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The victory of Arginusae gave for the time decisive mastery of the Asiatic seas to the Athenian fleet; and is even said to have so discouraged the Lacedaemonians, as to induce them to send propositions of peace to Athens. But this statement is open to much doubt, and I think it most probable that no such propositions were made. Great as the victory was, we look in vain for any positive results accruing to Athens. After an unsuccessful attempt on Chios, the victorious fleet went to Samos, where it seems to have remained until the following year, without any farther movements than were necessary for the purpose of procuring money.

Meanwhile Eteonikus, who collected the remains of the defeated Peloponnesian fleet at Chios, being left unsupplied with money by Cyrus, found himself much straitened, and was compelled to leave the seamen unpaid. During the later summer and autumn, these men maintained themselves by laboring for hire on the Chian lands; but when winter came, this resource ceased, so that they found themselves unable to procure even clothes or shoes. In such forlorn condition, many of them entered into a conspiracy to assail and plunder the town of Chios; a day was named for the enterprise, and it was agreed that the conspirators should know each other by wearing a straw, or reed. Informed of the design, Eteonikus was at the same time intimidated by the number of these straw-bearers; he saw that if he dealt with the conspirators openly and ostensibly, they might perhaps rush to arms and succeed in plundering the town; at any rate, a conflict would arise in which many of the allies would be slain, which would produce the worst effect upon all future operations. Accordingly, resorting to stratagem, he took with him a guard of fifteen men armed with daggers, and marched through the town of Chios: Meeting presently one of these straw-bearers,—a man with a complaint in his eyes, coming out of a surgeon’s house, —he directed his guards to put the man to death on the spot. A crowd gathered round, with astonishment as well as sympathy, and inquired on what ground the man was put to death; upon which Eteonikus ordered his guards to reply, that it was because he wore a straw. The news became diffused, and immediately the remaining persons who were straws became so alarmed as to throw their straws away.

Eteonikus availed himself of the alarm to demand money from the Chians, as a condition of carrying away this starving and perilous armament. Having obtained from them a month’s pay, he immediately put the troops on shipboard, taking pains to encourage them, and make them fancy that he was unacquainted with the recent conspiracy.

The Chians and the other allies of Sparta presently assembled at Ephesus to consult, and resolved, in conjunction with Cyrus, to despatch envoys to the ephors, requesting that Lysander might be sent out a second time as admiral. It was not the habit of Sparta ever to send out the same man as admiral a second time, after his year of service. Nevertheless, the ephors complied with the request substantially, sending out Arakus as admiral, but Lysander along with him, under the title of secretary, invested with all the real powers of command.

Lysander, having reached Ephesus about the beginning of B.C. 405, immediately applied himself with vigor to renovate both Lacedaemonian power and his own influence. The partisans in the various allied cities, whose favor he had assiduously cultivated during his last year’s command, the clubs and factious combinations, which he had organized and stimulated into a partnership of mutual ambition, all hailed his return with exultation. Discountenanced and kept down by the generous patriotism of his predecessor Kallikratidas, they now sprang into renewed activity, and became zealous in aiding Lysander to refit and augment his fleet. Nor was Cyrus less hearty in his preference than before. On arriving at Ephesus, Lysander went speedily to visit him at Sardis, and solicited a renewal of the pecuniary aid. The young prince said in reply that all the funds which he had received from Susa had already been expended, with much more besides; in testimony of which he exhibited a specification of the sums furnished to each Peloponnesian officer. Nevertheless, such was his partiality for Lysander, that he complied even with the additional demand now made, so as to send him away satisfied. The latter was thus enabled to return to Ephesus in a state for restoring the effective condition of his fleet. He made good at once all the arrears of pay due to the seamen, constituted new trierarchs, summoned Eteonikus with the fleet from Chios together with all the other scattered squadrons, and directed that fresh triremes should be immediately put on the stocks at Antandrus.

In none of the Asiatic towns was the effect of Lysander’s second advent felt more violently than at Miletus. He had there a powerful faction or association of friends, who had done their best to hamper and annoy Kallikratidas on his first arrival, but had been put to silence, and even forced to make a show of zeal, by the straightforward resolution of that noble-minded admiral. Eager to reimburse themselves for this humiliation, they now formed a conspiracy, with the privity and concurrence of Lysander, to seize the government for themselves. They determined, if Plutarch and Diodorus are to be credited, to put down the existing democracy, and establish an oligarchy in its place. But we cannot believe that there could have existed a democracy at Miletus, which had now been for five years in dependence upon Sparta and the Persians jointly. We must rather understand the movement as a conflict between two oligarchical parties; the friends of Lysander being more thoroughly self-seeking and anti-popular than their opponents, and perhaps even crying them down, by comparison, as a democracy. Lysander lent himself to the scheme, fanned the ambition of the conspirators, who were at one time disposed to a compromise, and even betrayed the government into a false security, by promises of support which he never intended to fulfil. At the festival of the Dionysia, the conspirators, rising in arms, seized forty of their chief opponents in their houses, and three hundred more in the market-place; while the government—confiding in the promises of Lysander, who affected to reprove, but secretly continued instigating the insurgents—made but a faint resistance. The three hundred and forty leaders thus seized, probably men who had gone heartily along with Kallikratidas, were all put to death; and a still larger number of citizens, not less than one thousand, fled into exile, Miletus thus passed completely into the hands of the friends and partisans of Lysander.

It would appear that factious movements in other towns, less revolting in respect of bloodshed and perfidy, yet still of similar character to that of Miletus, marked the reappearance of Lysander in Asia; placing the towns more and more in the hands of his partisans. While thus acquiring greater ascendency among the allies, Lysander received a summons from Cyrus to visit him at Sardis. The young prince had just been sent for to come and visit his father Darius, who was both old and dangerously ill, in Media. About to depart for this purpose, he carried his confidence in Lysander so far as to delegate to him the management of his satrapy and his entire revenues. Besides his admiration for the superior energy and capacity of the Greek character, with which he had only recently contracted acquaintance; and besides his esteem for the personal disinterestedness of Lysander, attested as it had been by the conduct of the latter in the first visit and banquet at Sardis; Cyrus was probably induced to this step by the fear of raising up to himself a rival, if he trusted the like power to any Persian grandee. At the same time that he handed over all his tributes and his reserved funds to Lysander, he assured him of his steady friendship both towards himself and towards the Lacedaemonians; and concluded by entreating that he would by no means engage in any general action with the Athenians, unless at great advantage in point of numbers. The defeat of Arginusae having strengthened his preference for this dilatory policy, he promised that not only the Persian treasures, but also the Phoenician fleet, should be brought into active employment for the purpose of crushing Athens.

Thus armed with an unprecedented command of Persian treasure, and seconded by ascendant factions in all the allied cities, Lysander was more powerful than any Lacedaemonian commander had ever been since the commencement of the war. Having his fleet well paid, he could keep it united, and direct it whither he chose, without the necessity of dispersing it in roving squadrons for the purpose of levying money. It is probably from a corresponding necessity that we are to explain the inaction of the Athenian fleet at Samos; for we hear of no serious operations undertaken by it, during the whole year following the victory of Arginusae, although under the command of an able and energetic man, Konon, together with Philokles and Adeimantus; to whom were added, during the spring of 405 B.C., three other generals, Tydeus, Menander, and Kephisodotus. It appears that Theramenes also was put up and elected one of the generals, but rejected when submitted to the confirmatory examination called the dokimasy. The fleet comprised one hundred and eighty triremes, rather a greater number than that of Lysander; to whom they in vain offered battle near his station at Ephesus. Finding him not disposed to a general action, they seem to have dispersed to plunder Chios, and various portions of the Asiatic coast; while Lysander, keeping his fleet together, first sailed southward from Ephesus, stormed and plundered a semi-Hellenic town in the Kerameikan gulf, named Kedreiae, which was in alliance with Athens, and thence proceeded to Rhodes. He was even bold enough to make an excursion across the Aegean to the coast of Aegina and Attica, where he had an interview with Agis, who came from Dekeleia to the sea-coast. The Athenians were prepared to follow him thither when they learned that he had recrossed the Aegean, and he soon afterwards appeared with all his fleet at the Hellespont, which important pass they had left unguarded. Lysander went straight to Abydos, still the great Peloponnesian station in the strait, occupied by Thorax as harmost with a land force; and immediately proceeded to attack, both by sea and land, the neighboring town of Lampsacus, which was taken by storm. It was wealthy in every way, and abundantly stocked with bread and wine, so that the soldiers obtained a large booty; but Lysander left the free inhabitants untouched.

The Athenian fleet seems to have been employed in plundering Chios, when it received news that the Lacedaemonian commander was at the Hellespont engaged in the siege of Lampsacus. Either from the want of money, or from other causes which we do not understand, Konon and his colleagues were partly inactive, partly behind hand with Lysander, throughout all this summer. They now followed him to the Hellespont, sailing out on the seaside of Chios and Lesbos, away from the Asiatic coast, which was all unfriendly to them. They reached Elaeus, at the southern extremity of the Chersonese, with their powerful fleet of one hundred and eighty triremes, just in time to hear, while at their morning meal, that Lysander was already master of Lampsacus; upon which they immediately proceeded up the strait to Sestos, and from thence, after, stopping only to collect a few provisions, still farther up, to a place called Aegospotami.

Aegospotami, or Goat’s River—a name of fatal sound to all subsequent Athenians—was a place which had nothing to recommend it except that it was directly opposite to Lampsacus, separated by a breadth of strait about one mile and three-quarters. But it was an open beach, without harbor, without good anchorage, without either houses or inhabitants or supplies; so that everything necessary for this large army had to be fetched from Sestos, about one mile and three-quarters distant even by land, and yet more distant by sea, since it was necessary to round a headland. Such a station was highly inconvenient and dangerous to an ancient naval armament, without any organized commissariat; since the seamen, being compelled to go to a distance from their ships in order to get their meals, were not easily reassembled. Yet this was the station chosen by the Athenian generals, with the full design of compelling Lysander to fight a battle. But the Lacedaemonian admiral, who was at Lampsacus, in a good harbor, with a well-furnished town in his rear, and a land-force to cooperate, had no intention of accepting the challenge of his enemies at the moment which suited their convenience. When the Athenians sailed across the strait the next morning, they found all his slips fully manned,—the men having already taken their morning meal,—and ranged in perfect order of battle, with the land-force disposed ashore to lend assistance; but with strict orders to await attack and not to move forward. Not daring to attack him in such a position, yet unable to draw him out by manoeuvring all the day, the Athenians were at length obliged to go back to Aegospotami. But Lysander directed a few swift-sailing vessels to follow them, nor would he suffer his own men to disembark until he thus ascertained that their sea­men had actually dispersed ashore.

For four successive days this same scene was repeated; the Athenians becoming each day more confident in their own superior strength, and more full of contempt for the apparent cowardice of the enemy. It was in vain that Alcibiades—who from his own private forts in the Chersonese witnessed what was passing—rode up to the station and remonstrated with the generals on the exposed condition of the fleet on this open shore; urgently advising them to move round to Sestos, where they would be both close to their own supplies and safe from attack, as Lysander was at Lampsacus, and from whence they could go forth to fight whenever they chose. But the Athenian generals, especially Tydeus and Menander, disregarded his advice, and even dismissed him with the insulting taunt, that they were now in command, not he. Continuing thus in their exposed position, the Athenian seamen on each successive day became more and more careless of their enemy, and rash in dispersing the moment they returned back to their own shore. At length, on the fifth day, Lysander ordered the scout-ships, which he sent forth to watch the Athenians on their return, to hoist a bright shield as a signal, as soon as they should see the ships at their anchorage and the crews ashore in quest of their meal. The moment he beheld this welcome signal, he gave orders to his entire fleet to row across as swiftly as possible from Lampsacus to Aegospotami, while Thorax marched along the strand with the land-force in case of need. Nothing could be more complete or decisive than the surprise of the Athenian fleet. All the triremes were caught at their moorings ashore, some entirely deserted, others with one or at most two of the three tiers of rowers which formed their complement. Out of all the total of one hundred and eighty, only twelve were found in tolerable order and preparation; the trireme of Konon himself, together with a squadron of seven under his immediate orders, and the consecrated ship called paralus, always manned by the elite of the Athenian seamen, being among them. It was in vain that Konon, on seeing the fleet of Lysander approaching, employed his utmost efforts to get his fleet manned and in some condition for resistance. The attempt was desperate, and the utmost which he could do was to escape himself with the small squadron of twelve, including the paralus. All the remaining triremes, nearly one hundred and seventy in number, were captured by Lysander on the shore, defenceless, and seemingly without the least attempt on the part of any one. to resist. He landed, and made prisoners most of the crews ashore, though some of them fled and found shelter in the neighboring forts. This prodigious and unparalleled victory was obtained, not merely without the loss of a single ship, but almost without that of a single man.

Of the number of prisoners taken by Lysander, which must have been very great, since the total crews of one hundred and eighty triremes were not less than thirty-six thousand men, we hear only of three thousand or four thousand native Athenians, though this number cannot represent all the native Athenians in the fleet. The Athenian generals Philokles and Adeimantus were certainly taken, and seemingly all except Konon. Some of the defeated armament took refuge in Sestos, which, however, surrendered with little resistance to the victor. He admitted them to capitulation, on condition of their going back immediately to Athens, and nowhere else : for he was desirous to multiply as much as possible the numbers assembled in that city, knowing well that the city would be the sooner starved out. Konon too was well aware that, to go back to Athens, after the ruin of the entire fleet, was to become one of the certain prisoners in a doomed city, and to meet, besides, the indignation of his fellow-citizens, so well deserved by the generals collectively. Accordingly, he resolved to take shelter with Evagoras, prince of Salamis in the island of Cyprus, sending the paralus, with some others of the twelve fugitive triremes, to make known the fatal news at Athens. But before he went thither, he crossed the strait—with singular daring, under the circumstances—to Cape Abarnis in the territory of Lampsacus, where the great sails of Lysander’s triremes, always taken out when a trireme was made ready for fighting, lay seemingly unguarded. These sails he took away, so as to lessen the enemy’s powers of pursuit, and then made the best of his way to Cyprus.

On the very day of the victory, Lysander sent off the Milesian privateer Theopompus to proclaim it at Sparta, who, by a wonderful speed of rowing, arrived there and made it known on the third day after starting. The captured ships were towed off and the prisoners carried across to Lampsacus, where a general assembly of the victorious allies was convened, to determine in what manner the prisoners should be treated. In this assembly, the most bitter inculpations were put forth against the Athenians, as to the manner in which they had recently dealt with their captives. The Athenian general Philokles, having captured a Corinthian and Andrian trireme, had put the crews to death by hurting them headlong from a precipice. It was not difficult, in Grecian warfare, for each of the belligerents to cite precedents of cruelty against the other; but in this debate, some speakers affirmed that the Athenians had deliberated what they should do with their prisoners, in case they had been victorious at Aegospotami; and that they had determined—chiefly on the motion of Philokles, but in spite of the opposition of Adeimantus—that they would cut off the right hands of all who were captured. Whatever opinion Philokles may have expressed personally, it is highly improbable that any such determination was ever taken by the Athenians. In this assembly of the allies, however, besides all that could be said against Athens with truth, doubtless the most extravagant falsehoods found ready credence. All the Athenian prisoners captured at Aegospotami, three thousand or four thousand in number, were massacred forthwith, Philokles himself at their head. The latter, taunted by Lysander with his cruel execution of the Corinthian and Andrian crews, disdained to return any answer, but placed himself in conspicuous vestments at the head of the prisoners led out to execution. If we may believe Pausanias, even the bodies of the prisoners were left unburied.

