Hellenica by Xenophon

Etext prepared by John Bickers, jbickers@templar.actrix.gen.nz. Hellenica By Xenophon Translation by H. G. Dakyns Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move
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  • ca. 360 BC
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Etext prepared by John Bickers, jbickers@templar.actrix.gen.nz.


By Xenophon

Translation by H. G. Dakyns

Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move once more, to settle in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C.

The Hellenica is his chronicle of the history of the Hellenes from 411 to 359 B.C., starting as a continuation of Thucydides, and becoming his own brand of work from Book III onwards.


This was typed from Dakyns’ series, “The Works of Xenophon,” a four-volume set. The complete list of Xenophon’s works (though there is doubt about some of these) is:

Work Number of books

The Anabasis 7
The Hellenica 7
The Cyropaedia 8 The Memorabilia 4
The Symposium 1
The Economist 1
On Horsemanship 1 The Sportsman 1
The Cavalry General 1 The Apology 1
On Revenues 1
The Hiero 1
The Agesilaus 1
The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians 2

Text in brackets “{}” is my transliteration of Greek text into English using an Oxford English Dictionary alphabet table. The diacritical marks have been lost.


by Xenophon

Translation by H. G. Dakyns




B.C. 411. To follow the order of events[1]. A few days later Thymochares arrived from Athens with a few ships, when another sea fight between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians at once took place, in which the former, under the command of Agesandridas, gained the victory.

[1] Lit. “after these events”; but is hard to conjecture to what events the author refers. For the order of events and the connection between the closing chapter of Thuc. viii. 109, and the opening words of the “Hellenica,” see introductory remarks above. The scene of this sea-fight is, I think, the Hellespont.

Another short interval brings us to a morning in early winter, when Dorieus, the son of Diagoras, was entering the Hellespont with fourteen ships from Rhodes at break of day. The Athenian day-watch descrying him, signalled to the generals, and they, with twenty sail, put out to sea to attack him. Dorieus made good his escape, and, as he shook himself free of the narrows,[2] ran his triremes aground off Rhoeteum. When the Athenians had come to close quarters, the fighting commenced, and was sustained at once from ships and shore, until at length the Athenians retired to their main camp at Madytus, having achieved nothing.

[2] Lit. “as he opened” {os enoige}. This is still a mariner’s phrase in modern Greek, if I am rightly informed.

Meanwhile Mindarus, while sacrificing to Athena at Ilium, had observed the battle. He at once hastened to the sea, and getting his own triremes afloat, sailed out to pick up the ships with Dorieus. The Athenians on their side put out to meet him, and engaged him off Abydos. From early morning till the afternoon the fight was kept up close to the shore.[3] Victory and defeat hung still in even balance, when Alcibiades came sailing up with eighteen ships. Thereupon the Peloponnesians fled towards Abydos, where, however, Pharnabazus brought them timely assistance.[4] Mounted on horseback, he pushed forward into the sea as far as his horse would let him, doing battle himself, and encouraging his troopers and the infantry alike to play their parts. Then the Peloponnesians, ranging their ships in close- packed order, and drawing up their battle line in proximity to the land, kept up the fight. At length the Athenians, having captured thirty of the enemy’s vessels without their crews, and having recovered those of their own which they had previously lost, set sail for Sestos. Here the fleet, with the exception of forty vessels, dispersed in different directions outside the Hellespont, to collect money; while Thrasylus, one of the generals, sailed to Athens to report what had happened, and to beg for a reinforcement of troops and ships. After the above incidents, Tissaphernes arrived in the Hellespont, and received a visit from Alcibiades, who presented him with a single ship, bringing with him tokens of friendship and gifts, whereupon Tissaphernes seized him and shut him up in Sardis, giving out that the king’s orders were to go to war with the Athenians. Thirty days later Alcibiades, accompanied by Mantitheus, who had been captured in Caria, managed to procure horses and escaped by night to Clazomenae.

[3] The original has a somewhat more poetical ring. The author uses the old Attic or Ionic word {eona}. This is a mark of style, of which we shall have many instances. One might perhap produce something of the effect here by translating: “the battle hugged the strand.”

[4] Or, “came to their aid along the shore.”

B.C. 410. And now the Athenians at Sestos, hearing that Mindarus was meditating an attack upon them with a squadron of sixty sail, gave him the slip, and under cover of night escaped to Cardia. Hither also Alcibiades repaired from Clazomenae, having with him five triremes and a light skiff; but on learning that the Peloponnesian fleet had left Abydos and was in full sail for Cyzicus, he set off himself by land to Sestos, giving orders to the fleet to sail round and join him there. Presently the vessels arrived, and he was on the point of putting out to sea with everything ready for action, when Theramenes, with a fleet of twenty ships from Macedonia, entered the port, and at the same instant Thrasybulus, with a second fleet of twenty sail from Thasos, both squadrons having been engaged in collecting money. Bidding these officers also follow him with all speed, as soon as they had taken out their large sails and cleared for action, Alcibiades set sail himself for Parium. During the following night the united squadron, consisting now of eighty-six vessels, stood out to sea from Parium, and reached Proconnesus next morning, about the hour of breakfast. Here they learnt that Mindarus was in Cyzicus, and that Pharnabazus, with a body of infantry, was with him. Accordingly they waited the whole of this day at Proconnesus. On the following day Alcibiades summoned an assembly, and addressing the men in terms of encouragement, warned them that a threefold service was expected of them; that they must be ready for a sea fight, a land fight, and a wall fight all at once, “for look you,” said he, “we have no money, but the enemy has unlimited supplies from the king.”

Now, on the previous day, as soon as they were come to moorings, he had collected all the sea-going craft of the island, big and little alike, under his own control, that no one might report the number of his squadron to the enemy, and he had further caused a proclamation to be made, that any one caught sailing across to the opposite coast would be punished with death. When the meeting was over, he got his ships ready for action, and stood out to sea towards Cyzicus in torrents of rain. Off Cyzicus the sky cleared, and the sun shone out and revealed to him the spectacle of Mindarus’s vessels, sixty in number, exercising at some distance from the harbour, and, in fact, intercepted by himself. The Peloponnesians, perceiving at a glance the greatly increased number of the Athenian galleys, and noting their proximity to the port, made haste to reach the land, where they brought their vessels to anchor in a body, and prepared to engage the enemy as he sailed to the attack. But Alcibiades, sailing round with twenty of his vessels, came to land and disembarked. Seeing this, Mindarus also landed, and in the engagement which ensued he fell fighting, whilst those who were with him took to flight. As for the enemy’s ships, the Athenians succeeded in capturing the whole of them (with the exception of the Syracusan vessels, which were burnt by their crews), and made off with their prizes to Proconnesus. From thence on the following day they sailed to attack Cyzicus. The men of that place, seeing that the Peloponnesians and Pharnabazus had evacuated the town, admitted the Athenians. Here Alcibiades remained twenty days, obtaining large sums of money from the Cyzicenes, but otherwise inflicting no sort of mischief on the community. He then sailed back to Proconnesus, and from there to Perinthus and Selybria. The inhabitants of the former place welcomed his troops into their city, but the Selybrians preferred to give money, and so escape the admission of the troops. Continuing the voyage the squadron reached Chrysopolis in Chalcedonia,[5] where they built a fort, and established a custom-house to collect the tithe dues which they levied on all merchantmen passing through the Straights from the Black Sea. Besides this, a detachment of thirty ships was left there under the two generals, Theramenes and Eubulus, with instructions not only to keep a look-out on the port itself and on all traders passing through the channel, but generally to injure the enemy in any way which might present itself. This done, the rest of the generals hastened back to the Hellespont.

