George Grote.

A history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great online

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the conspiTaCT of the Four Hundred to only unwilling because he was afraid



a tine anterior to the banishment of of the Spartans ; in fact. wiUting

Alkibiadta. But, among all the vague for a safe conduct and bvitation

MBtenees, this allegatton that the from them. ThuoydidSs mentions

Atbeaiaas banished him out of aJU nothing about his going to Aigos

<irmt stands prominent. They could (vi. 88X
oniybsaish him from the territory of i Thucyd. vi. 88.



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70 RESOLUTION TO ATTACK SYRACUSE. Part II.

relied with you and renounced it Moreover, I assiduously
cultivated your favour on all points, especially by attentions to
your prisoners at Athens ; but while I was showing all this zeal
towards you, you took the opportunity of the peace which you
made with Athens to employ my enemies as your agents— Uius
strengthening their hands, and dishonouring me. It was this
conduct of yours which drove me to unite with the Argeians and
Mantineians ; nor ought you to be angry with me for mischief
which you thus drew upon yourselves. Probably some of you
hate me too, without any good renson, as a forward partisan of
democracy. My family were always opposed to the Peisistratid
despots ; and as all opposition, to a ruling One or Few, takes the
name of The People, so from that time forward we continued to
act as leaders of the people.^ Moreover our established constitu-
tion was a democracy, so that I had no choice but to obey ;
though I did my best to maintain a moderate line of political
conduct in the midst of the reigning licence. It was not my
family, but others, who in former times as well as now led the
people into the worst courses — those same men who sent me into
exile. I always acted as leader, not of a party, but of the entire
city ; thinking it right to uphold that constitution in which
AUiens had enjoyed her grandeur and freedom, and which I
found already existing.' For as to democracy, all we Athenians
of common sense well knew its real character. Personally, I
have better reason than any one else to rail against it — if one
could say anything new about such confessed folly ; but I did
not think it safe to change the government, while you were
standing by as enemies.

" So much as to myself personally : I shall now talk to jou
about the business of the meeting, and tell you something more



1 Thncyd. tL 89. roic ^j^ rvpavvo^s means of excusing them before a Lace-

mtl iroT« Sia^poi iajt^tVt vav 6i n tvoy* diemonian andience.
.oviuvor Ty^ ivroffTfi^i^i 6^|uiof ivo- 2 Thucyd. Ti 89. i^iitU W tow ^V|a-

It ia to be recoUected that the iktv$€pwUTii odo-a, xol ov«p cfc^rtf tcc.



vpocrravia i|fur tov vAi^^ovc. 9>p}^ari fuyivni 4 vdAiC irvyx«r« mtu

It ia to be recoUected that the iktv$€pwUTii odo-a, xol ov«p cfc^rtf tcc,

Laoednmoniani had been always op- tovto ^vi^tacrM^eii' * ^t in^mpariu^ -y*

posed tp rvpavpoi or despots, and had xal iyiytmtrKoiiw ol ^povovrrit Tt, jcol

been particohu-ly opposed to the ainh^ ov5«r^ &v x^^povt W "^ ^o<a».

Peisistratid Tvpayrot. whom they in piivaiiiu' «AA^rcpidjuLoAoyovfi<n?f <u^»««V

fact put down. In tracing his demo- ovJiv av Koivhv A^^ oiro • ««! rh fi«9»9w

oratical tendencies, therefore, to tliis rdi^i out^v ovk ^xn iifur ia^^aX^

source, Alkibiadto took the best elvcu, ^nmv iroAt^iiMV vpoincotf^/rwr.



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CbaP. LVnL SPEECH OF ALKIfilAD&S AT SPARTA. 71

tlian jou yet know. Onr purpose in sailing from Athens was

first to conquer the Sicilian Greeks — next the Italian Greeks —

afterwards, to make an attempt on the Carthaginian empire and

on Carthage herself. If all or most of this succeeded, we were

then to attack Peloponn^us. We intended to bring to this

enterprise the entire power of the Sicilian and Italian Greeks,

besides large numbers of Iberian and other warlike barbaric

mercenaries, together with many new triremes built from the

abundant forests of Italy, and lai^ supplies both of treasure and

provision. We could thus blockade Peloponnesus all round with

our fleet, and at the same time assail it with onr land force ; and

we calculated, by taking some towns by storm and occupying

others as permanent fortified positions, that we should easily

conquer the whole peninsula, and then become undisputed

masters of Greece. You thus hear the whole scheme of our

expedition from the man who knows it best ; and you may

depend on it that the remaining generals will execute all this, if

they can. Nothing but your intervention can hinder them. If

indeed the Sicilian Greeks were all united, they might hold out ;

but the Syracnsans standing alone cannot — beaten as they already

have been in a general action, and blocked up as they are by sea.

