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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confederates, one of them a peripolus, or youthful hoplite, in the
midst of the crowded market-place and in full daylight The
man who struck the blow made his escape, but his comrade
was seized and put to the torture by order of the Four

1 Tbncyd. riii. OL ^v id n itai nn- Thncydidte admito the

ovTOV airb ruv riiv Kaniyepiay ixovna^j concert of Alltipb6n and hit COUeaguet

mat ov wa¥v liafioxii fjL6uov Tov with the Lacedsmonians, deservea

A ^ Y o V. notice — also O. U4, r a v a fit y re xai

The reluctant langnage, in whicli avb ^vyKtifitvov Aoyov^oc

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Hundred : ^ he was however a stranger from Argos, and either
could not or would not reveal the name of anj directing accom-
plice. Nothing was obtained from him except general indications
of meetings and wide-spread disafifection. Nor did the Four
Hundred, being thus left without special evidence, dare to laj
hands upon Theramends, the pronounced leader of the opposition
— as we shall find Eritias doing six years afterwards, under the
rule of the Thiiiy. The assaRsins of Phrynichus remaining
undiscovered and unpunished, Theramen^ and his associates
became bolder in their opposition than before. And the approach
of the Lacedaemonian fleet under Agesandridas — which, having
now taken station at Epidaurus, had made a descent on ^^wo,
and was hovering not far off Peirseus, altogether out of the
straight course for Euboea — lent double force to all their pre-
vious assertions about the imminent dangers connected with the
citadel at Eetioneia.

Amidst this exaggerated alarm and discord, the general body of
Bising at hoplites became penetrated with aversion,' every day
^fhultthe increasing, against the new citadel. At length the
iwir hoplites of the tribe in which AristokratSs (the

demolition warmest partisan of TheramenSs) was taxiarch, being
fortafc"*^ on duty and engaged in the prosecution of the build-
BeUoneia. ing, broke out into absolute mutiny against it, seized
the person of Alexikl^ the general in command, and put him
under arrest in a neighbouring house ; while the peripoli, or
youthful military police, stationed at Munychia, under Hermon,
abetted them in tiie proceeding.' News of this violence was
speedily conveyed to the Four Hundred, who were at that
moment holding session in the Senate-house, Theramen^ him-
self being present Their wrath and menace were at first
vented against him as the instigator of the revolt ; a charge
against which he could only vindicate himself by volunteering to
go among the foremost for the liberation of the prisoner. He
forthwith started in haste for the Peirseus, accompanied by one of
the generals his colleague, who was of tlie same political senti-
ment as himself. A third among the generals, Aristarchus, one

1 ThnCTCL TiiL 91. The statement of tAv oirXirmv to ^ti^oc rovra ifiovkm.
Plutarch Is in many respects different * Plutarch, Alkibiad. & 26, repreeenis

(Alkibiadds, o. 26). Hermon as one of the asuasHins of

* Thucyd. viii. OS. rb M lUynrrov, Phrynichus.

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of the fiercest of the oligarchs, followed him, probably, from mis-
truBt, together with some of the younger Knights (Horsemen or
richest class in the state) identified with the cause of the Four
Hundred. The oligarchical partisans ran to marshal themselves
in arms— alarming exaggerations being rumoured, that Aleziklte
had been put to death, and that Peirseus waa under armed
occupation ; while at PeirsDus the insurgents imagined that the
hoplites from the city were in full march to attack them. For a
time all was confusion and angry sentiment, which the slightest
imtovrard accident might have inflamed into sanguinary civil
carnage. Nor was it appeased except by earnest entreaty and
remonstrance from the elder citizens (aided by Thucydid^ of
Pharsalus, proxenus or public guest of Athens in his native town)
on the ruinous madness of such discord when a foreign enemy
was almost at their gates.

