The History of Thucydides. Newly tr. into English...with very copious annotations...Prefixed, is an entirely new life of Thucydides: with a memoir of the state of Greece, civil & military, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war online

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Online LibraryThucydidesThe History of Thucydides. Newly tr. into English...with very copious annotations...Prefixed, is an entirely new life of Thucydides: with a memoir of the state of Greece, civil & military, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war → online text (page 48 of 59)
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confederacy, or were not very zealous or faithful allies ; and that
from various causes, but chiefly as being sprung from another
race. In the federate cities of the Athenians the thing is less
clear, because not a few of them acceded to the confederacy con-
trary to their wishes. They had, therefore, bound to them all the
lonians, not only those in Asia (who were properly called lonians,
and were the authors of the defection from Pausanias), but also
the Chalcidsans and other Euboeans and their colonists in the
parts of Thrace, and afterwards in Sicily and Italy ; finally, the
Ceans, Andrians, Tenians, and other islanders. (1. ?» 57. Herod. 8,
46 and 48.) But in the same confederacies were conjoined, though
by compulsion, not a few Dorians and .^olians, as the Methjrm-
naeans, Tenedians, iBnians, Rhodians, and Cretans; excepting,
however, the Messenians, Platseans, and Corcyreans, for the
causes above mentioned. After, indeed, the Athenians had begun
to seek domination, and reduce the allies into servitude, they
could no longer confide in affinity, as is plain from the defection
of many cities in Thrace, and that of Chios and Miletus ; but that
having arisen from the cruelty of the Athenians, does not negative
what has been said on the force of relationship towards the choice
of alliance.

Furthermore, besides the lonians and Dorians, there yet existed,
in the time of the Peloponnesian war, some relics of the people
which had formerly inhabited most of Greece, and had been
hemmed up by the migrations of the Dorians, Thessalians, and
Boeotians, into narrow limits (on these see Strabo 8. p* 373.), such
as the Dryopes, Dolopes, ^nianes, PerrhcBbi, and the Minyes of
Orchomenus ; as also the Tyrseni and Pelasgi mentioned at L 4,
109. For the most antient Pelasgi (1. 1, 3.) had already vanished,
unless the Arcadians be supposed derived from them. All these,
however, except the Arcadians, were too weak to add much
weight to whichever party they acceded to.

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CHAP. in.


]N^ONE can fail -to observe that almost all the Grecian nations and
cities were then either ruled by the Jew, or were under a popular
government. For monarchical government (see 1. 1, 13. )> if we
except the Macedonians, the barbarous Epirots, the savage Agrse-
ans (1. 3, 111.), and Lacedaemonians (whose kings, however, were
subject to the nobles), was every where done away. Instead of
kings, there had existed in many of the cities tyranni (1. 1, 13.),
such as Theagenes at Megara (1. 1, 126.), Hippocrates at Gela
(1. 6, 5,), Gelo at Syracuse (1. 6, 4 and 5.), Anaxilaus at Rhegium
(1. 6, 5.), Hippoclus at Lampsacus (1. 6, 59*), and the Pisistratidse
at Athens ; which last were better than the rest. For these (well
knowing that the people, so that they be not oppressed with heavy
taxes, and if gratified with petty gifls, and occupied with daily
emplo3rment, will bear domination long with patience) only
exacted the twentieth of their income from the Athenians,
adorned the city with magnificent edifices, offered up splendid
sacrifices, &c. (1. 6, 54. and 2, 13.) Yet to these may, neverthe-
less, be applied what Thucydides (1. 1, 17*) truly affirms of all the
tyrants of Greece, that they consulted only the security of their
persons, and the aggrandisement of their families (whence at 1. 6,
85. it is said Sa/Bpl tvp^v^ o^kv &X6yoy t ri fv/A^epoy), and did nothing
memorable. As long, therefore, as these tyrants reigned, they
hindered Greece from flourishing. Happily, however, it hap-
pened that, a little before the Persian war, the most and last of
them (except the Sicilian ones) were driven from Greece, by the
means chiefly of the Lacedaemonians, who had themselves never
experienced tyranny. (1. 1, 18.) One such, however, is mentioned
as subsisting in the age of Thucydides, Euarchus, tyrant of Asta-
cus, who was expelled by the Athenians. (1. 2, 30.) With this
exception, neither Greece nor the Grecian cities in Sicily and
Italy then had any tyrant.