[5] This is the common spelling, but the coins of Calchedon have the letters {KALKH}, and so the name is written in the best MSS. of Herodotus, Xenophon, and other writers, by whom the place is named. See “Dict. of Greek and Roman Geog.” “Chalcedon.”

Now a despatch from Hippocrates, Mindarus’s vice-admiral,[6] had been intercepted on its way to Lacedaemon, and taken to Athens. It ran as follows (in broad Doric):[7] “Ships gone; Mindarus dead; the men starving; at our wits’ end what to do.”

[6] “Epistoleus,” i.e. secretary or despatch writer, is the Spartan title of the officer second in command to the admiral.

[7] Reading {‘Errei ta kala} (Bergk’s conjecture for {kala}) = “timbers,” i.e. “ships” (a Doric word). Cf. Aristoph., “Lys.” 1253, {potta kala}. The despatch continues: {Mindaros apessoua} (al. {apessua}), which is much more racy than the simple word “dead.” “M. is gone off.” I cannot find the right English or “broad Scotch” equivalent. See Thirlwall, “Hist. Gr.” IV. xxix. 88 note.

Pharnabazus, however, was ready to meet with encouragement the despondency which afflicted the whole Peloponnesian army and their allies. “As long as their own bodies were safe and sound, why need they take to heart the loss of a few wooden hulls? Was there not timber enough and to spare in the king’s territory?” And so he presented each man with a cloak and maintenance for a couple of months, after which he armed the sailors and formed them into a coastguard for the security of his own seaboard.

He next called a meeting of the generals and trierarchs of the different States, and instructed them to build just as many new ships in the dockyards of Antandrus as they had respectively lost. He himself was to furnish the funds, and he gave them to understand that they might bring down timber from Mount Ida. While the ships were building, the Syracusans helped the men of Antandrus to finish a section of their walls, and were particularly pleasant on garrison duty; and that is why the Syracusans to this day enjoy the privilege of citizenship, with the title of “benefactors,” at Antandrus. Having so arranged these matters, Pharnabazus proceeded at once to the rescue of Chalcedon.

It was at this date that the Syracusan generals received news from home of their banishment by the democratic party. Accordingly they called a meeting of their separate divisions, and putting forward Hermocrates[8] as their spokesman, proceeded to deplore their misfortune, insisting upon the injustice and the illegality of their banishment. “And now let us admonish you,” they added, “to be eager and willing in the future, even as in the past: whatever the word of command may be, show yourselves good men and true: let not the memory of those glorious sea fights fade. Think of those victories you have won, those ships you have captured by your own unaided efforts; forget not that long list of achievements shared by yourselves with others, in all which you proved yourselves invincible under our generalship. It was to a happy combination of our merit and your enthusiasm, displayed alike on land and sea, that you owe the strength and perfection of your discipline.”

[8] Hermocrates, the son of Hermon. We first hear of him in Thuc. iv. 58 foll. as the chief agent in bringing the Sicilian States together in conference at Gela B.C. 424, with a view to healing their differences and combining to frustrate the dangerous designs of Athens. In 415 B.C., when the attack came, he was again the master spirit in rendering it abortive (Thuc. vi. 72 foll.) In 412 B.C. it was he who urged the Sicilians to assist in completing the overthrow of Athens, by sending a squadron to co-operate with the Peloponnesian navy–for the relief of Miletus, etc. (Thuc. viii. 26, 27 foll.) At a later date, in 411 B.C., when the Peloponnesian sailors were ready to mutiny, and “laid all their grievances to the charge of Astyochus (the Spartan admiral), who humoured Tissaphernes for his own gain” (Thuc. viii. 83), Hermocrates took the men’s part, and so incurred the hatred of Tissaphernes.

With these words they called upon the men to choose other commanders, who should undertake the duties of their office, until the arrival of their successors. Thereupon the whole assembly, and more particularly the captains and masters of vessels and marines, insisted with loud cries on their continuance in command. The generals replied, “It was not for them to indulge in faction against the State, but rather it was their duty, in case any charges were forthcoming against themselves, at once to render an account.” When, however, no one had any kind of accusation to prefer, they yielded to the general demand, and were content to await the arrival of their successors. The names of these were–Demarchus, the son of Epidocus; Myscon, the son of Mencrates; and Potamis, the son of Gnosis.

The captains, for their part, swore to restore the exiled generals as soon as they themselves should return to Syracuse. At present with a general vote of thanks they despatched them to their several destinations. It particular those who had enjoyed the society of Hermocrates recalled his virtues with regret, his thoroughness and enthusiasm, his frankness and affability, the care with which every morning and evening he was wont to gather in his quarters a group of naval captains and mariners whose ability he recognised. These were his confidants, to whom he communicated what he intended to say or do: they were his pupils, to whom he gave lessons in oratory, now calling upon them to speak extempore, and now again after deliberation. By these means Hermocrates had gained a wide reputation at the council board, where his mastery of language was no less felt than the wisdom of his advice. Appearing at Lacedaemon as the accuser of Tissaphernes,[9] he had carried his case, not only by the testimony of Astyochus, but by the obvious sincerity of his statements, and on the strength of this reputation he now betook himself to Pharnabazus. The latter did not wait to be asked, but at once gave him money, which enabled him to collect friends and triremes, with a view to his ultimate recall to Syracuse. Meanwhile the successors of the Syracusans had arrived at Miletus, where they took charge of the ships and the army.

[9] The matter referred to is fully explained Thuc. viii. 85.

It was at this same season that a revolution occurred in Thasos, involving the expulsion of the philo-Laconian party, with the Laconian governor Eteonicus. The Laconian Pasippidas was charged with having brought the business about in conjunction with Tissaphernes, and was banished from Sparta in consequence. The naval force which he had been collecting from the allies was handed over to Cratesippidas, who was sent out to take his place in Chios.

About the same period, while Thrasylus was still in Athens, Agis[10] made a foraging expedition up to the very walls of the city. But Thrasylus led out the Athenians with the rest of the inhabitants of the city, and drew them up by the side of the Lyceum Gymnasium, ready to engage the enemy if they approached; seeing which, Agis beat a hasty retreat, not however without the loss of some of his supports, a few of whom were cut down by the Athenian light troops. This success disposed the citizens to take a still more favourable view of the objects for which Thrasylus had come; and they passed a decree empowering him to call out a thousand hoplites, one hundred cavalry, and fifty triremes.

[10] The reader will recollect that we are giving in “the Deceleian” period of the war, 413-404 B.C. The Spartan king was in command of the fortress of Deceleia, only fourteen miles distant from Athens, and erected on a spot within sight of the city. See Thuc. vii. 19, 27, 28.