The perilous excitement of this temporary crisis, which brought
into full daylight every man's real political sentiments, proved
the oligarchical faction, hitherto exaggerated in number, to be far
less powerful than had been imagined by their opponents. And
the Four Hundred hatl found themselves too much embarrassed
how to ke«ip up the semblance of their authority, even in Athens
itself, to be able to send down any considerable force for the
protection of their citadel at £etioneia ; though they were rein-
forced, only eight days before their fall, by at least one supple-
mentary member, probably in substitution for some predecessor
who had accidentally died.^ Theramenls, on reaching Peirsens,
began to address the mutinous huplites in a tone of simulated
diHpleasure, while Aristarchus and his oli^^arcKical companions
spoke in the harshest language, and threatened them with the
force which they imagined to be presently coming down from the
city. But these menaces were met by equal firmness on the part
of the hoplites, who even appealed to TheramenSs himself, and
called upon him to say whether he thought the construction of
this citadel was for the good of Athens, or whether it would not
be better demolished. His opinion had been fully pronounced
beforehand ; and he replied, that if they thought proper to

1 S«e Lrsiaa, Onttio xx. pro Poly- is repeated three distinct times iu

■trato. The fact that PnlyMtratas this Oration (cap. 2. 4, 5, pp. 672.

was onlj eiffht days a member of 674, 67u Beiske), and has all the air of

the Four Hundred, before their (aU, truth.

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Part n.

demolish it, he cordially concurred. Without further delay,
hoplites and unarmed people mounted pellmell upon the walk^
and commenced the demolition with alacrity ; under the
general shout — ^ Whoever is for the Five Thousand in place of
the Four Hundred, let him lend a hand in this work^ llie idea
of the old democracy was in every one's mind, but no man
uttered the word : the fear of the imaginary Five Thousand still
continuing. The work of demolition seems to have been prose-
cuted all that day, and not to have been completed until the next
day; after which the hoplites released Alexiklte from arrest,
without doing him any injury.*

Two things deserve notice, among these details, as illustrating
the Athenian character. Though Aiexikles was vehemently
oligarchical as well as unpopular, these mutineers do no harm to
his person, but content themselves with putting him under arrest
Next, they do not venture tc commence thf actual demolition of
the citadel, until they have the formal sanction of Theramen^
one of the constituted generals. The strong habit of legality,
implanted in all Athenian citizens by their democracy- -and the
care, even in depai-ting from it, tc depart as little as possible —
stand plainly evidenced in these proceedings.

The events of this day gave a fatal shock to the ascendency
Decline of of the Four Hundred. Yet they assembled on the
morrow as usual in the Senate-house ; and they
appear, now when it was too late, to have directed one
of their members to draw up a real list, giving body
to the fiction of the Five Thousand.* Meanwhile the
hoplites in Peirseus, having finished the levelling of

the Four
renewal of
the public

1 Thncrd. Tiii. 02, 9S. In the Oration
of Demoethente (or Deinarchun) a^nit
Theokrinde (c 17, p. 1343) the speaker
Bpicharte. makes allusion to this
destruction of the fort at Betloneia by
Aristokratte, uncle of his grandfather.
The allusion chiefly deserves notice
from the erroneous mention of Kritias
and the return of the Demos from
exile— betraying a complete confusion
between the events in the time of the
Pour Hundred and thoite in the time of
the Thirty.

s Lysias. Orat xx. pro Polystrato,
e. 4, p. 67h Relsk.

This task was confided to Polystra-

tus, a very recent member of the Four
Hundred, and therefore probably less
unpopular than the rest. In his defenoe
after the restoration of the dem«)cracy,
he pretended tu have undertaken the
task much against his will, and to
have drawn up a list containing vOOO
names instead of /^Ouu.

It mriy probably have been in this
meeting of tlie Four Hundred that
Antiphon delivered his oration strongly
recommending concord— rii-pt oMorouK.
All his eloquence whs required just
now to bring back the oligarchical
party, if powible, into united actioB.
PhiloBtratus (Vit. Sophistar. c xv. p.

