any distant expedition. As to light-armed, there was at this time no trained force of that description at Athens, except a small body of archers. No pains had been taken to organize either darters or slingers: the hoplites, the horsemen, and the seamen constituted the whole effective force of the city. Indeed it appears that the Boeotians also were hardly less destitute than the Athenians of native darters and slingers, since those which they employed in the subsequent siege of Delium were in great part hired from the Malian Gulf. To employ at one and the same time heavy-armed and light-armed was not natural to any Grecian community, but was a practice which grew up with experience and necessity. The Athenian feeling, as manifested in the “Persae” of Aeschylus a few years after the repulse of Xerxes, proclaims exclusive pride in the spear and shield, with contempt for the bow. It was only during this very year, when alarmed by the Athenian occupation of Pylus and Kythera, that the Lacedaemonians, contrary to their previous custom, had begun to organize a regiment of archers. The effective manner in which Demosthenes had employed the light-armed in Sphacteria against the Lacedaemonian hoplites, was well calculated to teach an instructive lesson as to the value of the former description of troops.

The Boeotian Delium, which Hippokrates now intended to occupy and fortify, was a temple of Apollo, strongly situated, overhanging the sea about five miles from Tanagra, and somewhat more than a mile from the border territory of Oropus—a territory originally Boeotian, but at this time dependent on Athens, and even partly incorporated in the political community of Athens, under the name of the Deme of Graea. Oropus itself was about a day’s march from Athens—by the road which led through Dekeleia and Sphendale, between the mountains Parnes and Phelleus, so that as the distance to be traversed was so inconsiderable, and the general feeling of the time was that of confidence, it is probable that men of all ages, arms, and dispositions crowded to join the march—in part from mere curiosity and excitement. Hippokrates reached Delium on the day after he had started from Athens. On the succeeding day he began his work of fortification, which was completed—all hands aiding, and tools as well as workmen having been brought along with the army from Athens—in two days and a half. Having dug a ditch all round the sacred ground, he threw up the earth in a bank alongside of the ditch, planting stakes, throwing in fascines, and adding layers of stone and brick, to keep the work together and make it into a rampart of tolerable height and firmness. The vines round the temple, together with the stakes which served as supports to them, were cut to obtain wood; the houses adjoining furnished bricks and stone: the outer temple buildings themselves also, on some of the sides, served as they stood to facilitate and strengthen the defence. But there was one side on which the annexed building, once a portico, had fallen down: and here the Athenians constructed some wooden towers as a help to the defenders. By the middle of the fifth day after leaving Athens, the work was so nearly completed that the army quitted Delium, and began its march homeward out of Boeotia; halting, after it had proceeded about a mile and a quarter, within the Athenian territory of Oropus. It was here that the hoplites awaited the coming of Hippokrates, who still remained at Delium stationing the garrison, and giving his final orders about future defence; while the greater number of the light-armed and unarmed, separating from the hoplites, and seemingly without any anticipation of the coming danger, continued their return-march to Athens. The position of the hoplites was probably about the western extremity of the plain of Oropus, on the verge of the low heights between that plain and Delium.

During these five days, however, the forces from all parts of Boeotia had time to muster at Tanagra. Their number was just completed as the Athenians were beginning their march homeward from Delium. The contingents had arrived, not only from Thebes and its dependent townships around, but also from Haliartus, Koroneia, Orchomenus, Kopae, and Thespiae: that of Tanagra joined on the spot. The government of the Boeotian confederacy as this time was vested in eleven boeotarchs—two chosen from Thebes, the rest in unknown proportion by the other cities, immediate members of the confederacy—and in four senates or councils, the constitution of which is not known. Though all the boeotarchs, now assembled at Tanagra, formed a sort of council of war, yet the supreme command was vested in Pagondas and Arianthides, the boeotarchs from Thebes—either in Pagondas, as the senior of the two, or perhaps in both, alternating with each other day by day. As the Athenians were evidently in full retreat, aud had already passed the border, all the other boeotarchs, except Pagondas, unwilling to hazard a battle 0n soil not Boeotian, were disposed to let them return home without obstruction. Such reluctance is not surprising, when we reflect that the chances of defeat were considerable, and that probably some of these boeotarchs were afraid of the increased power which a victory would lend to the oppressive tendencies of Thebes. But Pagondas strenuously opposed this proposition, and carried the soldiers of the various cities along with him, even in opposition to the sentiments of their separate leaders, in favor of immediately fighting. He called them apart and addressed them by separate divisions, in order that all might not quit their arms at one and the same moment. He characterized the sentiment of the other boeotarchs as an unworthy manifestation of weakness, which, when property considered, had not even the recommendation of superior prudence. For the Athenians, having just invaded the country, and built a fort for the purpose of continuous devastation, were not less enemies 011 one side of the border than the other. Moreover, they were the most restless aud encroaching of all enemies; so that the Boeotians who had the misfortune to be their neighbours, could only be secure against them by the most resolute promptitude in defending themselves as well as in returning the blows first given. If they wished to protect their autonomy and their property against the condition of slavery under which their neighbours in Euboea had long suffered, as well as so many other portions of Greece, their only chance was to march onward and beat these invaders, following the glorious example of their fathers and predecessors in the field of Koroneia. The sacrifices were favourable to an advancing movement; while Apollo, whose temple the Athenians had desecrated by converting it into a fortified place, would lend his cordial aid to the Boeotian defence.

Finding his exhortations favourably received, Pagondas conducted the army by a rapid march to a position close to the Athenians. He was anxious to fight them before they should have retreated farther; moreover, the day was nearly spent—it was already late in the afternoon. Having reached a spot where he was only separated from the Athenians by a hill, which prevented either army from seeing the other, he marshalled his troops in the array proper for fighting. The Theban hoplites, with their dependent allies, ranged in a depth of not less than twenty-five shields, occupied the right wing: the hoplites of Haliartus, Koroneia, Kopae, and its neighbourhood, were in the center: those of Thespiae, Tanagra, and Orchomenus, on the left; for Orchomenus, being the second city in Boeotia next to Thebes, obtained the second post of honour at the opposite extremity of the line. Each contingent adopted its own mode of marshalling the hoplites, and its own depth of files: on this point there was no uniformity—a remarkable proof of the prevalence of dissentient custom in Greece, and how much each town, even among confederates, stood apart as a separate unit. Thucydides specifies only the prodigious depth of the Theban hoplites; respecting the rest, he merely intimates that no common rule was followed. There is another point also which he does not specify—but which, though we learn it only on the inferior authority of Diodorus, appears both true and important. The front ranks of the Theban heavy-armed were filled by 300 select warriors, of distinguished bodily strength, valour, and discipline, who were accustomed to fight in pairs, each man being attached to his neighbour by a peculiar tie of intimate friendship. These pairs were termed the Heniochi and Parabatae—charioteers and companions; a denomination probably handed down from the Homeric times, when the foremost heroes really combated in chariots in front of the common soldiers, but now preserved after it had outlived its appropriate meaning. This band, composed of the finest men in the various palaestrae of Thebes, was in after days placed under peculiar training (for the defence of the Kadmeia or citadel), detached from the front ranks of the phalanx, and organized into a separate regiment under the name of the Sacred Lochus or Band: we shall see how much it contributed to the short-lived military ascendency of Thebes. On both flanks of this mass of Boeotian hoplites, about 7,000 in total number, were distributed 1000 cavalry, 500 peltasts, and 10,000 light-armed or unarmed. The language of the historian seems to imply that the light-armed on the Boeotian side were something more effective than the mere multitude who followed the Athenians.

Such was the order in which Pagondas marched his army over the hill, halting them for a moment in front and sight of the Athenians, to see that the ranks were even, before he gave the word for actual charge. Hippokrates, on his side, apprised while still at Delium that the Boeotians had moved from Tanagra, first sent orders to his army to place themselves in battle array, and presently arrived himself to command them; leaving 300 cavalry at Delium, partly as garrison, partly for the purpose of acting on the rear of the Boeotians during the battle. The Athenian hoplites were ranged eight deep along the whole line—with the cavalry, and such of the light-armed as yet remained, placed on each flank. Hippokrates, after arriving on the spot and surveying the ground occupied, marched along the front of the line briefly encouraging his soldiers, who, as the battle was just on the Oropian border, might fancy that they were not in their own country, and that they were therefore exposed without necessity. He too, in a strain similar to that adopted by Pagondas, reminded the Athenians, that on either side of the border they were alike fighting for the defence of Attica, to keep the Boeotians out of it; since the Peloponnesians would never dare to enter the country without the aid of the Boeotian horse. He farther called to their recollection the great name of Athens, and the memorable victory of Myronides at Oenophyta, whereby their fathers had acquired possession of all Boeotia. But he had scarcely half finished his progress along the line, when he was forced to desist by the sound of the Boeotian paean. Pagondas, after a few additional sentences of encouragement, had given the word : the Boeotian hoplites were seen charging down the hill; and the Athenian hoplites, not less eager, advanced to meet them at a running step.

