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Sparta, about the month of October. There were now, in Platææ, but 400 inhabitants, and 80 Athenians ; with 110 women to dress their victuals, and no other person, whether freeman or slave ; all the rest having been sent to Athens before the siege.
During the campaign, some engagements were fought both by sea and land, which I omit, because of no importance. a The next summer, which was the fourth year
of the war, the people of Lesbos, the citizens of Methymne excepted, resolved to break their alliance with the Athenians. They had designed to rebel before the war was declared, but the Lacedæmonians would not receive them at that time. The citizens of Methymne sent advice of this to the Athenians, assuring them, that if an immediate succour was not sent, the island would be inevitably lost. The dejection of the Athenians, who had sustained great losses by the war and the plague, was greatly increased, when news was brought of the revolt of so considerable an island, whose forces, which were hitherto unimpaired, would now join the enemy, and reinforce them on a sudden by the addition of a powerful fleet. The Athenians therefore sent 40 gallies designed for Peloponnesus, which accordingly sailed for Mitylene. The inhabitants, though in great consternation because they were quite unprepared, yet put on an appearance of bravery, and sailed out of the port with their ships; however, being repulsed, they proposed an accommodation, which the Athenians listened to, from an apprehension, that they were not strong enough to reduce the island to their allegiance. A suspension of arms was therefore agreed upon, during which the Mitylenians sent ambassadors to Athens. The fear of not obtaining their demands, made them send others to Lacedæmonia, to desire succours. This was not il judged, the Athenians sending them an answer which they hacl no reason to interpret in their favour.
The ambassadors of Mitylene, after a dangerous voyage, being arrived in Lacedæmonia, the Spartans deferred giving them audience, till the solemnization of the Olympic games, in order that the allies might hear the complaints they had to make. I shall repeat their whole speech on that occasion, as it may serve, at once, to give a just idea of Thucydides's style, and of the disposition of the several states towards the Athenians and Lacedæmonians. "We are sensible,” said the ambassadors, “ that it is usual to treat deserters well at “ first, because of the service they do those whom they fly
to; but to despise them afterwards as traitors to their country and friends. This is far from being unjust, when they have no inducement to such a change; when the same
a Thucyd. I. iii. p. 174–207. Diod. l. xii. p. 108, 109.
“ union subsists, and the same aids are reciprocally granted. “ But it is far otherwise between us and the Athenians; and “ we intreat you not to be prejudiced against us, because, “after having been treated mildly by the Athenians during " the peace, we now renounce their alliance when they are “ unfortunate. For, since we are come hither to demand “ admittance into the number of your friends and allies, we “ ought to begin our own justification, by showing the jus“ tice and necessity of our procedure; it being impossible " for a true friendship to be established between individuals, " or a solid alliance between cities, unless both are founded
on virtue, and uniformity of principles and sentiments.
" To come to the point: the treaty we concluded with " the Athenians, was not to enslave Greece, but to free it “ from the yoke of the Barbarians; and it was concluded “ after the retreat of the Persians, when you renounced the « command. We adhered to it with pleasure, so long as * the Athenians continued to entertain just designs; but “ when we saw that they discontinued the war which they “were carrying on against the enemy, merely to oppress "the allies, we could not but suspect their conduct. And
as it was extremely difficult in so great a diversity of " interests and opinions, for all of them to continue in strict
union, and still harder to make head against them, when " alone and separated; they have subjected, by insensible “ degrees, all the allies, except the inhabitants of Chios, “and our people; and used our own forces for this end. “ For, at the same time that they left us seemingly at our
liberty, they obliged us to follow them; though we could no longer rely on their word, and had the strongest reason “ to fear the like treatment. And indeed, what probability “is there, after their enslaving all the other states, that " they should show a regard to us only, and admit us upon “the foot of equals, if they may become our master when
ever they please; especially as their power increases daily, " in proportion as ours lessens? A mutual fear between “ confederates, is a strong motive to make an alliance last“ing, and to prevent unjust and violent attempts, by its keeping all things in an equilibrium. Their leaving us " the enjoyment of our liberties, was merely because they “ could not intrench upon them by open force, but only bý " that equity and specious moderation they have shown us.
First, they pretended to prove, from their moderate con“ duct in regard to us, that as we are free, we should not " have marched in conjunction with them against the "other allies, had they not given them just grounds for
complaint. Secondly, by attacking the weakest first, and " subduing them one after another, they enabled themselves,
" by their ruin, to subject the most powerful without diffi"culty, who at last would be left alone and without support: “Whereas, had they begun by invading us, at the time that " the allies were possessed of all their troops, and were able to make some stand, they could not so easily have completed their designs. Besides, as we had a large fleet, “which would strengthen considerably whatever party we
should declare for, this was a check upon them. Add to "this, that the high regard we have always shown for their "republic, and the endeavours we have used to gain the "favour of those who commanded it, have suspended our "ruin. But we had been undone, had not this war broken "out; which the fate of others leaves no room to doubt.
“What friendship then, what lasting alliance can be con“cluded with those who never are friends and allies, but "when force is employed to make them continue such?
For, as they were obliged to caress us during the war, to prevent our joining with the enemy; we were constrained to treat them with the saine regard in time of peace, to prevent their falling upon us. That which love produces
in other places, was with us the effect of fear. It was “this circumstance that made an alliance subsist some time, " which both parties were determined to break upon the 'very first favourable occasion. Let therefore no one accuse us for the advantage we now take. We had not "always the same opportunity to save ourselves, as they " had to ruin us; but were under the necessity of waiting a 4 favourable juncture, before we could venture to declare ourselves.