If Syracuse falls into the hands of the Athenians, all Sicily and

all Italy will share the same fate ; and the danger which I have

described will be soon upon you.

" It is not therefore simply for the safety of Sicily — it is for
the safety of Peloponn^us — that I now urge you to send across,
forthwith, a fleet with an army of hoplites as rowers, and, what
I consider still more important than an army, a Spartan genera)
to take the supreme command. Moreover you must also carry
on declared and vigorous war against Athens here, that the
Syracusans may be encouraged to hold out, and that Athens may
be in no condition to send additional reinforcements thither.
Too must further fortify and permanently garrison Dekeleia in
Attica:^ that is the contingency which the Athenians have
always been most afraid u^ and which therefore you may know
to be your best policy. You will thus get into your own handn

iTbewtabHshmentMid pennanent lann oven before the beginning of tlu:
•oeouUioD of a fortifled post in Attica war CTbncyd. i. 123>
liad been contemplated by the Corinth-



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72 &B801iUnON TO ATTACK STRAGUSB. Pakt IL

tbe live and dead stock of Attica, interrupt the working of the
silver mines at Laoreion, deprive the Athenians of their profits
from judicial fines^ as well as of theii landed revenue, and dispose
the subject-allies to withhold their tribute.

" None of jou ought to think the worse of me because I make
this vigorous onset upon my country in conjunction with her
enemies — I who once passed for a lover of my country.' Nor
ought you to mistrust my assurances as coming from the reckless
passion of an exile. The worst enemies of Athens are not those
who make open war like you, but those who drive her best
friends into hostility. I loved my country' while I was secure
as a citizen — I love her no more now that I am wronged. In
feu^t, I do not conceive myself to be assailing a country stUl mine:
I am rather trying to win back a country now lost to me. The
real patriot is not he who, having unjustly lost his country,
acquiesces in patience, but he whose ardour makes him try every
means to regain her.

'* Employ me without fear, Lacedemonians, in any service of
danger or suffering : the more harm I did you formerly as an
enemy, the more good I can now do you as a friend. But above
all, do not shrink back from instant operations both in Sicily
and in Attica, upon which so much depends. You wUl thus put
down the power of Athens, present as well as future ; you will
dwell yourselves in safety ; and you will become the leaders of
undivided Hellas, by free consent and without force.***

Enormous consequences turned upon this speech — no less
Great effect '""^terly in reference to the purpose and the audience,
of his than infamous as an indication of the character uf the

tCe^el^ Speaker. If its contents became known at Athens, as
ponnesiaiii. ^^^ probably did, the enemies of Alkibiadfis would
be supplied with a justification of their most violent political

1 The occapatioii of Dekeleia made «Xvat, vw iyitpan»9 inipxoiiai,

(rtt Wi Then inu therafora aeldom "'T*''''!' "". "»~r «** « {"i^.' ^
"mSJri Ti. tt. «; x'H-" oiM S^f, ^ '"*"'"''' '"'^ •*^

rmv wo\tii,tmTdrm¥, ^ikowokit wort Boici^v * Tliucyd. Ti. 89— M.



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Chap. LVm. SPEECH OF ALKIBIADftS— HIS CHARACTER. 73

Attacks. That impatation which they had taken so much pains
to fasten upon him, citing in proof of it alike his profligate
expenditure, overbearing insolence, and derision of the religious
^ceremonies of the state ^ — that he detested the democracy in lus
heart, submitted to it only from necessity, and was watching for
the first safe opportunify of subverting it — appears here in his
own language as matter of avowal and boast The sentence of
condemnation against him would now be unanimously approved,
<even by those who at the time had deprecated it; while the people
wonld be more firmly persuaded than before of the reality of the
flseociation between irreligious manifestations and treasonable
designs. DoubUeas the inferences so drawn from the speech
would be unsound, because it represented, not the actual past
sentiments of Alkibiad^ but those to which he now found it
convenient to lay claim. As far as so very selfish a politician could
be said to have any preference, democracy was, in some respects,
more convenient to him than oligarchy. Though offensive to his
taste, it held out larger prospects to his love of show, his adven-
turous ambition, and his rapacity for foreign plunder ; while
under an oligarchy, the jealous restraints, and repulses imposed
on him by a few equals, would be perhaps more galling to his
temper than those arising from the whole people.' He takes
credit in his speech for moderation as opposed to the standing
licence of democracy. But this is a pretence absurd even to extra-
vaf^ance, which Athenians of all parties would have listened to
with astonishment. Such licence as that of Alkibiad^ himself
had never been seen at Athens ; and it was the adventurous
instincts of the democracy towards foreign conquest — combined
with their imperfect apprehension of the limits and conditions
under which alone their empire could be pei*manently maintained
— ^which he stimulated up to the highest point, and then made
ILK of for his own power and profit As against himself, he had
reason for accusing his political enemies of unworthy manoeuvres,
and even of gross political wickedness, if they were authors or
accomplices (as seems probable of some) in the mutilation of the
Hemue. But most certainly their public advice to the common-