At the extremity of the line on each side, the interposition of ravines prevented the actual meeting of the armies : but throughout all the rest of the line, the clash was formidable and the conduct of both sides resolute. Both armies, maintaining their ranks compact and unbroken, came to the closest quarters; to the contact and pushing of shields against each other. On the left half of the Boeotian line, consisting of hoplites from Thespiae, Tanagra, and Orchomenus, the Athenians were victorious. The Thespians, who resisted longest, even after their comrades had given way, were surrounded and sustained the most severe loss from the Athenians, who in the ardour of success, while wheeling round to encircle the enemy, became disordered and came into conflict even with their own citizens, not recognizing them at the moment : some loss of life was the consequence.

While the left of the Boeotian line was thus worsted and driven to seek protection from the right, the Thebans on that side gained decided advantage. Though the resolution and discipline of the Athenians was noway inferior, yet as soon as the action came to close quarters and to propulsion with shield and spear, the prodigious depth of the Theban column (more than triple of the depth of the Athenians, twenty-five against eight) enabled them to bear down their enemies by more superiority of weight and mass. Moreover the Thebans appear to have been superior to the Athenians in gymnastic training and acquired bodily force, as they were inferior both in speech and in intelligence. The chosen Theban warriors in the front rank were especially superior : but apart from such superiority, if we assume simple equality of individual strength and resolution on both sides, it is plain that when the two opposing columns came into conflict, shield against shield—the comparative force of forward pressure would decide the victory. This motive is sufficient to explain the extraordinary depth of the Theban column—which was increased by Epaminondas, half a century afterwards, at the battle of Leuctra, from a depth of twenty-five men to the still more astonishing depth of fifty. We need not suspect the correctness of the text, with some critics—or suppose with others, that the great depth of the Theban files arose from the circumstance that the rear ranks were to poor to provide themselves with armour. Even in a depth of eight, which was that of the Athenian column in the present engagement, and seemingly the usual depth in a battle—the spears of the four rear ranks could hardly have protruded sufficiently beyond the first line to do any mischief. The great use of all the ranks behind the first four, was partly to take the place of such of the foremost lines as might be slain—partly, to push forward the lines before them from behind. The greater the depth of the files, the more irresistible did this propelling force become. Hence the Thebans at Delium as well as at Leuctra, found their account in deepening the column to so remarkable a degree—a movement to which we may fairly presume that their hoplites were trained beforehand.

The Thebans on the right thus pushed back the troops on the left of the Athenian line, who retired at first slowly and for a short space, maintaining their order unbroken—so that the victory of the Athenians on their own right would have restored the battle, had not Pagondas detached from the rear two squadrons of cavalry; who, wheeling unseen round the hill behind, suddenly appeared to the relief of the Boeotian left, and produced upon the Athenians on that side, already deranged in their ranks by the ardour of pursuit, the intimidating effect of a fresh army arriving to re-enforce the Boeotians. And thus, even on the right, the victorious portion of their line, the Athenians lost courage and gave way; while on the left, where they were worsted from the beginning, they found themselves pressed harder and harder by the pursuing Thebans : so that in the end, the whole Athenian army was broken and put to flight. The garrison of Delium, re-enforced by 800 cavalry whom Hippokrates had left there to assail the rear of the Boeotians during the action, either made no vigorous movement, or were repelled by a Boeotian reserve stationed to watch them. Flight having become general among the Athenians, the different parts of their army took different directions. The right sought refuge at Delium, the center fled to Oropus, and the left took a direction toward the high lands of Parnes. The pursuit of the Boeotians was vigorous and destructive. They had an efficient cavalry, strengthened by some Locrian horse who had arrived even during the action; their peltasts also, and their light-armed would render valuable service against retreating hoplites. Fortunately for the vanquished, the battle had begun very late in the afternoon, leaving no long period of daylight. This important circumstance saved the Athenian army from almost total destruction. As it was, however, the general Hippokrates, together with nearly 1000 hoplites, and a considerable number of light-armed and attendants, were slain; while the loss of the Boeotians, chiefly on their defeated left wing, was rather under 500 hoplites. Some prisoners seem to have been made, but we hear little about them. Those who had fled to Delium and Oropus were conveyed back by sea to Athens.

The victors retired to Tanagra, after erecting their trophy, burying their own dead, and despoiling those of their enemies. An abundant booty of arms from the stript warriors long remained to decorate the temples of Thebes, while the spoil in other ways is said to have been considerable. Pagondas also resolved to lay siege to the newly established fortress of Delium. But before commencing operations—which might perhaps prove tedious, since the Athenians could always re-enforce the garrison by sea—he tried another means of attaining the same object. He dispatched to the Athenians a herald—who, happening in his way to meet the Athenian herald coming to ask the ordinary permission for burial of the slain, warned him that no such request would be entertained until the message of the Boeotian general had first been communicated, and thus induced him to come back to the Athenian commanders. The Boeotian herald was instructed to remonstrate against the violation of holy custom committed by the Athenians in seizing and fortifying the temple of Delium: wherein their garrison was now dwelling, performing numerous functions which religion forbade to be done in a sacred place, and using as their common drink the water especially consecrated to sacrificial purposes. The Boeotians therefore solemnly summoned them in the name of Apollo and the gods inmates along with them, to evacuate the place, carrying away all that belonged to them. Finally, the herald gave it to be understood, that unless this sum toons were complied with, no permission would be granted to bury their dead.

Answer was returned by the Athenian herald, who now went to the Boeotian commanders, to the following effect: The Athenians did not admit that they had hitherto been guilty of any wrong in reference to the temple, and protested that they would persist in respecting it for the future as much as possible. Their object in taking possession of it had been no evil sentiment toward the holy place, but the necessity of avenging the repeated invasions of Attica by the Boeotians. Possession of the territory, according to the received maxims of Greece, always carried along with it possession of temples therein situated, under obligation to fulfil all customary observances to the resident god, as far as circumstances permitted. It was upon this maxim that the Boeotians had themselves acted when they took possession of their present territory, expelling the prior occupants and appropriating the temples: it was upon the same maxim that the Athenians would act in retaining so much of Boeotia as they had now conquered, and in conquering more of it, if they could. Necessity compelled them to use the consecrated water—a necessity not originating in the ambition of Athens, but in prior Boeotian aggressions upon Attica—a necessity which they trusted that the gods would pardon, since their altars were allowed as a protection to the involuntary offender, and none but he who sinned without constraint experienced their displeasure. The Boeotians were guilty of far greater impiety—in refusing to give back the dead except on certain conditions connected with the holy ground—than the Athenians, who merely refused to turn the duty of sepulchre into an unseemly bargain. “Tell us unconditionally,” concluded the Athenian herald, “that we may bury our dead under truce, pursuant to the maxims of our forefathers. Do not tell us that we may do so, on condition of going out of Boeotia—for we are no longer in Boeotia—we are in our own territory, won by the sword.”

The Boeotian generals dismissed the herald with a reply short and decisive: “If you are in Boeotia, you may take away all that belongs to you, but only on condition of going out of it. If, on the other hand, you are in your own territory, you can take your own resolution without asking us.”

In this debate, curious as an illustration of Grecian manners and feelings, there seems to have been special pleading and evasion on both sides. The final sentence of the Boeotians was good as a reply to the incidental argument raised by the Athenian herald, who had rested the defence of Athens in regard to the temple of Delium on the allegation that the territory was Athenian, not Boeotian—Athenian by conquest and by the right of the strongest—and had concluded by affirming the same thing about Oropia, the district to which the battlefield belonged. It was only this same argument, of actual superior force, which the Boeotians retorted, when they said— “If the territory to which your application refers is yours by right of conquest (i.e., if you are de facto masters of it and are strongest within it)—you can of course do what you think best in it: you need not ask any truce at our hands; you can bury your dead without a truce.” The Boeotians knew that at this moment the field of battle was under guard by a detachment of their army, and that the Athenians could not obtain the dead bodies without permission. But since the Athenian herald had asserted the reverse as a matter of fact, we can hardly wonder that they resented the production of such an argument; meeting it by a reply sufficiently pertinent in mere diplomatic fencing.