So much the more widely, therefore, extended the domination
of theJetOf to which monarchical government had at first every

c c S

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where passed ; which domination of the few (oligarchy), called by
the more honourable name of the government of the best (a mode-
rate aristocracy, 1. 3, 81.) though those few were not the best^ but
only the most power/ill^ and most violent. The folly of the Jew is
well pointed out in the words of Athenagoras, 1. 6, 39. But it must
be observed that there were, of this government of the few, two

kindSf an oXiyapxla {o-^yo/AO^, and a hwaartia iXlyup Sa/lfSv^ of which

distinction, however, nothing else is added, than that the latter is
most contrary to law, and the nearest to a tyranny. This sub-
sisted at Thebes, at the time of the invasion of Greece by Xerxes.
(c.3,92.) '

To all these forms of government, in which the laws have less
ruled than the arbitrary will of one or a few, was opposed popular
government^ in which, according to the laws, all, in private a£fiEurs,
were on an equality; but, as to dignity, according as any one
excelled in any thing ; not for his birth or rank in society, but
because of his merit, he was preferred to the management of
public affairs, and was not excluded from tliem by poverty.
(1. 2, 37.) [But this was, in truth, a mere legal fiction. Edit.J

Now as the Athenians themselves enjoyed a popular govern-
ment, so they supported its cause in oUier states ; while the La-
cedsemonians, on the contrary, strove that their allies should be
governed by the few, just as it was most conducive to their inte-
rest. (1. 1, 19 and 76. 5, 81.) Wlierefore the people (or the multi-
tude) every where favoured the Athenians, and the nobles the
Lacedaemonians (1.3,47 and 82.); and from a war of the two
powers arose a contest, as of the two racesy so of the two forms of
government. We must therefore scrutinise which cities used a
popular, and which an oligarchical form ; and thus it will appear ,
why they were more or less inclined to the Lacedaemonians. This
will be noted in the general tables which will be subjoined, so that
all may be seen at one view. In such a war, however, that
seditions were very frequent, and there were never wanting those
who sought to themselves change their form of government, or
introduce such change among others, none can need to be in-
formed. How much, moreover, these dissensions of citizens per-
turbed the whole of Greece, and how many atrocities were com-
mitted therein, may be learnt from 1. 3, 82.

But, in all these tumults, the nobles [or higher classes] showed
themselves more violent and cruel than the people. [This may,
however, be doubted. Edit.] These called popular f^owem"
ment ^/AoXoTovf^yifr oyoioy (1.6,89.), vortifiaif (1.8,47.), •^^ {wrr^,
^pTf ?<roy. (6, 39.) These, if they could, would have put the allies

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to death without a trial. (1. 8. 4^.) These did not cease to stir up
tumults and domestic disputes (1. 6, 38.), and could scarcely be
kept from sedition by the attempt of foreign invaders. (1.6, 89.)*



The Peloponnesians, all inhabiting the same peninsula (which, if
its inhabitants were but of one mind, could be easily defended
from invasion ], were readily induced to choose the Lacedaemonian^
the most powerful people of that country, as their chiefs. Be-
sides, most of them were agriculturists, and supported by their
hand-labour (l.l, 141 and 142.), which caused them to be inclined
to the Lacedsemonians, whose greatest power was in land forces,
but to be tardy in defending the interests of the people on the sea-
coasts. (1. 1, 120.) Now, some of the Peloponnesians, as the Co-
rinthians, Epidaurians, Pellenians, also carried on commerce ; but
yet the Corinthians, as they had been the first of the Greeks who
introduced naval improvements, made triremes, and checked
piracy ; so they then possessed, after the Athenians and Corey-
rseans, the most powerful navy. (1. 1, 36.) Now, not to say that
they were Dorians, and nourished an antient hatred against the
Athenians, who had aided the Megaraeans in some disputes re-
specting the limits o£ their territory (1. 1, 103.), the quarrels
respecting Corcyra and Potidsea had made them hostile ; yet
they did not venture to contest with them by sea. Wherefore^
the whole confederacy of the Lacedaemonians, since even the
Boeotians and other people of Greece Proper had either none, or
(as the Leucadians and Ambraciots) very few ships, was terres-

* I omit the rest of the learned writer's philippic against the higher classes io
Greece, as being wholly devoid of impartiality. A very different, and a far
juster representation is given by Mitford. Both parties were, indeed, almost
equally guilty of enormities ; but, as far as regards the higher classes at Athens,
they had so long groaned under such an intolerable tyranny of the inob, that they
were surely excusable for wishing to Uirow off their chains, and it is no wonder
d)at they should not have been very scrupulous as to the means. It is plain that
Thucydides himself greatly preferred aristocracy to democracy ; but he especially
wished, as appears from 1. 8, 98., for a " moderate admixture of both aristocracy
and democncy," to wliich ia very applicable the adage fA^rpoy ipurroy, (Edit.)

