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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to some words which have preoBded :
I think that lutn contributes to hold
together the first and the second affir-
mation of the sentence. Now the Latin
translation refers the first half of the
sentence to Nikias, and the last half
to the soldiers whom he addresses;
while the translation of M. Didot, by
means of the word malgri, for which
there is nothing corresponding in the



Greek, puts the second half in anti-
thesis to the fint

I cannot but think that ov ought to
be construed with ^0ovo't, and that
the words kw ilioM do not bear the
meaning assigned to them by the trans-
lators, i^iav not only means **de$eTi,
merit, the title to that which a man
has earned by his conduct"— as in the
previous phrase wapi, -Hjv a^tov— but it
also means "price, value, title to be
cared for, capacity of exciting more
or less desire or aversion"— in which
last sense it is predicated as an attri-
bute, not only of moral beings, but
of other objects besides. Thus Aris-
totle sa/s (Ethic. Nikom. iiL U)—
6 ydf oVTMf ix^^f /uaAAov «yavf r^t
TOtavrat -hiovit rn^t a^laf 6M
(Tw^pwv ov roiovTOf . AC. Agatai^ ibid.
iiL 6. h liiv 0^v « &( leoi o^ *f<'^'*
vwo/iivmv KM, 6o/9k>i^^ro9t leai in 8«r,^icai

Kar* a^iav yi^, Ka* mt Jlv h k6yot,
wivx^i «al wodmi i avBptlot,^ Again,
ibid» iv. 8. oul rovrtf i<m rov iiryoAo-
irp«irov9, iv 4 ^'^ "^^9 Y^'f ftfyakotwptwmt
woitlv rh yip TOtovror ovx «v ^tfp-
fiX-qroy, kolI cxov kat* i.ilav rov
iawar^iiarot. Again, ibid, viiL li.
axp^^oy y^ 5rra ov ^max 5cir ia^p ^f' *
kurcvpyimf rt yio yipta^ai, Ktu oi
^iAmv, «t itii Km.r ii^lmp rmv Spymp
iarm. rii iic riis ^iXUt. (Compare also
ibid. viiLia.

Xenophdn, Cyrop. viiL 4, 88. rb yip
voAAal SoKovvra ^tir ^^ « a t* A ^ i « v
riic ovvUt ^aCvtoBoi w^tkovprm. tov«
i^Ckovtt aptKtv$*piap ifioCyt 6oKtl vtptdir-
rctr. 0>imiare Xenophdn, Memorab.
iL 6, 8. Mowcp rmp ouccrwv, oUrm koX
•mr ^iXmVt tioip d^{at : alsoiMcC L 6,
11, and Isokratte cont. Lochit. Or. xx.
a. 8: Plato, Legg. ix. p. 876 B.

Ilie words <c«r i$Cay in Tbucydidte
appear to me to bear the same meaning
as in these passages of Xenophdn ana
Aristotle— "in proportion to their
value," or to their real magnitude. If
we so construe them, the words av^ &p,
Sm«m, ^v and M, all fall into their
proper order : the whole sentence after
Mr &v applies to Nikias personally, is
a corollary from what he had asserted
before, and forms a suitable point
in an harangue for encouraging his



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168 DBSIBUCnON OF ATHENIAN ARMAMENT. Part II.

lands, and by thus acting tinder common human impulse have
incurred sufferings within the limit of human endurance. We
too may reasonably hope henceforward to have Uie offended god
dealing with us more mildly ; for we are now objects fitter for
his compassion than for his jealousy.^ Look moreover at your
own ranks, hoplites so numerous and so excellent : let that
guard you against excessive despair, and recollect that wherever
you may sit down you are yourselves at once a city ; there is
no city in Sicily that can either repulse your attack or expel you
if you choose to stay, fie careful yourselves to keep your march
firm and orderly, every man of you with this conviction — ^that
whatever spot he may be forced to fight in, that spot is his
country and his fortress, and must be kept by victorious effort.
As our provisions are very scanty, we shall hasten on night and
day alike ; and so soon as you reach any friendly village of the
Sikels, wbo still remain constant to us from hatred to Syracuse,
then consider yourselves in security. We have sent forward to
apprise them, and entreat them to meet us with supplies. Once

dispirited soldier*-" Look how / bear Oriech. Onmm. sect 7V—728. Sach
iip» who hare as much oaoae for monrn- would not be the case as the f ^



iiwasanjof yon. I hare behared well is nsaally oonstnied.