But if the Athenian herald, instead of raising the incidental point of territorial property, combined with an incautious definition of that which constituted territorial property, as a defence against the alleged desecration of the temple of Delium—had confined himself to the main issue—he would have put the Boeotians completely in the wrong. According to principles universally respected in Greece, the victor, if solicited, was held bound to grant to the vanquished a truce for burying his dead; to grant and permit it absolutely, without annexing any conditions. On this, the main point in debate, the Boeotians sinned against the sacred international law of Greece, when they exacted the evacuation of the temple at Delium as a condition for consenting to permit the burial of the Athenian dead. Ultimately, after they had taken Delium, we shall find that they did grant it unconditionally. We may doubt whether they would have ever persisted in refusing it if the Athenian herald had pressed this one important principle separately and exclusively—and if he had not, by an unskilful plea in vindication of the right to occupy and live at Delium, both exasperated their feelings, and furnished them with a collateral issue as a means of evading the main demand.

To judge this curious debate with perfect impartiality, we ought to add, in reference to the conduct of the Athenians in occupying Delium—that for an enemy to make special choice of a temple, as a post to be fortified and occupied, was a proceeding certainly rare, perhaps hardly admissible, in Grecian warfare. Nor does the vindication offered by the Athenian herald meet the real charge preferred. It is one thing for an enemy of superior force to overrun a country, and to appropriate everything within it, sacred as well as profane: it is another thing for a border enemy, not yet in sufficient force for conquering the whole, to convert a temple of convenient site into a regular garrisoned fortress, and make it a base of operations against the neighbouring population. On this ground, the Boeotians might reasonably complain of the seizure of Delium: though I apprehend that no impartial interpreter of Grecian international custom would have thought them warranted in requiring the restoration of the place, as a peremptory condition to their granting the burial-truce when solicited.

All negotiation being thus broken off, the Boeotian generals prepared to lay siege to Delium, aided by 2,000 Corinthian hoplites, together with some Megarians and the late Peloponnesian garrison of Nisaea—who joined after the news of the battle. Though they sent for darters and slingers, probably Oetaeans and Aetolians, from the Maliac Gulf, yet their direct attacks were at first all repelled by the garrison, aided by an Athenian squadron off the coast, in spite of the hasty and awkward defences by which alone the fort was protected. At length they contrived a singular piece of fire-mechanism, which enabled them to master the place. They first sawed in twain a thick beam, pierced a channel through it long-ways from end to end, sheathed most part of the channel with iron, and then joined the two halves accurately together. From the further end of this hollowed beam they suspended by chains a large metal pot, full of pitch, brimstone, and burning charcoal; lastly, an iron tube, projected from the end of the interior channel of the beam, so as to come near to the pot. Such was the machine, which, constructed at some distance, was brought on carts and placed close to the wall, near the palisading and the wooden towers. The Boeotians then applied great bellows to their own end of the beam, blowing violently a current of air through the interior channel, so as to raise an intense fire in the caldron at the other end. The wooden portions of the wall, soon catching fire, became untenable for the defenders—who escaped in the best way they could, without attempting further resistance. Two hundred of them were made prisoners, and a few slain; but the greater number got safely on shipboard. This recapture of Delium took place on the seventeenth day after the battle, during all which interval the Athenians slain had remained on the field unburied. Presently however arrived the Athenian herald to make fresh application for the burial-truce; which was now forthwith granted, and granted unconditionally.

Such was the memorable expedition and battle of Delium, a fatal discouragement to the feeling of confidence and hope which had previously reigned at Athens, besides the painful immediate loss which it inflicted on the city. Among the hoplites who took part in the vigorous charge and pushing of shields, the philosopher Sokrates is to be numbered. His bravery, both in the battle and the retreat, was much extolled by his friends, and doubtless with good reason. He had before served with credit in the ranks of the hoplites at Potidaea, and he served also at Amphipolis; his patience Under hardship, and endurance of heat and cold, being not less remarkable than his personal courage. He and his friend Laches were among those hoplites who in the retreat from Delium, instead of flinging away their arms and taking to flight, kept their ranks, their arms, and their firmness of countenance; insomuch that the pursuing cavalry found it dangerous to meddle with them, and turned to an easier prey in the disarmed fugitives. Alkibiades also served at Delium in the cavalry, and stood by Sokrates in the retreat. The latter was thus exposing his life at Delium nearly at the same time when Aristophanes was exposing him to derision in the comedy of the Clouds, as a dreamer alike morally worthless and physically incapable.

Severe as the blow was which the Athenians suffered at Delium, their disasters in Thrace about the same time, or toward the close of the same summer and autumn, were yet more calamitous. I have already mentioned the circumstances which led to the preparation of a Lacedaemonian force intended to act against the Athenians in Thrace, under Brasidas, in concert with the Chalcidians, revolted subjects of Athens, and with Perdikkas of Macedon. Having frustrated the Athenian designs against Megara (as described above), Brasidas completed the levy of his division—1700 hoplites, partly Helots, partly Dorian Peloponnesians—and conducted them, toward the close of the summer, to the Lacedaemonian colony of Herakleia, in the Trachinian territory near the Maliac Gulf. To reach Macedonia and Thrace, it was necessary for him to pass through Thessaly, which was no easy task; for the war had now lasted so long that every state in Greece had become mistrustful of the transit of armed foreigners. Moreover, the mass of the Thessalian population were decidedly friendly to Athens, and Brasidas had no sufficient means to force a passage; while, should he wait to apply for formal permission, there was much doubt whether it would be granted—and perfect certainty of such delay and publicity as would put the Athenians on their guard. But though such was the temper of the Thessalian people, yet the Thessalian governments, all oligarchical, sympathized with Lacedaemon. The federal authority or power of the tagus, which bound together the separate cities, was generally very weak. What was of still greater importance, the Macedonian Perdikkas, as well as the Chalcidians, had in every city powerful guests and partisans, whom they prevailed upon to exert themselves actively in forwarding the passage of the army.

To these men Brasidas sent a message at Pharsalus, as soon as he reached Herakleia. Nikonidas of Larissa with other Thessalian friends of Perdikkas, assembling at Melitaea in Achaia Phthiotis, undertook to escort him through Thessaly. By their countenance and support, combined with his own boldness, dexterity, and rapid movements, he was enabled to accomplish the seemingly impossible enterprise of running through the country, not only without the consent, but against the feeling of its inhabitants—simply by such celerity as to forestall opposition. After traversing Achaia Phthiotis, a territory dependent on the Thessalians, Brasidas began his march from Melitaea through Thessaly itself, along with his powerful native guides. Notwithstanding all possible secrecy and celerity, his march became so far divulged, that a body of volunteers from the neighbourhood, offended at the proceeding, and unfriendly to Nikonidas, assembled to oppose his progress down the valley of the river Enipeus. Reproaching him with wrongful violation of an independent territory, by the introduction of armed forces without permission from the general government, they forbade him to proceed further. His only chance of making progress lay in disarming their opposition by fair words. His guides excused themselves by saying that the suddenness of his arrival had imposed upon them as his guests the obligation of conducting him through, without waiting to ask for formal permission: to offend their countrymen, however, was the furthest thing from their thoughts—and they would renounce the enterprise if the persons now assembled persisted in their requisition. The same conciliatory tone was adopted by Brasidas himself. He protested his strong feeling of respect and friendship for Thessaly and its inhabitants: his arms were directed against the Athenians, not against them: nor was he aware of any unfriendly relation subsisting between the Thessalians and Lacedaemonians, such as to exclude either of them from the territory of the other. Against the prohibition of the parties now before them, he could not possibly march forward, nor would he think of attempting it; but he put it to their good feeling whether they ought to prohibit him. Such conciliatory language was successful in softening the opponents and inducing them to disperse. But so afraid were his guides of renewed opposition in other parts, that they hurried him forward still more rapidly, and he passed through the country at a running pace without halting. Leaving Melitaea in the morning he reached Pharsalus on the same night, encamping on the river Apidanus: thence he proceeded on the next day to Phakium, and on the day afterward into Perrhaebia—a territory adjoining to and dependent on Thessaly, under the mountain range of Olympus. Here he was in safety, so that his Thessalian guides left him; while the Perrhaebians conducted him over the pass of Olympus (the same over which the army of Xerxes had marched) to Dium in Macedonia, in the territory of Perdikkas, on the northern edge of the mountain.