Meanwhile Agis, as he looked out from Deceleia, and saw vessel after vessel laden with corn running down to Piraeus, declared that it was useless for his troops to go on week after week excluding the Athenians from their own land, while no one stopped the source of their corn supply by sea: the best plan would be to send Clearchus,[11] the son of Rhamphius, who was proxenos[12] of the Byzantines, to Chalcedon and Byzantium. The suggestion was approved, and with fifteen vessels duly manned from Megara, or furnished by other allies, Clearchus set out. These were troop-ships rather than swift-sailing men-of-war. Three of them, on reaching the Hellespont, were destroyed by the Athenian ships employed to keep a sharp look-out on all merchant craft in those waters. The other twelve escaped to Sestos, and thence finally reached Byzantium in safety.

[11] Of Clearchus we shall hear more in the sequel, and in the “Anabasis.”

[12] The Proxenus answered pretty nearly to our “Consul,” “Agent,” “Resident”; but he differed in this respect, that he was always a member of the foreign State. An Athenian represented Sparta at Athens; a Laconian represented Athens at Sparta, and so forth. See Liddell and Scott.

So closed the year–a year notable also for the expedition against Sicily of the Carthaginians under Hannibal with one hundred thousand men, and the capture, within three months, of the two Hellenic cities of Selinus and Himera.


B.C. 409. Next year[1] . . . the Athenians fortified Thoricus; and Thrasylus, taking the vessels lately voted him and five thousand of his seamen armed to serve as peltasts,[2] set sail for Samos at the beginning of summer. At Samos he stayed three days, and then continued his voyage to Pygela, where he proceeded to ravage the territory and attack the fortress. Presently a detachment from Miletus came to the rescue of the men of Pygela, and attacking the scattered bands of the Athenian light troops, put them to flight. But to the aid of the light troops came the naval brigade of peltasts, with two companies of heavy infantry, and all but annihilated the whole detachment from Miletus. They captured about two hundred shields, and set up a trophy. Next day they sailed to Notium, and from Notium, after due preparation, marched upon Colophon. The Colophonians capitulated without a blow. The following night they made an incursion into Lydia, where the corn crops were ripe, and burnt several villages, and captured money, slaves, and other booty in large quantity. But Stages, the Persian, who was employed in this neighbourhood, fell in with a reinforcement of cavalry sent to protect the scattered pillaging parties from the Athenian camp, whilst occupied with their individual plunder, and took one trooper prisoner, killing seven others. After this Thrasylus led his troops back to the sea, intending to sail to Ephesus. Meanwhile Tissaphernes, who had wind of this intention, began collecting a large army and despatching cavalry with a summons to the inhabitants one and all to rally to the defence of the goddess Artemis at Ephesus.

[1] The MSS. here give a suspected passage, which may be rendered thus: “The first of Olympiad 93, celebrated as the year in which the newly-added two-horse race was won by Evagorias the Eleian, and the stadion (200 yards foot-race) by the Cyrenaean Eubotas, when Evarchippus was ephor at Sparta and Euctemon archon at Athens.” But Ol. 93, to which these officers,and the addition of the new race at Olympia belong, is the year 408. We must therefore suppose either that this passage has been accidentally inserted in the wrong place by some editor or copyist, or that the author was confused in his dates. The “stadium” is the famous foot-race at Olympia, 606 3/4 English feet in length, run on a course also called the “Stadion,” which was exactly a stade long.

[2] Peltasts, i.e. light infantry armed with the “pelta” or light shield, instead of the heavy {aspis} of the hoplite or heavy infantry soldiers.

On the seventeenth day after the incursion above mentioned Thrasylus sailed to Ephesus. He disembarked his troops in two divisions, his heavy infantry in the neighbourhood of Mount Coressus; his cavalry, peltasts, and marines, with the remainder of his force, near the marsh on the other side of the city. At daybreak he pushed forward both divisions. The citizens of Ephesus, on their side, were not slow to protect themselves. They had to aid them the troops brought up by Tissaphernes, as well as two detachments of Syracusans, consisting of the crews of their former twenty vessels and those of five new vessels which had opportunely arrived quite recently under Eucles, the son of Hippon, and Heracleides, the son of Aristogenes, together with two Selinuntian vessels. All these several forces first attacked the heavy infantry near Coressus; these they routed, killing about one hundred of them, and driving the remainder down into the sea. They then turned to deal with the second division on the marsh. Here, too, the Athenians were put to flight, and as many as three hundred of them perished. On this spot the Ephesians erected a trophy, and another at Coressus. The valour of the Syracusans and Selinuntians had been so conspicuous that the citizens presented many of them, both publicly and privately, with prizes for distinction in the field, besides offering the right of residence in their city with certain immunities to all who at any time might wish to live there. To the Selinuntians, indeed, as their own city had lately been destroyed, they offered full citizenship.

The Athenians, after picking up their dead under a truce, set sail for Notium, and having there buried the slain, continued their vogage towards Lesbos and the Hellespont. Whilst lying at anchor in the harbour of Methymna, in that island, they caught sight of the Syracusan vessels, five-and-twenty in number, coasting along from Ephesus. They put out to sea to attack them, and captured four ships with their crews, and chased the remainder back to Ephesus. The prisoners were sent by Thrasylus to Athens, with one exception. This was an Athenian, Alcibiades, who was a cousin and fellow-exile of Alcibiades. Him Thrasylus released.[3] From Methymna Thrasylus set sail to Sestos to join the main body of the army, after which the united forces crossed to Lampsacus. And now winter was approaching. It was the winter in which the Syracusan prisoners who had been immured in the stone quarries of Piraeus dug through the rock and escaped one night, some to Decelia and others to Megara. At Lampsacus Alcibiades was anxious to marshal the whole military force there collected in one body, but the old troops refused to be incorporated with those of Thrasylus. “They, who had never yet been beaten, with these newcomers who had just suffered a defeat.” So they devoted the winter to fortifying Lampsacus. They also made an expedition against Abydos, where Pharnabazus, coming to the rescue of the place, encountered them with numerous cavalry, but was defeated and forced to flee, Alcibiades pursuing hard with his cavalry and one hundred and twenty infantry under the command of Menander, till darkness intervened. After this battle the soldiers came together of their own accord, and freely fraternised with the troops of Thrasylus. This expedition was followed by other incursions during the winter into the interior, where they found plenty to do ravaging the king’s territory.

[3] Reading {apelusen}. Wolf’s conjecture for the MSS. {katelousen} = stoned. See Thirlwall, “Hist. Gr.” IV. xxix. 93 note.

It was at this period also that the Lacedaemonians allowed their revolted helots from Malea, who had found an asylum at Coryphasium, to depart under a flag of truce. It was also about the same period that the Achaeans betrayed the colonists of Heracleia Trachinia, when they were all drawn up in battle to meet the hostile Oetaeans, whereby as many as seven hundred of them were lost, together with the governor[4] from Lacedaemon, Labotas. Thus the year came to its close–a year marked further by a revolt of the Medes from Darius, the king of Persia, followed by renewed submission to his authority.

[4] Technically {armostes} (harmost), i.e. administrator.