Never was a victory more complete in itself, more overwhelming in its consequences, or more thoroughly disgraceful to the defeated generals, taken collectively, than that of Aegospotami. Whether it was in reality very glorious to Lysander, is doubtful; for it was the general belief afterwards, not merely at Athens, but seemingly in other parts of Greece also, that the Athenian fleet was sold to perdition by the treason of some of its own commanders. Of this suspicion both Konon and Philokles stand clear. Adeimantus was named as the chief traitor, and Tydeus along with him. Konon even preferred an accusation against Adeimantus to this effect, probably by letter written home from Cyprus, and perhaps by some formal declaration made several years afterwards, when he returned to Athens as victor from the battle of Cnidus. The truth of the charge cannot be positively demonstrated, but all the circumstances of the battle tend to render it probable, as well as the fact that Konon alone among all the generals was found in a decent state of preparation. Indeed we may add, that the utter impotence and inertness of the numerous Athenian fleet during the whole summer of 405 B.C. conspire to suggest a similar explanation. Nor could Lysander, master as he was of all the treasures of Cyrus, apply any portion of them more efficaciously than in corrupting the majority of the six Athenian generals, so as to nullify all the energy and ability of Konon.

The great defeat of Aegospotami took place about September 405 B.C. It was made known at Piraeus by the paralus, which arrived there during the night, coming straight from the Hellespont. Such a moment of distress and agony had never been experienced at Athens. The terrible disaster in Sicily had become known to the people by degrees, without any authorized reporter; but here was the official messenger, fresh from the scene, leaving no room to question the magnitude of the disaster or the irreparable ruin impending over the city. The wailing and cries of woe, first beginning in Piraeus, were transmitted by the guards stationed on the Long Walls up to the city. “On that night (says Xenophon) not a man slept; not merely from sorrow for the past calamity, but from terror for the future fate with which they themselves were now menaced, a retribution for what they had themselves inflicted on the Aeginetans, Melians, Skionaeans, and others”. After this night of misery, they met in public assembly on the following day, resolving to make the best preparations they could for a siege, to put the walls in full state of defence, and to block up two out of the three ports. For Athens thus to renounce her maritime action, the pride and glory of the city ever since the battle of Salamis, and to confine herself to a defensive attitude within her own walls, was a humilia­tion which left nothing worse to be endured except actual famine and surrender.

Lysander was in no hurry to pass from the Hellespont to Athens. He knew that no farther cornships from the Euxine, and few supplies from other quarters, could now reach Athens; and that the power of the city to hold out against blockade must necessarily be very limited; the more limited, the greater the numbers accumulated within it. Accordingly, he permitted the Athenian garrisons which capitulated, to go only to Athens, and nowhere else. His first measure was to make himself master of Chalcedon and Byzantium, where he placed the Lacedaemonian Sthenelaus as harmost, with a garrison. Next, he passed to Lesbos, where he made similar arrangements at Mitylene and other cities. In them, as well as in the other cities which now came under his power, he constituted an oligarchy of ten native citizens, chosen from among his most daring and unscrupulous partisans, and called a dekarchy, or dekadarchy, to govern in conjunction with the Lacedaemonian harmost. Eteonikus was sent to the Thracian cities which had been in dependence on Athens, to introduce similar changes. In Thasus, however, this change was stained by much bloodshed: there was a numerous philo-Athenian party whom Lysander caused to be allured out of their place of concealment into the temple of Heracles, under the false assurance of an amnesty: when assembled under this pledge, they were all put to death. Sanguinary proceedings of the like character, many in the presence of Lysander himself, together with large expulsions of citizens obnoxious to his new dekarchies, signalized everywhere the substitution of Spartas for Athenian ascendency. But nowhere, except at Samos, did the citizens or the philo-Athenian party in the cities continue any open hostility, or resist by force Lysander’s entrance and his revolutionary changes. At Samos, they still held out: the people had too much dread of that oligarchy, whom they had expelled in the insurrection of 412 B.C., to yield without a farther struggle. With this single reserve, every city in alliance or dependence upon Athens submitted without resistance both to the supremacy and the subversive measures of the Lacedaemonian admiral.

The Athenian empire was thus annihilated, and Athens left altogether alone. What was hardly less painful, all her kleruchs, or out-citizens, whom she had formerly planted in Aegina, Melos, and elsewhere throughout the islands, as well as in the Chersonese, were now deprived of their properties and driven home. The leading philo-Athenians, too, at Thasus, Byzantium, and other dependent cities, were forced to abandon their homes in the like state of destitution, and to seek shelter at Athens. Everything thus contributed to aggravate the impoverishment, and the manifold suffering, physical as well as moral, within her walls. Notwithstanding the pressure of present calamity, however, and yet worse prospects for the future, the Athenians prepared, as lest they could, for an honorable resistance.

It was one of their first measures to provide for the restoration of harmony, and to interest all in the defence of the city, by removing every sort of disability under which individual citizens might now be suffering. Accordingly, Patrokleides—having first obtained special permission from the people, without which it would have been unconstitutional to make any proposition for abrogating sentences judicially passed, or releasing debtors regularly inscribed in the public registers—submitted a decree such as had never been mooted since the period when Athens was in a condition equally desperate, during the advancing march of Xerxes. All debtors to the state, either recent or of long standing; all official persons now under investigation by the Logistae, or about to be brought before the dikastery on the usual accountability after office; all persons who were liquidating by instalment debts due to the public, or had given bail for sums thus owing; all persons who had been condemned either to total disfranchisement, or to some specific disqualification or disability; nay, even all those who, having been either members or auxiliaries of the Four Hundred, had stood trial afterwards, and had been condemned to any one of the above-mentioned penalties, all these persons were pardoned and released; every register of the penalty or condemnation being directed to be destroyed. From this comprehensive pardon were excepted : Those among the Four Hundred who had fled from Athens without standing their trial; those who had been condemned either to exile or to death by the Areopagus, or any of the other constituted tribunals for homicide, or for subversion of the public liberty. Not merely the public registers of all the condemnations thus released were ordered to be destroyed, but it was forbidden, under severe penalties, to any private citizen to keep a copy of them, or to make any allusion to such misfortunes.

Pursuant to the comprehensive amnesty and forgiveness adopted by the people in this decree of Patrokleides, the general body of citizens swore to each other a solemn pledge of mutual harmony in the acropolis. The reconciliation thus introduced enabled them the better to bear up under their distress; especially as the persons relieved by the amnesty were, for the most part, not men politically disaffected, like the exiles. To restore the latter, was a measure which no one thought of; indeed, a large proportion of them had been and were still at Dekeleia, assisting the Lacedaemonians in their warfare against Athens. But even the most prudent internal measures could do little for Athens in reference to her capital difficulty, that of procuring subsistence for the numerous population within her walls, augmented every day by outlying garrisons and citizens. She had long been shut out from the produce of Attica by the garrison at Dekeleia; she obtained nothing from Euboea, and since the late defeat of Aegospotami, nothing from the Euxine, from Thrace, or from the islands. Perhaps some corn may still have reached her from Cyprus, and her small remaining navy did what was possible to keep Piraeus supplied, in spite of the menacing prohibitions of Lysander, preceding his arrival to block it up effectually; but to accumulate any stock for a siege, was utterly impossible.

At length, about November, 405 B.C., Lysander reached the Saronic gulf, having sent intimation beforehand, both to Agis and to the Lacedaemonians, that he was approaching with a fleet of two hundred triremes. The full Lacedaemonian and Peloponnesian force (all except the Argeians), under king Pausanias, was marched into Attica to meet him, and encamped in the precinct of Academus, at the gates of Athens; while Lysander, first coming to Aegina with his overwhelming fleet of one hundred and fifty sail; next, ravaging Salamis, blocked up completely the harbor of Piraeus. It was one of his first measures to collect together the remnant which he could find of the Aeginetan and Melian populations, whom Athens had expelled and destroyed; and to restore to them the possession of their ancient islands.

Though all hope had now fled, the pride, the resolution, and the despair of Athens, still enabled her citizens to bear up; nor was it until some men actually began to die of hunger, that they sent propositions to entreat peace. Even then their propositions were not without dignity. They proposed to Agis to become allies of Sparta, retaining their walls entire and their fortified harbor of Piraeus. Agis referred the envoys to the ephors at Sparta, to whom he at the same time transmitted a statement of their propositions. But the ephors did not even deign to admit the envoys to an interview, but sent messengers to meet them at Sellasia on the frontier of Laconia, desiring that they would go back and come again prepared with something more admissible, and acquainting them at the same time that no proposition could be received which did not include the demolition of the Long Walls, for a continuous length of ten stadia. With this gloomy reply the envoys returned. Notwithstanding all the suffering in the city, the senate and people would not consent even to take such humiliating terms into consideration. A senator named Archestratus, who advised that they should be accepted, was placed in custody, and a general vote was passed, on the proposition of Cleophon, forbidding any such motion in future.

Such a vote demonstrates the courageous patience both of the senate and the people; but unhappily it supplied no improved prospects, while the suffering within the walls continued to become more and more aggravated. Under these circumstances, Theramenes offered himself to the people to go as envoy to Lysander and Sparta, affirming that he should be able to detect what the real intention of the ephors was in regard to Athens, whether they really intended to root out the population and sell them as slaves. He pretended, farther, to possess personal influence, founded on circumstances which he could not divulge, such as would very probably insure a mitigation of the doom. He was accordingly sent, in spite of strong protest from the senate of Areopagus and others,—but with no express powers to conclude,—simply to inquire and report. We hear with astonishment that he remained more than three months as companion of Lysander, who, he alleged, had detained him thus long, and had only acquainted him, after the fourth month had begun, that no one but the ephors had any power to grant peace. It seems to have been the object of Theramenes, by this long delay, to wear out the patience of the Athenians, and to bring them into such a state of intolerable suffering, that they would submit to any terms of peace which would only bring provisions into the town. In this scheme he completely succeeded; and considering how great were the privations of the people even at the moment of his departure, it is not easy to understand how they could have been able to sustain protracted and increasing famine for three months longer.

We make out little that is distinct respecting these last moments of imperial Athens. We find only an heroic endurance displayed, to such a point that numbers actually died of starvation, without any offer to surrender on humiliating conditions. Amidst the general acrimony, and exasperated special antipathies, arising out of such a state of misery, the leading men who stood out most earnestly for prolonged resistance became successively victims to the prosecutions of their enemies. The demagogue Cleophon was condemned and put to death, on the accusation of having evaded his military duty; the senate, whose temper and proceedings he had denounced, constituting itself a portion of the dikastery which tried him, contrary both to the forms and the spirit of Athenian judicatures. Such proceedings, however, though denounced by orators in subsequent years as having contributed to betray the city into the hands of the enemy, appear to have been without any serious influence on the result, which was brought about purely by famine.

By the time that Theramenes returned after his long absence, so terrible had the pressure become, that he was sent forth again with instructions to conclude peace upon any terms. On reaching Sellasia, and acquainting the ephors that he had come with unlimited powers for peace, he was permitted to come to Sparta, where the assembly of the Peloponnesian confederacy was convened, to settle on what terms peace should be granted. The leading allies, especially Corinthians and Thebans, recommended that no agreement should be entered into, nor any farther measure kept, with this hated enemy now in their power; but that the name of Athens should be rooted out, and the population sold for slaves. Many of the other allies seconded the same views, which would have probably commanded a majority, had it not been for the resolute opposition of the Lacedaemonians themselves, who declared unequivocally that they would never consent to annihilate or enslave a city which had rendered such capital service to all Greece at the time of the great common danger from the Persians. Lysander farther calculated on so dealing with Athens, as to make her into a dependency, and an instrument of increased power to Sparta, apart from her allies. Peace was accordingly granted on the following conditions: That the Long Walls and the fortifications of the Piraeus should be destroyed; that the Athenians should evacuate all their foreign possessions, and confine themselves to their own territory; that they should surrender all their ships of war; that they should readmit all their exiles; that they should become allies of Sparta, following her leadership both by sea and land, and recognizing the same enemies and friends.

With this document, written according to Lacedaemonian practice on a sky tale,—or roll intended to go round a stick, of which the Lacedaemonian commander had always one, and the ephors another, corresponding,—Theramenes went back to Athens. As he entered the city, a miserable crowd flocked round him, in distress and terror lest he should have failed altogether in his mission. The dead and the dying had now become so numerous, that peace at any price was a boon; nevertheless, when he announced in the assembly the terms of which he was bearer, strongly recommending submission to the Lacedaemonians as the only course now open, there was still a high-spirited minority who entered their protest, and preferred death by famine to such insupportable disgrace. The large majority, however, accepted them, and the acceptance was made known to Lysander.

It was on the 16th day of the Attic month Munychion, about the middle or end of March, that this victorious commander sailed into the Piraeus, twenty-seven years, almost exactly, after that surprise of Plataea by the Thebans, which opened the Peloponnesian war. Along with him came the Athenian exiles, several of whom appear to have been serving with his army, and assisting him with their counsel. To the population of Athens generally, his entry, was an immediate relief, in spite of the cruel degradation, or indeed political extinction, with which it was accompanied. At least it averted the sufferings and horrors of famine, and permitted a decent interment of the many unhappy victims who had already perished. The Lacedaemonians, both naval and military force, under Lysander and Agis, continued in occupation of Athens until the conditions of the peace had been fulfilled. All the triremes in Piraeus were carried away by Lysander, except twelve, which he permitted the Athenians to retain: the ephors, in their skytale, had left it to his discretion what number he would thus allow. The unfinished ships in the dockyards were burnt, and the arsenals themselves ruined. To demolish the Long Walls and the fortifications of Piraeus, was however, a work of some time; and a certain number of days were granted to the Athenians, within which it was required to be completed. In the beginning of the work, the Lacedaemonians and their allies all lent a hand, with the full pride and exultation of conquerors; amidst women playing the flute and dancers crowned with wreaths; mingled with joyful exclamations from the Peloponnesian allies, that this was the first day of Grecian freedom. How many days were allowed for this humiliating duty imposed upon Athenian hands, of demolishing the elaborate, tutelary, and commanding works of their forefathers, we are not told. But the business was not completed within the interval named, so that the Athenians did not come up to the letter of the conditions, and had therefore, by strict construction, forfeited their title to the peace granted. The interval seems, however, to have been prolonged; probably considering that for the real labor, as well as the melancholy character of the work to be done, too short a time had been allowed at first.

It appears that Lysander, after assisting at the solemn ceremony of beginning to demolish the walls, and making such a breach as left Athens without any substantial means of resistance, did not remain to complete the work, but withdrew with a portion of his fleet to undertake the siege of Samos which still held out, leaving the remainder to see that the conditions imposed were fulfilled. After so long an endurance of extreme misery, doubtless the general population thought of little except relief from famine and its accompaniments, without any disposition to contend against the fiat of their conquerors. If some high-spirited men formed an exception to the pervading depression, and still kept up their courage against better days, there was at the same time a party of totally opposite character, to whom the prostrate condition of Athens was a source of revenge for the past, exultation for the present, and ambitious projects for the future. These were partly the remnant of that faction which had set up, seven years before, the oligarchy of Four Hundred, and still more, the exiles, including several members of the Four Hundred, who now flocked in from all quarters. Many of them had been long serving at Dekeleia, and had formed a part of the force blockading Athens. These exiles now revisited the acropolis as conquerors, and saw with delight the full accomplishment of that foreign occupation at which many of them had aimed seven years before, when they constructed the fortress of Ecteioneia, as a means of insuring their own power. Though the conditions imposed extinguished at once the imperial character, the maritime power, the honor, and the independence, of Athens, these men were as eager as Lysander to carry them all into execution; because the continuance of the Athenian democracy was now entirely at his mercy, and because his establishment of oligarchies in the other subdued cities plainly intimated what he would do in this great focus of Grecian democratical impulse.