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the new fortifications, took the still more important step of
entering, armed as they were, into the theatre of Dionysus
hard by (in Peirnns, but on the verge of Munychia), and there
holding a formal assembly, probably under the convocation of
the general Theramen^ pursuant to the forms of the antecedent
democracy. Thej here took the resolution of adjourning their
assembly to the Anakeion (or temple of Castor and Pollux, the
Dioskuri), in the city itself and dose under the acropolis ;
whither they immediately marched and established themselves,
still retaining their arms. So much was the position of the Four
Hundred changed, that they, who had on the preceding day been
on the aggressive against a spontaneous outburst of mutineers in
Peirseus, were now thrown upon the defensive against a formal
assembly, all armed, in the city and close by their own Senate-
bouse. Feeling themselves too weak to attempt any force, they
sent deputies to the Anakeion to negotiate and offer concessions.
They engaged to publish the list of The Five Thousand, and to
convene them for the purpose of providing for the periodical
cessation and renewal of the Four Hundred, by rotation from
the Five Thousand, in such order as the latter themselves should
determine. But they entreated that time might be allowed for
effecting this, and that internal peace might be maintained, without
which there was no hope of defence against the enemy without
Many of the hoplites in the city itself joined the assembly in the
Anakeion, and took part in the debates. The position of the
Four Hundred being no longer such as to inspire fear, the tongues
of speakers were now again loosed, and the ears of the multitude
again opened — ^for the first time since the arrival of Peisander
from Samos, with the plan of the oligarchical conspiracy. Such
renewal of free and fearless public speech, the peculiar life-
principle of the democracy, was not less wholesome in tranquil-
lizing intestine discord than in heightening the sentiment of
common patriotism against the foreign enemy.^ The assembly
at length dispersed, after naming an eaily future time for a second

£00, ad. Olear.) mxmrenen ffreat admira. i Thuc^d. viii. 08. t)> M ««r vAiffoc

tioQ for thin oration, which Is Mveral rmvinrKtrmv^ avh voAAwv Kal nfiht

timet alluded to both by Harpokmtiftn voAAovf k6ymp yiyvo^tfyMy.

iind Hnidas. See Westermann, Oesch. ^wiMrcpor ^v ^ vptfrcpor, Kal

•ler Oriecb. Beredsamkeit, Beflage ii i^ofittro fiaAia-ra vcpl rod

p. 270. wavrhf iroAiriicov.

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assembly, to bring about the re-establishment of harmony, in the
theatre of Dionysus.^

On the day, and at the hour, when this assembly in the theatre
iAce<Uem ®^ Dionysus was on the point of coming together, the
nUn fleet news ran through Peirseus and Athens that the furty-
^^^1 two triremes under the Lacedasmonian Agesandridas,
{o£^bcra» l»«^ving recently quitted the harbour of Megara, were
sailing along the coast of Salamis in the direction
towards Peirseus. Such an event, while causing universal con-
sternation throughout the city, 'Confirmed all the preWous^
warnings of TheramenSs as to the treasonable destination of the
citadel recently demolished, and every one rejoiced that the de-
molition had been accomplished just in time. Foregoing their
intended assembly, the citizens rushed with one accord down to
Peii-ajus, where some of them took post to garrison the walls and
tlie mouth of the harbour— others got aboard the triremes lying
in the harbour^thers, again, launched some fresh triremes from
the boat-houses into the water. Agesandridas rowed along the
shore, near the mouth of Peirsens, but found nothing to promise
concert within or tempt him to the intended attack. Accordingly,
he passed by and moved onward to Sunium in a southerly direc-
tion. Having doubled the cape of Sunium, he then turned his
course along the coast of Attica northward, halted for a little
while between Thorikus and Prasifie, and presently took station
at Oropus.'