The Athenians were soon apprised of this stolen passage, so ably and rapidly executed, in a manner which few other Greeks, certainly no other Lacedaemonian, would have conceived to be possible. Aware of the new enemy thus brought within reach of their possessions in Thrace, they transmitted orders thither for greater vigilance, and at the same time declared open war against Perdikkas; but unfortunately without sending any efficient force, at a moment when timely defensive intervention was imperiously required. Perdikkas immediately invited Brasidas to join him in the attack of Arrhibaeus, prince of the Macedonians called Lyncestae, or of Lynkus; a summons which the Spartan could not decline, since Perdikkas provided half of the pay and maintenance of the army—but which he obeyed with reluctance, anxious as he was to commence operations against the allies of Athens. Such reluctance was still further strengthened by envoys from the Chalcidians of Thrace—who, as zealous enemies of Athens, joined him forthwith, but discouraged any vigorous efforts to relieve Perdikkas from embarrassing enemies in the interior, in order that the latter might be under more pressing motives to conciliate and assist them. Accordingly Brasidas, though he joined Perdikkas and marched along with the Macedonian army toward the territory of the Lyncestae, was not only averse to active military operations, but even entertained with favor propositions from Arrhibaeus—wherein the latter expressed his wish to become the ally of Lacedaemon, and offered to refer all his differences with Perdikkas to the arbitration of the Spartan general himself. Communicating these propositions to Perdikkas, Brasidas invited him to listen to an equitable compromise, admitting Arrhibaeus into the alliance of Lacedaemon. But Perdikkas indignantly refused: “he had not called in Brasidas as a judge to decide disputes between him and his enemies, but as an auxiliary to put them down wherever he might point them out; and he protested against the iniquity of Brasidas in entering into terms with Arrhibaeus, while the Lacedaemonian army was half paid and maintained by him” (Perdikkas). Notwithstanding such remonstrance, and even a hostile protest, Brasidas persisted in his intended conference with Arrhibaeus, and was so far satisfied with the propositions made, that he withdrew his troops without marching over the pass into Lynkus. Too feeble to act alone, Perdikkas loudly complained. He even contracted his allowance for the future, so as to provide for only one-third of the army of Brasidas instead of one-half.

To this inconvenience, however, Brasidas submitted, in haste to begin his march into Chalcidice, and his operations jointly with the Chalcidians, for seducing or subduing the subject-allies of Athens. His first operation was against Acanthus, on the isthmus of the peninsula of Athos, the territory of which he invaded a little before the vintage—probably about the middle of September, when the grapes were ripe, but still out, and the whole crop of course exposed to ruin at the hands of an enemy superior in force. So important was it to Brasidas to have escaped the necessity of wasting another month in conquering the Lyncestae. There was within the town of Acanthus a party in concert with the Chalcidians, anxious to admit him and to revolt openly from Athens. But the mass of the citizens were averse to this step. It was only by dwelling on the terrible loss from exposure of the crop without, that the anti-Athenian party could persuade them even to grant the request of Brasidas to be admitted singly—so, as to explain his purposes formally before the public assembly, which would take its own decision afterward. “For a Lacedaemonian (says Thucydides) he was no mean speaker.” If he is to have credit for that which we find written in Thucydides, such an epithet would be less than his desert. Doubtless however the substance of the speech is genuine: and it is one of the most interesting in Grecian history— partly as a manifesto of professed Lacedaemonian policy—partly because it had a great practical effect in determining, on an occasion of paramount importance, a multitude which, though unfavourably inclined to him, was not beyond .the reach of argument. I give the chief points of the speech, without binding myself to the words.

“Myself and my soldiers have been sent, Acanthians, to realize the purpose which we proclaimed on beginning the war—that we took arms to liberate Greece from the Athenians. Let no man blame us for having been long in coming, or for the mistake which we made at the outset in supposing that we should quickly put down the Athenians by operations against Attica, without exposing you to any risk. Enough, that we are now here on the first opportunity, resolved to put them down if you will lend us your aid. To find myself shut out of your town—nay, to find that I am not heartily welcomed— astonishes me. We Lacedaemonians undertook this long and perilous march, in the belief that we were coming to friends eagerly expecting us. It would indeed be monstrous if you should now disappoint us, and stand out against your own freedom as well as against that of other Greeks. Your example, standing high as you do both for prudence and power, will fatally keep back other Greeks. It will make them suspect that I am wanting either in power to protect them against Athens, or in honest purpose. Now, in regard to power, my own present army was one which the Athenians, though superior in number, were afraid to fight near Nisaea; nor are they at all likely to send an equal force hither against me by sea. And in regard to my purpose, it is not one of mischief, but of liberation—the Lacedaemonian authorities having pledged themselves to me by the most solemn oaths, that every city which joins me shall retain its autonomy. You have therefore the best assurance both as to my purposes and as to my power: you need not apprehend that I am come with factious designs, to serve the views of any particular men among you, and to remodel your established constitution to the disadvantage either of the Many or of the Few. That would be worse than foreign subjugation; and by such dealing we Lacedaemonians should be taking trouble to earn hatred instead of gratitude. We should play the part of unworthy traitors, worse even than that high-handed oppression of which we accuse the Athenians: we should at once violate our oaths, and sin against our strongest political interests. Perhaps you may say, that though you wish me well, you desire for your parts to be let alone, and to stand aloof from a dangerous struggle. You will tell me to carry my propositions elsewhere, to those who can safely embrace them, but not to thrust my alliance upon any people against their own will. If this should be your language, I shall first call your local gods and heroes to witness that I have come to you with a mission of good, and have employed persuasion in vain; I shall then proceed to ravage your territory and extort your consent, thinking myself justly entitled to do so, on two grounds. First, that the Lacedaemonians may not sustain actual damage from these good wishes which you profess toward me without actually joining—damage in the shape of that tribute which you annually send to Athens. Next, that the Greeks generally may not be prevented by you from becoming free. It is only on the ground of common good that we Lacedaemonians can justify ourselves for liberating any city against its own will. But as we are conscious of desiring only extinction of the empire of others, not acquisition of empire for ourselves, we should fail in our duty if we suffered you to obstruct that liberation which we are now carrying to all. Consider well my words then: take to yourselves the glory of beginning the era of emancipation for Greece—save your own properties from damage—and attach an ever-honourable name to the community of Acanthus.”

Nothing could be more plausible or judicious than this language of Brasidas to the Acanthions—nor had they any means of detecting the falsity of the assertion (which he afterward repeated in other places besides) that he had braved the forces of Athens at Nisaea with the same army as that now on the outside of the walls. Perhaps the simplicity of his speech and manner may even have lent strength to his assurances. As soon as he had retired, the subject was largely discussed in the assembly, with much difference of opinion among the speakers, and perfect freedom on both sides: and the decision, not called for until after a long debate, was determined partly by the fair promises of Brasidas, partly by the certain loss which the ruin of the vine-crop would entail. The votes of the citizens present being taken secretly, a majority resolved to accede to the propositions of Brasidas and revolt from Athens. Exacting the renewal of his pledge and that of the Lacedaemonian authorities, for the preservation of full autonomy to every city which should join him, they received his army into the town. The neighbouring city of Stageirus (a colony of Andros, as Acanthus also was) soon followed the example.

There are few acts in history wherein Grecian political reason and morality appear to greater advantage than in this proceeding of the Acanthions. The habit of fair, free, and pacific discussion—the established respect to the vote of the majority—the care to protect individual independence of judgment by secret suffrage—the deliberate estimate of reasons on both sides by each individual citizen—all these main laws and conditions of healthy political action appear as a part of the confirmed character of the Acanthions. We shall not find Brasidas entering other towns in a way so creditable or so harmonious.