both towards cods and towards men : ^ Thocyd. viL 77. ucay4 y^ rocc re

fnretnmforwnichlamcomparatiTely woKtiiunt cvrvx^^^^ mI cI ry ^«wr

comfortable both as to the future and ^^^roi itnpartviruiitp, i^woxpmrrmt

as to the present : as to the fatnre, I M^ mympiiiu^a • Mov yap vdv koI

have strong hopes— at the same time aXXoi nvit fSif 4^* irioovt, ie«l Ir^-

that as to the p re s e nt I am not orer* W9ia iftinatnt iyccr4 twaBov. lud iuat

whelmed by the present ndsfortones in tuAt vvp rd n iw^ rov tfcov iKwl^tim

proportion to their prodigious inten- iwuirtpa i^tiv oUrw y^ i.i^ cv-mv

Sity.** dfiMTvpoi ^ iaiihf ^ ^Hvov.

This is the precise thing for a msa This is a remarkable illustration of

of resolution to say upon so terrible an the doctrine, so frequently set forth in

occasion. Herodotus, that the gods were jealous

The particle ^ has its appropriate of any man or any nation who was

meaning— oi H fv^opal ov km' i^iav pre-eminently powerful, fortunate, or

ill ^o/^v<r»— ** and the present dis- prosperous. NiUas, reoolleoting the

tresses, though they do appal me, do immense manifestaoon and promise

not appal me amartdl^ in proportion to with which his armament had started

thehr actual magnitude". lastly, the from PeirBOk now beliered that this

particle xai (in the succeeding phrase had proroked the jealousy of some of

Tix» f ^ <c al AM^oviov) does not fit the gods, and brought about the mis-

on to the preceding passage as usually fortunes in Sicily. He comforts his

construed: aocordinur the Latin trans- soldiers by saying that the enemy is

lator, as well as M. Didot, leares it out now at the same dangerous pinnacle

and translates: "At fortassecessabunf*. of exaltation, whilst tAty have ez-

'*fifais peut-dtro vont-ils cesser." It hansted the sad effects of the dirine

ought to be translated— "And perhaps jealousy.

they may evm abate," which implies Compare the story of Amasis and

that what had been asserted in the Polykratte in Herodotus OIL 89X And

preceding sentence is here intended the striking renuuks put into the

not to be contradicted, but to be carried mouth of PmiIus uBmilius by Plutarch

forwardand strengthened; seeKtihner. CViL PauL .AmiL c MX



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Chap. LX. DIFFICULTIBS OF THE RBTBSAT. 199

more, soldiers, recollect that to act like brave men is now a
matter of necesdly to yon, and that if yon fedter there is no
refuge for yon anywhere ; whereas if you now get dear of your
onemies^ such of yon as are not Athenians will again enjoy the
sight of home, while such of yon as cure Athenians will live to
jrenovate the great power of our city, fallen though it now be. It
if men thai make a city — not tiutts, nor skipe withmU fiMn."^