' Thveyd. W. 28. amh -mr oftomv, iXMrvo'6fUP69 rts ^pcc

s 8«e a reoiarkable jMMsage of Thac. —and the note in explanation of it, in a

vfiL 8S— ^or r« «vo/taiyorr«, mc •¥« later chapter of thiauistoiy, clia]>. IxlL



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74 RESOLUTION TO ATTACK SYRACUSE. Part IL

wealth was far less mischievous than his. And if we are to
strike the balance of personal political merit between AlkibiadSs
and his enemies, we must take into the comparison his fraud
upon the simplicity of the Lacedaemonian envoys, recounted in
the last preceding chapter but one of this history.

If then that portion of the speech of Alkibiad^s, wherein he
Misrepre- touches upon Athenian politics and his own past
»«iitaU«iM conduct, is not to be taken as historical evidence, juet
In the as little can we trust the following portion in which

■P*®*** he professes to describe the real purposes of Athens in

her Sicilian expedition. That any such vast designs as those
which he announces were ever really contemplated even by him-
self and his immediate friends is very improbable ; that they
were contemplated by the Athenian public, by the armament, or
by Nikias, is utterly incredible. The tardiness and timid move-
ments of the armament (during the first eight months after
arriving at Rhegium), recommended by Nikias, partially admitted
even by AlkibiadSs, opposed only by the unavailing wisdom of
Lamachus, and not strongly censured when known at Athens,
conspire to prove that their minds were not at first fully made up
even to the siege of Syracuse ; that they counted on alliances
and money in Sicily which they did not find ; and that those
who sailed from Athens with large hopes of brilliant and easy
conquest were soon taught to see the reality with different eyes.
If Alkibiades had himself conceived at Athens the designs which
he professed to reveal in his speech at Sparta, there can be little
doubt that he would have espoused the scheme of Lamachus — or
rather would have originated it himself. We find him indeed,
in his speech delivered at Athens before the determination to
sail, holding out hopes that, by means of conquests in Sicily,
Athens might become mistress of all Greece. But this is there
put as an alternative and as a favourable possibility — is noticed
only in one place, without expansion or amplification — and 8how»
that the speaker did not reckon upon finding any such expecta-
tions prevalent among his hearers. Alkibiad& could not have
ventured to promise, in his discourse at Athens, the results which
he afterwards talked of at Sparta as having been actually con-
templated -Sicily, Italy, Carthage, Iberian mercenaries, &c, all
ending in a blockading fleet large enough to gird round Pelopou-



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Ctur. LVUL SPARTANS RESOLVE ON WAR- GYLIPPU8. 76

nlsitt.* Had he pnt forth such promifles, the charge of juvenile
follj which Nikias urged against him would probably have been
believed bj every one. His speech at Sparta, though it haft
passed with some as a fragment of true Grecian history, seems
in truth little better than a gigantic romance, dressed up to alarm
his audience.'

Intended for this purpose, it was eminently suitable and effec-
tive. The Lacedasmonians had already been partly B^^soiuttoii*
moved by the representations from Corinth and Syra- of the
cose, and were even prepared to send envoys to the P*"*°"-
latter place with encouragement to hold out against Athens. But
the peace of Nikias, and the alliance succeeding it, still subeisted
between Athens and Sparta. It had indeed been partially and
indirectly violated in many ways, but both the contracting parties*
stOl considered it as subsisting, nor would either of them yet con-
tent to break their oaths openly and avowedly. For this reason
— as well as from the distance of Sicily, great even in the estima-
tion of the more nautical Athenians — the Ephors could not yet
make up their minds to despatch thither any positive aid. It
was exactly in this point of hesitation between the will and the
deed that the energetic and vindictive exile from Athens found
them. His flaming picture of the danger impending — brought
home to their own doors, and appearing to proceed from the best
informed of all witnesses— overcame their reluctance at once ;
while he at the same time pointed out the precise steps whereby
their interference would be rendered of most avaiL The transfer
of Alkibiad^ to Sparta thus reverses the superiority of force
between the two contending chiefs of Greece — "Momentumque
fait mutatus Curio rerum**.' He had not yet shown his power
of doing his country good, as we shall find him hereafter engaged
during the later years of the war : his first achievements were
hut too successful in doing her harm.