Though relieved when they found that he passed by Peirceua
N&val without making any attack, the Athenians knew that

feitrii^^ his destination must now be against Euboea, which U>
Athenians them was hardly less important than Peirseus, since
Eu^ea " their main supplies were derived from that island,
revolts Accordingly they put to sea at once with all the
triremes which could be manned and got ready in the harbour.
But from the hurry of the occasion, coupled with the mistrust
and dissension now reigning, and the absence of their great naval
force at Samos, the crews mustered were raw and ill-selected, and

1 Thocyd. viii. 93. (vytx»pi}0'u' 3i folluwiug the morrow : at least it

mvr* <c iniiipav ^i|T^r iKKkuviw aeeiim impostiible that the city could

iroii^(r<u <v Tip AtoKWiM vcpt o/moKotac. be left longer than tliis interval wiiiiwut

The deflnitiun ox time must here a govenimeut.
allude to the morrow, or to the day ^'ihucyd. vili. 94.

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the armament inefficient Poljstratus, one of the members of the
Four Hundred, perhaps others of them also, were aboard— men
who had an interest in defeat rather than victory.^ ThymocharSs
the admiral conducted them round Otpe Sunium to Eretria in
Euboea, where he found a few other triremes, which made up his
whole fleet to 36 saiL

He had scarcely reached the harbour and disembarked, when,
without allowing time for his men to procure refreshment, he
found himself compelled to fight a battle with the forty-two sliips
of Agesandridas, who had just sailed across from Ordpus, and was
already approaching the harbour. This surprise had been brought
about by the anti- Athenian party in Eretria, who took care, on
the arrival of ThymocharSs, that no provisions should be found
in the market-place, so that his men were compelled to disperse
and obtain them from houses at the extremity of the town;
while at the same time a signal was hoisted, visible at Oropus on
the opposite side of the strait (less than seven miles broad),
indicating to Agesandridas the precise moment for bringing his
fleet across to the attack, with their crews fresh after the mumlng
meaL Thymochar^ on seeing the approach of the enemy,
ordered his men aboard ; but, to his disappointment, many of
them were found to be so far off that they could not be brought
back in time, so that he was compelled to sail out and meet the
Peloponnesians with ehips very inadequately manned. In a
battle immediately outside of the Eretrian harbour, he was, after
a short contest, completely defeated, and his fleet driven back
npon the shore. Some of his ships escaped to Chalkis, others to
a fortified post garrisoned by the Athenians themselves not far
from Eretria : yet not less than 22 triremes, out of the whole 36,
fell into the hands of Agesandridas, and a large proportion of the
crews were slain or made prisoners. Of those seamen who
escaped, too, many found their death from Uie hands of the
Eredians, into whose city they fletl for shelter. On the news of

I Ljsiaii, Omt xx. pro Polyttmto, son who defends him affinn« thai he

c. 4, p. 070 R«iiik. WM wounded in the battle.

From another pasw^re In this ora- Diod6ins (xiii. 34) mentions the

tlon, it would seem that Polystiatus discotxl among the crews on board

was in command of the fleet— poMibly these ships under Th>'mochares ;

enoueh, in ooniniiction with Thymo- almost the only point which we lewTi

char^. acconling to a common from his meakre notice ot this in*

Athenian practice (c 6, p. 879X His tereeting period.

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this battle, not merely Eretria, but also all Enboea (except Oreaa
in the north of the island, which was settled bj Athenian
Kleruchs) declared its revolt from Athens, which had been
intended more than a year before, and took measares for
defending itself in concert with Af^esandridas and the Boeotians.^

Ill could Athens endure a disaster, in itself so immense and
Diranay at af^gravated, under the present distressed condition oi
hOT ?Sr *^^ ^^^7' ^^ 1*«* ^®^ ^"^ destroyed ; her nearest
inevitable, and most precious island torn from her side; an
Lacede. island which of late had yielded more to her wants
JJ^i^lJ^ than Attica itself, but which was now about to become
with energy, a hostile and aggressive neighbour.* The previous
revolt of Euboea, occurring thirty-four years before during the
maximum of Athenian power, had been even then a terrible blow
to Athens, and formed one of the main circumstances which
forced upon ner the humiliation of the Thirty years' truce.
But this second revolt took place when she had not only no
means of reconquering the island, but no means even of defending
PeirsBus against the blockade by the enemy's fleet