But there is another inference which the scene just described irresistibly suggests. It affords the clearest proof that the Acanthians had little to complain of as subject-allies of Athens, and that they would have continued in that capacity, if left to their own choice without the fear of having their crop destroyed. Such is the pronounced feeling of the mass of the citizens: the party who desire otherwise are in a decided minority. It is only the combined effect of severe impending loss and of tempting assurances held out by the worthiest representative whom Sparta ever sent out, which induces them to revolt from Athens. Nor even then is the resolution taken without long opposition, and a large dissentient minority, in a case where secret suffrage insured free and genuine expression of preference from every individual. Now it is impossible that the scene in Acanthus at this critical moment could have been of such a character, had the empire of Athens been practically odious and burdensome to the subject-allies, as it is commonly depicted. Had such been the fact—had the Acanthions felt that the imperial ascendency of Athens oppressed them with hardship or humiliation from which their neighbours, the revolted Chalcidians in Olynthus and elsewhere, were exempt—they would have hailed the advent of Brasidas with that cordiality which he himself expected and was surprised not to find. The sense of present grievance, always acute and often excessive, would have stood out as their prominent impulse. They would have needed neither intimidation nor cajolery to induce them to throw open their gates to the liberator—who, in his speech within the town, finds no actual suffering to appeal to, but is obliged to gain over an audience, evidently unwilling, by alternate threats and promises.

As in Acanthus, so in most of the other Thracian subjects of Athens—the bulk of the citizens, though strongly solicited by the Chalcidians, manifest no spontaneous disposition to revolt from Athens. We shall find the party who introduce Brasidas to be a conspiring minority, who not only do not consult the majority before­hand, but act in such a manner as to leave no free option to the majority afterward, whether they will ratify or reject; bringing in a foreign force to overawe them and compromise them without their own consent in hostility against Athens. Now that which makes the events of Acanthus so important as an evidence, is, that the majority is not thus entrapped and compressed, but pronounces its judgment freely after ample discussion. The grounds of that judgment are clearly set forth to us, so as to show, that hatred of Athens, if even it exists at all, is in no way a strong or determining feeling. Had there existed any such strong feeling among the subject-allies of Athens in the Chalcidic peninsula, there was no Athenian force now present to hinder them all from opening their gates to the liberator Brasidas by spontaneous majorities; as he himself, encouraged by the sanguine promises of the Chalcidians, evidently expected that they would do. But nothing of this kind happened.

That which I before remarked in recounting the revolt of Mitylene, a privileged ally of Athens, is now confirmed in the revolt of Acanthus, a tributary, and subject-ally. The circumstances of both prove that imperial Athens neither inspired hatred nor occasioned painful grievance to the population of her subject-cities generally. The movements against her arose from party minorities, of the same character as that Plataean party which introduced the Theban assailants into Plataea at the commencement of the Peloponnesian war. There are of course differences of sentiment between one town and another; but the conduct of the towns generally demonstrates that the Athenian empire was not felt by them to be such a scheme of plunder and oppression as Mr. Mitford and others would have us believe. It is indeed true that Athens managed her empire with reference to her own feelings and interest, and that her hold was rather upon the prudence than upon the affection of her allies; except in so far as those among them who were democratically governed, sympathized with her democracy. It is also true that restrictions in any form on the autonomy of each separate city were offensive to the political instincts of the Greeks: moreover Athens took less and less pains to disguise or soften the real character of her empire, as one resting simply on established fact and superior force. But this is a different thing from the endurance of practical hardship and oppression, which, had it been real, would have inspired strong positive hatred among the subject-allies—such Brasidas expected to find universal in Thrace, but did not really find, in spite of the easy opening which his presence afforded.

The acquisition of Acanthus and Stageirus enabled Brasidas in no very long time to extend his conquests; to enter Argilus, and from thence to make the capital acquisition of Amphipolis.

Argilus was situated between Stageirus and the river Strymon, along the western bank of which river its territory extended. Along the eastern bank of the same river—south of the lake which it forms under the name of Kerkinitis, and north of the town of Eion at its mouth—was situated the town and territory of Amphipolis, communicating with the lands of Argilus by the important bridge there situated. The Argilians were colonists from Andros, like Acanthus and Stageirus. The adhesion of those two cities to Brasidas gave him opportunity to cultivate intelligences in Argilus, wherein there had existed a standing discontent against Athens, ever since the foundation of the neighbouring city of Amphipolis. The latter city had been established by the Athenian Agnon, at the head of a numerous body of colonists, on a spot belonging to the Edonian Thracians called Ennea Hodoi or Nine Ways, about five years prior to the commencement of the war (B.C. 437), after two previous attempts to colonize it—one by Histiaeus and Aristagoras at the period of the Ionic revolt, and a second by the Athenians about 465 B.C.—both of which lamentably failed. So valuable however was the site, from its vicinity to the gold and silver mines near Mount Pangaeus and to large forests of ship-timber, as well as for command of the Strymon, and for commerce with the interior of Thrace and Macedonia, that the Athenians had sent a second expedition under Agnon, who founded the city and gave it the name of Amphipolis. The resident settlers there, however, were only in small proportion Athenian citizens; the rest of mixed origin, some of them Argilian—a considerable number Chalcidians. The Athenian general Eukles was governor in the town, though seemingly with no-paid force under his command. His colleague Thucydides the historian was in command of a small fleet on the coast.

Among these mixed inhabitants a conspiracy was organized to betray the town to Brasidas. The inhabitants of Argilus as well as the Chalkidians each tampered with those of the same race who resided in Amphipolis; while the influence of Perdikkas, not inconsiderable in consequence of the commerce of the place with Macedonia, was also employed to increase the number of partisans. Of all the instigators, however, the most strenuous as well as the most useful were the inhabitants of Argilus. Amphipolis, together with the Athenians as its founders, had been odious to them from its commencement. Its foundation had doubtless abridged their commerce and importance as masters of the lower course of the Strymon. They had been long laying snares against the city, and the arrival of Brasidas now presented to them an unexpected chance of success. It was they who encouraged him to attempt the surprise, deferring proclamation of their own defection from Athens until they could make it subservient to his conquest of Amphipolis.

Starting with his army from Arne in the Chalcidic peninsula, Brasidas arrived in the afternoon at Aulon and Bromiskus, near the channel whereby the lake Bolbe is connected with the sea. From hence, after his men had supped, he began his night march to Amphipolis, on a cold and snowy night of November or the beginning of December. He reached Argilus in the middle of the night, where the leaders at once admitted him, proclaiming their revolt from Athens. With their aid and guidance, he then hastened forward without delay to the bridge across the Strymon, which he reached before break of day. It was guarded only by a feeble picket—the town of Amphipolis itself being situated on the hill at some little distance higher up the river; so that Brasidas, preceded by the Argilian conspirators, surprised and overpowered the guard without difficulty. Thus master of this important communication, he crossed with his army forthwith into the territory of Amphipolis, where his arrival spread the utmost dismay and terror. The governor Eukles, the magistrates, and the citizens, were all found wholly unprepared: the lands belonging to the city were occupied by residents with their families and property around them, calculating upon undisturbed security, as if there had been no enemy within reach. Such of these as were close to the city succeeded in running thither with their families, though leaving their property exposed—but the more distant became in person as well as in property at the mercy of the invader. Even within the town, filled with the friends and relatives of these victims without, indescribable confusion reigned, of which the con­spirators within tried to avail themselves in order to get the gates thrown open. And so complete was the disorganization, that if Brasidas had marched up without delay to the gates and assaulted the town, many persons supposed that he would have carried it at once. Such a risk, however, was too great even for his boldness the rather as repulse would have been probably his ruin. Moreover, fiding in the assurances of the conspirators that the gates would be thrown open, he thought it safer to seize as many persons as he could from the out-citizens, as a means of working upon the sentiments of those within the walls. Lastly, this process of seizure and plunder, being probably more to the state of his own soldiers, could not well be hindered.