B.C. 408. The year following is the year in which the temple of Athena, in Phocaea, was struck by lightning and set on fire.[1] With the cessation of winter, in early spring, the Athenians set sail with the whole of their force to Proconnesus, and thence advanced upon Chalcedon and Byzantium, encamping near the former town. The men of Chalcedon, aware of their approach, had taken the precaution to deposit all their pillageable property with their neighbours, the Bithynian Thracians; whereupon Alcibiades put himself at the head of a small body of heavy infantry with the cavalry, and giving orders to the fleet to follow along the coast, marched against the Bithynians and demanded back the property of the Chalcedonians, threatening them with war in case of refusal. The Bithynians delivered up the property. Returning to camp, not only thus enriched, but with the further satisfaction of having secured pledges of good behaviour from the Bithynians, Alcibiades set to work with the whole of his troops to draw lines of circumvallation round Chalcedon from sea to sea, so as to include as much of the river as possible within his wall, which was made of timber. Thereupon the Lacedaemonian governor, Hippocrates, let his troops out of the city and offered battle, and the Athenians, on their side, drew up their forces opposite to receive him; while Pharnabazus, from without the lines of circumvallation, was still advancing with his army and large bodies of horse. Hippocrates and Thrasylus engaged each other with their heavy infantry for a long while, until Alcibiades, with a detachment of infantry and the cavalry, intervened. Presently Hippocrates fell, and the troops under him fled into the city; at the same instant Pharnabazus, unable to effect a junction with the Lacedaemonian leader, owing to the circumscribed nature of the ground and the close proximity of the river to the enemy’s lines, retired to the Heracleium,[2] belonging to the Chalcedonians, where his camp lay. After this success Alcibiades set off to the Hellespont and the Chersonese to raise money, and the remaining generals came to terms with Pharnabazus in respect of Chalcedon; according to these, the Persian satrap agreed to pay the Athenians twenty talents[3] in behalf of the town, and to grant their ambassadors a safe conduct up country to the king. It was further stipulated by mutual consent and under oaths provided, that the Chalcedonians should continue the payment of their customary tribute to Athens, being also bound to discharge all outstanding debts. The Athenians, on their side, were bound to desist from all hostilities until the return of their ambassadors from the king. These oaths were not witnessed by Alcibiades, who was now in the neighbourhood of Selybria. Having taken that place, he presently appeared before the walls of Byzantium at the head of the men of Chersonese, who came out with their whole force; he was aided further by troops from Thrace and more than three hundred horse. Accordingly Pharnabazus, insisting that he too must take the oath, decided to remain in Chalcedon, and to await his arrival from Byzantium. Alcibiades came, but was not prepared to bind himself by any oaths, unless Pharnabazus would, on his side, take oaths to himself. After this, oaths were exchanged between them by proxy. Alcibiades took them at Chrysopolis in the presence of two representatives sent by Pharnabazus–namely, Mitrobates and Arnapes. Pharnabazus took them at Chalcedon in the presence of Euryptolemus and Diotimus, who represented Alcibiades. Both parties bound themselves not only by the general oath, but also interchanged personal pledges of good faith.

[1] The MSS. here give the words, “in the ephorate of Pantacles and the archonship of Antigenes, two-and-twenty years from the beginning of the war,” but the twenty-second year of the war = B.C. 410; Antigenes archon, B.C. 407 = Ol. 93, 2; the passage must be regarded as a note mis-inserted by some editor or copyist (vide supra, I. 11.)

[2] I.e. sacred place or temple of Heracles.

[3] Twenty talents = 4800 pounds; or, more exactly, 4875 pounds.

This done, Pharnabazus left Chalcedon at once, with injunctions that those who were going up to the king as ambassadors should meet him at Cyzicus. The representatives of Athens were Dorotheus, Philodices, Theogenes, Euryptolemus, and Mantitheus; with them were two Argives, Cleostratus and Pyrrholochus. An embassy of the Lacedaemonians was also about to make the journey. This consisted of Pasippidas and his fellows, with whom were Hermocrates, now an exile from Syracuse, and his brother Proxenus. So Pharnabazus put himself at their head. Meanwhile the Athenians prosecuted the siege of Byzantium; lines of circumvallation were drawn; and they diversified the blockade by sharpshooting at long range and occasional assaults upon the walls. Inside the city lay Clearchus, the Lacedaemonian governor, and a body of Perioci with a small detachment of Neodamodes.[4] There was also a body of Megarians under their general Helixus, a Megarian, and another body of Boeotians, with their general Coeratadas. The Athenians, finding presently that they could effect nothing by force, worked upon some of the inhabitants to betray the place. Clearchus, meanwhile, never dreaming that any one would be capable of such an act, had crossed over to the opposite coast to visit Pharnabazus; he had left everything in perfect order, entrusting the government of the city to Coeratadas and Helixus. His mission was to obtain pay for the soldiers from the Persian satrap, and to collect vessels from various quarters. Some were already in the Hellespont, where they had been left as guardships by Pasippidas, or else at Antandrus. Others formed the fleet which Agesandridas, who had formerly served as a marine[5] under Mindarus, now commanded on the Thracian coast. Others Clearchus purposed to have built, and with the whole united squadron to so injure the allies of the Athenians as to draw off the besieging army from Byzantium. But no sooner was he fairly gone than those who were minded to betray the city set to work. Their names were Cydon, Ariston, Anaxicrates, Lycurgus, and Anaxilaus. The last-named was afterwards impeached for treachery in Lacedaemon on the capital charge, and acquitted on the plea that, to begin with, he was not a Lacedaemonian, but a Byzantine, and, so far from having betrayed the city, he had saved it, when he saw women and children perishing of starvation; for Clearchus had given away all the corn in the city to the Lacedaemonian soldiers. It was for these reasons, as Anaxilaus himself admitted, he had introduced the enemy, and not for the sake of money, nor out of hatred to Lacedaemon.

[4] According to the constitution of Lacedaemon the whole government was in Dorian hands. The subject population was divided into (1) Helots, who were State serfs. The children of Helots were at times brought up by Spartans and called “Mothakes”; Helots who had received their liberty were called “Neodamodes” ({neodamodeis}). After the conquest of Messenia this class was very numerous. (2) Perioeci. These were the ancient Achaean inhabitants, living in towns and villages, and managing their own affairs, paying tribute, and serving in the army as heavy-armed soldiers. In 458 B.C. they were said to number thirty thousand. The Spartans themselves were divided, like all Dorians, into three tribes, Hylleis, Dymanes, and Pamphyli, each of which tribes was divided into ten “obes,” which were again divided into {oikoi} or families possessed of landed properties. In 458 B.C. there were said to be nine thousand such families; but in course of time, through alienation of lands, deaths in war, and other causes, their numbers were much diminished; and in many cases there was a loss of status, so that in the time of Agis III., B.C. 244, we hear of two orders of Spartans, the {omoioi} and the {upomeiones} (inferiors); seven hundred Spartans (families) proper and one hundred landed proprietors. See Mullers “Dorians,” vol. ii. bk. iii. ch. x. S. 3 (Eng. trans.); Arist. “Pol.” ii. 9, 15; Plut. (“Agis”).

[5] The greek word is {epibates}, which some think was the title of an inferior naval officer in the Spartan service, but there is no proof of this. Cf. Thuc. viii. 61, and Prof. Jowett’s note; also Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” viii. 27 (2d ed.)