C C 4

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trial, and Peloponnesus was its seat and strength. Therefore the
I^cedaemonians, at the beginning of the war, put to death as
enemies all whom they took by sea, not only those who sided
with the Athenians, but also such as were neutral. (1. 2, 67- 3, 52.)
To these the war became most perilous, when the Athenians had
brought over the Argives, Eleans, and Mantinseans; and Alci-
biades might with reason boast (1. 6, 16.) that he had compelled
the Lacedaemonians at Mantinea to combat for their very ex-

On the contrary, the confederacy of the Athenians was naval ;
for whereas, before the Persian war, tliey had had but a small
fleet, and that for the most part of fifly-oared barks, Themistocles
first, between the expedition of Darius and that of Xerxes, in-
duced them, then at war with the TBginetes, to build triremes (1. 1,
14s), and set about forming Piraeus into a port. (1. 1,93.) Soon
after, at the coming of Xerxes, they were compelled to apply
themselves to naval afifairs (1.1,18.); and, on their endeavours
proving successful, Themistocles ventured openly to say that
they should aim at the dominion of the sea. That had been
before held (to say nothing of the Carians and Phoenicians) among
the Greeks by the Cretans (1. 1, 4 and 8.), the Corinthians (1.1, 13.),
the lonians (1. 1, 13.), and, in other parts, by the tyrants of Sicily.
(1. 1, 14>.) But on the lonians being subdued by the Persians in
the ^gean sea, the ^ginetes alone could be rivals to the Athe-
nians, and they were soon vanquished (1. 1, 105-108.) ; which vic-
tory» and the obtaining of the dominion of the sea, Themistocles
greatly assisted in procuring for his fellow-citizens by completing
and fortifying the Piraeus. In doing which, his first object seems
to have been to repel any new attack on the part of the Persians.
(1. 1, 63.) But what had first arisen from necemty^ that Pericles
retained ; and he wished the Athenians to regard themselves as
islanders (1. 1, 143.), perceiving that their empire rested on the
dominion of the sea, since their power could not be sustained by
a territory small and sterile ; whereas, their fleets might be a
defence of liberty and of popular government.^

In fact, the very form of government suggested to the Lacedae-
monians to aim at the increase of land force ; and, to the Athe-
nians, that of naval power. For the government of one, and of a
few, employed heavy-armed, and, when means could be found.

* Popular gflvtrnmeni,] ProlMbly, howerer, Pericles had no such thought;
for he was no Ariend to democracy, and in truth, as Thucydides himself says,
(L 9, 6S.), the government of Athens was in his time, though nominally a demo-
cracy, yet really an aristocracy, and he a sort of monarch. (Edit)

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cavalry; because both these kinds of service required greater ex-
pense than the means of the lower ranks could afford. From the
common people all arms were withdravniy either by craft and
guile (see 1. 6, 58.), or by other methods ; and they were scarcely
put into their hands even in the greatest perils of the state. (I. 3,
27«) To serve among the light-armed or marines the higher classes
refused, because their persons were too valuable to be exposed
to the enemy's weapons. For such service they employed the
Helots. Thus even at Athens, where one hundred ships are
equipped, they are manned, besides the citizens, with the Metoeci,
while the citizens of the two first classes remain at home. (1. 3, 16.)
Besides, the very license of nautical life nourished a sense of
liberty. Thus we find the crew of the Parali always adverse to
oligarchy (1. 8, 73.), and the first to restore popular government
when fallen.

Thus, then, we see why the Athenians were obliged to give
attention to maritime pursuits. Hence, too, it followed that their
very allies became studious of the same. For islanders, Greeks,
Asiatics, and others, far removed from their country, and in some
measure, before the Persian war, excelling in naval affairs (1. 1,
13.), but also obnoxious to the perpetual attacks of most powerful
barbarians, and not very strong in home-shipping, from what state
could they so easily or speedily obtain assistance as from the
Athenians? In like manner, the Athenians could by no other
argument be induced to send help to those in need, than if a
naval, not land-alliance, were offered. (1. 1, 35 and 44.)