But he waited in vain for the opening of the gates. The conspirators in the city, in spite of the complete success of their surprise and the universal dismay around them, found themselves unable to carry the majority along with them. As in Acanthus, so in Amphipolis, those who really hated Athens and wished to revolt were only a party minority. The greater number of citizens, at this critical moment, stood by Eukles and the few native Athenians around him in resolving upon defence, and in sending off an express to Thucydides at Thasos (the historian), the colleague of Eukles, as general in the region of Thrace, for immediate aid. This step, of course, immediately communicated to Brasidas from within, determined him to make every effort for enticing the Amphipolitans to surrender before the re-enforcement should arrive; the rather as he was apprised that Thucydides, being a large proprietor and worker of gold mines in the neighbouring region, possessed extensive personal influence among the Thracian tribes, and would be able to bring them together for the relief of the place, in conjunction with his own Athenian squadron. He, therefore, sent in propositions for surrender 011 the most favourable terms—guaranteeing to every citizen who chose to remain, Amphipolitan or even Athenian, continued residence with undisturbed property and equal political rights—and granting to every one who chose to depart, five days for the purpose of carrying away his effects.

Such easy conditions, when made known in the city, produced presently a sensible change of opinion among the citizens—proving acceptable both to Athenians and Amphipolitans, though on different grounds. The properties of the citizens without, as well as many of their relatives, were all in the hands of Brasidas. No one counted upon the speedy arrival of re-enforcement—and even if it did arrive, the city might be preserved, but the citizens without would still be either slain 0r made captive: a murderous battle would ensue, and perhaps after all, Brasidas, assisted by the party within, might prove victorious. The Athenian citizens in Amphipolis, knowing themselves to be exposed to peculiar danger, were perfectly well pleased with his offer, as extricating them from a critical position and procuring for them the means of escape, with comparatively little loss; while the non-Athenian citizens, partakers in the same relief from peril, felt little reluctance in accepting a capitulation which preserved both their rights and their properties inviolate, and merely severed them from Athens—toward which city they felt, not hatred, but indifference. Above all, the friends and relatives of the citizens exposed in the out-region were strenuous in urging on the capitulation, so that the conspirators soon became bold enough to proclaim themselves openly—insisting upon the moderation of Brasidas and the prudence of admitting him. Eukles found that the tone of opinion, even among his own Athenians, was gradually turned against him. He could not prevent the acceptance of the terms, and the admission of the enemy into the city, on that same day.

No such resolution would have been adopted had the citizens been aware how near at hand Thucydides and his forces were. The message dispatched early in the morning from Amphipolis found him at Thasos with seven triremes; with which he instantly put to sea, so as to reach Eion at the mouth of the Strymon, within three miles of Amphipolis, on the same evening. He hoped to be in time for saving Amphipolis: but the place had surrendered a few hours before. He arrived, indeed, only just in time to preserve Eion; for parties in that town were already beginning to concert the admission of Brasidas, who would probably have entered it at daybreak the next morning. Thucydides, putting the place in a condition of defence, successfully repelled an attack which Brasidas made both by land and by boats on the river. He at the same time received and provided for the Athenian citizens who were retiring from Amphipolis.

The capture of this city, perhaps the most important of all the foreign possessions of Athens—and the opening of the bridge over the Strymon, by which oven all her eastern allies became approachable by land—occasioned prodigious emotion throughout all the Grecian world. The dismay felt at Athens was greater than had been ever before experienced. Hope and joy prevailed among her enemies, while excitement and new aspirations became widely spread among her subject allies. The bloody defeat at Delium, and the unexpected conquests of Brasidas, now again lowered the prestige of Athenian success, sixteen months after it had been so powerfully exalted by the capture of Sphacteria. The loss of reputation, which Sparta had then incurred, was now compensated by a reaction against the unfounded terrors since conceived about the probable career of her enemy. It was not merely the loss of Amphipolis, serious as that was, which distressed the Athenians; but also their insecurity respect in the maintenance of their whole empire. They knew not which of their subject-allies might next revolt, in contemplation of aid from Brasidas, facilitated by the newly-acquired Strymonian bridge. And as the proceedings of that general counted in part to the credit of his country, it was believed that Sparta, now for the first time shaking off her languor, had taken to herself the rapidity and enterprise once regarded as the exclusive characteristic of Athens.

But besides all these chances of evil to the Athenians, there was another yet more threatening—the personal ascendency and position of Brasidas himself. It was not merely the boldness, the fertility of aggressive resource, the quick movements, the power of stimulating the minds of soldiers—which lent efficiency to that general; but also his incorruptible probity, his good faith, his moderation, his abstinence from party-cruelty or corruption, and from all intermeddling with the internal constitutions of the different cities—in strict adherence to that manifesto whereby Sparta had proclaimed herself the liberator of Greece. Such talents and such official worth had never before been seen combined. Set off as they were by the full brilliancy of successes, such as were deemed incredible before they actually occurred, they inspired a degree of confidence, and turned a tide of opinion, toward this eminent man, which rendered him personally one of the first powers in Greece. Numerous solicitations were transmitted to him at Amphipolis from parties among the subject-allies of Athens, in their present temper of large hopes from him and diminished fear of the Athenians. The anti-Athenian party in each was impatient to revolt, the rest of the population less restrained by fear.

Of those who indulged in these sanguine calculations, many had yet to learn by painful experience that Athens was still but little abated in power. Still her inaction during this important autumn had been such as may well explain their mistake. It might have been anticipated that on hearing the alarming news of the junction of Brasidas with the Chalcidians and Perdiccas so close upon their dependent allies, they would forthwith have sent a competent force to Thrace—which, if dispatched at that time, would probably have obviated all the subsequent disasters. So they would have acted at any other time, and perhaps even then, if Pericles had been alive. But the news arrived just at the period when Athens was engaged in the expedition against Boeotia, which ended very shortly in the ruinous defeat of Delium. Under the discouragement arising from the death of the Strategus Hippocrates and 1000 citizens, the idea of a fresh expedition to Thrace would probably have been intolerable to Athenian hoplites. The hardships of a winter service in Thrace, as experienced a few years before in the blockade of Potidaea, would probably also aggravate their reluctance. In Grecian history, we must steadfastly keep in mind that we are reading about citizen soldiers, not about professional soldiers; and that the temper of the time, whether of confidence or dismay, modifies to an unspeakable degree all the calculations of military and political prudence. Even after the rapid success of Brasidas, not merely at Acanthus and Stageirus, but even at Amphipolis, they sent only a few inadequate guards to the points most threatened—thus leaving to their enterprising enemy the whole remaining winter for his operations, without hindrance. Without depreciating the merits of Brasidas, we may see that his extraordinary success was in great part owing to the no less extraordinary depression which at that time pervaded the Athenian public; a feeling encouraged by Nikias and other leading men of the same party, who were building upon it their hopes of getting the Lacedaemonian proposals for peace accepted.

But while we thus notice the short-comings of Athens in not sending timely forces against Brasidas, we must at the same time admit, that the most serious and irreparable loss which she sustained—that of Amphipolis—was the fault of her officers more than her own. Eukles and the historian Thucydides, the two joint Athenian commanders in Thrace, to whom was confided the defence of that important town, had means amply sufficient to place it beyond all risk of capture, had they employed the most ordinary vigilance and precaution beforehand. That Thucydides became an exile immediately after this event, and remained so for twenty years, is certain from his own statement. And we hear, upon what in this case is quite sufficient authority, that the Athenians condemned him (probably Eukles also) to banishment, on the proposition of Cleon.

In considering this sentence, historians commonly treat Thucydides as an innocent man, and find nothing to condemn except the calumnies of the demagogue, followed by the injustice of the people. But this view of the case cannot be sustained, when we bring together all the facts even as indicted by Thucydides himself. At the moment when Brasidas surprised Amphipolis, Thucydides was at Thasos; and the event is always discussed as if he was there by necessity or duty—as if Thasos was his special mission. Now we know from his own statement that his command was not special or confined to Thasos. He was sent as joint commander along with Eukles generally to Thrace, and especially to Amphipolis. Both of them were jointly and severally responsible for the proper defence of Amphipolis, with the Athenian empire and interests in that quarter. Such nomination of two or more officers, co-ordinate and jointly responsible, was the usual habit of Athens, wherever the scale or the area of military operations was considerable—instead of one supreme responsible commander, with subordinate officers acting under him and responsible to him. If, then, Thucydides ‘‘was stationed at Thasos” (to use the phrase of Dr. Thirlwall), this was because he chose to station himself there, in the exercise of his own discretion.