Among these exiles were comprised Aristodemus and Aristoteles, both seemingly persons of importance, the former having at one time been one of the Hellenotamiae, the first financial office of the imperial democracy, and the latter an active member of the Four Hundred; also Charicles, who had been so distinguished for his violence in the investigation respecting the Hennas, and another man, of whom we now for the first time obtain historical knowledge in detail, Critias, son of Kallaechrus. He had been among the persons accused as having been concerned in the mutilation of the Hermae, and seems to have been for a long time important in the political, the literary, and the philosophical world of Athens. To all three, his abilities qualified him to do honor. Both his poetry, in the Solonian or moralizing vein, and his eloquence, published specimens of which remained in the Augustan age, were of no ordinary merit. His wealth was large, and his family among the most ancient and conspicuous in Athens : one of his ancestors had been friend and companion of the lawgiver Solon. He was himself maternal uncle of the philosopher Plato, and had frequented the society of Socrates so much as to have his name intimately associated in the public mind with that remarkable man. We know neither the cause, nor even the date of his exile, except so far, as that he was not in banishment immediately after the revolution of the Four Hundred, and that he was in banishment at the time when the generals were condemned after the battle of Arginusae. He had passed the time, or a part of the time, of his exile in Thessaly, where he took an active part in the sanguinary feuds carried on among the oligarchical parties of that lawless country. He is said to have embraced, along with a leader named, or surnamed, Prometheus, what passed for the democratical side in Thessaly; arming the penestae, or serfs, against their masters. What the conduct and dispositions of Critias had been before this period we are unable to say; but he brought with him now, on returning from exile, not merely an unmeasured and unprincipled lust of power, but also a rancorous impulse towards spoliation and bloodshed1 which outran even his ambition, and ultimately ruined both his party and himself.

Of all these returning exiles, animated with mingled vengeance and ambition, Critias was decidedly the leading man, like Antiphon among the Four Hundred; partly from his abilities, partly from the superior violence with which he carried out the common sentiment. At the present juncture, he and his fellow-exiles became the most important persons in the city, as enjoying most the friendship and confidence of the conquerors. But the oligarchical party at home were noway behind them, either in servility or in revolutionary fervor, and an understanding was soon established between the two. Probably the old faction of the Four Hundred, though put down, had never wholly died out: at any rate, the political hetaeries, or clubs, out of which it was composed, still remained, prepared for fresh cooperation when a favorable moment should arrive ; and the catastrophe of Aegospotami had made it plain to everyone that such moment could not be far distant. Accordingly, a large portion, if not the majority, of the senators, became ready to lend themselves to the destruction of the democracy, and only anxious to insure places among the oli­garchy in prospect; while the supple Theramenes—resuming his place as oligarchical leader, and abusing his mission as envoy to wear out the patience of his half-famished countrymen—had, during his three months’ absence in the tent of Lysander, concerted arrangements with the exiles for future proceedings. As soon as the city surrendered, and while the work of demolition was yet going on, the oligarchical party began to organize itself. The members of the political clubs again came together, and named a managing committee of five, called ephors in compliment to the Lacedaemonians, to direct the general proceedings of the party; to convene meetings when needful, to appoint subordinate managers for the various tribes, and to determine what propositions were to be submitted to the public assembly. Among these five ephors were Critias and Eratosthenes; probably Theramenes also.

But the oligarchical party, though thus organized and ascendant, with a compliant senate and a dispirited people, and with an auxiliary enemy actually in possession, still thought themselves not powerful enough to carry their intended changes without seizing the most resolute of the democratical leaders. Accordingly, a citizen named Theokritus tendered an accusation to the senate against the general Strombichides, together with several others of the democratical generals and taxiarchs; supported by the deposition of a slave, or lowborn man, named Agoratus. Although Nikias and several other citizens tried to prevail upon Agoratus to leave Athens, furnished him with the means of escape, and offered to go away with him themselves from Munychia, until the political state of Athens should come into a more assured condition, yet he refused to retire, appeared before the senate, and accused the generals of being concerned it a conspiracy to break up the peace; pretending to be himself their accomplice. Upon his information, given both before the senate and before an assembly at Munychia, the generals, the taxiarchs, and several other citizens, men of high worth and courageous patriots, were put into prison, as well as Agoratus himself, to stand their trial afterwards before a dikastery consisting of two thousand members. One of the parties thus accused, Menestratus, being admitted by the public assembly, on the proposition of Magnodorus, the brother-in-law of Critias, to become accusing witness, named several additional accomplices, who were also forthwith placed in custody.

Though the most determined defenders of the democratical constitution were thus eliminated, Critias and Theramenes still farther insured the success of their propositions by invoking the presence of Lysander from Samos. The demolition of the walls had been completed, the main blockading army had disbanded, and the immediate pressure of famine had been removed, when an assembly was held to determine on future modifications of the constitution. A citizen named Drakontides, moved that a Board of Thirty should be named, to draw up laws for the future government of the city, and to manage provisionally the public affairs, until that task should be completed. Among the thirty persons proposed, prearranged by Theramenes and the oligarchical five ephors, the most prominent names were those of Critias and Theramenes: there were, besides, Drakontides himself,—Onomacles, one of the Four Hundred who had escaped,—Aristoteles and Charicles, both exiles newly returned, Eratosthenes, and others whom we do not know, but of whom probably several had also been exiles or members of the Four Hundred. Though this was a complete abrogation of the constitution, yet so conscious were the conspirators of their own strength, that they did not deem it necessary to propose the formal suspension of the graphe paranomon, as had been done prior to the installation of the former oligarchy. Still, notwithstanding the seizure of the leaders and the general intimidation prevalent, a loud murmur of repugnance was heard in the assembly at the motion of Drakontides. But Theramenes rose up to defy the murmur, telling the assembly that the proposition numbered many partisans even among the citizens themselves, and that it had, besides, the approbation of Lysander and the Lacedaemonians. This was presently confirmed by Lysander himself, who addressed the assembly in person. He told them, in a menacing and contemptuous tone, that Athens was now at his mercy, since the walls had not been demolished before the day specified, and consequently the conditions of the promised peace had been violated. He added that, if they did not adopt the recommendation of Theramenes, they would be forced to take thought for their personal safety instead of for their political constitution. After a notice at once so plain and so crushing, farther resistance was vain. The dissentients all quitted the assembly in sadness and indignation; while a remnant—according to Lysias, inconsiderable in number as well as worthless in character—stayed to vote acceptance of the motion.

Seven years before, Theramenes had carried, in conjunction with Antiphon and Phrynichus, a similar motion for the installation of the Four Hundred; extorting acquiescence by domestic terrorism as well as by multiplied assassinations. He now, in conjunction with Critias and the rest, a second time extinguished the constitution of his country, by the still greater humiliation of a foreign conqueror dictating terms to the Athenian people assembled in their own Pnyx. Having seen the Thirty regularly constituted, Lysander retired from Athens to finish the siege of Samos, which still held out. Though blocked up both by land and sea, the Samians obstinately defended themselves for some months longer, until the close of the summer. Nor was it until the last extremity that they capitulated; obtaining permission for every freeman to depart in safety, but with no other property except a single garment Lysander handed over the city and the properties to the ancient citizens, that is, to the oligarchy and their partisans, who had been partly expelled, partly disfranchised, in the revolution eight years before. But he placed the government of Samos, as he had dealt with the other cities, in the hands of one of his dekadarchies, or oligarchy of Ten Samians, chosen by himself; leaving Thorax as Lacedaemonian harmost, and doubtless a force under him.

Having thus finished the war, and trodden out the last spark of resistance, Lysander returned in triumph to Sparta. So imposing a triumph never fell to the lot of any Greek, either before or afterwards. He brought with him every trireme out of the harbor of Piraeus, except twelve, left to the Athenians as a concession; he brought the prow-ornaments of all the ships captured at Aegospotami and elsewhere; he was loaded with golden crowns, voted to him by the various cities; and he farther exhibited a sum of money not less than four hundred and seventy talents, the remnant of those treasures which Cyrus had handed over to him for the prosecution of the war. That sum had been greater, but is said to have been diminished by the treachery of Gylippus, to whose custody it had been committed, and who sullied by such mean peculation the laurels which he had so gloriously earned at Syracuse. Nor was it merely the triumphant evidences of past exploits which now decorated this returning admiral. He wielded besides an extent of real power greater than any individual Greek either before or after. Imperial Sparta, as she had now become, was as it were personified in Lysander, who was master of almost all the insular, Asiatic, and Thracian cities, by means of the harmost and the native dekadarchies named by himself and selected from his creatures. To this state of things we shall presently return, when we have followed the eventful history of the Thirty at Athens.

These thirty men—the parallel of the dekarchies whom Lysander had constituted in the other cities—were intended for the same purpose, to maintain the city in a state of humiliation and dependence upon Lacedaemon, and upon Lysander, as the representative of Lacedaemon. Though appointed, in the pretended view of drawing up a scheme of laws and constitution for Athens, they were in no hurry to commence this duty. They appointed a new senate, composed of compliant, assured, and oligarchical persons; including many of the returned exiles who had been formerly in the Four Hundred, and many also of the preceding senators who were willing to serve their designs. They farther named new magistrates and officers; a new Board of Eleven, to manage the business of police and the public force, with Satyrus, one of their most violent partisans, as chief; a Board of Ten, to govern tin Piraeus; an archon, to give name to the year, Pythodorus, and a second, or king-archon, Patrocles, to offer the customary sacrifices on behalf of the city. While thus securing their own ascendency, and placing all power in the hands of the most violent oligarchical partisans, they began by professing reforming principles of the strictest virtue; denouncing the abuses of the past democracy, and announcing their determination to purge the city of evil-doers. The philosopher Plato—then a young man about twenty-four years old, of anti-democratical politics, and nephew of Critias—was at first misled, together with various others, by these splendid professions; he conceived hopes, and even received encouragement from his relations, that he might play an active part under the new oligarchy. Though he soon came to discern how little congenial his feelings were with theirs, yet in the beginning doubtless such honest illusions contributed materially to strengthen their hands.

In execution of their design to root out evil-doers, the Thirty first laid hands on some of the most obnoxious politicians under the former democracy; “men (says Xenophon) whom everyone knew to live by making calumnious accusations, called sycophancy, and who were pronounced in their enmity to the oligarchical citizens”. How far most of these men had been honest or dishonest in their previous political conduct under the democracy, we have no means of determining. But among them were comprised Strombichides and the other democratical officers who had been imprisoned under the information of Agoratus, men whose chief crime consisted in a strenuous and inflexible attachment to the democracy. The persons thus seized were brought to trial before the new senate appointed by the Thirty, contrary to the vote of the people, which had decreed that Strombichides and his companions should be tried before a dikastery of two thousand citizens. But the dikastery, as well as all the other democratical institutions, were how abrogated, and no judicial body was left except the newly constituted senate. Even to that senate, though composed of their own partisans, the Thirty did not choose to entrust the trial of the prisoners, with that secrecy of voting which was well known at Athens to be essential to the free and genuine expression of sentiment. Whenever prisoners were tried, the Thirty were themselves present in the senate-house, sitting on the benches previously occupied by the prytanes : two tables were placed before them, one signifying condemnation, the other, acquittal; and each senator was required to deposit his pebble openly before them, either on one or on the other. It was not merely judgment by the senate, but judgment by the senate under pressure and intimidation by the all-powerful Thirty. It seems probable that neither any semblance of defence; nor any exculpatory witnesses, were allowed; but even if such formalities were not wholly dispensed with, it is certain that there was no real trial, and that condemnation was assured beforehand. Among the great numbers whom the Thirty brought before the senate, not a single man was acquitted except the informer Agoratus, who was brought to trial as an accomplice along with Strombichides and his companions, but was liberated in recompense for the information which he had given against them. The statement of Isocrates, Lysias, and others—that the victims of the Thirty, even when brought before the senate, were put to death untried—is authentic and trustworthy: many were even put to death by simple order from the Thirty themselves, without any cognizance of the senate.

In regard to the persons first brought to trial, however,—whether we consider them, as Xenophon intimates, to have been notorious evil-doers, or to have been innocent sufferers by the reactionary vengeance of returning oligarchical exiles, as was the case certainly with Strombichides and the officers accused along with him,—there was little necessity for any constraint on the part of the Thirty over the senate. That body itself partook of the sentiment which dictated the condemnation, and acted as a willing instrument; while the Thirty themselves were unanimous, Theramenes being even more zealous than Critias in these executions, to demonstrate his sincere antipathy towards the extinct democracy. As yet too, since all the persons condemned, justly or unjustly, had been marked politicians, so, all other citizens who had taken no conspicuous part in politics, even if they disapproved of the condemnations, had not been led to conceive any apprehension of the like fate for themselves. Here, then, Theramenes, and along with him a portion of the Thirty as well as of the senate, were inclined to pause. While enough had been done to satiate their antipathies, by the death of the most obnoxious leaders of the democracy, they at the same time conceived the oligarchical government to be securely established, and contended that farther bloodshed would only endanger its stability, by spreading alarm, multiplying enemies, and alienating friends as well as neutrals.

But these were not the views either of Critias or of the Thirty generally, who surveyed their position with eyes very different from the unstable and cunning Theramenes, and who had brought with them from exile a long arrear of vengeance yet to be appeased. Critias knew well that the numerous population of Athens were devotedly attached, and had good reason to be attached, to their democracy; that the existing government had been imposed upon them by force, and could only be upheld by force; that its friends were a narrow minority, incapable of sustaining it against the multitude around them, all armed; that there were still many formidable enemies to be got rid of, so that it was indispensable to invoke the aid of a permanent Lacedaemonian garrison in Athens, as the only condition not only of their stability as a government, but even of their personal safety. In spite of the opposition of Theramenes, Aeschines and Aristoteles, two among the Thirty, were despatched to Sparta to solicit aid from Lysander; who procured for them a Lacedaemonian garrison under Kallibius as harmost, which they engaged to maintain without any cost to Sparta, until their government should be confirmed by putting the evil-doers out of the way. Kallibius was not only installed as master of the acropolis,—full as it was of the mementos of Athenian glory,—but was farther so caressed and won over by the Thirty, that he lent himself to everything which they asked. They had thus a Lacedaemonian military force constantly at their command, besides an organized band of youthful satellites and assassins, ready for any deeds of violence; and they proceeded to seize and put to death many citizens, who were so distinguished for their courage and patriotism, as to be likely to serve as leaders to the public discontent. Several of the best men in Athens thus successively perished, while Thrasybulus, Anytus, and many others, fearing a similar fate, fled out of Attica, leaving their property to be confiscated and appropriated by the oligarchs; who passed a decree of exile against them in their absence, as well as against Alcibiades.