As soon as everything was ready, these people opened the gates leading to the Thracian Square, as it is called, and admitted the Athenian troops with Alcibiades at their head. Helixus and Coeratadas, in complete ignorance of the plot, hastened to the Agora with the whole of the garrison, ready to confront the danger; but finding the enemy in occupation, they had nothing for it but to give themselves up. They were sent off as prisoners to Athens, where Coeratadas, in the midst of the crowd and confusion of debarkation at Piraeus, gave his guards the slip, and made his way in safety to Decelia.


B.C. 407. Pharnabazus and the ambassadors were passing the winter at Gordium in Phrygia, when they heard of the occurrences at Byzantium. Continuing their journey to the king’s court in the commencement of spring, they were met by a former embassy, which was now on its return journey. These were the Lacedaemonian ambassadors, Boeotius and his party, with the other envoys; who told them that the Lacedaemonians had obtained from the king all they wanted. One of the company was Cyrus, the new governor of all the seaboard districts, who was prepared to co-operate with the Lacedaemonians in war. He was the bearer, moreover, of a letter with the royal seal attached. It was addressed to all the populations of Lower Asia, and contained the following words: “I send down Cyrus as ‘Karanos'”[1]–that is to say, supreme lord–“over all those who muster at Castolus.” The ambassadors of the Athenians, even while listening to this announcement, and indeed after they had seen Cyrus, were still desirous, if possible, to continue their journey to the king, or, failing that, to return home. Cyrus, however, urged upon Pharnabazus either to deliver them up to himself, or to defer sending them home at present; his object being to prevent the Athenians learning what was going on. Pharnabazus, wishing to escape all blame, for the time being detained them, telling them, at one time, that he would presently escort them up country to the king, and at another time that he would send them safe home. But when three years had elapsed, he prayed Cyrus to let them go, declaring that he had taken an oath to bring them back to the sea, in default of escorting them up to the king. Then at last they received safe conduct to Ariobarzanes, with orders for their further transportation. The latter conducted them a stage further, to Cius in Mysia; and from Cius they set sail to join their main armament.

[1] {Karanos.} Is this a Greek word, a Doric form, {karanos}, akin to {kara} (cf. {karenon}) = chief? or is it not more likely a Persian or native word, Karanos? and might not the title be akin conceivably to the word {korano}, which occurs on many Indo- Bactrian coins (see A. von Sallet, “Die Nachfolger Alexanders des Grossen,” p. 57, etc.)? or is {koiranos} the connecting link? The words translated “that is to say, supreme lord,” {to de karanon esti kurion}, look very like a commentator’s gloss.

Alcibiades, whose chief desire was to return home to Athens with the troops, immediately set sail for Samos; and from that island, taking twenty of the ships, he sailed to the Ceramic Gulf of Caria, where he collected a hundred talents, and so returned to Samos.

Thrasybulus had gone Thrace-wards with thirty ships. In this quarter he reduced various places which had revolted to Lacedaemon, including the island of Thasos, which was in a bad plight, the result of wars, revolutions, and famine.

Thrasylus, with the rest of the army, sailed back straight to Athens. On his arrival he found that the Athenians had already chosen as their general Alcibiades, who was still in exile, and Thrasybulus, who was also absent, and as a third, from among those at home, Conon.

Meanwhile Alcibiades, with the moneys lately collected and his fleet of twenty ships, left Samos and visited Paros. From Paros he stood out to sea across to Gytheum,[2] to keep an eye on the thirty ships of war which, as he was informed, the Lacedaemonians were equipping in that arsenal. Gytheum would also be a favourable point of observation from which to gauge the disposition of his fellow-countrymen and the prospects of his recall. When at length their good disposition seemed to him established, not only by his election as general, but by the messages of invitation which he received in private from his friends, he sailed home, and entered Piraeus on the very day of the festival of the Plunteria,[3] when the statue of Athena is veiled and screened from public gaze. This was a coincidence, as some thought, of evil omen, and unpropitious alike to himself and the State, for no Athenian would transact serious business on such a day.

[2] Gytheum, the port and arsenal of Sparta, situated near the head of the Laconian Gulf (now Marathonisi).

[3] {ta Plunteria}, or feast of washings, held on the 25th of the month Thargelion, when the image of the goddess Athena was stripped in order that her clothes might be washed by the Praxiergidae; neither assembly nor court was held on that day, and the Temple was closed.

As he sailed into the harbour, two great crowds–one from the Piraeus, the other from the city[4]–flocked to meet the vessels. Wonderment, mixed with a desire to see Alcibiades, was the prevailing sentiment of the multitude. Of him they spoke: some asserting that he was the best of citizens, and that in his sole instance banishment had been ill- deserved. He had been the victim of plots, hatched in the brains of people less able than himself, however much they might excel in pestilent speech; men whose one principle of statecraft was to look to their private gains; whereas this man’s policy had ever been to uphold the common weal, as much by his private means as by all the power of the State. His own choice, eight years ago, when the charge of impiety in the matter of the mysteries was still fresh, would have been to submit to trial at once. It was his personal foes, who had succeeded in postponing that undeniably just procedure; who waited till his back was turned, and then robbed him of his fatherland. Then it was that, being made the very slave of circumstance, he was driven to court the men he hated most; and at a time when his own life was in daily peril, he must see his dearest friends and fellow-citizens, nay, the very State itself, bent on a suicidal course, and yet, in the exclusion of exile, be unable to lend a helping hand. “It is not men of this stamp,” they averred, “who desire changes in affairs and revolution: had he not already guaranteed to him by the Democracy a position higher than that of his equals in age, and scarcely if at all inferior to his seniors? How different was the position of his enemies. It had been the fortune of these, though they were known to be the same men they had always been, to use their lately acquired power for the destruction in the first instance of the better classes; and then, being alone left surviving, to be accepted by their fellow-citizens in the absence of better men.”

[4] Or, “collected to meet the vessels from curiosity and a desire to see Alcibiades.”

Others, however, insisted that for all their past miseries and misfortunes Alcibiades alone was responsible: “If more trials were still in store for the State, here was the master mischief-maker ready at his post to precipitate them.”

When the vessels came to their moorings, close to the land, Alcibiades, from fear of his enemies, was unwilling to disembark at once. Mounting on the quarterdeck, he scanned the multitude,[5] anxious to make certain of the presence of his friends. Presently his eyes lit upon Euryptolemus, the son of Peisianax, who was his cousin, and then on the rest of his relations and other friends. Upon this he landed, and so, in the midst of an escort ready to put down any attempt upon his person, made his way to the city.

[5] Or, “he looked to see if his friends were there.”

In the Senate and Public Assembly[6] he made speeches, defending himself against the charge of impiety, and asserting that he had been the victim of injustice, with other like topics, which in the present temper of the assembly no one ventured to gainsay.

[6] Technically the “Boule” ({Boule}) or Senate, and “Ecclesia” or Popular Assembly.

He was then formally declared leader and chief of the State, with irresponsible powers, as being the sole individual capable of recovering the ancient power and prestige of Athens. Armed with this authority, his first act was to institute anew the processional march to Eleusis; for of late years, owing to the war, the Athenians had been forced to conduct the mysteries by sea. Now, at the head of the troops, he caused them to be conducted once again by land. This done, his next step was to muster an armament of one thousand five hundred heavy infantry, one hundred and fifty cavalry, and one hundred ships; and lastly, within three months of his return, he set sail for Andros, which had revolted from Athens.