From this naval confederacy arose the empire of the sea ; for, by
degrees, the Athenians deprived the federate states (except the
Chians and LfCsbians) of their ships (1. 1, 19.), so that, at the
beginning of the Peloponnesian war, the only fleets, besides that
of the Athenians, worthy of mention, were (alone of the Grecian
states) in the possession of the Corcyreans and Corinthians (1. 1,
36.) ; for even the Syracusans, though, under Gelo and Hiero,
their navy was in a very flourishing state (1. 1, 14. Herod. 7, 158.),
afterwards so neglected it, that, when the Athenians passed over
with a powerful fleet into Sicily, they did not venture on a sea-
fight, but su£Rered themselves to be besieged by sea and land,
until they were enabled by circumstances to try their fortune.
The Corcyreans had united themselves with the Athenians ; and
for bolh nations the Corinthians were by no means a match. (1. i,
36.) With reason, therefore, does Pericles boast (L2,62.) that
there was no king or people that could withstand their fleet:
aware of which, they treated the islanders with haughtiness and

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iDSolence. The Cephallenians and Zacynthians, though free, yet,
as being islanders, were held so much the more in restraint (1. 7,
570 « ^^^ ^^'^ Melians, though colonists of the Lacedsemonians,
wishing to be neutral, were not permitted. (See 5, 84, 97, 99.)

But although the Athenians were so powerful in nayal afiairs,
yet it was necessary for the Lacedsemonians, in order to depriye
them of the empire of Greece, to contend with them for the
empire of the sea^ which, as we have before shown, constituted
the nature of this war. This maritime contest, however, they
could not have attempted, had not the pride of the Athenians
driven first the Lesbians, aud afterwards the Chians, to revolt.



Of the allies there were different kinds, both as respected their
origin^ their condition, and situation in regard to the Athenians.
Of the Greeks, those who, because of the Peloponnesian war,
or, at least, in the course of that war, formed alliances with
the Athenians, are to be distinguished from the antient allies.
Of each such there were, again, two kinds, since those, either
if they cultivated maritime affairs, were compelled to follow the
Athenians ; or, if their strength lay in land forces, did it of their
own accord. For all these, then, they formed laws of association,
equitable, indeed, but yet differing according to the power and
usefulness which those allies contributed ; for equity was entirely
preserved in the covenants and treaties with the Argives, Eleans,
and Mantineeans, after the peace of Nicias (1. 5,4'7.)» which were
to continue for an hundred years, and by which they engaged to
render mutual assistance in repelling enemies, but not to invade
them ; so that it was properly an ^(/xax^> not ^vfA^xUt.

According to these treaties, war could only be laid aside by the
unanimous consent of the federate states. To soldiers sent in
aid, the state which sent them was to supply support up to the
thirtieth day after their arrival in the city which had sent for. the
assistance ; after which time, the money expended in provisions

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was to be paid by the state which sent for the aid. It was agreed
that the state which called out the allies should have the leading
of the troops as long as the war should continue in its territory ;
but if an expedition were undertaken in common, the leading
should be common to all [and taken in turn. Edit.]. Therefore,
all these nations were ta^^t and WifMtfou Not very different was
the treaty of the Acamanians and Amphilochians» concluded a
little before the commencement of the Feloponnesian war with
the Athenians. (1. % 68. See also 1. 3, 95 and 107.)

But so great an equality of rights the Athenians would not have
granted these people, had they not been powerful by land, and
safe from their attacks. As to the maritime states, which, in this
war, had implored their aid, or were compelled to follow them,
we see less equitable laws laid down for them. These were not, if
peace were treated of, asked for their opinion, and the principal
authority they were always expected to yield to the Athenians.
And although the Corcyreans had, at the beginning of the war,
only entered into a defensive alliance (1. 1, 44.), yet they after-
wards concluded one offensive and defensive : still, though they
had a considerable fleet, we do not find any ambassadors from
either these or the Zacynthians and Cephallenians, at the conclu-
sion of the treaty of peace with the Lacedemonians.* (1.4>, 117.
and 5, 17.) Nay, even at the siege of Syracuse, although the
Thurians, Metapontines, Naxians, Catanseans, and the Athenians
professed (1* 6, 84.) that they came to Sicily to procure full liberty
and power for all, yet the chief direction of the army was always
with Mem.f It was, no doubt, different in the former Sicilian
war, in which the Athenians were present with a small fleet, and
their allies consisted, besides the Naxians and Catanseans, of the
Leontines, Camarinaeans, and Rhegines (I. 3, 86.), when the con-
federacy was more upon an equality, as, indeed, the terms of the
general peace (1. 4>, 58-65.) lead us to suppose.