These successive acts of vengeance and violence were warmly opposed by Theramenes, both in the council of Thirty and in the senate. The persons hitherto executed, he said, had deserved their death, because they were not merely noted politicians under the democracy, but also persons of marked hostility to oligarchical men. But to inflict the same fate on others, who had manifested no such hostility, simply because they had enjoyed influence under the democracy, would be unjust: “Even you and I (he reminded Critias) have both said and done many things for the sake of popularity.” But Critias replied : “We cannot afford to be scrupulous; we are engaged in a scheme of aggressive ambition, and must get rid of those who are best able to hinder us. Though we are Thirty in number, and not one, our government is not the less a despotism, and must be guarded by the same jealous precautions. If you think otherwise, you must be simple-minded indeed”. Such were the sentiments which animated the majority of the Thirty, not less than Critias, and which prompted them to an endless string of seizures and executions. It was not merely the less obnoxious democratical politicians who became their victims, but men of courage, wealth, and station, in every vein of political feeling: even oligarchical men, the best and most high-principled of that party, shared the same fate. Among the most distinguished sufferers were, Lycurgus, belonging to one of the most eminent sacred gentes in the state; a wealthy man named Antiphon, who had devoted his fortune to the public service with exemplary patriotism during the last years of the war, and had furnished two well-equipped triremes at his own cost; Leon, of Salamis; and even Nikeratus, son of Nikias, who had perished at Syracuse; a man who inherited from his father not only a large fortune, but a known repugnance to democratical politics, together with his uncle Eukrates, brother of the same Nikias. These were only a few among the numerous victims, who were seized, pronounced to be guilty by the senate or by the Thirty themselves, handed over to Satyrus and the Eleven, and condemned to perish by the customary draught of hemlock.

The circumstances accompanying the seizure of Leon deserve particular notice. In putting to death him and the other victims, the Thirty had several objects in view, all tending to the stability of their dominion. First, they thus got rid of citizens generally known and esteemed, whose abhorrence they knew themselves to deserve, and whom they feared as likely to head the public sentiment against them. Secondly, the property of these victims, all of whom were rich, was seized along with their persons, and was employed to pay the satellites whose agency was indispensable for such violences, especially Kallibius and the Lacedaemonian hoplites in the acropolis. But, besides murder and spoliation, the Thirty had a farther purpose, if possible, yet more nefarious. In the work of seizing their victims, they not only employed the hands of these paid satellites, but also sent along with them citizens of station and respectability, whom they constrained by threats and intimidation to lend their personal aid in a service so thoroughly odious. By such participation, these citizens became compromised and imbrued in crime, and as it were, consenting parties in the public eye to all the projects of the Thirty; exposed to the same general hatred as the latter, and interested for their own safety in maintaining the existing dominion. Pursuant to their general plan of implicating unwilling citizens in their misdeeds, the Thirty sent for five citizens to the tholus, or government-house, and ordered them, with terrible menaces, to cross over to Salamis and bring back Leon as prisoner. Four out of the five obeyed; the fifth was the philosopher Socrates, who refused all concurrence and returned to his own house, while the other four went to Salamis and took part in the seizure of Leon. Though he thus braved all the wrath of the Thirty, it appears that they thought it expedient to leave him untouched. But the fact that they singled him out for such an atrocity,—an old man of tried virtue, both private and public, and intellectually commanding, though at the same time intellectually unpopular,—shows to what an extent they carried their system of forcing unwilling participants; while the farther circumstance, that he was the only person who had the courage to refuse, among four others who yielded to intimidation, shows that the policy was for the most part successful. The inflexible resistance of Socrates on this occasion, stands as a worthy parallel to his conduct as prytanis in the public assembly held on the conduct of the generals after the battle of Arginusae, described in the preceding chapter, wherein he obstinately refused to concur in putting an illegal question.

Such multiplied cases of execution and spoliation naturally filled the city with surprise, indignation, and terror. Groups of malcontents got together, and exiles became more and more numerous. All these circumstances furnished ample material for the vehement opposition of Theramenes, and tended to increase his party: not indeed among the Thirty themselves, but to a certain extent in the senate, and still more among the body of the citizens. He warned his colleagues that they were incurring daily an increased amount of public odium, and that their government could not possibly stand, unless they admitted into partnership an adequate number of citizens, with a direct interest in its maintenance. He proposed that all those competent, by their property, to serve the state cither on horseback or with heavy armor, should be constituted citizens; leaving all the poorer freemen, a far larger number, still disfranchised. Critias and the Thirty rejected this proposition; being doubtless convinced—as the Four Hundred had felt seven years before, when Theramenes demanded of them to convert their fictitious total of Five Thousand into a real list of as many living persons—that “to enroll so great a number of partners, was tantamount to a downright democracy”. But they were at the same time not insensible to the soundness of his advice : moreover, they began to be afraid of him personally, and to suspect that he was likely to take the lead in a popular opposition against them, as he had previously done against his colleagues of the Four Hundred. They therefore resolved to comply in part with his recommendations, and accordingly prepared a list of three thousand persons to be invested with the political franchise; chosen, as much as possible, from their own known partisans and from oligarchical citizens. Besides this body, they also counted on the adherence of the horsemen, among the wealthiest citizens of the state. These horsemen, or knights, taking them as a class,—the thousand good men of Athens, whose virtues Aristophanes sets forth in hostile antithesis to the alleged demagogic vices of Kleon,—remained steady supporters of the Thirty, throughout all the enormities of their career. What privileges or functions were assigned to the chosen three thousand, we do not hear, except that they could not be condemned without the warrant of the senate, while any other Athenian might be put to death by the simple fiat of the Thirty.

A body of partners thus chosen—not merely of fixed number, but of picked oligarchical sentiments—was by no means the addition which Theramenes desired. While he commented on the folly of supposing that there was any charm in the number three thousand, as if it embodied all the merit of the city, and nothing else but merit, he admonished them that it was still insufficient for their defence; their rule was one of pure force, and yet inferior in force to those over whom it was exercised. Again the Thirty acted upon his admonition, but in a way very different from that which he contemplated. They proclaimed a general muster and examination of arms to all the hoplites in Athens. The Three Thousand were drawn up in arms all together in the market-place; but the remaining hoplites were disseminated in small scattered companies and in different places. After the review was over, these scattered companies went home to their meal, leaving their arms piled at the various places of muster. But the adherents of the Thirty, having been forewarned and kept together, were sent at the proper moment, along with the Lacedaemonian mercenaries, to seize the deserted arms, which were deposited under the custody of Kallibius in the acropolis. All the hoplites in Athens, except the Three Thousand and the remaining adherents of the Thirty, were disarmed by this crafty manoeuvre, in spite of the fruitless remonstrance of Theramenes.

Critias and his colleagues, now relieved from all fear either of Theramenes, or of any other internal opposition, gave loose, more unsparingly than ever, to their malevolence and rapacity, putting to death both many of their private enemies, and many rich victims for the purpose of spoliation. A list of suspected persons was drawn up, in which each of their adherents was allowed to insert such names as he chose, and from which the victims were generally taken. Among informers, who thus gave in names for destruction, Batrachus and Aeschylides stood conspicuous. The thirst of Critias for plunder, as well as for bloodshed, only increased by gratification; and it was not merely to pay their mercenaries, but also to enrich themselves separately, that the Thirty stretched everywhere their murderous agency, which now mowed down metics as well as citizens. Theognis and Peison, two of the Thirty, affirmed that many of these metics were hostile to the oligarchy, besides being opulent men; and the resolution was adopted that earn of the rulers should single out any of these victims that he pleased, for execution and pillage; care being taken to include a few poor persons in the seizure, so that the real purpose of the spoilers might be faintly disguised.

It was in execution of this scheme that the orator Lysias and his brother Polemarchus were both taken into custody. Both were metics, wealthy men, and engaged in a manufactory of shields, wherein they employed a hundred and twenty slaves. Theognis and Peison, with some others, seized Lysias in his house, while entertaining some friends at dinner; and having driven away his guests, left him under the guard of Peison, while the attendants went off to register and appropriate his valuable slaves. Lysias tried to prevail on Peison to accept a bribe and let him escape; which the latter at first promised to do, and having thus obtained access to the money-chest of the prisoner, laid hands upon all its contents, amounting to between three and four talents. In vain did Lysias implore that a trifle might be left for his necessary subsistence; the only answer vouchsafed was, that he might think himself fortunate if he escaped with life. He was then conveyed to the house of a person named Damnippus, where Theognis already was, having other prisoners in charge. At the earnest entreaty of Lysias, Damnippus tried to induce Theognis to connive at his escape, on consideration of a handsome bribe; but while this conversation was going on, the prisoner availed himself of an unguarded moment to get off through the back door, which fortunately was open, together with two other doors through which it was necessary to pass. Having first obtained refuge in the house of a friend in Piraeus, he took boat during the ensuing night for Megara. Polemarchus, less fortunate, was seized in the street by Eratosthenes, one of the Thirty, and immediately lodged in the prison, where the fatal draught of hemlock was administered to him, without delay, without trial, and without liberty of defence. While his house was plundered of a large stock of gold, silver, furniture, and rich ornaments; while the golden earrings were torn from the ears of his wife; and while seven hundred shields, with a hundred and twenty slaves, were confiscated, together with the workshop and the two dwelling-houses; the Thirty would not allow even a decent funeral to the deceased, but caused his body to be carried away on a hired bier from the prison, with covering and a few scanty appurtenances supplied by the sympathy of private friends.

Amidst such atrocities, increasing in number and turned more and more to shameless robbery, the party of Theramenes daily gained ground, even in the senate; many of whose members profited nothing by satiating the private cupidity of the Thirty, and began to be weary of so revolting a system, as well as alarmed at the host of enemies which they were raising up. In proposing the late seizure of the metics, the Thirty had desired Theramenes to make choice of any victim among that class, to be destroyed and plundered for his own personal benefit. But he rejected the suggestion emphatically, denouncing the enormity of the measure in the indignant terms which it deserved. So much was the antipathy of Critias and the majority of the Thirty against him, already acrimonious from the effects of a long course of opposition, exasperated by this refusal; so much did they fear the consequences of incurring the obloquy of such measures for themselves, while Theramenes enjoyed all the credit of opposing them: so satisfied were they that their government could not stand with this dissension among its own members; that they resolved to destroy him at all cost. Having canvassed as many of the senators as they could, to persuade them that Theramenes was conspiring against the oligarchy, they caused the most daring of their satellites to attend one day in the senate-house, close to the railing which fenced in the senators, with daggers concealed under their garments. So soon as Theramenes appeared, Critias rose and denounced him to the senate as a public enemy, in an harangue which Xenophon gives at considerable length, and which is so full of instructive evidence, as to Greek political feeling, that I here extract the main points in abridgment: —

“If any of you imagine, senators, that more people are perishing than the occasion requires, reflect, that this happens everywhere in a time of revolution, and that it must especially happen in the establishment of an oligarchy at Athens, the most populous city in Greece, and where the population has been longest accustomed to freedom. You know as well as we do, that democracy is to both of us an intolerable government, as well as incompatible with all steady adherence to our protectors, the Lacedaemonians. It is under their auspices that we are establishing the present oligarchy, and that we destroy, as far as we can, every man who stands in the way of it; which becomes most of all indispensable, if such a man be found among our own body. Here stands the man, Theramenes, whom we now denounce to you as your foe not less than ours. That such is the fact, is plain from his unmeasured censures on our proceedings, from the difficulties which he throws in our way whenever we want to despatch any of the demagogues. Had such been his policy from the beginning, he would indeed have been our enemy, yet we could not with justice have proclaimed him a villain. But it is he who first originated the alliance which binds us to Sparta, who struck the first blow at the democracy, who chiefly instigated us to put to death the first batch of accused persons; and now, when you as well as we have thus incurred the manifest hatred of the people, he turns round and quarrels with our proceedings in order to insure his own safety, and leave us to pay the penalty. He must be dealt with not only as an enemy, but as a traitor, to you as well as to us; a traitor in the grain, as his whole life proves. Though he enjoyed, through his father Agnon, a station of honor under the democracy, he was foremost in subverting it, and setting up the Four Hundred; the moment he saw that, oligarchy beset with difficulties, he was the first to put himself at the head of the people against them; always ready for change in both directions, and a willing accomplice in those executions which changes of government bring with them. It is he, too, who—having been ordered by the generals after the battle of Arginusae to pick up the men on the disabled ships, and having neglected the task—accused and brought to execution his superiors, in order to get himself out of danger. He has well earned his surname of The Buskin, fitting both legs, but constant to neither; he has shown himself reckless both of honor and friendship, looking to nothing but his own selfish advancement; and it is for us now to guard against his doublings, in order that he may not play us the same trick. We cite him before you as a conspirator and a traitor, against you as well as against us. Look to your own safety, and not to his. For depend upon it, that if you let him off, you will hold out powerful encouragement to your worst enemies; while if you condemn him, you will crush their best hopes, both within and without the city”.

Theramenes was probably not wholly unprepared for soma such attack as this. At any rate, he rose up to reply to it at once: —

“First of all, senators, I shall touch upon the charge against me which Critias mentioned last, the charge of having accused and brought to execution the generals. It was not I who began the accusation against them, but they who began it against me. They said, that they had ordered me upon the duty, and that I had neglected it; my defence was, that the duty could not be executed, in consequence of the storm; the people believed and exonerated me, but the generals were rightfully condemned on their own accusation, because they said that the duty might have been performed, while yet it had remained unperformed. I do not wonder, indeed, that Critias has told these falsehoods against me; for at the time when this affair happened, he was an exile in Thessaly, employed in raising up a democracy, and arming the penestae against their masters. Heaven grant that nothing of what he perpetrated there may occur at Athens! I agree with Critias, indeed, that, whoever wishes to cut short your government, and strengthens those who conspire against you, deserves justly the severest punishment. But to whom does this charge best apply? To him, or to me? Look at the behavior of each of us, and then judge for yourselves. At first, we were all agreed, so far as the condemnation of the known and obnoxious demagogues. But when Critias and his friends began to seize men of station and dignity, then it was that I began to oppose them. I knew that the seizure of men like Leon, Nikias, and Antiphon, would make the best men in the city your enemies. I opposed the execution of the metics, well aware that all that body would be alienated. I opposed the disarming of the citizens, and the hiring of foreign guards. And when I saw that enemies at home and exiles abroad were multiplying against you, I dissuaded you from banishing Thrasybulus and Anytus, whereby you only furnished the exiles with competent leaders The man who gives you this advice, and gives it you openly, is he a traitor, or is he not rather a genuine friend? It is you and your supporters, Critias, who, by your murders and robberies, strengthen the enemies of the government and betray your friends. Depend upon it, that Thrasybulus and Anytus are much better pleased with your policy than they would be with mine. You accuse me of having betrayed the Four Hundred; but I did not desert them until they were themselves on the point of betraying Athens to her enemies. You call me The Buskin, as trying to fit both parties. But what am I to call you, who fit neither of them? who, under the democracy, were the most violent hater of the people, and who, under the oligarchy, have become equally violent as a hater of oligarchical merit? I am, and always have been, Kritias, an enemy both to extreme democracy and to oligarchical tyranny. I desire to constitute our political community out of those who can serve it on horseback and with heavy armor; I have proposed this once, and I still stand to it. I side not either with democrats or despots, to the exclusion of the dignified citizens. Prove that I am now, or ever have been, guilty of such crime, and I shall confess myself deserving of ignominious death”.