“Such are the motives which now oblige us to solicit your alliance; the equity and justice of which appear very
strong to us, and consequently call upon us to provide for our safety: we should have claimed your protection be
fore, had you been sooner inclined to afford it us; for we "offered ourselves to you, even before the war broke out: we are now come, at the persuasion of the Bæotians, your allies, to disengage ourselves from the oppressors of Greece, and join our arms with those of its defenders ; and to provide for the security of our state, which is now in imminent danger. If any thing can be objected to our conduct, it is, our declaring so precipitately, with more generosity than prudence, and without having made the least preparations. But this also ought to engage you to be the more ready in succouring us; that you may not lose the opportunity of protecting the oppressed, and avenging yourselves on your enemies. There never was a more favourable conjuncture than that which now offers itself ; a conjuncture, when war and pestilence have consumed their
« forces and exhausted their treasure : not to mention that “ their fleet is divided, by which means they will not be in a “ condition to resist you, should you invade them at the same “ time by sea and land. For, they either will leave us to at“ tack you, and give us an opportunity of succouring you ;
or they will oppose us all together, and then you will have “ but half their forces to deal with.
“ For the rest, let no one imagine that you will expose “ yourselves to dangers for a people incapable of doing you “service. Our country indeed lies at a considerable dis“tance from you, but our aid is near at hand. For the war “ will be carried on, not in Attica, as is supposed, but in " that country lwhose revenues are the support of Attica, “ and we are not far from it. Consider, also, that in abandon“ing us, you will increase the power of the Athenians by “ the addition of ours; and that no state will then dare to s take up arms against them. But, in succouring us, you « will strengthen yourselves with a fleet which you so much “ want; you will induce many other people, after our ex“ ample, to join you ; and you will take off the reproach “ cast upon you, of abandoning those who have recourse to
your protection, which will be no inconsiderable advantage to you during the course of the war.
• We therefore implore you, in the name of Jupiter " Olympius, in whose temple we now are, not to frustrate “the hopes of the Greeks, nor reject suppliants, whose
preservation may be highly advantageous, and whose ruin may be infinitely pernicious to you. Show
yourselves “ such now as the idea entertained of your generosity, and “ the extreme danger to which we are reduced, demand; " that is, the protectors of the afflicted, and the deliverers “ of Greece,
The allies, struck with these reasons, admitted them into the alliance of Peloponnesus. An immediate incursion into the enemy's country was resolved, and that the allies should rendezvous at Corinth with two-thirds of their forces. The Lacedæmonians arrived first, and prepared engines for transporting the ships from the gulf of Corinth into the sea of Athens, in order to invade Attica both by sea and land. The Athenians were no less active on their side ; but the allies, being employed in their harvest, and beginning to grow weary of the war, were a long time before they met.
During this interval, the Athenians, who perceived that all these preparations were made against them, from a supposition that they were very weak; in order to undeceive The world, and show that they were able to furnish a fleet without calling in any of their ships from before Lesbos, put to sea a fleet of 100 sail, which they marmed with citizens
as well as foreigners ; not exempting a single citizen, except such only as were obliged to serve on horseback, or whose revenue amounted to 500 measures of corn. After having showed themselves before the isthmus of Corinth, to make a display of their power, they made descents into whatever parts of Peloponnesus they pleased.
The world never saw a finer fleet. The Athenians guarded their own country, and the coasts of Eubæa and Salamis with a fleet of 100 ships : they cruised round Peloponnesus with another fleet of the like number of vessels, without including their fleet before Lesbos and other places. The whole amounted to upwards of 250 gallies. The expenses of this powerful armament entirely exhausted their treasure, which had been very much drained before by those incurred by the siege of Potidæa.
The Lacedæmonians, greatly surprised at so formidable a feet, which they no ways expected, returned with the utmost expedition to their own country, and only ordered 40 gallies to be fitted out for the succour of Mitylene. The Athenians had sent a reinforcement thither, consisting of 1,000 heavy-armed troops, by whose assistance they made a contravallation, with forts in the most commodious places ; so that it was blocked up, both by sea and land, in the beginning of winter. The Athenians were in such great want of money for carrying on this siege, that they were reduced to assess themselves, which they had never done before, and by this means 200 a talents were sent to it.
6 The people of Mitylene being in want of all things, and having waited to no purpose for the succours which the Lacedæmonians had promised them, surrendered, upon condition that no person should be put to death or imprisoned, till the ambassadors, whom they should send to Athens, were returned ; and that, in the meantime, the troops should be admitted into the city. As soon as the Athenians had got possession of the city, such of the factious Mityleneans as had fled to the altars for refuge, were conveyed to Tenedos, and afterwards to Athens. There the affair of the Mityleneans was debated. As their revolt had greatly exasperated the people, because it had not been preceded by any ill treatment, and seemed a mere effect of their hatred for the Athenians, in the first transports of their rage, they resolved to put all the citizens to death indiscriminately, and to make all the women and children slaves ; and immediately they sent a galley to put the decree in execution. But night gave them leisure
to reflect. This severity was judged too cruel, and carried farther than consisted with justice. They imagined to themselves the fate of that unhappy
a 200,000 crowns, about 1.45,000 sterling. 6 A. M. 3577. Ant. J. C. 437.