The dismay and terror excited by the news at Athens was
unbounded ; even exceeding what had been felt after the
Sicilian catastrophe or the revolt of Chios. There was no
second reserve now in the treasury^ such as the thousand
talents which had rendered such essential service on the last-
mentioned occasion. In addition to their foreign dangers, the
Athenians were further weighed down by two intestine calami ties
in themselves haitlly supportable — alienation of their own fleet
at Samoe, and the discord, yet unappeased, within their own
walk; wherein the Four Hundred still held provisionally the
reins of government, with the ablest and most unscrupulous
leaders at their head. In the depth of their despair, the
Athenians expected nothing less than to see the victorious fleet
of Agesandridas (more than sixty triremes strong, including the
recent captures) ofi" the Teirseus, forbidding all importation, and
threatening tbem with approaching famine, in combination with

^ Thncyd. Till. 5 : viU. 06. <rx«v«o^<r^Mi ^lyntpta i^' v^mt ;

'Ibucyd. yUL 96. To show what Ac; and Demotthente, De Coruna,

Euboea became at a later period, see ca|>. 71— «irAovt I' 4 tfoAoova vvb nMf

Dcmoetbeute, De VuIbh Lcgatione, he T^t Bv/3oia« 4pfAMf*<Wr AyoTMr

cap. 04, p. 409— r^ ht Eir^otf Karm.- y^r«. Ac.

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Agis at Dekeleia. The enterprise would have been eaoy, for
there were neither ships nor seamen to repel him ; and his
arriyal at this critical moment would most probably have
enabled the Four Hundred to resume Uieir ascendency, with the
means as well as the disposition to introduce a Lacedaemonian
garrison into the city.^ And though the arrival of the Athenian
fleet from Samos would have prevented this extremity, yet it
coidd not have arrived in time, except on the sup|M)sition of a
prolonged blockade. Moreover the mere tmnHfer of the fleet
from Samos to Athens would have left louia and the Hellespont
defenceless against the Lacedssmonians and Peisiatis, and would
have caused the loss of all the Athenian empire. Nothing
could have saved Athens, if the Lacedsemoniann at this juncture
had acted with reasonable vigour, instead of confining their
efforts to Euboea, now an easy and certain conquest. As on the
former occasion, when Antiphon and Phrynichus went to S}mrta
prepared to make any sacrifice for the pui-pose of obtaining
Lacedaemonian aid and accommouution-;— so now, in a still greater
degree, Athens owed her salvation only to the fact tliat the
enemies actually before her were indolent and dull S] tartans —
not enterprising Syracusans under the conduct of G}lippus.'
And this is the second occasion (we may add) on which Athens
was on the brink of ruin in consequence ot the jxilicy of AlkibiadSs
in retaining the armament at Samos.

Fortunately for the Athenians, no Agesandiidos appeared off
PeirsBUs; so that the twenty triremes, which they i he Four
contrived to man as a remnant for defence, had no JJj pjjj*^
enemy to repeL* Accordingly the Athenians weie tii»wM-the
allowed to enjoy an interval of repose which enabled iuHulMXML&
them to recover partially both from constei nation '••tored.
and from intestine discord. It waB their first proceeding, when
the hostile fleet did not appear, to convene a public assembly^
and that too in the Pnyx itself ; the habitual scene of the demo-
cratical aasemblies, well calculated to re-in»pire tliat patriotism

1 Thncyd. viil. 08. iidKivra. 6 ' avrws Tij<roy «r Irt fMiAAor r^v w6\ip i^p/iovP'

KoX 6i cyyurarov iBopiifitit ct ot voA</uoi rcc, ^ c« cvoA'opxovy luyovjttf «cat rit