Far worse was the condition of those old allies who, in the
Persian war, disgusted at the pride of Pausanias, had chosen the
Athenians for their leaders. At first, indeed, the condition of

♦ The reason, perhaps, was, that the power of the Corcyrieans was by that time
brought down to almost nothing, and the Cephallenians and Zacynthians had
really never acted as more than defensive allies ; consequently their consent to the
peace was not necessary to be asked. (Edit.) , .

f And how could it be otherwise, considering the infinite inferiority of each
state to Athens? for as to the condition, just menUoned, of taking the lead by
rotation, it was only suitable to, and practicable in, a confederacy of states with
something of equality. Besides, here the Athenians were jnincipals ; not, as in
the former Sicilian war, secomh.

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these also was equal and just : they were each independent, and
deliberated on the common interests in the congresses held at
Delos. (1. 1, 96 and 97.) Now, the avowed purpose of the con-
federacy was to avenge themselves on the Persians for the injuries
they inflicted on Greece. For this war some contributed money,
others ships (1. 1, 96.)) according to a rate fixed by Aristides; and
the Athenians carried on the expeditions on a principle of equa-
lity. (1. 1, 99.) The money contributed, which amounted to four
hundred and eighty talents annually, was preserved at Delos, and
public treasurers of Greece took care of it ; appointed, however,
by the Athenians. Yet the nature of this association was pre-
sently changed. The first cause of which mutation was the slug-
gishness of the allies, who, rather than go themselves to the war,
chose to pay the expenses of it to the Athenians. Thus those, by
the money contributed by the allies, increased their fleet ; while
the allies were unprepared for war. (1. 1, 99.) By and by, some,
weary of these perpetual payments, neglected to send the money
due. (c. 99.) The Athenians then, seizing this opportunity, went
to war against them, beginning with the weaker, lest, if they had
attacked the more powerful first, there might be a combination,
and a rallying point. (1. 3, 11.) The allies, too, by reason of the
multitude of their suffrages, could not all pursue one common
counsel ; by reason of which the Athenians (as afterwards did the
Romans) subdued them singly, as each revolted, or failed in mili-
tary service, or made war one upon another (as the Samians, 1. 1,
115.), or for some othef specious cause. (1.6,76.)- Thus they
deprived them all of ships, except the Chians and Lesbians, and
imposed a tribute (1. 1, 19.), the amount of which they afterwards
increased, and also removed the treasury to Athens.

Therefore, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, of those
old perpetual allies, the following alone were free from tribute,
and independent : — The Plaiceans and Messenians of NaupcLctus^
as well for their situation as for their hatred towards the Thebans
and Lacedaemonians, and fidelity towards the Athenians; then
the Chians and Lesbians^ because they were the most powerful
islanders in the iEgean sea, and had always shown especial respect
to the principal men at Athens. (1. 3, 11.) Such allies contributed
ships only (1. 7, 57.) ; yet even these were only free in the same
way as the allies of the Romans, i. e. in name (1. 3, 10.) ; whence
an {^ovXo^ avroyoyJa is (at 1. 8, 61.) opposed to full liberty, r^ arrtxpvq
iXnAapta. We never find their opinion taken on war or peace ; but to
whatever wars they were called, they were bound to send ships
and soldiers, to fight under the command of the Athenians. (1. 8,

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9. ) And even this slender portion of liberty was taken away from
the Lesbians, in the Peloponnesian war, for defection, and only
continued to the Methymnaeans (1. S, 50. 7, 57.), and afterwards
given to the Samians.

There were also those who were free, and lived under their own
laws, but yet were tributary. Of such there were none at the
beginning of the Peloponnesian war ; but, at the peace of Nicias,
we find Argilus, Stagirus, Acanthus, Scolus, Olynthus, Spartolus,
the Mecybernaeans, Samaeans, Singseans.

The rest of the old allies were all reduced to servitude (see
1. S, 10. and 1, 18.), i. e. from free allies had been made sub-
ject (^xooi), tributary (^pov vitotcAck), and compelled to plead all
their causes of contracts, except the smaller ones, at Athens. (1. 1.
77.) They were deprived of ships; but, besides contributing
moneyy they sometimes sent to the wars heavy-armed, but more
frequently light-armed, soldiers. The commanders of these
troops, we need not doubt, were Athenians. Such being the

Online LibraryThucydidesThe History of Thucydides. Newly tr. into English...with very copious annotations...Prefixed, is an entirely new life of Thucydides: with a memoir of the state of Greece, civil & military, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war → online text (page 48 of 59)