This reply of Theramenes was received with such a shout of applause by the majority of the senate, as showed that they were resolved to acquit him. To the fierce antipathies of the mortified Critias, the idea of failure was intolerable; indeed, he had now carried his hostility to such a point, that the acquittal of his enemy would have been his own ruin. After exchanging a few words with the Thirty, he retired for a few moments, and directed the Eleven with the body of armed satellites to press close on the railing whereby the senators were fenced round,—while the court before the senate-house was filled with the mercenary hoplites Having thus got his force in hand, Critias returned and again addressed the senate: “Senators (said he), I think it the duty of a good president, when he sees his friends around him duped, not to let them follow their own counsel. This is what I am now going to do; indeed, these men, whom you see pressing upon us from without, tell us plainly that they will not tolerate the acquittal of one manifestly working to the ruin of the oligarchy. It is an article of our new constitution, that no man of the select Three Thousand shall be condemned without jour vote; but that any man not included in that list may be condemned by the Thirty. Now I take upon me, with the concurrence of all my colleagues, to strike this Theramenes out of that list; and we, by our authority, condemn him to death”.

Though Theramenes had already been twice concerned in putting down the democracy, yet such was the habit of all Athenians to look for protection from constitutional forms, that he probably accounted himself safe under the favorable verdict of the senate, an I was not prepared for the monstrous and despotic sentence which he now heard from his enemy. He sprang at once to the senatorial hearth,—the altar and sanctuary in the interior of the senate-house,—and exclaimed: “I too, senators, stand as your suppliant, asking only for bare justice. Let it be not in the power of Critias to strike out me or any other man whom he chooses; let my sentence as well as yours be passed according to the law which these Thirty have themselves prepared. I know but too well, that this altar will be of no avail to me as a defence; but I shall at least make it plain, that these men are as impious towards the gods as they are nefarious towards men. As for you, worthy senators, I wonder that you will not stand forward for your own personal safety; since you must be well aware, that your own names may be struck out of the Three Thousand just as easily as mine”.

But the senate remained passive and stupefied by fear, in spite of these moving words, which perhaps were not perfectly heard, since it could not be the design of Critias to permit his enemy to speak a second time. It was probably while Theramenes was yet speaking, that the loud voice of the herald was heard, calling the Eleven to come forward and take him into custody. The Eleven advanced into the senate, headed by their brutal chief Satyrus, and followed by their usual attendants. They went straight up to the altar, from whence Satyrus, aided by the attendants, dragged him by main force, while Critias said to them: “We hand over to you this man Theramenes, condemned according to the law. Seize him, carry him off to prison, and there do the needful”. Upon this, Theramenes was dragged out of the senate-house and carried in custody through the market-place, exclaiming with a loud voice against the atrocious treatment which he was suffering. “Hold your tongue (said Satyrus to him), or you will suffer for it”. “And if I do hold my tongue (replied Theramenes), shall not I suffer for it also?”

He was conveyed to prison, where the usual draught of hemlock was speedily administered. After he had swallowed it, there remained a drop at the bottom of the cup, which he jerked out on the floor (according to the playful convivial practice called the Kottabus, which was supposed to furnish an omen by its sound in falling, and after which the person who had just drank handed the goblet to the guest whose turn came next): “Let this (said he) be for the gentle Critias”.

The scene just described, which ended in the execution of Theramenes, is one of the most striking and tragical in ancient history; in spite of the bald and meagre way in which it is recounted by Xenophon, who has thrown all the interest into the two speeches. The atrocious injustice by which Theramenes perished, as well as the courage and self-possession which he displayed at the moment of danger, and his cheerfulness even in the prison, not inferior to that of Socrates three years afterwards, naturally enlist the warmest sympathies of the reader in his favor, and have tended to exalt the positive estimation of his character. During the years immediately succeeding the restoration of the democracy, he was extolled and pitied as one of the first martyrs to oligarchical violence: later authors went so far as to number him among the chosen pupils of Socrates. But though Theramenes here became the victim of a much worse man than himself, it will not for that reason be proper to accord to him our admiration, which his own conduit will not at all be found to deserve. The reproaches of Critias against him, founded on his conduct during the previous conspiracy of the Four Hundred, were in the main well founded. After having been one of the foremost originators of that conspiracy, he deserted his comrades as soon as he saw that it was likely to fail; and Critias had doubtless present to his mind the fate of Antiphor, who had been condemned and executed under the accusation of Theramenes, together with a reasonable conviction that the latter would again turn against his colleagues in the same manner, if circumstances should encourage him to do so. Nor was Critias wrong in denouncing the perfidy of Theramenes with regard to the generals after the battle of Arginusae, the death of whom he was partly instrumental in bringing about, though only as an auxiliary cause, and not with that extreme stretch of nefarious stratagem, which Xenophon and others have imputed to him. He was a selfish, cunning, and faithless man,—ready to enter into conspiracies, yet never foreseeing their consequences,—and breaking faith to the ruin of colleagues whom he had first encouraged, when he found them more consistent and thoroughgoing in crime than himself.

Such high-handed violence, by Critias and the majority of the Thirty,—carried though, even against a member of their own Board, by intimidation of the senate,—left a feeling of disgust and dissension among their own partisans from which their power never recovered. Its immediate effect, however, was to render them, apparently, and in their own estimation, more powerful than ever. All open manifestation of dissent being now silenced, they proceeded to the uttermost limits of cruel and licentious tyranny. They made proclamation, that everyone not included in the list of Three Thousand, should depart without the walls, in order that they might be undisturbed Masters within the city, a policy before resorted to by Periander of Corinth and other Grecian despots. The numerous fugitives expelled by this order, distributed themselves partly in Piraeus, partly in the various demes of Attica. Both in one and the other, however, they were seized by order of the Thirty, and many of them put to death, in order that their substance and lands might be appropriated either by the Thirty themselves, or by some favored partisan. The denunciations of Batrachus, Aeschylides, and other delators, became more numerous than ever, in order to obtain the seizure and execution of their private enemies; and the oligarchy were willing to purchase any new adherent by thus gratifying his antipathies or his rapacity. The subsequent orators affirmed that more than fifteen hundred victims were put to death without trial by the Thirty; on this numerical estimate little stress is to be laid, but the total was doubtless prodigious. It became more and more plain that no man was safe in Attica; so that Athenian emigrants, many in great poverty and destitution, were multiplied throughout the neighboring territories,—in Megara, Thebes, Oropus, Chalcis, Argos, etc. It was hot everywhere that these distressed persons could obtain reception; for the Lacedaemonian government, at the instance of the Thirty, issued an edict prohibiting all the members of their confederacy from harboring fugitive Athenians; an edict which these cities generously disobeyed, though probably the smaller Peloponnesian cities complied. Without doubt, this decree was procured by Lysander, while his influence still continued unimpaired.

But it was not only against the lives, properties, and liberties of Athenian citizens that the Thirty made war. They were not less solicitous to extinguish the intellectual force and education of the city; a project so perfectly in harmony both with the sentiment and practice of Sparta, that they counted on the support of their foreign allies. Among the ordinances which they promulgated was one, expressly forbidding every one “to teach the art of words”, if I may be allowed to translate literally the Greek expression, which bore a most comprehensive signification, and denoted every intentional communication of logical, rhetorical, or argumentative improvement,—of literary criticism and composition,—and of command over those political and moral topics which formed the ordinary theme of discussion. Such was the species of instruction which Socrates and other sophists, each in his own way, communicated to the Athenian youth. The great foreign sophists, not Athenian, such as Prodicus and Protagoras had been,—though perhaps neither of these two was now alive,—were doubtless no longer in the city, under the calamitous circumstances which had been weighing upon every citizen since the defeat of Aegospotami. But there were abundance of native teachers, or sophists, inferior in merit to these distinguished names, yet still habitually employed, with more or less success, in communicating a species of instruction held indispensable to every liberal Athenian. The edict of the Thirty was in fact a general suppression of the higher class of teachers or professors, above the rank of the elementary teacher of letters, or grammatist. If such an edict could have been maintained in force for a generation, combined with the other mandates of the Thirty, the city out of which Sophocles and Euripides had just died, and in which Plato and Isocrates were in vigorous age, the former twenty-five, the latter twenty-nine, would have been degraded to the intellectual level of the meanest community in Greece. It was not uncommon for a Grecian despot to suppress all those assemblies wherein youths came together for the purpose of common training, either intellectual or gymnastic; as well as the public banquets and clubs, or associations, as being dangerous to his authority, and tending to elevation of courage, and to a consciousness of political rights among the citizens.

The enormities of the Thirty had provoked severe comments from the philosopher Socrates, whose life was spent in conversation on instructive subjects with those young men who sought his society, though he never took money from any pupil. These comments had been made known to Critias and Charicles, who sent for him, reminded him of the prohibitive law, and peremptorily commanded him to abstain for the future from all conversation with youths. Socrates met this order by putting some questions to those who gave it, in his usual style of puzzling scrutiny, destined to expose the vagueness of the terms; and to draw the line, or rather to show that no definite line could be drawn, between that which was permitted and that which was forbidden. But he soon perceived that his interrogations produced only a feeling of disgust and wrath, menacing to his own safety. The tyrants ended by repeating their interdict in yet more peremptory terms, and by giving Socrates to understand, that they were not ignorant of the censures which he had cast upon them.

Though our evidence does not enable us to make out the precise dates of these various oppressions of the Thirty, yet it seems probable that this prohibition of teaching must have been among their earlier enactments; at any rate, considerably anterior to the death of Theramenes, and the general expulsion out of the walls of all except the privileged Three Thousand. Their dominion continued, without any armed opposition made to it, foe about eight months from the capture of Athens by Lysander, that is, from about April to December 404 B.C. The measure of their iniquity then became full. They had accumulated against themselves, both in Attica and among the exiles in the circumjacent territories, suffering and exasperated enemies, while they had lost the sympathy of Thebes, Megara, and Corinth, and were less heartily supported by Sparta.

During these important eight months, the general feeling throughout Greece had become materially different both towards Athens and towards Sparta. At the moment when the long war was first brought to a close, fear, antipathy, and vengeance against Athens, had been the reigning sentiment, both among the confederates of Sparta and among the revolted members of the extinct Athenian empire; a sentiment which prevailed among them indeed to a greater degree than among the Spartans themselves, who resisted it, and granted to Athens a capitulation at a time when many of their allies pressed for the harshest measures. To this resolution they were determined partly by the still remaining force of ancient sympathy; partly by the odium which would have been sure to follow the act of expelling the Athenian population, however it might be talked of beforehand as a meet punishment; partly too by the policy of Lysander, who contemplated the keeping of Athens in the same dependence on Sparta and on himself, and by the same means, as the other outlying cities in which he had planted his dekadarchies.

So soon as Athens was humbled, deprived of her fleet and walled port, and rendered innocuous, the great bond of common fear which had held the allies to Sparta disappeared; and while the paramount antipathy on the part of those allies towards Athens gradually died away, a sentiment of jealousy and apprehension of Sparta sprang up in its place on the part of the leading states among them. For such a sentiment there was more than one reason. Lysander had brought home not only a large sum of money, but valuable spoils of other kinds, and many captive triremes, at the close of the war. As the success had been achieved by the joint exertions of all the allies, so the fruits of it belonged in equity to all of them jointly, not to Sparta alone. The Thebans and Corinthians preferred a formal claim to be allowed to share; and if the other allies abstained from openly backing the demand, we may fairly presume that it was not from any different construction of the equity of the case, but from fear of offending Sparta. In the testimonial erected by Lysander at Delphi, commemorative of the triumph, he had included not only his own brazen statue, but that of each commander of the allied contingents; thus formally admitting the allies to share in the honorary results, and tacitly sanctioning their claim to the lucrative results also. Nevertheless, the demand made by the Thebans and Corinthians was not only repelled, but almost resented as an insult; especially by Lysander, whose influence was at that moment almost omnipotent.

That the Lacedaemonians should have withheld from the allies a share in this money, demonstrates still more the great ascendency of Lysander; because there was a considerable party at Sparta itself, who protested altogether against the reception of so much gold and silver, as contrary to the ordinances of Lycurgus, and fatal to the peculiar morality of Sparta. An ancient Spartan, Skiraphidas, or Phlogidas, took the lead in calling for exclusive adherence to the old Spartan money, heavy iron, difficult to carry; nor was it without difficulty that Lysander and his friends obtained admission for the treasure into Sparta; under special proviso, that it should be for the exclusive purposes of the government, and that no private citizen should ever circulate gold or silver. The existence of such traditionary repugnance among the Spartans would have seemed likely to induce them to be just towards their allies, since an equitable distribution of the treasure would have gone far to remove the difficulty; yet they nevertheless kept it all.

But besides this special offense given to the allies, the conduct of Sparta in other ways showed that she intended to turn the victory to her own account. Lysander was at this moment all-powerful, playing his own game under the name of Sparta. His position was far greater than that of the regent Pausanias had been after the victory of Plataea; and his talents for making use of the position incomparably superior. The magnitude of his successes, as well as the eminent ability which he had displayed, justified abundant eulogy; but in his ease, the eulogy was carried to the length of something like worship. Altars were erected to him; paeans or hymns were composed in his honor; the Ephesians set up his statue in the temple of their goddess Artemis; and the Samians not only erected a statue to him at Olympia, but even altered the name of their great festival, the Heraea, to Lysandria. Several contemporary poets—Antilochus, Chaerilus, Nikeratus, and Antimachus—devoted themselves to sing his glories and profit by his rewards.

Such excess of flattery was calculated to turn the head even of the most virtuous Greek : with Lysander, it had the effect of substituting, in place of that assumed smoothness of manner with which he began his command, an insulting harshness and arrogance corresponding to the really unmeasured ambition which he cherished. His ambition prompted him to aggrandize Sparta separately, without any thought of her allies, in order to exercise dominion in her name. He had already established dekadarchies, or oligarchies of Ten, in many of the insular and Asiatic cities, and an oligarchy of Thirty in Athens; all composed of vehement partisans, chosen by himself, dependent upon him for support, and devoted to his objects. To the eye of an impartial observer in Greece, it seemed as if all these cities had been converted into dependencies of Sparta, and were intended to be held in that condition; under Spartan authority, exercised by and through Lysander. Instead of that general freedom which had been promised as an incentive to revolt against Athens, a Spartan empire had been constituted in place of the extinct Athenian, with a tribute, amounting to a thousand talents annually, intended to be assessed upon the component cities and islands. Such at least was the scheme of Lysander, though it never reached complete execution.

It is easy to see that under such a state of feeling on the part of the allies of Sparta, the enormities perpetrated by the Thirty at Athens and by the Lysandrian dekadarchies in the other cities, would be heard with sympathy for the sufferers, and without that strong anti-Athenian sentiment which had reigned a few months before. But what was of still greater importance, even at Sparta itself, opposition began to spring up against the measures and the person of Lysander. If the leading men at Sparta had felt jealous even of Brasidas, who offended them only by unparalleled success and merit as a commander, much more would the same feeling be aroused against Lysander, who displayed an overweening insolence, and was worshipped with an ostentatious flattery, not inferior to that of Pausanias after the battle of Plataea. Another Pausanias, son of Pleistoanax, was now king of Sparta, in conjunction with Agis. Upon him the feeling of jealousy against Lysander told with especial force, as it did afterwards upon Agesilaus, the successor of Agis; not unaccompanied probably with suspicion, which subsequent events justified, that Lysander was aiming at some interference with the regal privileges. Nor is it unfair to suppose that Pausanias was animated by motives more patriotic than mere jealousy, and that the rapacious cruelty, which everywhere dishonored the new oligarchies, both shocked his better feelings and inspired him with fears for the stability of the system. A farther circumstance which weakened the influence of Lysander at Sparta was the annual change of ephors, which took place about the end of September or beginning of October. Those ephors under whom his grand success and the capture of Athens had been consummated, and who had lent themselves entirely to his views, passed out of office in September 404 B.C., and gave place to others more disposed to second Pausanias.