The efforts of both commanders were in full harmony with
these strenuous words. The army was distributed
into two divisions ; the hoplites marching in a hollow ^JJ^^f^
oblong, with the baggage and unarmed in the interior. gfa;g*t - ha-
The front division was commanded by Nikias, the impeded
rear by Demoethen^ Directing their course towards ^. *^!!L>.>>
the SOcel territory, in the interior of the island, they
first marched along the left bank of the Anapus until they came
to the ford of that river which they found guarded by aSyracusan
detachment. They forced the passage however without much
resistance, and accomplished on that day a march of about five
miles, under the delay arising from the harassing of the enemy's
cavalry and light troops. Encamping for that night on an
eminence, they recommenced their march with the earliest dawn,
and halted, after about two miles and a hal^ in a deserted village
<m a plain. They were in hopes of finding some provisions in
the houses, and were even under the necessity of carrying along
with them some water firom this spot, there being none to be
found farther on. As their intended line of march had now
become evident, the Syracnsans profited by this halt to get on
before them, and to occupy in force a position on the road, called
the Akrsean cliff. Here the road, ascending a high hill, formed
a sort of ravine bordered on each side by steep cliff^ The
Syracnsans erected a wall or barricade across the whole breadth
of the road, and occupied the high ground on each side. But
even to reach this pass was beyond the competence of the
Athenians ; so impracticable was it to get over the ground in the
face of overwhelming attacks from the enemy's cavalry and light
troops. They were compelled, after a short march, to retreat to
their camp of the night before.'

111nieyd.Ttt.77. h^ptt yif^ 96Xit, xmi tA rtix^, 9bik wntt ipipmr ittp^
s Tlmejd. tU. 78.



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170 DSSTBUOnON OF ATHXmAJSl ABMAliENT. Part H.

Every hour added to the distreas of their position ; for their food

_ . ^ was all bat exhausted, nor could any man strangle from
Ck>iitiniied , . i -i • i • . -T^

oonfliot— no the main body without encountering certain destruction

maiSe^tbe ^™ ^® cavalry. Accordingly, on the next morning,

retreating they tried one more desperate effort to get over the

hilly ground into the interior. Starting very early,

they arrived at the foot of the hill called the Akrsean cliff, where

they found the barricades placed across the road, with deep files

of Syracusan hoplites behind them, and crowds of light troops

lining the cliffs on each border. They made the most strenuous

and obstinate efforts to force this inexpugnable position, but all

their struggles were vain, while they suffered miserably from the

missiles of the troops above. Amidst all the discouragement <^

this repulse, they were yet further disheartened by storms of

thunder and lightning, which occurred during the time, and

which they construed as portents significant of their impending

ruin.^

This feet strikingly illustrates both the change which the last
Violent ^^ years had wrought in the contending parties, and
ttorm— the degree to which such religious interpretatiouB of
produced phsBnomena depended for their eflScacy on predisposing
^J^^ temper, gloomy or cheerful In the first battle
change of between Nikias and the Syracusans, near the Great
thelalt"' Harbour, some months before the siege was begun, a
two yeaw. ginaiiar thunder-storm had taken place : on that
occasion, the Athenian soldiers had continued the battle unmoved^
treating it as a natural event belonging to the season, — and such
indifference on their part had still further imposed upon the
alarmed Syracusans.' Now, both the self-confidence and the
religious impression had changed sides.'

Exhausted by their fruitless efforts, the Athenians fell back a
short space to repose, when Gylippus tried to surround them by
sending a detachment to block up the narrow road in their rear.
This, however, they prevented, effecting their retreat into the
open plain, where they passed the night, and, on the ensuing day,
attempted once more the hopeless march over the Akrffian cliffL

1 Thncyd. vii. 79. i^* &v ol 'Atf ifKoToi wivra yCyvtvBai,
liiXkop €Tt ^0vfu>vr, leal iv6iu^ov i ir I * Thucyd. ti 70.
T^ «'^crtfpv bki0t»^ Kui T«vra > See above, c. ItUL



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Chap. LX. DIFFICT7LTIBB OF THB RBTRKAT. 171

But they were not allowed even to advance so &r as the pass and
the barricade. They were eo assailed and harassed by the cavalry
and darters, in flank and rear, that, in spite of heroic effort and
endurance, they could not accomplish a progress of so much as
one single mile. Extenuated by fatigue, half-starved, and with
numbers of wounded men, they were compelled to spend a third
miserable night in the same faXal plain.