Accordingly, the question which we have to put is, not whether Thucydides did all that could be done, after he received the alarming express at Thasos (which is the part of the case that he sets prominently before us), but whether he and Eukles jointly took the best general measures for the security of the Athenian empire in Thrace— especially for Amphipolis, the first jewel of her empire. They suffer Athens to be robbed of that jewel—and how? Had they a difficult position to defend? Were they overwhelmed by a superior force? Were they distracted by simultaneous revolts in different places, or assailed by enemies unknown or unforeseen? Not one of these grounds for acquittal can be pleaded. First, their position was of all others the most defensible. They had only to keep the bridge over the Strymon adequately watched and guarded—or to retain the Athenian squadron at Eion—and Amphipolis was safe. Either one or the other of these precautions would have suffice-, both together would have sufficed so amply, as probably to prevent the scheme of attack from being formed. Next, the force under Brasidas was in no way superior—not even adequate to the capture of the inferior place Eion, when properly guarded—much less to that of Amphipolis. Lastly, there were no simultaneous revolts to distract attention, nor unknown enemies to confound a well-laid scheme of defence. There was but one enemy, in one quarter, having one road by which to approach; an enemy of surpassing merit indeed, and eminently dangerous to Athens—but without any chance of success, except from the short-comings of the Athenian officers.

Now Thucydides and Eukles both knew that Brasidas had prevailed upon Acanthus and Stageirus to revolt, and that too in such a way as to extend his own personal influence materially. They knew that the population of Argilus was of Andrian origin, like that of Acanthus and Stageirus, and therefore peculiarly likely to be tempted by the example of those two towns. Lastly, they knew (and Thucydides himself tells us) that this Argilian population—whose territory bordered on the Strymon and the western foot of the bridge, and who had many connections in Amphipolis—had been long disaffected to Athens, and especially to the Athenian possession of that city. Yet having such foreknowledge, ample warning for the necessity of vigilant defence, Thucydides and Eukles withdraw, or omit, both the two precautions upon which the security of Amphipolis rested—precautions both of them obvious, either of them sufficient. The one leaves the bridge under a feeble guard, and is caught so unprepared in every way, that one might suppose Athens to be in profound peace; the other is found with his squadron, not at Eion, but at Thasos—an island out of all possible danger, either from Brasidas (who had no ships) or any other enemy. The arrival of Brasidas comes on both of them like a clap of thunder. Nothing more is required than this plain fact, under the circumstances, to prove their improvidence as commanders.

The presence of Thucydides on the station of Thrace was important to Athens, partly because he possessed valuable family-connections, mining-property, and commanding influence among the continental population round Amphipolis. This was one main reason why he was named. The Athenian people confide much in his private influence, over and above the public force under his command—looking to him even more than to his colleague Eukles for the continued security of the town: instead of which they find that not even their own squadron under him is at hand near the vulnerable point at the moment when the enemy comes. Of the two, perhaps, the conduct of Eukles admits of conceivable explanation more easily than that of Thucydides. For it seems that Eukles had no paid force in Amphipolis; no other force than the citizen hoplites, partly Athenian, partly of other lineage. Doubtless these men found it irksome to keep guard through the winter on the Strymonian bridge. Eukles might fancy, that by enforcing a large perpetual guard, he ran the risk of making Athens unpopular. Moreover, strict constancy of watch, night after night, when no actual danger comes, with an unpaid citizen force—is not easy to maintain. This is an insufficient excuse, but it is better than anything which can be offered on behalf of Thucydides; who had with him a paid Athenian force, and might just as well have kept it at Eion as at Thasos. We may be sure that the absence of Thucydides with his fleet, at Thasos, was one essential condition in the plot laid by Brasidas with the Argilians.

To say, with Dr. Thirlwall, that “human prudence and activity could not have accomplished more than Thucydides did under the same circumstances”—is true as a matter of fact, and creditable as far as it goes. But it is wholly inadmissible as a justification, and meets only one part of the case. An officer in command is responsible not only for doing most “under the circumstances,” but also for the circumstances themselves, insofar as they are under his control. Now nothing is more under his control than the position which he choses to occupy. If the Emperor Napoleon, or the Duke of Wellington, had lost by surprise of an enemy not very numerous, a post of supreme importance which they thought adequately protected, would they be satisfied to hear from the responsible officer in command—“Having no idea that the enemy would attempt any surprise, I thought that I might keep my force half a day’s journey off from the post exposed, at another post which it was physically impossible for the enemy to reach. But the moment I was informed that the surprise had occurred, I hastened to the scene, did all that human prudence and activity could do to repel the enemy; and though I found that he had already mastered the capital post of all, yet I beat him back from a second post which he was on the point of mastering also?” Does any one imagine that these illustrious chiefs, smarting under the loss of an inestimable position which alters the whole prospects of a campaign, would be satisfied with such a report, and would dismiss the officer with praises for his vigour and bravery “under the circumstances?” They would assuredly reply that he had done right in coming back—that his conduct after coming back had been that of a brave man—and that there was no impeachment on his courage. But they would at the same time add, that his want of judgment and foresight, in omitting to place the valuable position really exposed under sufficient guard beforehand, and leaving it thus open to the enemy, while he himself was absent in another place which was out of danger—and his easy faith that there would be no dangerous surprise, at a time when the character of the enemy’s officer, as well as the disaffection of the neighbours (Argilus), plainly indicated that there would be, if the least opening were afforded—that these were defects meriting serious reproof, and disqualifying him from any future command of trust and responsibility. Nor can we doubt that the whole feeling of the respective armies, who would have to pay with their best blood the unhappy miscalculation of this officer would go along with such a sentence; without at all suspecting themselves to be guilty of injustice, or of “directing the irritation produced by the loss against an innocent object.”

The vehement leather-seller in the Pnyx at Athens, when he brought forward what are called “his calumnies” against Thucydides and Eukles, as having caused through culpable omission a fatal and irreparable loss to their country, might perhaps state his case with greater loudness and acrimony. But it may be doubted whether he would say anything more really galling than would be contained in the dignified rebuke of an esteemed modern general, to a subordinate officer under similar circumstances. In my judgment, not only the accusation against these two officers (I assume Eukles to have been included) was called for on the fairest presumptive grounds —which would be sufficient as a justification of the leather-seller Kleon—but the positive verdict of guilty against them was fully merited. Whether the banishment inflicted was a greater penalty than the case warranted, I will not take upon me to pronounce. Every age has its own standard of feeling for measuring what is a proper intensity of punishment: penalties which our grandfathers thought right and meet, would in the present day appear intolerably rigorous. But when I consider the immense value of Amphipolis to Athens, combined with the conduct whereby it was lost, I cannot think that there was a single Athenian or a single Greek, who would deem the penalty of banishment too severe.

It is painful to find such strong grounds of official censure against a man who as an historian has earned the lasting admiration of posterity—my own among the first and warmest. But in criticizing the conduct of Thucydides the officer, we are bound in justice to forget Thucydides the historian. He was not known in the latter character, at the time when this sentence was passed. Perhaps he never would have been so known (like the Neapolitan historian Colletta), if exile had not thrown him out of the active duties and hopes of a citizen. It may be doubted whether he ever went home from Eion to encounter the grief, wrath, and alarm, so strongly felt at Athens after the loss of Amphipolis. Condemned, either with or without appearance, he remained in banishment for twenty years; not returning to Athens until after the conclusion of the Peloponnesian war. Of this long exile much is said to have been spent 011 his property in Thrace; yet he also visited most parts of Greece—enemies of Athens as well as neutral states. However much we may deplore such a misfortune on his account, mankind in general has, and ever will have, the strongest reason to rejoice at it. To this compulsory leisure we owe the completion, or rather the near approach to completion, of his history. And the opportunities which an exile enjoyed of personally consulting neutrals and enemies, contributed much to form that impartial, comprehensive, Pan-hellenic, spirit, which reigns generally throughout his immortal work.

Meanwhile Brasidas, installed in Amphipolis about the beginning of December 424 B.C., employed his increased power only the more vigorously against Athens. His first care was to reconstitute Amphipolis—a task wherein the Macedonian Perdikkas, whose intrigues had contributed to the capture, came and personally assisted. That city went through a partial secession and renovation of inhabitants; being now moreover cut off from the port of Eion and the mouth of the river, which remained in the hands of the Athenians. Many new arrangements must have been required, as well for its internal polity as for its external defence. Brasidas took measures for building ships of war, in the lake above the city, in order to force the lower part of the river: but his most important step was to construct a palisade work, connecting the walls of the city with the bridge. He thus made himself permanently master of the crossing of the Strymon, so as to shut the door by which he himself had entered, and at the same time to keep an easy communication with Argilus and the western bank of the Strymon. He also made some acquisitions on the eastern side of the river. Pittakus, prince of the neighbouring Edonian Thracian township of Myrkinus, had been recently assassinated by his wife Brauro and by some personal enemies. He had probably been the ally of Athens, and his assassins now sought to strengthen themselves by courting the alliance of the new conqueror of Amphipolis. The Thasian continental colonies of Galepsus and Oesyme also declared their adhesion to him.