The generals chosen to co-operate with him on land were Aristocrates and Adeimantus, the son of Leucophilides. He disembarked his troops on the island of Andros at Gaurium, and routed the Andrian citizens who sallied out from the town to resist the invader; forcing them to return and keep close within their walls, though the number who fell was not large. This defeat was shared by some Lacedaemonians who were in the place. Alcibiades erected a trophy, and after a few days set sail himself for Samos, which became his base of operations in the future conduct of the war.


At a date not much earlier than that of the incidents just described, the Lacedaemonians had sent out Lysander as their admiral, in the place of Cratesippidas, whose period of office had expired. The new admiral first visited Rhodes, where he got some ships, and sailed to Cos and Miletus, and from the latter place to Ephesus. At Ephesus he waited with seventy sail, expecting the advent of Cyrus in Sardis, when he at once went up to pay the prince a visit with the ambassadors from Lacedaemon. And now an opportunity was given to denounce the proceedings of Tissaphernes, and at the same time to beg Cyrus himself to show as much zeal as possible in the prosecution of the war. Cyrus replied that not only had he received express injunction from his father to the same effect, but that his own views coincided with their wishes, which he was determined to carry out to the letter. He had, he informed them, brought with him five hundred talents;[1] and if that sum failed, he had still the private revenue, which his father allowed him, to fall back upon, and when this resource was in its turn exhausted, he would coin the gold and silver throne on which he sat, into money for their benefit.[2]

[1] About 120,000 pounds. One Euboic or Attic talent = sixty minae = six thousand drachmae = 243 pounds 15 shillings of our money.

[2] Cf. the language of Tissaphernes, Thuc. viii. 81.

His audience thanked him for what he said, and further begged him to fix the rate of payment for the seamen at one Attic drachma per man,[3] explaining that should this rate of payment be adopted, the sailors of the Athenians would desert, and in the end there would be a saving of expenditure. Cyrus complimented them on the soundness of their arguments, but said that it was not in his power to exceed the injunctions of the king. The terms of agreement were precise, thirty minae[4] a month per vessel to be given, whatever number of vessels the Lacedaemonians might choose to maintain.

[3] About 9 3/4 pence; a drachma (= six obols) would be very high pay for a sailor–indeed, just double the usual amount. See Thuc. vi. 8 and viii. 29, and Prof. Jowett ad loc. Tissaphernes had, in the winter of 412 B.C., distributed one month’s pay among the Peloponnesian ships at this high rate of a drachma a day, “as his envoy had promised at Lacedaemon;” but this he proposed to reduce to half a drachma, “until he had asked the king’s leave, promising that if he obtained it, he would pay the entire drachma. On the remonstrance, however, of Hermocrates, the Syracusan general, he promised to each man a payment of somewhat more than three obols.”

[4] Nearly 122 pounds; and thirty minae a month to each ship (the crew of each ship being taken at two hundred) = three obols a day to each man. The terms of agreement to which Cyrus refers may have been specified in the convention mentioned above in chap. iv, which Boeotius and the rest were so proud to have obtained. But see Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. viii. p. 192 note (2d ed.)

To this rejoinder Lysander at the moment said nothing. But after dinner, when Cyrus drank to his health, asking him “What he could do to gratify him most?” Lysander replied, “Add an obol[5] to the sailors’ pay.” After this the pay was raised to four instead of three obols, as it hitherto had been. Nor did the liberality of Cyrus end here; he not only paid up all arrears, but further gave a month’s pay in advance, so that, if the enthusiasm of the army had been great before, it was greater than ever now. The Athenians when they heard the news were proportionately depressed, and by help of Tissaphernes despatched ambassadors to Cyrus. That prince, however, refused to receive them, nor were the prayers of Tissaphernes of any avail, however much he insisted that Cyrus should adopt the policy which he himself, on the advice of Alcibiades, had persistently acted on. This was simply not to suffer any single Hellenic state to grow strong at the expense of the rest, but to keep them all weak alike, distracted by internecine strife.

[5] An obol = one-sixth of a drachma; the Attic obol = rather more than 1 1/2 pence.

Lysander, now that the organisation of his navy was arranged to his satisfaction, beached his squadron of ninety vessels at Ephesus, and sat with hands folded, whilst the vessels dried and underwent repairs. Alcibiades, being informed that Thrasybulus had come south of the Hellespont and was fortifying Phocaea, sailed across to join him, leaving his own pilot Antiochus in command of the fleet, with orders not to attack Lysander’s fleet. Antiochus, however, was tempted to leave Notium and sail into the harbour of Ephesus with a couple of ships, his own and another, past the prows of Lysander’s squadron. The Spartan at first contented himself with launching a few of his ships, and started in pursuit of the intruder; but when the Athenians came out with other vessels to assist Antiochus, he formed his whole squadron into line of battle, and bore down upon them, whereupon the Athenians followed suit, and getting their remaining triremes under weigh at Notium, stood out to sea as fast as each vessel could clear the point.[6] Thus it befell in the engagement which ensued, that while the enemy was in due order, the Athenians came up in scattered detachments and without concert, and in the end were put to flight with the loss of fifteen ships of war. Of the crews, indeed, the majority escaped, though a certain number fell into the hands of the enemy. Then Lysander collected his vessels, and having erected a trophy on Cape Notium, sailed across to Ephesus, whilst the Athenians retired to Samos.

[6] {os ekastos enoixen}, for this nautical term see above.

On his return to Samos a little later, Alcibiades put out to sea with the whole squadron in the direction of the harbour of Ephesus. At the mouth of the harbour he marshalled his fleet in battle order, and tried to tempt the enemy to an engagement; but as Lysander, conscious of his inferiority in numbers, refused to accept the challenge, he sailed back again to Samos. Shortly after this the Lacedaemonians captured Delphinium and Eion.[7]

[7] This should probably be Teos, in Ionia, in spite of the MSS. {‘Eiona}. The place referred to cannot at any rate be the well- known Eion at the mouth of the Strymon in Thrace.

But now the news of the late disaster at Notium had reached the Athenians at home, and in their indignation they turned upon Alcibiades, to whose negligence and lack of self-command they attributed the destruction of the ships. Accordingly they chose ten new generals–namely Conon, Diomedon, Leon, Pericles, Erasinides, Aristocrates, Archestratus, Protomachus, Thrasylus, and Aristogenes. Alcibiades, who was moreover in bad odour in the camp, sailed away with a single trireme to his private fortress in the Chersonese.

After this Conon, in obedience to a decree of the Athenian people, set sail from Andros with the twenty vessels under his command in that island to Samos, and took command of the whole squadron. To fill the place thus vacated by Conon, Phanosthenes was sent to Andros with four ships. That captain was fortunate enough to intercept and capture two Thurian ships of war, crews and all, and these captives were all imprisoned by the Athenians, with the exception of their leader Dorieus. He was the Rhodian, who some while back had been banished from Athens and from his native city by the Athenians, when sentence of death was passed upon him and his family. This man, who had once enjoyed the right of citizenship among them, they now took pity on and released him without ransom.