I remarked, in the preceding chapter, how much more honorable for Sparta, and how much less unfortunate for Athens and for the rest of Greece, the close of the Peloponnesian war would have been, if Kallikratidas had gained and survived the battle of Arginusae, so as to close it then, and to acquire for himself that personal ascendency which the victorious general was sure to exercise over the numerous rearrangements consequent on peace. We see how important the personal character of the general so placed was, when we follow the proceedings of Lysander during the year after the battle of Aegospotami. His personal views were the grand determining circumstance throughout Greece; regulating both the measures of Sparta, and the fate of the conquered cities. Throughout the latter, rapacious and cruel oligarchies were organized,—of Ten in most cities, but of Thirty in Athens,—all acting under the power and protection of Sparta, but in real subordination to his ambition. Because he happened to be under the influence of a selfish thirst for power, the measures of Sparta were divested not merely of all Pan-Hellenic spirit, but even, to a great degree, of reference to her own confederates, and concentrated upon the acquisition of imperial preponderance for herself. Now if Kallikratidas had been the ascendant person at this critical juncture, not only such narrow and baneful impulses would have been comparatively inoperative, but the leading state would have been made to set the example of recommending, of organizing, and if necessary, of enforcing arrangements favorable to Pan-Hellenic brotherhood. Kallikratidas would not only have refused to lend himself to dekadarchies governing by his force and for his purposes, in the subordinate cities, but he would have discountenanced such conspiracies, wherever they tended to arise spontaneously. No ruffian like Kritias, no crafty schemer like Theramenes, would have reckoned upon his aid as they presumed upon the friendship of Lysander Probably he would have left the government of each city to its own natural tendencies, oligarchical or democratical; interfering only in special cases of actual and pronounced necessity. Now the influence of an ascendant state, employed for such purposes, and emphatically discarding all private ends for the accomplishment of a stable Pan-Hellenic sentiment and fraternity; employed too thus, at a moment when so many of the Greek towns were in the throes of reorganization, having to take up a new political course in reference to the altered circumstances, is an element of which the force could hardly have failed to be prodigious as well as beneficial. What degree of positive good might have been wrought, by a noble-minded victor under such special circumstances, we cannot presume to affirm in detail. But it would have been no mean advantage, to have preserved Greece from beholding and feeling such enormous powers in the hands of a man like Lysander; through whose management the worst tendencies of an imperial city were studiously magnified by the exorbitance of individual ambition. It was to him exclusively that the Thirty in Athens, and the dekadarchies elsewhere, owed both their existence and their means of oppression.

It has been necessary thus to explain the general changes which had gone on in Greece and in Grecian feeling during the eight months succeeding the capture of Athens in March 404 B.C., in order that we may understand the position of the Thirty oligarchs, or Tyrants, at Athens, and of the Athenian population both in Attica and in exile, about the beginning of December in the same year, the period which we have now reached. We see how it was that Thebes, Corinth, and Megara, who in March had been the bitterest enemies of the Athenians, had now become alienated both from Sparta and from the Lysandrian Thirty, whom they viewed as viceroys of Athens for separate Spartan benefit. We see how the basis was thus laid of sympathy for the suffering exiles who fled from Attica; a feeling which the recital of the endless enormities perpetrated by Critias and his colleagues inflamed every day more and more. We discern at the same time how the Thirty, while thus incurring enmity both in and out of Attica, were at the same time losing the hearty support of Sparta, from the decline of Lysander’s influence, and the growing opposition of his rivals at home.

In spite of formal prohibition from Sparta, obtained doubtless under the influence of Lysander, the Athenian emigrants had obtained shelter in all the states bordering on Attica. It was from Boeotia that they struck the first blow. Thrasybulus, Anytus, and Archinus, starting from Thebes with the sympathy of the Theban public, and with substantial aid from Ismenias and other wealthy citizens,—at the head of a small band of exiles stated variously at thirty, sixty, seventy, or somewhat above one hundred men,—seized Phyle, a frontier fortress in the mountains north of Attica, lying on the direct road between Athens and Thebes. Probably it had no garrison; for the Thirty, acting in the interest of Lacedaemonian predominance, had dismantled all the outlying fortresses in Attica; so that Thrasybulus accomplished his purpose without resistance. The Thirty marched out from Athens to attack him, at the head of a powerful force, comprising the Lacedaemonian hoplites who formed their guard, the Three Thousand privileged citizens, and all the knights, or horsemen. Probably the small company of Thrasybulus was reinforced by fresh accessions of exiles, as soon as he was known to have occupied the fort. For by the time that the Thirty with their assailing force arrived, he was in condition to repel a vigorous assault made by the younger soldiers, with considerable loss to the aggressors.

Disappointed in this direct attack, the Thirty laid plans for blockading Phyle, where they knew that there was no stock of provisions. But hardly had their operations commenced, when a snow-storm fell, so abundant and violent, that they were forced to abandon their position and retire to Athens, leaving much of their baggage in the hands of the garrison at Phyle. In the language of Thrasybulus, this storm was characterized as providential, since the weather had been very fine until the moment preceding, and since it gave time to receive reinforcements which made him seven hundred strong. Though the weather was such that the Thirty did not choose to keep their main force in the neighborhood of Phyle, and perhaps the Three Thousand themselves were not sufficiently hearty in the cause to allow it, yet they sent their Lacedaemonians and two tribes of Athenian horsemen to restrain the excursions of the garrison. This body Thrasybulus contrived to attack by surprise. Descending from Phyle by night, he halted within a quarter of a mile of their position until a little before daybreak, when the night-watch had just broken up, and when the grooms were making a noise in rubbing down the horses. Just at that moment, the hoplites from Phyle rushed upon them at a running pace, found every man unprepared, and some even in their beds, and dispersed them with scarcely any resistance. One hundred and twenty hoplites and a few horsemen were slain, while abundance of arms and stores were captured and carried back to Phyle in triumph. News of the defeat was speedily conveyed to the city, from whence the remaining horsemen immediately came forth to the rescue, but could do nothing more than protect the carrying off of the dead. 

This successful engagement sensibly changed the relative situation of parties in Attica; encouraging the exiles as much as it depressed the Thirty. Even among the partisans of the latter at Athens, dissension began to arise; the minority which had sympathized with Theramenes, as well as that portion of the Three Thousand who were least compromised as accomplices in the recent enormities, began to waver so manifestly in their allegiance, that Critias and his colleagues felt some doubt of being able to maintain themselves in the city. They resolved to secure Eleusis and the island of Salamis, as places of safety and resource in case of being compelled to evacuate Athens. They accordingly went to Eleusis with a considerable number of the Athenian horsemen, under pretence of examining into the strength of the place and the number of its defenders, so as to determine what amount of farther garrison would be necessary. All the Eleusinians disposed and qualified for armed service, were ordered to come in person and give in their names to the Thirty, in a building having its postern opening on to the sea-beach; along which were posted the horsemen and the attendants from Athens. Each Eleusinian hoplite, after having presented himself and returned his name to the Thirty, was ordered to pass out through this exit, where each man successively found himself in the power of the horsemen, and was fettered by the attendants. Lysimachus, the hipparch, or commander of the horsemen, was directed to convey all these prisoners to Athens, and hand them over to the custody of the Eleven. Having thus seized and carried away from Eleusis every citizen whose sentiments or whose energy they suspected, and having left a force of their own adherents in the place, the Thirty returned to Athens. At the same time, it appears, a similar visit and seizure of prisoners was made by some of them in Salamis. On the next day, they convoked at Athens all their Three Thousand privileged hoplites—together with all the remaining horsemen who had not been employed at Eleusis or Salamis—in the Odeon, half of which was occupied by the Lacedaemonian garrison all under arms. “Gentlemen (said Kritias, addressing his countrymen), we keep up the government not less for your benefit than for our own. You must therefore share with us in the danger, as well as in the honor, of our position. Here are these Eleusinian prisoners awaiting sentence; you must pass a vote condemning them all to death, in order that your hopes and fears may be identified with ours”. He then pointed to a spot immediately before him and in his view, directing each man to deposit upon it his pebble of condemnation visibly to everyone. I have before remarked that at Athens, open voting was well known to be the same thing as voting under constraint; there was no security for free and genuine suffrage except by making it secret as well as numerous. Critias was obeyed, without reserve or exception; probably any dissentient would have been put to death on the spot. All the prisoners, seemingly three hundred in number, were condemned by the same vote, and executed forthwith.

Though this atrocity gave additional satisfaction and confidence to the most violent friends of Critias, it probably alienated a greater number of others, and weakened the Thirty instead of strengthening them. It contributed in part, we can hardly doubt, to the bold and, decisive resolution now taken by Thrasybulus, five days after his late success, of marching by night from Phyle to Piraeus. His force, though somewhat increased, was still no more than one thousand men; altogether inadequate by itself to any considerable enterprise, had he not counted on positive support and junction from fresh comrades, together with a still-greater amount of negative support from disgust or indifference towards the Thirty. He was indeed speedily joined by many sympathizing countrymen; but few of them, since the general disarming manoeuvre of the oligarchs, had heavy armor. Some had light shields and darts, but others were wholly unarmed, and could merely serve as throwers of stones. Piraeus was at this moment an open town, deprived of its fortifications as well as of those Long Walls which had so long connected it with Athens. It was however of large compass, and required an ampler force to defend it than Thrasybulus could muster. Accordingly, when the Thirty marched out of Athena the next morning to attack him, with their full force of Athenian hoplites and horsemen, and with the Lacedaemonian garrison besides, he in vain attempted to maintain against them the great carriage-road which led down to Piraeus. He was compelled to concentrate his forces in Munychia, the easternmost portion of the aggregate called Piraeus, nearest to the bay of Phalerum, and comprising one of those three ports which had once sustained the naval power of Athens. Thrasybulus occupied the temple of Artemis Munychia, and the adjoining Bendideion, situated in the midst of Munychia, and accessible only by a street of steep ascent. In the rear of his hoplites, whose files were ten deep, were posted the darters and slingers : the ascent being so steep that these latter could cast their missiles over the heads of the hoplites in their front. Presently Critias and the Thirty, having first mustered in the market-place of Piraeus, called the Hippodamian agora, were seen approaching with their superior numbers; mounting the hill in close array, with hoplites not less than fifty in depth. Thrasybulus, after an animated exhortation to his soldiers, in which he reminded them of the wrongs which they had to avenge, and dwelt upon the advantages of their position, which exposed the close ranks of the enemy to the destructive effect of missiles, and would force them to crouch under their shields so as to be unable to resist a charge with the spear in front, waited patiently until they came within distance, standing in the foremost rank with the prophet— habitually consulted before a battle—by his side. The latter, a brave and devoted patriot, while promising victory, had exhorted his comrades not to charge until someone on their own side should be slain or wounded: he at the same time predicted his own death in the conflict. When the troops of the Thirty advanced neat enough in ascending the hill, the light-armed in the rear of Thrasybulus poured upon them a shower of darts over the heads of their own hoplites, with considerable effect. As they seemed to waver, seeking to cover themselves with their shields, and thus not seeing well before them, the prophet, himself seemingly in arms, set the example of rushing forward, was the first to close with the enemy, and perished in the onset. Thrasybulus with the main body of hoplites followed him, charged vigorously down the hill, find after a smart resistance, drove them back in disorder, with the loss of seventy men. What was of still greater moment, Critias and Hippomachus, who headed their troops on the left, were among the slain; together with Charmides son of Glaukon, one of the ten oligarchs who had been placed to manage Piraeus. This great and important advantage left the troops of Thrasybulus in possession of seventy of the enemy’s dead, whom they stripped of their arms, but not of their clothing, in token of respect for fellow-countrymen. So disheartened, lukewarm, and disunited were the hoplites of the Thirty, in spite of their great superiority of number, that they sent to solicit the usual truce for burying the dead. This was of course granted, and the two con tending parties became intermingled with each other in the performance of the funeral duties. Amidst so impressive a scene, their common feelings as Athenians and fellow-countrymen were forcibly brought back, and many friendly observations were inter changed among them. Kleokritus—herald of the mysts, or communicants in the Eleusinian mysteries, belonging to one of the most respected gentes in the state—was among the exiles. His voice was peculiarly loud, and the function which he held enabled him to obtain silence while he addressed to the citizens serving with the Thirty a touching and emphatic remonstrance: “Why are you thus driving us into banishment, fellow-citizens? Why are you seeking to kill us? We have never done you the least harm; we have partaken with you in religious rites and festivals; we have been your companions in chorus, in school, and in army; we have braved a thousand dangers with you, by land and sea, in defence of our common safety and freedom. I adjure you by our common gods, paternal and maternal, by our common kindred and companionship, desist from thus wronging your country in obedience to these nefarious Thirty, who have slain as many citizens in eight months, for their own private gains, as the Peloponnesians in ten years of war. These are the men who have plunged us into wicked and odious war one against another, when we might live together in peace. Be assured that your slain in this battle have cost us as many tears as they have cost you”.

Such affecting appeals, proceeding from a man of respected station like Kleokritus, and doubtless from others also, began to work so sensibly on the minds of the citizens from Athens, that the Thirty were obliged to give orders for immediately returning, which Thrasybulus did not attempt to prevent, though it might have been in his power to do so. But their ascendency had received a shock from which it never fully recovered. On the next day they appeared downcast and dispirited in the senate, which was itself thinly attended; while the privileged Three Thousand, marshalled in different companies on guard, were everywhere in discord and partial mutiny. Those among them who had been most compromised in the crimes of the Thirty, were strenuous in upholding the existing authority; while such as had been less guilty protested against the continuance of such unholy war, and declared that the Thirty should not be permitted to bring Athens to utter ruin. And though the horsemen still continued steadfast partisans, resolutely opposing all accommodation with the exiles, yet the Thirty were farther weakened by the death of Kritias, the ascendant and decisive head, and at the same time the most cruel and unprincipled among them; while that party, both in the senate and out of it, which had formerly adhered to Theramenes, now again raised its head. A public meeting among them was held, in which what may be called the opposition party among the Thirty, that which had opposed the extreme enormities of Critias, became predominant. It was determined to depose the Thirty, and to constitute a fresh oligarchy of Ten, one from each tribe. But the members of the Thirty were individually re-eligible; so that two of them, Eratosthenes and Pheidon, if not more, adherents of Theramenes and unfriendly to Critias and Charicles, with others of the same vein of sentiment, were chosen among the Ten. Charicles and the more violent members, having thus lost their ascendency, no longer deemed themselves safe at Athens, but retired to Eleusis, which they had had the precaution to occupy beforehand. Probably a number of their partisans, and the Lacedaemonian garrison also, retired thither along with them.