The Lacedaemonians forthwith resolved to send an auxiliary
force to Syracuse. But as this could not be done be- j^^ jj^^^^
fore the spring, they nominated Gylippus commander, d«moiii»ii»
directing him to proceed thither without delay, and oyllppus to
to take counsel with the Corinthians for operations as Symcuse.

1 Thneycl. tL 18-17. « Platarch, AlWb. c 17.

> Lncao, PhanaL !▼. 819.



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76 RESOLUTION TO ATTACK 8TRA0U8B. Part O.

«peedy as tlie case admitted.^ We do not know that Gylippus
had as jet given any positive evidence of that consummate skill
and activity which we shall presently be called upon to describe.
He was probably chosen on account of his superior acquaintance
with the circumstances of the Italian and SicUian Greeks ; since
his father Kleondridas, after having been banished from Sparta
fourteen years before the Peloponnesian war, for taking Athenian
bribes, had been domiciliated as a citizen at ThuriL' Gylippus
desired the Corinthians to send immediately two triremes for
him to AsinI in the Messenian Gulf, and to prepare as many
others as their docks could furnish.

1 Thncyd. vi 98 ; Platanh, Alkib. c 28 ; IHodtt. xiii. 7.
SThacycLTi-KM.



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CBAP. LiX. BIEOE OF SIBAOUSK BT NIKIAB. 77



CHAPTER LIX.

FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE SIEGE OF SYRACUSE
BY NIKIAS, DOWN TO THE SECOND ATHENIAN EX-
PEDITION UNDER DEMOSTHfiNES AND THE RESUMP-
TION OF THE GENERAL WAR.

The Athenian troops at Eatana, probably tired of inaction, were
pnt in motion in the earlj spring, even before the
arriyal of the reinforcements from Athens, and sailed
to the deserted walls of Megara, not far from Syra- JJ nISS kt
cose, which the Syracusans had recently garrisoned, the early
Having in vain attacked the Syracusan garrison and ^ '
laid waste the neighbouring fields, they re-embarked, landed
again for similar purposes at the mouth of the river Terias, and
then, after an insignificant skirmish, returned to Eatana. An
expedition into the interior of the island procured for them the
alliance of the Sikel town of Eentoripa ; and the cavalry being
now arrived from Athens, they prepared for operations against
Syracuse. Nikias had received from Athens 250 horsemen fully
equipped — for whom horses were to be procured in Sicily * — 30
hone-bowmen, and 300 talents in money. He was not long in
famishing them with horses from Egesta and Eatana, fronv
which cities he also received some further cavalry — so that he
was presently able to muster 650 cavalry in alL'

Even before this cavalry could be mounted, Nikias made his
first approach to Syracuse. For the Syracusan generals on their
<ide, apprised of tlie arrival of the reinforcement from Athens,

iHonet were so laigely bred in IIwAov /S«/U*aar.
Skily, that they even f onnd their way

into Attica and Genti«a GNece-So- If the Scholiast is to be traeted, ih»^

pboklle, OSd. Kolon. 812— Sicilian horses were of unasnally great-

Inlxonnw iiiur, lavor, Airrauus ht't, < Thncyd. Ti. 9fr— 96.



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78 8I£G£ OF SYRACUSE BY NIKIA8. Part 1L

and aware that besieging operationB were on the point of being
commenced, now thought it necessary to take the precaution of
occupying and guarding the roads of access to the high ground of
Epipolae which overhung their outer city.

Syracuse consisted at this time of two parts — an inner and outer
city. The former was comprised in the island of
tion and* Ortygia, the original settlement founded by Archias,
tiouB^ and within which the modem city is at this moment
Svracuae, included : die lattei*, or outer city, afterwards known
when hy the name of Achradina, occupied the high

AiTiiSd— ground of the peninsula north of Ortygia, but does
Inner and not seem to have joined the inner city, or to have
^' been comprised in the same fortification. This outer
<:ity was defended, on the north and east, by the sea, with rocks
presenting great difficulties of landing, and by a seawall ; so
that on these sides it was out of the reach of attack. Its wall on
the land side, beginning from the sea somewhat eastward of the
entrance of the cleft now called Santa Bonagia or Panagia, ran in
a direction westward of south as far as the termination of the high
ground of Achradina, and then turned eastward along the stone
quarries now known as those of the Capucins and Novanteris,
where the ground is in part so steep that probably little fortifi-
cation was needed. This fortified high land of Achradina thus
constituted the outer city ; while the lower ground, situated
between it and the inner city or Ortygia, seeins at this time not
to have been included in the fortifications of either, but was
employed (and probably had been employed even from the first
settlement in the island), partly for religious processions, games,
and other multitudinous ceremonies — partly for the burial of the
dead, which, according to invariable Grecian custom, was
performed without the waUs of the city. Extensive catacombs
jet remain to maik the length of time during which this ancient
Nekropolis served its puipose.