When Conon had reached Samos he found the armament in a state of great despondency. Accordingly his first measure was to man seventy ships with their full complement, instead of the former hundred and odd vessels. With this squadron he put to sea accompanied by the other generals, and confined himself to making descents first at one point and then at another of the enemy’s territory, and to collecting plunder.

And so the year drew to its close: a year signalled further by an invasion of Sicily by the Carthaginians, with one hundred and twenty ships of war and a land force of one hundred and twenty thousand men, which resulted in the capture of Agrigentum. The town was finally reduced to famine after a siege of seven months, the invaders having previously been worsted in battle and forced to sit down before its walls for so long a time.


B.C. 406. In the following year–the year of the evening eclipse of the moon, and the burning of the old temple of Athena[1] at Athens[2] –the Lacedaemonians sent out Callicratidas to replace Lysander, whose period of office had now expired.[3] Lysander, when surrendering the squadron to his successor, spoke of himself as the winner of a sea fight, which had left him in undisputed mastery of the sea, and with this boast he handed over the ships to Callicratidas, who retorted, “If you will convey the fleet from Ephesus, keeping Samos[4] on your right” (that is, past where the Athenian navy lay), “and hand it over to me at Miletus, I will admit that you are master of the sea.” But Lysander had no mind to interfere in the province of another officer. Thus Callicratidas assumed responsibility. He first manned, in addition to the squadron which he received from Lysander, fifty new vessels furnished by the allies from Chios and Rhodes and elsewhere. When all these contingents were assembled, they formed a total of one hundred and forty sail, and with these he began making preparations for engagement with the enemy. But it was impossible for him not to note the strong current of opposition which he encountered from the friends of Lysander. Not only was there lack of zeal in their service, but they openly disseminated an opinion in the States, that it was the greatest possible blunder on the part of the Lacedaemonians so to change their admirals. Of course, they must from time to time get officers altogether unfit for the post–men whose nautical knowledge dated from yesterday, and who, moreover, had no notion of dealing with human beings. It would be very odd if this practice of sending out people ignorant of the sea and unknown to the folk of the country did not lead to some catastrophe. Callicratidas at once summoned the Lacedaemonians there present, and addressed them in the following terms:–

[1] I.e. as some think, the Erechtheion, which was built partly on the site of the old temple of Athena Polias, destroyed by the Persians. According to Dr. Dorpfeld, a quite separate building of the Doric order, the site of which (S. of the Erechtheion) has lately been discovered.

[2] The MSS. here add “in the ephorate of Pityas and the archonship of Callias at Athens;” but though the date is probably correct (cf. Leake, “Topography of Athens,” vol. i. p. 576 foll.), the words are almost certainly a gloss.

[3] Here the MSS. add “with the twenty-fourth year of the war,” probably an annotator’s gloss; the correct date should be twenty- fifth. Pel. war 26 = B.C. 406. Pel. war 25 ended B.C. 407.

[4] Lit. on the left (or east) of Samos, looking south from Ephesus.

“For my part,” he said, “I am content to stay at home: and if Lysander or any one else claim greater experience in nautical affairs than I possess, I have no desire to block his path. Only, being sent out by the State to take command of this fleet, I do not know what is left to me, save to carry out my instructions to the best of my ability. For yourselves, all I beg of you, in reference to my personal ambitions and the kind of charges brought against our common city, and of which you are as well aware as I am, is to state what you consider to be the best course: am I to stay where I am, or shall I sail back home, and explain the position of affairs out here?”

No one ventured to suggest any other course than that he should obey the authorities, and do what he was sent to do. Callicratidas then went up to the court of Cyrus to ask for further pay for the sailors, but the answer he got from Cyrus was that he should wait for two days. Callicratidas was annoyed at the rebuff: to dance attendance at the palace gates was little to his taste. In a fit of anger he cried out at the sorry condition of the Hellenes, thus forced to flatter the barbarian for the sake of money. “If ever I get back home,” he added, “I will do what in me lies to reconcile the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians.” And so he turned and sailed back to Miletus. From Miletus he sent some triremes to Lacedaemon to get money, and convoking the public assembly of the Milesians, addressed them thus:–

“Men of Miletus, necessity is laid upon me to obey the rulers at home; but for yourselves, whose neighbourhood to the barbarians has exposed you to many evils at their hands, I only ask you to let your zeal in the war bear some proportion to your former sufferings. You should set an example to the rest of the allies, and show us how to inflict the sharpest and swiftest injury on our enemy, whilst we await the return from Lacedaemon of my envoys with the necessary funds. Since one of the last acts of Lysander, before he left us, was to hand back to Cyrus the funds already on the spot, as though we could well dispense with them. I was thus forced to turn to Cyrus, but all I got from him was a series of rebuffs; he refused me an audience, and, for my part, I could not induce myself to hang about his gates like a mendicant. But I give you my word, men of Miletus, that in return for any assistance which you can render us while waiting for these aids, I will requite you richly. Only by God’s help let us show these barbarians that we do not need to worship them, in order to punish our foes.”

The speech was effective; many members of the assembly arose, and not the least eagerly those who were accused of opposing him. These, in some terror, proposed a vote of money, backed by offers of further private contributions. Furnished with these sums, and having procured from Chios a further remittance of five drachmas[5] a piece as outfit for each seaman, he set sail to Methyma in Lesbos, which was in the hands of the enemy. But as the Methymnaeans were not disposed to come over to him (since there was an Athenian garrison in the place, and the men at the head of affairs were partisans of Athens), he assaulted and took the place by storm. All the property within accordingly became the spoil of the soldiers. The prisoners were collected for sale by Callicratidas in the market-place, where, in answer to the demand of the allies, who called upon him to sell the Methymnaeans also, he made answer, that as long as he was in command, not a single Hellene should be enslaved if he could help it. The next day he set at liberty the free-born captives; the Athenian garrison with the captured slaves he sold.[6] To Conon he sent word:–He would put a stop to his strumpeting the sea.[7] And catching sight of him, as he put out to sea, at break of day, he gave chase, hoping to cut him off from his passage to Samos, and prevent his taking refuge there.

[5] About 4d.

[6] Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. viii. p. 224 (2d ed.), thinks that Callicratidas did not even sell the Athenian garrison, as if the sense of the passage were: “The next day he set at liberty the free-born captives with the Athenian garrison, contenting himself with selling the captive slaves.” But I am afraid that no ingenuity of stopping will extract that meaning from the Greek words, which are, {te d’ usteraia tous men eleutherous apheke tous de ton ‘Athenaion phrourous kai ta andrapoda ta doula panta apedoto}. To spare the Athenian garrison would have been too extraordinary a proceeding even for Callicratidas. The idea probably never entered his head. It was sufficiently noble for him to refuse to sell the Methymnaeans. See the remarks of Mr. W. L. Newman, “The Pol. of Aristotle,” vol. i. p. 142.

[7] I.e. the sea was Sparta’s bride.