The nomination of this new oligarchy of Ten was plainly a compromise, adopted by some from sincere disgust at the oligarchical system, and desire to come to accommodation with the exiles; by others, from a conviction that the only way of maintaining the oligarchical system, and repelling the exiles, was to constitute a new oligarchical Board, dismissing that which had become obnoxious. The latter was the purpose of the horsemen, the main upholders of the first Board as well as of the second; and such also was soon seen to be the policy of Eratosthenes and his colleagues. Instead of attempting to agree upon terms of accommodation with the exiles in Piraeus generally, they merely tried to corrupt separately Thrasybulus and the leaders, offering to admit ten of them to a share of the oligarchical power at Athens, provided they would betray their party. This offer having been indignantly refused, the war was again resumed between Athens and Piraeus, to the bitter disappointment, not less of the exiles than of that portion of the Athenians who had hoped better things from the new Board of Ten.

But the forces of oligarchy were seriously enfeebled at Athens, as well by the secession of all the more violent spirits to Eleusis, as by the mistrust, discord, and disaffection which now reigned within the city. Far from being able to abuse power like their predecessors, the Ten did not even fully confide in their three thousand hoplites, but were obliged to take measures for the defence of the city in conjunction with the hipparch and the horsemen, who did double duty,—on horseback in the day-time, and as hoplites with their shields along the walls at night, for fear of surprise,—employing the Odeon as their head-quarters. The Ten sent envoys to Sparta to solicit farther aid; while the Thirty sent envoys thither also, from Eleusis, for the same purpose; both representing that the Athenian people had revolted from Sparta, and required farther force to reconquer them.

Such foreign aid became daily more necessary to them, since the forces of Thrasybulus in Piraeus grew stronger, before their eyes, in numbers, in arms, and in hope of success; exerting themselves, with successful energy, to procure additional arms and shields, though some of the shields, indeed, were no better than wood-work or wicker-work whitened over. Many exiles flocked in to their aid, while others sent donations of money or arms: among the latter, the orator Lysias stood conspicuous, transmitting to Piraeus a present of two hundred shields as well as two thousand drachms in money, and hiring besides three hundred fresh soldiers; while his friend Thrasydaeus, the leader of the democratical interest at Elis, was indeed to furnish a loan of two talents. Others also lent money; some Boeotians furnished two talents, and a person named Gelarchus contributed the large sum of five talents, repaid in after times by the people. Proclamation was made by Thrasybulus, that all metics who would lend aid should be put on the footing of isotely, or equal payment of taxes with citizens, exempt from the metic-tax and other special burdens. Within a short time he had got together a considerable force both in heavy-armed and light-armed, and even seventy horsemen; so that he was in condition to make excursions out of Piraeus, and to collect wood and provisions. Nor did the Ten venture to make any aggressive movement out of Athens, except so far as to send out the horsemen, who slew or captured stragglers from the force of Thrasybulus. Lysimachus the hipparch, the same who had commanded under the Thirty at the seizure of the Eleusinian citizens, having made prisoners some young Athenians, bringing in provisions from the country for the consumption of the troops in Piraeus, put them to death, in spite of remonstrances from several even of his own men; for which cruelty Thrasybulus retaliated, by putting to death a horseman named Callistratus, made prisoner in one of their marches to the neighboring villages.

In the established civil war which now raged in Attica, Thrasybulus and the exiles in Piraeus had decidedly the advantage; maintaining the offensive, while the Ten in Athens, and the remainder of the Thirty at Eleusis, were each thrown upon their defence. The division of the oligarchical force into these two sections doubtless weakened both, while the democrats in Piraeus were hearty and united. Presently, however, the arrival of a Spartan auxiliary force altered the balance of parties. Lysander, whom the oligarchical envoys had expressly requested to be sent to them as general, prevailed with the ephors to grant their request. While he himself went to Eleusis and got together a Peloponnesian land-force, his brother Libys conducted a fleet of forty triremes to block up Piraeus, and one hundred talents were lent to the Athenian oligarchs out of the large sum recently brought from Asia into the Spartan treasury.

The arrival of Lysander brought the two sections of oligarchs in Attica again, into cooperation, restrained the progress of Thrasybulus, and even reduced Piraeus to great straits, by preventing all entry of ships or stores. Nor could anything have prevented it from being reduced to surrender, if Lysander had been allowed free scope in his operations. But the general sentiment of Greece had by this time become disgusted with his ambitious policy, and with the oligarchies which he had everywhere set up as his instruments; a sentiment not without influence on the feelings of the leading Spartans, who, already jealous of his ascendency, were determined not to increase it farther by allowing him to conquer Attica a second time, in order to plant his own creatures as rulers at Athens.

Under the influence of these feelings, king Pausanias obtained the consent of three out of the five ephors to undertake himself an expedition into Attica, at the head of the forces of the confederacy, for which he immediately issued proclamation. Opposed to the political tendencies of Lysander, he was somewhat inclined to sympathize with the democracy, not merely at Athens, but elsewhere also, as at Mantineia. It was probably understood that his intentions towards Athens were lenient and anti-Lysandrian, so that the Peloponnesian allies obeyed the summons generally: yet the Boeotians and Corinthians still declined, on the ground that Athens had done nothing to violate the late convention; a remarkable proof of the altered feelings of Greece during the last year, since, down to the period of that convention, these two states had been more bitterly hostile to Athens than any others in the confederacy. They suspected that even the expedition of Pausanias was projected with selfish Lacedaemonian views, to secure Attica as a separate dependency of Sparta, though detached from Lysander.

On approaching Athens, Pausanias, joined by Lysander and the forces already in Attica, encamped in the garden of the Academy, near the city gates. His sentiments were sufficiently known beforehand to offer encouragement; so that the vehement reaction against the atrocities of the Thirty, which the presence of Lysander had doubtless stifled, burst forth without delay. The surviving relatives of the victims slain beset him even at the Academy in his camp, with prayers for protection and cries of vengeance against the oligarchs. Among those victims, as I have already stated, were Nikeratus the son, and Eukrates the brother, of Nikias who had perished at Syracuse, the friend and proxenus of Sparta at Athens. The orphan children, both of Nikeratus and Eukrates, were taken to Pausanias by their relative Diognetus, who implored his protection for them, recounting at the same time the unmerited execution of their respective fathers, and setting forth their family claims upon the justice of Sparta. This affecting incident, which has been specially made known to us, doubtless did not stand alone, among so many families suffering from the same cause. Pausanias was furnished at once with ample grounds, not merely for repudiating the Thirty altogether, and sending back the presents which they tendered to him, but even for refusing to identify himself unreservedly with the new oligarchy of Ten which had risen upon their ruins. The voice of complaint—now for the first time set free, with some hopes of redress— must have been violent and unmeasured, after such a career as that of Kritias and his colleagues; while the fact was now fully manifested, which could not well have come forth into evidence before, that the persons despoiled and murdered had been chiefly opulent men, and very frequently even oligarchical men, not politicians of the former democracy. Both Pausanias, and the Lacedaemonians along with him, on reaching Athens, must have been strongly affected by the facts which they learned, and by the loud cry for sympathy and redress which poured upon them from the most innocent and respected families. The predisposition both of the king and the ephors against the policy of Lysander was materially strengthened, as well as their inclination to bring about an accommodation of parties, instead of upholding by foreign force an anti-popular Few.

Such convictions would become farther confirmed as Pausanias saw and heard more of the real state of affairs. At first, he held a language decidedly adverse to Thrasybulus and the exiles, sending to them a herald, and requiring them to disband and go to their respective homes. The requisition not being obeyed, he made a faint attack upon Piraeus, which had no effect. Next day he marched down with two Lacedaemonian morae, or large military divisions, and three tribes of the Athenian horsemen, to reconnoiter the place, and see where a line of blockade could be drawn. Some light troops annoyed him, but his troops repulsed them, and pursued them even as far as the theatre of Piraeus, where all the forces of Thrasybulus were mustered, heavy-armed, as well as light-armed. The Lacedaemonians were here in a disadvantageous position, probably in the midst of houses and streets, so that all the light-armed of Thrasybulus were enabled to set upon them furiously from different sides, and drive them out again with loss, two of the Spartan polemarchs being here slain. Pausanias was obliged to retreat to a little eminence about half a mile off, where he mustered his whole force, and formed his hoplites into a very deep phalanx. Thrasybulus on his side was so encouraged by the recent success of his light-armed, that he ventured to bring out his heavy-armed, only eight deep, to an equal conflict on the open ground. But he was here completely worsted, and driven back into Piraeus with the loss of one hundred and fifty men; so that the Spartan king was able to retire to Athens after a victory, and a trophy erected to commemorate it.

The issue of this battle was one extremely fortunate for Thrasybulus and his comrades; since it left the honors of the day with Pausanias, so as to avoid provoking enmity or vengeance on his part, while it showed plainly that the conquest of Piraeus, defended by so much courage and military efficiency, would be no easy matter. It disposed Pausanias still farther towards an accommodation; strengthening also the force of that party in Athens which was favorable to the same object, and adverse to the Ten oligarchs. This opposition party found decided favor with the Spartan king, as well as with the ephor Naukleidas, who was present along with him. Numbers of Athenians, even among those Three Thousand by whom the city was now exclusively occupied, came forward to deprecate farther war with Piraeus, and to entreat that Pausanias would settle the quarrel so as to leave them all at amity with Lacedaemon. Xenophon, indeed, according to that narrow and partial spirit which pervades his Hellenica, notices no sentiment in Pausanias except his jealousy of Lysander, and treats the opposition against the Ten at Athens as having been got up by his intrigues. But it seems plain that this is not a correct account. Pausanias did not create the discord, but found it already existing, and had to choose which of the parties he would adopt. The Ten took up the oligarchical game after it had been thoroughly dishonored and ruined by the Thirty : they inspired no confidence, nor had they any hold upon the citizens in Athens, except in so far as these latter dreaded reactionary violence, in case Thrasybulus and his companions should reenter by force; accordingly, when Pausanias was there at the head of a force competent to prevent such dangerous reaction, the citizens at once manifested their dispositions against the Ten, and favorable to peace with Piraeus. To second this pacific party was at once the easiest course for Pausanias to take, and the most likely to popularize Sparta in Greece; whereas, he would surely have entailed upon her still more bitter curses from without, not to mention the loss of men to herself, if he had employed the amount of force requisite to uphold the Ten, and subdue Piraeus. To all this we have to add his jealousy of Lysander, as an important predisposing motive, but only as auxiliary among many others.

Under such a state of facts, it is not surprising to learn that Pausanias encouraged solicitations for peace from Thrasybulus and the exiles, and that he granted them a truce to enable them to send envoys to Sparta. Along with these envoys went Kephisophon and Melitus, sent for the same purpose of entreating peace, by the party opposed to the Ten at Athens, under the sanction both of Pausanias and of the accompanying ephors. On the other hand, the Ten, finding themselves discountenanced by Pausanias, sent envoys of their own to outbid the others. They tendered themselves, their walls, and their city, to be dealt with as the Lacedaemonians chose; requiring that Thrasybulus, if he pretended to be the friend of Sparta, should make the same unqualified surrender of Piraeus and Munychia. All the three sets of envoys were heard before the ephors remaining at Sparta and the Lacedaemonian assembly; who took the best resolution which the case admitted, to bring to pass an amicable settlement between Athens and Piraeus, and to leave the terms to be fixed by fifteen commissioners, who were sent thither forthwith to sit in conjunction with Pausanias. This Board determined, that the exiles in Piraeus should be readmitted to Athens, that an accommodation should take place, and that no man should be molested for past acts, except the Thirty, the Eleven (who had been the instruments of all executions), and the Ten who had governed in Piraeus. But Eleusis was recognized as a government separate from Athens, and left, as it already was, in possession of the Thirty and their coadjutors, to serve as a refuge for all those who might feel their future safety compromised at Athens in consequence of their past conduct.

As soon as these terms were proclaimed, accepted, and sworn to by all parties, Pausanias with all the Lacedaemonians evacuated Attica. Thrasybulus and the exiles marched up in solemn procession from Piraeus to Athens. Their first act was to go up to the acropolis, now relieved from its Lacedaemonian garrison, and there to offer sacrifice and thanksgiving. On descending from thence, a general assembly was held, in which—unanimously and without opposition, as it should seem—the democracy was restored. The government of the Ten, which could have no basis except the sword of the foreigner, disappeared as a matter of course; but Thrasybulus, while he strenuously enforced upon his comrades from Piraeus a full respect for the oaths which they had sworn, and an unreserved harmony with their newly acquired fellow-citizens, admonished the assembly emphatically as to the past events. “You city-men (he said), I advise, you to take just measure of yourselves for the future; and to calculate fairly, what ground of superiority you have, so as to pretend to rule over us? Are you juster than we? Why the demos, though poorer than you, never at any time wronged you for purposes of plunder; while you, the wealthiest of all, have done many base deeds for the sake of gain. Since then you have no justice to boast of, are you superior to us on the score of courage? There cannot be a better trial, than the war which has just ended. Again, can you pretend to be superior in policy? you, who, having a fortified city, an armed force, plenty of money, and the Peloponnesians for your allies, have been overcome by men who had nothing of the kind to aid them? Can you boast of your hold over the Lacedaemonians? Why, they have just handed you over like a vicious dog with a clog tied to him, to the very demo whom you have wronged, and are now gone out of the country. But you have no cause to be uneasy for the future. I adjure you, my friends from Piraeus, in no point to violate the oaths which we have just sworn. Show, in addition to your other glorious exploits, that you are honest and true to your engagements”.

The archons, the senate of Five Hundred, the public assembly, and the dikasteries, appear to have been now revived, as they had stood in the democracy prior to the capture of the city by Lysander. This important restoration seems to have taken place sometime in the spring of 403 B.C., though we cannot exactly make out in what month. The first archon now drawn was Eukleides, who gave his name to this memorable year; a year never afterwards forgotten by Athenians.

Eleusis was at this time, and pursuant to the late convention, a city independent and separate from Athens, under the government of the Thirty, and comprising their warmest partisans. It was not likely that this separation would last; but the Thirty were themselves the parties to give cause for its termination. They were getting together a mercenary force at Eleusis, when the whole force of Athens was marched to forestall their designs. The generals at Eleusis came forth to demand a conference, but were seized and put to death; the Thirty themselves, and a few of the most obnoxious individuals, fled out of Attica; while the rest of the Eleusinian occupants were persuaded by their friends from Athens to come to an equal and honorable accommodation. Again Eleusis became incorporated in the same community with Athens, oaths of mutual amnesty and harmony being sworn by everyone.

We have now passed that short, but bitter and sanguinary interval, occupied by the Thirty, which succeeded so immediately upon the extinction of the empire and independence of Athens as to leave no opportunity for pause or reflection. A few words respecting the rise and fall of that empire are now required, summing up as it were the political moral of the events recorded in my last two volumes, between 477 and 405 B.C.

I related, in the forty-fifth chapter, the steps by which Athens first acquired her empire, raised it to its maximum, including both maritime and inland dominion, then lost the inland portion of it; which loss was ratified by the Thirty Years Truce concluded with Sparta and the Peloponnesian confederacy in 445 B.C. Her maritime empire was based upon the confederacy of Delos, formed by the islands in the Aegean and the towns on the seaboard immediately after the battles of Plataea and Mycale, for the purpose not merely of expelling the Persians from the Aegean, but of keeping them away permanently. To the accomplishment of this important object, Sparta was altogether inadequate; nor would it ever have been accomplished, if Athens had not displayed a combination of military energy, naval discipline, power of organization, and honorable devotion to a great Pan-Hellenic purpose, such as had never been witnessed in Grecian history.