As soon as the Syracusans had retired for the night to their
camp, Nildas and Demosthente took counseL They ^ig^f^
saw plainly that the route which they had originally ^^



projected, over the Akrsean cliff into the Sikel regions
of the interior, and from thence to Katana, had jjt^^
become impracticable ; and that their unhappy troops Sj?^"!*^
would be still less in condition to force it on the loiithem
morrow than they had been on the day preceding. "^
Accordingly, they resolved to make off during the night, leaving
numerous fires burning to mislead the enemy ; but completely to
alter the direction, and to turn down towards the southern coast^
on which lay Eamarina and Gela. Their guides informed them
that if they could cross the river Kakyparis, which fell into the
sea south of Syracuse, on the south-eastern coast of Sicily — or a
river still farther on, called the Erineus — they might march up
the right bank of either into the regions of the interior.
Accordingly, they broke up in the night, amidst confusion and
alarm ; in spite of which the front division of the army, under
Nikias, got into full march, and made considerable advance. By
daybreak this division reached the south-eastern coast of the
island, not &r south of Syracuse, and fell into the track of the
Hel6rine road, which they pursued until they arrived at the
Kakyparis. Even here, however, they found a Syracusan
detachment beforehand with them, raising a redoubt, and block-
ing up the ford ; nor could Nikias pass it without forcing his way
through them. He marched straight forward to the Erineus,
which he crossed on the same day, and encamped his troops on
some high ground on the other side.^

Except at the ford of Kakyparis, his march had been all day
unobstructed by the enemy. He thought it wiser to push his
troops as hat as possible, in order to arrive at some place both

1 Thncyd. rii 80-82.



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172



DBSTBUCnON OF ATHENIAN ARMAMENT.



pabt n.



8«M»tioii

of the two

diviiioiis

nnder

NiUiauid

D«ni09-



The lint

dlTfiioii,

undor

NikiM.gett

acroMtfie

lirer

Xitoeoa.



The rear
dlTfiioii
under De-



of safety and subebtenoe, without concerning himself abont the
rear division under Demosthends. That diviaon,
the larger half of the army, started both later and
in greater disorder. Unaccountable panics and dark-
ness made them part company or miss their way,
so that Demofithen^ with all his efforts to keep
them together, made little progress, and fell much
behind Nikias. He was overtaken by the Syra-
cusans during the forenoon, seemingly before he
reached the Eakyparis,^ and at a moment when the
foremost division was nearly six miles ahead, between
the Kakyparis and the Erineus.
When ^e Syracusans discovered at dawn that their enemy had
made off in the night, their first impulse was to accuse
Qylippus of treachery in having permitted the escape.
Such ungrateful surmises, however, were soon dissi-
pated, and the cavalry set forth in rapid pursuit^ until
they overtook the rear division, which they im-
mediately began to attack and impede. The advance
Demosthenes had been tardy before, and his division dis-
organized ; but he was now compelled to turn and defend
himself against an indefatigable enemy, who presently got before
him, and thus stopped him altogether. Their numerous light
troops and cavalry assailed him on all sides, and without inter-
mission ; employing nothing but missiles, however, and taking

1 Dr. Arnold (Thncrd. toL Ui. p. 280,
copied by CK»ler ad Tfl. 81) thinks thi^
the divlnon of Demoathente reached
and passed the rirer Kakyparis, and
was oaptnred between the Kakyparis
and the Brinens. Bat the words of
Thncyd. tIL 80. 81. do not sostahi this.
The division of Nikias was in advance
of Demosthente from the beginning,
and gained upon it principally daring
the early part of the march, before
daybreak : becaase it was then that
the disorder of the division of Demoa-
thente was the most ineonvenient : see
C 81— 4c Ti|« wm^ T^n ivprrapixfiivmi^,
Ac. When Thncydidte therefore says
that **at daybreak then arrived at the
sea^ {ifim ik ri im a^ucvovrroi it t^v
0dXmrratfj e. 80X this cannot be trne
both of Nikias and DemosthenAs. If
the farmer arrived there at daybreak,
the latter cannot have come to the



Ispnrsned,
overtaken,
and forced
tosar-
Tender.

of



same point till some time after day*
break. Nikias mast have been before-
hand with Demosthente when he
reached the sea— and consldembty
mort beforehand when he reached the
Kakyparis : moreover we are expressly
told &at Nikias did not wait for hb
colleague— that he thooght It for .the
best to get on as fast as possible with
his own division.