While he sent to Lacedaemon, communicating his excellent position as well as his large hopes, he at the same time, without waiting for the answer, began acting for himself, with all the allies whom he could get together. He marched first against the peninsula called Akte—the narrow tongue of land which stretches out from the neighbourhood of Acanthus to the mighty headland called Mount Athos—near thirty miles long, and between four and five miles for the most part in breadth. The long, rugged, woody ridge—covering this peninsula so as to leave but narrow spaces for dwelling, or cultivation, or feeding of cattle—was at this time occupied by many distinct petty communities, some of them divided in race and language. Sane, a colony from Andros, was situated in the interior gulf (called the Singitic Gulf) between Athos and the Sithonian peninsula, near the Xerxeian canal. The rest of the Akte was distributed among Bisaltians, Krestonians and Edonians, all fractions of the Thracian name—Pelasgians or Tyrrhenians, of the race which had once occupied Lemnos and Imbros—and some Chalcidians. Some of these little communities spoke habitually two languages. Thyssus, Kleone, Olophyxus, and others, all submitted on the arrival of Brasidas; but Sane and Dion held out, nor could he bring them to terms even by ravaging their territory.

He next marched into the Sithonian peninsula, to attack Torone, situated near the southern extremity of that peninsula—opposite to Cape Kanastraeum, the extreme headland of the peninsula of Pallene.

Torone was inhabited by a Chalcidic population, but had not partaken in the revolt of the neighbouring Chalcidians against Athens. A small Athenian garrison had been sent there, probably since the recent dangers, and were now defending it as well as repairing the town-wall in various parts where it had been so neglected as to crumble down. They occupied as a sort of distinct citadel the outlying cape called Lekythus, joining by a narrow isthmus the hill on which the city stood, and forming a port wherein lay two Athenian triremes as guardships. A small party in Torone, without privity or even suspicion of the rest, entered into correspondence with Brasidas, and engaged to provide for him the means of entering and mastering the town. Accordingly he advanced by a night-march to the temple of the Dioskuri (Kastor and Pollux) within about a quarter of a mile of the town-gates, which he reached a little before daybreak; sending forward 100 peltasts to be still nearer, and to rush upon the gate at the instant when signal was made from within. His Toronaean partisans, some of whom were already concealed on the spot awaiting his arrival, made their final arrangements with him, and then returned into the town—conducting with them seven determined men from his army, armed only with daggers, and having Lysistratus of Olynthus as their chief. Twenty man had been originally named for this service, but the danger appeared so extreme, that only seven of them were bold enough to go. This forlorn hope, enabled to creep in, through a small aperture in the wall toward the sea, were conducted silently up to the topmost watch-tower on the city hill, where they surprised and slew the guards, and set open a neighbouring postern gate, looking toward Cape Kanastraeum, as well as the great gate leading toward the agora. They then brought in the peltasts from without, who, impatient with the delay, had gradually stolen close under the walls. Some of these peltasts kept possession of the great gate, others were led round to the postern at the top, while the fire-signal was forthwith lighted to invite Brasidas himself. He and his men hastened forward toward the city at their utmost speed and with loud shouts—a terror-striking notice of his presence to the unprepared citizens. Admission was easy through the open gates, but some also clambered up by means of beams or a sort of scaffolding, which was lying close to the wall as a help to the workmen repairing it. And while the assailants were thus active in every direction, Brasidas himself conducted a portion of them to assure himself of the high and commanding parts of the city.

So completely were the Toronaeans surprised and thunderstruck, that hardly any attempt was made to resist. Even the fifty Athenian hoplites who occupied the agora, being found still asleep, were partly slain, and partly compelled to seek refuge in the separately garrisoned cape of Lekythus, whither they were followed by a portion of the Toronaean population; some from attachment to Athens, others from sheer terror. To these fugitives Brasidas addressed a proclamation inviting them to return, and promising them perfect security for person, property, and political rights ; while at the same time he sent a herald with a formal summons to the Athenians in Lekythus, requiring them to quit the place as belonging to the Chalcidians, but permitting them to carry away their property. They refused to evacuate the place, but solicited a truce of one day for the purpose of burying their slain. Brasidas granted them two days, which were employed both by them and by him in preparations for the defense and attack of Lekythus; each party fortifying the houses on or near the connecting isthmus.

In the meantime he convened a general assembly of the Toronaean population, whom he addressed in the same conciliating and equitable language as he had employed elsewhere. He had not come to harm either the city or any individual citizen. Those who had let him in, ought not to be regarded as bad men or traitors—for they had acted with a view to the benefit and the liberation of their city, not in order to enslave it, or to acquire profit for themselves. On the other hand, he did not think the worse of those who had gone over to Lekythus, for their liking toward Athens: he wished them to come back freely, and he was sure that the more they knew the Lacedaemonians, the better they would esteem them. He was prepared to forgive and forget previous hostility; but while he invited all of them to live for the future as cordial friends and fellow-citzens—he should also for the future hold each man responsible for his conduct, either as friend or as enemy.

On the expiration of the Two days’ truce, Brasidas attacked the Athenian garrison in Lekythus, promising a recompense of thirty minae to the soldier who should first force his way into it. Notwithstanding very poor means of defense—partly a wooden palisade, partly houses with battlements on the roof—this garrison repelled him for one whole day. On the next morning he brought up a machine, for the same purpose as that which the Boeotians had employed at Delium, to set fire to the wood-work. The Athenians on their side, seeing this fire machine approaching, put up, on a building in front of their position, a wooden platform, upon which many of them mounted, with casks of water and large stones to break it or to extinguish the flames. At last, the weight accumulated becoming greater than the supports could bear, it broke down with a prodigious noise; so that all the persons and things upon it rolled down in confusion. Some of these men were hurt, yet the injury was not in reality serious,—had not the noise, the cries, and the strangeness of the incident alarmed those behind, who could not see precisely what had occurred, to such a degree that they believed the enemy to have already forced the defenses. Many of them accordingly took to flight, while those who remained were insufficient to prolong the resistance successfully; so that Brasidas, perceiving the disorder and diminished number of the defenders, relinquished his fire-machine and again renewed his attempt to carry the place by assault, which now fully succeeded. A considerable portion of the Athenians and others in the fort escaped across the narrow gulf to the peninsula of Pallene, by means of two triremes and some merchant-vessels at hand: but every man found in it was put to death. Brasidas, thus master of the fort, and considering that he owed his success to the sudden rupture of the Athenian scaffolding, regarded this incident as a divine interposition, and presented the thirty minae (which he had promised as a reward to the first man who broke in) to the goddess Athene for her temple at Lekythus. He, moreover, consecrated to her the entire cape of Lekythus; not only demolishing the defenses, but also dismantling the private residences which it contained, so that nothing remained except the temple, with its ministers and appurtenances.

What proportion of the Toronaeans who had taken refuge at Lekythus, had been induced to return by the proclamation of Brasidas, alike generous and politic, we are not informed. His language and conduct were admirably calculated to set this little community again in harmonious movement, and to obliterate the memory of past feuds. And above all, it inspired a strong sentiment of attachment and gratitude toward himself personally—a sentiment which gained strength with every successive incident in which he was engaged, and which enabled him to exercise a greater ascendency than could ever be acquired by Sparta, and in some respects greater than had ever been possessed by Athens. It is this remarkable development of commanding individuality, animated throughout by straightforward public purposes, and binding together so many little communities who had few other feelings in common, which lends to the short career of this eminent man, a romantic, and even an heroic, interest.

During the remainder of the winter Brasidas employed himself in setting in order the acquisitions already made, and in laying plans for farther conquests in the spring. But the beginning of spring—or the close of the eighth year, and beginning of the ninth year, of the war, as Thucydides reckons—brought with it a new train of events, which will be recounted in the following chapter.