The confederacy of Delos was formed by the free and spontaneous association of many different towns, all alike independent; towns which met in synod and deliberated by equal vote, took by their majority resolutions binding upon all, and chose Athens as their chief to enforce these resolutions, as well as to superintend generally the war against the common enemy. But it was, from the beginning, a compact which permanently bound each individual state to the remainder. None had liberty either to recede, or to withhold the contingent imposed by authority of the common synod, or to take any separate step inconsistent with its obligations to the confederacy. No union less stringent than this could have prevented the renewal of Persian ascendency in the Aegean. Seceding or disobedient states were thus treated as guilty of treason or revolt, which it was the duty of Athens, as chief, to repress. Her first repressions, against Naxos and other states, were undertaken in prosecution of this duty, in which if she had been wanting, the confederacy would have fallen to pieces, and the common enemy would have reappeared.

Now the only way by which the confederacy was saved from falling to pieces, was by being transformed into an Athenian empire. Such transformation, as Thucydides plainly intimates, did not arise from the ambition or deep-laid projects of Athens, but from the reluctance of the larger confederates to discharge the obligations imposed by the common synod, and from the unwarlike character of the confederates generally, which made them desirous to commute military service for money-payment, while Athens on her part was not less anxious to perform the service and obtain the money. By gradual and unforeseen stages, Athens thus passed from consulate to empire : in such manner that no one could point out the precise moment of time when the confederacy of Delos ceased, and when the empire began. Even the transfer of the common fund from Delos to Athens, which was the palpable manifestation of a change already realized, was not an act of high-handed injustice in the Athenians, but warranted by prudential views of the existing state of affairs, and even proposed by a leading member of the confederacy.

But the Athenian empire came to include (between 460-446 B.C.) other cities, not parties to the confederacy of Delos. Athens had conquered her ancient enemy the island of Aegina, and had acquired supremacy over Megara, Boeotia, Phocis, and Locris, and Achaia in Peloponnesus. The Megarians joined her to escape the oppression of their neighbor Corinth: her influence over Boeotia was acquired by allying herself with a democratical party in the Boeotian cities, against Sparta, who had been actively interfering to sustain the opposite party and to renovate the ascendency of Thebes. Athens was, for the time, successful in all these enterprises; but if we follow the details, we shall not find her more open to reproach on the score of aggressive tendencies than Sparta or Corinth. Her empire was now at its maximum; and had she been able to maintain it,—or even to keep possession of the Megarid separately, which gave her the means of barring out all invasions from Peloponnesus,—the future course of Grecian history would have been materially altered. But her empire on land did not rest upon the same footing as her empire at sea. The exiles in Megara and Boeotia, etc., and the anti-Athenian party generally in those places, combined with the rashness of her general Tolmides at Koroneia,—deprived her of all her land-dependencies near home, and even threatened her with the loss of Euboea. The peace concluded in 445 B.C. left her with all her maritime and insular empire, including Euboea, but with nothing more; while by the loss of Megara she was now open to invasion from Peloponnesus.

On this footing she remained at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war fourteen years afterwards. I have shown that that war did not arise, as has been so often asserted, from aggressive or ambitious schemes on the part of Athens, but that, on the contrary, the aggression was all on the side of her enemies; who were full of hopes that they could put her down with little delay; while she was not merely conservative and defensive, but even discouraged by the certainty of destructive invasion, and only dissuaded from concessions, alike imprudent and inglorious, by the extraordinary influence and resolute wisdom of Perikles. That great man comprehended well both the conditions and the limits of Athenian empire. Athens was now understood, especially since the revolt and reconquest of the powerful island of Samos in 440 B.C., by her subjects and enemies as well as by her own citizens, to be mistress of the sea. It was the care of Perikles to keep that belief within definite boundaries, and to prevent all waste of the force of the city in making new or distant acquisitions which could not be permanently maintained. But it was also his care to enforce upon his countrymen the lesson of maintaining their existing empire unimpaired, and shrinking from no effort requisite for that end. Though their whole empire was now staked upon the chances of a perilous war, he did not hesitate to promise them success, provided that they adhered to this conservative policy.

Following the events of the war, we shall find that Athens did adhere to it for the first seven years; years of suffering and trial, from the destructive annual invasion, the yet more destructive pestilence, and the revolt of Mitylene, but years which still left her empire unimpaired, and the promises of Perikles in fair chance of being realized. In the seventh year of the war occurred the unexpected victory at Sphakteria and the capture of the Lacedaemonian prisoners. This placed in the hands of the Athenians a capital advantage, imparting to them prodigious confidence of future success, while their enemies were in a proportional degree disheartened. It was in this temper that they first departed from the conservative precept of Perikles, and attempted to recover (in 424 B.C.) both Megara and Boeotia. Had the great statesman been alive, he might have turned this moment of superiority to better account, and might perhaps have contrived even to get possession of Megara—a point of unspeakable importance to Athens, since it protected her against invasion—in exchange for the Spartan captives. But the general feeling of confidence which then animated all parties at Athens, determined them in 424 B.C. to grasp at this and much more by force. They tried to reconquer both Megara and Boeotia : in the former they failed, though succeeding so far as to capture Nisaea; in the latter they not only failed, but suffered the disastrous defeat of Delium.

It was in the autumn of that same year 424 B.C., too, that Brasidas broke into their empire in Thrace, and robbed them of Akanthus, Stageira, and some other towns, including their most precious possession, Amphipolis. Again, it seems that the Athenians, partly from the discouragement caused by the disaster at Delium, partly from the ascendency of Nikias and the peace party, departed from the conservative policy of Perikles; not by ambitious over-action, but by inaction, omitting to do all that might have been done to arrest the progress of Brasidas. We must, however, never forget that their capital loss, Amphipolis, was owing altogether to the improvidence of their officers, and could not have been obviated even by Perikles.

But though that great man could not have prevented the loss, he would assuredly have deemed no efforts too great to recover it; and in this respect his policy was espoused by Kleon, in opposition to Nikias and the peace party. The latter thought it wise to make the truce for a year; which so utterly failed of its effect, that Nikias was obliged, even in the midst of it, to conduct an armament to Pallene in order to preserve the empire against yet farther losses. Still, Nikias and his friends would hear of nothing but peace; and after the expedition of Kleon against Amphipolis in the ensuing year, which failed partly through his military incapacity, partly through the want of hearty concurrence in his political opponents, they concluded what is called the Peace of Nikias in the ensuing spring. In this, too, their calculations are not less signally falsified than in the previous truce they stipulate that Amphipolis shall be restored, but it is as far from being restored as ever. To make the error still graver and more irreparable, Nikias, with the concurrence of Alcibiades contracts the alliance with Sparta a few months after the peace, and gives up the captives, the possession of whom being the only hold which Athens as yet had upon the Spartans.

We thus have, during the four years succeeding the battle of Delium (424-420 B.C.), a series of departures from the conservative policy of Perikles; departures, not in the way of ambitious over-acquisition, but of languor and unwillingness to make efforts even for the recovery of capital losses. Those who see no defects in the foreign policy of the democracy except those of over-ambition and love of war, pursuant to the jest of Aristophanes, overlook altogether these opposite but serious blunders of Nikias and the peace party.

Next comes the ascendency of Alcibiades, leading to the two years’ campaign in Peloponnesus in conjunction with Elis, Argos, and Mantineia, and ending in the complete reestablishment of Lacedaemonian supremacy. Here was a diversion of Athenian force from its legitimate purpose of preserving or reestablishing the empire, for inland projects which Perikles could never have approved. The island of Melos undoubtedly fell within his general conceptions of tenable empire for Athens, but we may regard it as certain that he would have recommended no new projects, exposing Athens to the reproach of injustice, so long as the lost legitimate possessions in Thrace remained unconquered.

We now come to the expedition against Syracuse. Down to that period, the empire of Athens, except the possessions in Thrace, remained undiminished, and her general power nearly as great as it had ever been since 445 B.C. That expedition was the one great and fatal departure from the Periclean policy, bringing upon Athens an amount of disaster from which she never recovered; and it was doubtless an error of over-ambition. Acquisitions in Sicily, even if made, lay out of the conditions of permanent empire for Athens; and however imposing the first effect of success might have been, they would only have disseminated her strength, multiplied her enemies, and weakened her in all quarters. But though the expedition itself was thus indisputably ill-advised, and therefore ought to count to the discredit of the public judgment at Athens, we are not to impute to that public an amount of blame in any way commensurate to the magnitude of the disaster, except in so far as they were guilty of unmeasured and unconquerable esteem for Nikias. Though Perikles would have strenuously opposed the project, yet he could not possibly have foreseen the enormous ruin in which it would end; nor could such ruin have been brought about by any man existing, save Nikias. Even when the people committed the aggravated imprudence of sending out the second expedition, Demosthenes doubtless assured them that he would speedily either take Syracuse or bring back both armaments, with a fair allowance for the losses inseparable from failure; and so he would have done, if the obstinacy of Nikias had permitted. In measuring therefore the extent of misjudgment fairly imputable to the Athenians for this ruinous undertaking, we must always recollect, that first the failure of the siege, next the ruin of the armament, did not arise from intrinsic difficulties in the case, but from the personal defects of the commander.

After the Syracusan disaster, there is no longer any question about adhering to, or departing from, the Periclean policy. Athens is like Patroklus in the Iliad, after Apollo has stunned him by a blow on the back and loosened his armor. Nothing but the slackness of her enemies allowed her time for a partial recovery, so as to make increased heroism a substitute for impaired, force, even against doubled and tripled difficulties. And the years of struggle which she now went through are among the most glorious events in her history. These years present many misfortunes, but no serious misjudgment, not to mention one peculiarly honorable moment, after the overthrow of the Four Hundred. I have in the two preceding chapters examined into the blame imputed to the Athenians for not accepting the overtures of peace after the battle of Cyzicus, and for dismissing Alcibiades after the battle of Notium. On both points their conduct has been shown to be justifiable. And after all, they were on the point of partially recovering themselves in 408 B.C., when the unexpected advent of Cyrus set the seal to their destiny.

The bloodshed after the recapture of Mitylene and Skione, and still more that which succeeded the capture of Melos, are disgraceful to the humanity of Athens, and stand in pointed contrast with the treatment of Samos when reconquered by Perikles. Put they did not contribute sensibly to break down her power; though, being recollected with aversion after other incidents were forgotten, they are alluded to in later times as if they had caused the fall of the empire.

I have thought it important to recall, in this short summary, the leading events of the seventy years preceding 405 B.C., in order that it may be understood to what degree Athens was politically or prudentially to blame for the great downfall which she then underwent. That downfall had one great cause—we may almost say, one single cause—the Sicilian expedition. The empire of Athens both was, and appeared to be, in exuberant strength when that expedition was sent forth; strength more than sufficient to bear up against all moderate faults or moderate misfortunes, such as no government ever long escapes. But the catastrophe of Syracuse was something overpassing in terrific calamity all Grecian experience and all power of foresight. It was like the Russian campaign of 1812 to the emperor Napoleon; though by no means imputable, in an equal degree, to vice in the original project. No Grecian power could bear up against such a death-wound, and the prolonged struggle of Athens after it is not the least wonderful part of the whole war.

Nothing in the political history of Greece is so remarkable as the Athenian empire; taking it as it stood in its completeness, from about 460-413 B.C., the date of the Syracusan catastrophe, or still more, from 460-424 B.C., the date when Brasidas made his conquests in Thrace. After the Syracusan catastrophe, the conditions of the empire were altogether changed; it was irretrievably broken up, though Athens still continued an energetic struggle to retain some of the fragments. But if we view it as it had stood before that event, during the period of its integrity, it is a sight marvellous to contemplate, and its working must be pronounced, in my judgment, to have been highly beneficial to the Grecian world. No Grecian state except Athens could have sufficed to organize such a system, or to hold in partial though regulated, continuous, and specific communion, so many little states, each animated with that force of political repulsion instinctive in the Grecian mind. This was a mighty task, worthy of Athens, and to which no state except Athens was competent. We have already seen in part, and we shall see still farther, how little qualified Sparta was to perform it, and we shall have occasion hereafter to notice a like fruitless essay on the part of Thebes.

As in regard to the democracy of Athens generally, so in regard to her empire, it has been customary with historians to take notice of little except the bad side. But my conviction is, and I have shown grounds for it, that the empire of Athens was not harsh and oppressive, as it is commonly depicted. Under the circumstances of her dominion, at a time when the whole transit and commerce of the Aegean was under one maritime system, which excluded all irregular force; when Persian ships of war were kept out of the waters, and Persian tribute-officers away from the seaboard; when the disputes inevitable among so many little communities could be peaceably redressed by the mutual right of application to the tribunals at Athens, and when these tribunals were also such as to present to sufferers a refuge against wrongs done even by individual citizens of Athens herself, to use the expression of the oligarchical Phrynichus, the condition of the maritime Greeks was materially better than it had been before, or than it will be seen to become afterwards. Her empire, if it did not inspire attachment, certainly provoked no antipathy, among the bulk of the citizens of the subject-communities, as is shown by the party-character of the revolts against her. If in her imperial character she exacted obedience, she also fulfilled duties and insured protection to a degree incomparably greater than was ever realized by Sparta. And even if she had been ever so much disposed to cramp the free play of mind and purpose among her subjects,—a disposition which is no way proved,—the very circumstances of her own democracy, with its open antithesis of political parties, universal liberty of speech, and manifold individual energy, would do much to prevent the accomplishment of such an end, and would act as a stimulus to the dependent communities, even without her own intention.

Without being insensible either to the faults or to the misdeeds of imperial Athens, I believe that her empire was a great comparative benefit, and its extinction a great loss, to her own subjects. But still more do I believe it to have been a good, looked at with reference to Pan-Hellenic interests. Its maintenance furnished the only possibility of keeping out foreign intervention, and leaving the destinies of Greece to depend upon native, spontaneous, untrammelled Grecian agencies. The downfall of the Athenian empire is the signal for the arms and corruption of Persia again to make themselves felt, and for the re-enslavement of the Asiatic Greeks under her tribute-officers. What is still worse, it leaves the Grecian world in a state incapable of repelling any energetic foreign attack, and open to the overruling march of “the man of Macedon”, half a century afterwards. For such was the natural tendency of the Grecian world to political non-integration or disintegration, that the rise of the Athenian empire, incorporating so many states into one system, is to be regarded as a most extraordinary accident. Nothing but the genius, energy, discipline, and democracy of Athens, could have brought it about; nor even she, unless favored and pushed on by a very peculiar train of antecedent events. But having once got it, she might perfectly well have kept it; and, had she done so, the Hellenic world would have remained so organized as to be able to repel foreign intervention; either from Susa or from Pella. When we reflect how infinitely superior was the Hellenic mind to that of all surrounding nations and races; how completely its creative agency was stifled, as soon as it came under the Macedonian dictation; and how much more it might perhaps have achieved, if it had enjoyed another century or half-century of freedom, under the stimulating headship of the most progressive and most intellectual of all its separate com­munities, we shall look with double regret on the ruin of the Athenian empire, as accelerating, without remedy, the universal ruin of Grecian independence, political action, and mental grandeur