It appears to me that the words «fuc-
irvroi, Aa (c. 80X are not to be onoer-



u(c.C
ofNJ



stood both of Nikias and Demosthenis.
bat that they refer back to the word
cvrett, two or three lines behind : "the
Atkeniant {taken oeH4raUp) reached the
sea"— no attenUon b^ig at that
moment paid to the difference between
ttie front and the rear divisions. The
AtMeniam vdffiit be said, not impro-
perly, to reach the sea, at the ome
" ^" "'^^ ofNDdae



when the division o



it.



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Chap. LX. GAFTUBX OF THE REAB DIVISION. 173

care to avoid anj doee enoonnter. While this anfortanate
division were exerting their best efforts both to defend them-
selves and, if possible, to get forward, they found themselvea
enclosed in a walled olive-ground, through the middle of which
the road passed ; a £um bearing the name, and probably once the
property of Polyzdlus, brother of the despot Gelon.' Entangled
and huddled up in this enclosure, from whence exit at the Darker
end, in the face of an enemy, was found impossible, they were
now overwhelmed with hostile missiles from the walls on all
sides.' Though unable to get at the enemy, and deprived even
of tiie resources of an active despair, they endured incessant
harassing for the greater part of the day, without refreshment or
repose, and with the number of their wounded continually in-
creasing, until at length the remaining spirit of the unhappy
sufferers was thoroughly broken. Perceiving their condition,
Gtylippus sent to them a herald with a proclamation, inviting all
the ii^landers among them to come forth from the rest, and
promising them freedom if they did so. The inhabitants of some
cities, yet not many — a feet much to their honour— availed them-
selves of this offer, and surrendered. Presently, however, a larger
negotiation was opened, which ended by the entire division

I Fhitar^ mkiss, o. 37. them except in getting awaj. If w»

SThneyd. tU. 8L leal r^rt yro^ nippoee that the plantMlon lay exactly

(m. Demoetfaente) ro^ Xvpcmcriovt In the road, the word Ipnkiieiynf

6uk»wTws w irpouxvpci iimXXop f it beoomee perfectly ex|^Gable, on which

IM/ix^ twrrdavm, itH iptimrpifimp I do not think that Dr. Amold'e com*

KMcXovroi Tf *^ mvrmp, mI hf voXXf meat is eatiBtBctory. The pr oo i u re of

0oaifi^ mvT6t n koX cl yjtf «&rov 'A^- the troops from the rear into the hither

vouot V'* oMiAiiMrrtv yA^ li r» opening, while those in the front conld

Xwp<or, & Kwtktf ^ rtix^r ««piiiy> not get oat by the farther opening.

hl'h% l\ iv09v T« c«l lv^«v, wonld natoiaUy eanae this crowd and

iKUe U oAk hkiymK «txcv, ^^oAAorro IkudcUin^ inside. A road which passed

««pctfT«S6v. right throng the walled groond,

I translate Mbt M h49w n col iv0tv entering at one side and coming oat at

differently from Dr. Arnold, from Mit- the other, might well be called hiht

ford, and from others. These words ivOw r« xaX Mw. Compare Dr.

are eommonlr understood to mean that Arnold's Bemarks on the Map of Syra-

tUs walled plantation was bordered by case, toL iiL p. 281, as well as his note

two roads, one on ea^ side. Certainly on viL 81.

^e words tidght hare that signification; I imagine the oliTe-tzees to be here

but I think they also may hare the named, not for either of the two

■fgnlfleation (oompan iL 76) which I reasons mentioned by Dr. Arnold, bat

have giren in the text, and which because they hindered the Athenians

seems more plansible. It certainly is from seeinc beforehand distinctly the

▼ery inmrobable that the Athenians nature of the enclosure into which

slioald have gone oat of the road fai they were hastening, and therefore

order to shelter themselres in the prevented any precautions from being

plantation ; since they were fully taken, such as that of forbidding too

aware that there was no safety for many troops from enteriog at once, ^kc



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174 DESIBUOnON OF ATHENIAN ABllAMBNT. Part IL