To the noith-west of the outer city- wall, in the direction of the
Localides P^^ c&iled Trogilus, stood an unfortified suburb
wScS\he* ^^^^^ afterwards became enlarged into the distinct
ooter city— walled town of TychS. West of the southern part of
Epipola. ^|jg j^jjjg ^^^^ city-wall (nearly south-west of the
■outer city itself) stood another suburb — afterwards known and



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CHaf, LDL fortifications of SYRACUSE— BPIPOLJB. 79

fortified as Neapolis, but deriving its name, in the year 415
B.a, from Laving within it the statue and conseciated ground
of Apollo Temenites^ (which stood a little way up on the
ascent of the hill of Epipolse), and stretching from thence
do^-n southward in the direction of the Great Harbour.
Between these two suburbs lay a broad open space, the ground
ming in gradual acclivity from Achradina to the westward, and
diminishing in breadth as it rose higher, until at length it ended
iu a small conical mound called in modem times the Belvidere.
This acclivity formed the eastern ascent of the long ridge of high
ground called £pipolse. It was a tiiangle upon an inclined plane,
of which Achradina was the base : to the north as well as to the
south, it was suddenly broken off by lines of limestone cliff
(forming the sides of the triangle), about fifteen or twenty feet
high, and quite precipitous, except in some few. openings made
for convenient ascent From the western point or apex of the
triangle, the descent was easy and graduad (excepting two or
three special mounds or cliffs) towards the city, the interior of
which was visible from this outer slope.'

According to the warfare of that time, Nikias could only take
Syracuse by building a wall of circumvallation so as poaaibiii.
to cut off its supplies bv land, and at the same time tjee of the

* Blocs WD6I1

blockading it by sea. Now looking at the inner and NTkias tint
outer city as above described, at the moment when he lidi^^
first reached Sicily, we see that (after defeating the ^2***?®,**'
Syracusans and driving them within their walls, through
which would be of course the first part of the process) ^*" *^®^y-
he might have carried his blockading wall in a direction nearly

1 At the nef^hbonring city of Oela, embodied in Dr. Arnold's Appendix to

•Isio. a little without the walla, there the third rolume of his Thucydidte),

•toed a large brazen statue of Apollo is especially commended to his atten-

—of 80 much sanctity, beauty, or tion.

■fOtoiMty, that the Carthaginians in In the Appendix (see end of the

their invasion of the island (seren vears Tolume) I have been unaToidably com-

aftcr the siege of Syracuse by Nikias) polled to repeat a portion of the matter

■carried it away with them and trana* contained in my general narratiTe ; for

ported it to Tyre (Dioddr. xiiL 108). which repetition I hope to l>e par-

* In ref evence to aU these topogra- doned.
pMeal details, the reader is requested In Plan L, giTen at the end of this

to oonsolt the two Plans of Syracuse Tolume, the letters A, B.C. D, represent

annexed to the present Tolume, to- the wall of the Outer City as it seems

gether with the explanatory Appendix to have stood when Nikias first arrived

■OD the Operations of the Siege. The in Sicily. The letters E, F, represent

very perqikmons description of Epi- the waU of the Inner City at the same

polk, also, giTen by Mr. Stanley (as moment



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80 SIEOB OF 8YRACU8B BT NIKIAS. PaBT IL

southerly from the innermost point of the cleft of Santa Bonagia^
between the city- wall and the Temenitis, so as to reach the Great
Harbour at a spot not far westward of the junction of Ortygia
with the mainland. Or he might have landed in the Oreat
Harbour, and executed the same waU, beginning from the oppo-
site end. Or he might have preferred to construct two blockading
walls, one for each city separately : a short wall would have
sufficed in front of the isthmus joining Oitygia, while a separate
wall might have been carried to shut up the outer city, across the
unfortified space constituting the Nekropolis opposite to Ortygia.
Such were the possibilities of the case at the time when Nikiaa



Online LibraryGeorge GroteA history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great → online text (page 11 of 62)