Tokfiiiaw^ rtvuniKortt rv$vs <r^«»' €»i i» 'Imyiat rowt iiyayicairay w ^oiftfifaat,.

rbv ntipati. imfutr bma rtitp vActr * Ktu 4lO,

o<ro.' ovK ^i( .i^iCo" «vTov« »<y*i.^ , Thncyd. tllL W ; tU. 21-68.
ovcpac, «tToA^i|pOTcpot«9'ar, * '

p^timt kw iwoiiivav Koi ii iUa- * Thucyd. viii. 97.

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Part H.

which had now been damb and smouldering for the four lail
months. In this assembly the tide of opinion ran vehemently
against the Four Hundred.^ Even those, who (like the Board
of Elders entitled Probiili) had originally counselled their
appointment, now denounced them along with the rest, though
severely taunted by the oligarchical leader Peisander for their
inconsistency. Votes were tinally passed — 1. To depose the Four
Hundred — 2. To place the whole government in the hands of
Ths Five Thou$and — 3. Every citizen who fuinibhed a panoply
either for himself, or for any one else, was to be of right a
member of this body of The Five Thousand — 4. No citizen was to
receive pay for any political function, on jMiin of becouiing
solemnly accursed, or excommunicated.' Such were the puinta

1 It it to this SMembly that I i«fer
with confidence the remarkable dia-
logae of contention between PeiRander
and bophoklte, one of the Athenian
ProbiUi, mentioned in Aristotel. Hhe-
toric ill. 18, 2. There was no other
occasion on which the Four Hundred
were eter publicly thrown npon their
defence at Athens.

This was not Sophoklte the tragic
poet, but another person of the same
name, who appears afterwanis as one
of the oligarchT of Thirty.

> Thucyd. vui. 97. «at ciucJli|0'i«y $vr-
dktyov, fiui¥ flip ti$vi t<(t« vpitroy it
TTiv DtofKa Kokoviityr^y, olvtp koX oAAot*
ciwtfco'av, iv ^vcp xai rovf Terpflucoaiovc
xaran-avaaKrcf rote wtvraKKTX^'
Xiotc «^i|^(><u^ro rd vpayttara wapmi'

ical ovAa waptxovrai' Koi luvehv
|ii^«Va ^/Mtr, |»1*«/**f *PXPt «» *« ^^.
iwdparov <irotif<r<irro. tyiyvoyro ii xai
oAAoi vmpoif rnvKvai jxKAijaiat. o^* &r
KOX voi».o99Ta% Ktkl raAAfli i4/^^i•
vavTO it r%v wkirtiav.

In this passage I diraent from the
commentators on two points. First,
tliey understand this number Five
Thousand as a real definite list of
citizens containing 6000 names, neither
more nor less. Secondly, they con-
strue roiMJoBeras^ not in the ordinary
meaning which it bears in Athenian
oonsUtutional language, but in the
sense of ^vyypa4><tt (c. 67X "persons
to model the constitution, correspond-
ing to the (vyypa^U appointed by the
anstocratical patty a little before," to
Qse the wunls of Dr. Arnold.

As to the flrat point, which is sus-

tained also by Dr. Thhrlwall (Hist. Or.
ch. xxviiL vol. iv. p. SI, stud ed.^ Dr.
Arnold really admits what is the
ground of my upmion when he says :-
^*Of course the number of dtizeiis
capable of providing themselves with
heavy arms must have muck ccnaied
6000 : and it is said in the defence d
Polystratus, one of the Four Hundred
(Lysias, p. 675 Uetsk X that be drew up
a list of vuuu. But we must snppoee
that all who coulu furnish heav> anus
vers eiiyibie inio the nuinOer o Uc 6<AfO,
Irhether the members were tlzed on by
lot, by election, or by rotation : as it

Online LibraryGeorge GroteA history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great → online text (page 35 of 62)