eapitulating npon terms and giving ap their arms. Gjlippng
and tlie Syracusans engaged that the lives of all should be spared;
that is, that none should be put to death either by violence, or by
intolerable bonds, or by starvation. Having all been disarmed,
they were forthyrith conveyed away as prisoners to Syracuse —
6000 in number. It is a remarkable proof of the easy and
opulent circumstances of many among these gallant sufferers^
when we are told that the money which they had about them,
even at this last moment of pressure, was sufficient to fill the
concavities of four shields.^ Disdaining either to surrender or to
make any stipulation for himself personally, Demosthenes was on
the point of killing himself with his own sword the moment that
the capitulation was concluded ; but his intention was prevented,
and he was carried off, a disarmed prisoner, by the Syracusans.'
On the next day, Gylippus and the victorious Syracusaus
Gyiippiu overtook Nikias on the right bank of the Erinens,
^▼otUm apprised him of the capitulation of Demosthen^
the diTiflioB and summoned him to capitulate also. He demanded
of NiUaa. Xeave to send a horseman, for the purpose of verifying
the statement ; and on the return of the horseman, he made a
proposition to Gylippus — ^that his army should be permitted to
return home, on condition of Athens reimbursing to Sjrracuse the
whole expense of the war, and furnishing hostages until payment
should be made ; one citizen against each talent of silver. These
conditions were rejected ; but Nikias could not yet bring himself
to submit to the same terms for his division as Demosthends.
Accordingly the Syracusans recommenced their attacks, which
the Athenians, in spite of hunger and fatigue, sustained as they
best could until night It was the intention of Nikias again to
take advantage of the night for the purpose of getting away.
But on this occasion the Syracusans were on the watch, and as
soon as they heard movement in the camp, they raised the peeaa
or war-shout ; thus showing that they were on the look-out, and
inducing the Athenians again to lay down the arms which they
had taken up for departure. A detachment of 800 Athenians^
nevertheless, still persisting in marching of^ apart from the rest^

iS^^'^^^<^-^:^^'i<7d.TiL82. niySTTacQMa PUlistosisee Pwua-
9 This statement depends apon the nias, L S8, 9; Pbilisti WtBgm. 40, ed.
▼ery good aathority of the oontempo- Didot ^^



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Chap. LX. GAFTUBE OF NIKIAB AND HIS DIVISION. 176

forced their way through the poets of the Syracneam. These
men got safely away, and nothing bat the want of guides pre-
yented them from escaping altogether.^

During all this painful retreat, the personal resolution dis-
played by Nikias was exemplary. His sick and j^j^j^^
feeble frame was made to bear up, and even to tothertrm
hearten up stronger men, against the extremity of j^Jt^l^^e
hardship, exhausting the last fragment of hope or thM and
even possibility. It was now the sixth day of the thet^en
retreat — six days' of constant privation, suffering, btodhSdoo
and endurance of attack — ^yet Nikias early in the beoonM
morning attempted a fresh march, in order to get ^ *"'
to the river Asiiiiarus, which falls into the same sea, south of the
Erineus, but is a more considerable stream, flowing deeply
embedded between lofty banks. This was a last effort of despair,
with little hope of final escape, even if they did reach it Yet
the march was accomplished, in spite of renewed and incessant
attacks all the way from the Syracusan cavalry, who even got to
the river before the Athenians, occupjring the ford, and lining
the high banks near it Here the resolution of tlie unhappy
fugitives at length gave way: when they reached the river,
their strength, their patience, their spirit, and their hopes for
the future were all extinct Tormented with raging thirst, and
compelled by the attacks of the cavalry to mardi in one compact
mass, they rushed into the ford all at once, treading down and
tumbling over each other in the universal avidi^ for drink.
Many thus perished from being pushed down upon the points of
the spears, or lost their footing among the scattered articles of
baggage, and were thus borne down under water.' Meanwhile



Online LibraryGeorge GroteA history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great → online text (page 21 of 62)