But Conon, aided by the sailing qualities of his fleet, the rowers of which were the pick of several ships’ companies, concentrated in a few vessels, made good his escape, seeking shelter within the harbour of Mitylene in Lesbos, and with him two of the ten generals, Leon and Erasinides. Callicratidas, pursuing him with one hundred and seventy sail, entered the harbour simultaneously; and Conon thus hindered from further or final escape by the too rapid movements of the enemy, was forced to engage inside the harbour, and lost thirty of his ships, though the crews escaped to land. The remaining, forty in number, he hauled up under the walls of the town. Callicratidas, on his side, came to moorings in the harbour; and, having command of the exit, blocked the Athenian within. His next step was to send for the Methymnaeans in force by land, and to transport his army across from Chios. Money also came to him from Cyrus.

Conon, finding himself besieged by land and sea, without means of providing himself with corn from any quarter, the city crowded with inhabitants, and aid from Athens, whither no news of the late events could be conveyed, impossible, launched two of the fastest sailing vessels of his squadron. These he manned, before daybreak, with the best rowers whom he could pick out of the fleet, stowing away the marines at the same time in the hold of the ships and closing the port shutters. Every day for four days they held out in this fashion, but at evening as soon as it was dark he disembarked his men, so that the enemy might not suspect what they were after. On the fifth day, having got in a small stock of provisions, when it was already mid-day and the blockaders were paying little or no attention, and some of them even were taking their siesta, the two ships sailed out of the harbour: the one directing her course towards the Hellespont, whilst her companion made for the open sea. Then, on the part of the blockaders, there was a rush to the scene of action, as fast as the several crews could get clear of land, in bustle and confusion, cutting away the anchors, and rousing themselves from sleep, for, as chance would have it, they had been breakfasting on shore. Once on board, however, they were soon in hot pursuit of the ship which had started for the open sea, and ere the sun dipped they overhauled her, and after a successful engagement attached her by cables and towed her back into harbour, crew and all. Her comrade, making for the Hellespont, escaped, and eventually reached Athens with news of the blockade. The first relief was brought to the blockaded fleet by Diomedon, who anchored with twelve vessels in the Mitylenaean Narrows.[8] But a sudden attack of Callicratidas, who bore down upon him without warning, cost him ten of his vessels, Diomedon himself escaping with his own ship and one other.

[8] Or, “Euripus.”

Now that the position of affairs, including the blockade, was fully known at Athens, a vote was passed to send out a reinforcement of one hundred and ten ships. Every man of ripe age,[9] whether slave or free, was impressed for this service, so that within thirty days the whole one hundred and ten vessels were fully manned and weighed anchor. Amongst those who served in this fleet were also many of the knights.[10] The fleet at once stood out across to Samos, and picked up the Samian vessels in that island. The muster-roll was swelled by the addition of more than thirty others from the rest of the allies, to whom the same principle of conscription applied, as also it did to the ships already engaged on foreign service. The actual total, therefore, when all the contingents were collected, was over one hundred and fifty vessels.

[9] I.e. from eighteen to sixty years.

[10] See Boeckh. “P. E. A.” Bk. II. chap. xxi. p. 263 (Eng. trans.)

Callicratidas, hearing that the relief squadron had already reached Samos, left fifty ships, under command of Eteonicus, in the harbour of Mitylene, and setting sail with the other one hundred and twenty, hove to for the evening meal off Cape Malea in Lesbos, opposite Mitylene. It so happened that the Athenians on this day were supping on the islands of Arginusae, which lie opposite Lesbos. In the night the Spartan not only saw their watch-fires, but received positive information that “these were the Athenians;” and about midnight he got under weigh, intending to fall upon them suddenly. But a violent downpour of rain with thunder and lightning prevented him putting out to sea. By daybreak it had cleared, and he sailed towards Arginusae. On their side, the Athenian squadron stood out to meet him, with their left wing facing towards the open sea, and drawn up in the following order:–Aristocrates, in command of the left wing, with fifteen ships, led the van; next came Diomedon with fifteen others, and immediately in rear of Aristocrates and Diomedon respectively, as their supports, came Pericles and Erasinides. Parallel with Diomedon were the Samians, with their ten ships drawn up in single line, under the command of a Samian officer named Hippeus. Next to these came the ten vessels of the taxiarchs, also in single line, and supporting them, the three ships of the navarchs, with any other allied vessels in the squadron. The right wing was entrusted to Protomachus with fifteen ships, and next to him (on the extreme right) was Thrasylus with another division of fifteen. Protomachus was supported by Lysias with an equal number of ships, and Thrasylus by Aristogenes. The object of this formation was to prevent the enemy from manouvring so as to break their line by striking them amidships,[11] since they were inferior in sailing power.

[11] Lit. “by the diekplous.” Cf. Thuc. i. 49, and Arnold’s note, who says: “The ‘diecplus’ was a breaking through the enemy’s line in order by a rapid turning of the vessel to strike the enemy’s ship on the side or stern, where it was most defenceless, and so to sink it.” So, it seems, “the superiority of nautical skill has passed,” as Grote (viii. p. 234) says, “to the Peloponnesians and their allies.” Well may the historian add, “How astonished would the Athenian Admiral Phormion have been, if he could have witnessed the fleets and the order of battle at Arginusae!” See Thuc. iv. 11.

The Lacedaemonians, on the contrary, trusting to their superior seamanship, were formed opposite with their ships all in single line, with the special object of manouvring so as either to break the enemy’s line or to wheel round them. Callicratidas commanded the right wing in person. Before the battle the officer who acted as his pilot, the Megarian Hermon, suggested that it might be well to withdraw the fleet as the Athenian ships were far more numerous. But Callicratidas replied that Sparta would be no worse off even if he personally should perish, but to flee would be disgraceful.[12] And now the fleets approached, and for a long space the battle endured. At first the vessels were engaged in crowded masses, and later on in scattered groups. At length Callicratidas, as his vessel dashed her beak into her antagonist, was hurled off into the sea and disappeared. At the same instant Protomachus, with his division on the right, had defeated the enemy’s left, and then the flight of the Peloponnesians began towards Chios, though a very considerable body of them made for Phocaea, whilst the Athenians sailed back again to Arginusae. The losses on the side of the Athenians were twenty-five ships, crews and all, with the exception of the few who contrived to reach dry land. On the Peloponnesian side, nine out of the ten Lacedaemonian ships, and more than sixty belonging to the rest of the allied squadron, were lost.

[12] For the common reading, {oikeitai}, which is ungrammatical, various conjectures have been made, e.g.

{oikieitai} = “would be none the worse off for citizens,” {oikesetai} = “would be just as well administered without him,”

but as the readings and their renderings are alike doubtful, I have preferred to leave the matter vague. Cf. Cicero, “De Offic.” i. 24; Plutarch, “Lac. Apophth.” p. 832.

After consultation the Athenian generals agreed that two captains of triremes, Theramenes and Thrasybulus, accompanied by some of the taxiarchs, should take forty-seven ships and sail to the assistance of the disabled fleet and of the men on board, whilst the rest of the squadron proceeded to attack the enemy’s blockading squadron under Eteonicus at Mitylene. In spite of their desire to carry out this resolution, the wind and a violent storm which arose prevented them. So they set up a trophy, and took up their quarters for the night. As to Etenoicus, the details of the engagement ware faithfully reported to him by the express despatch-boat in attendance. On receipt of the news, however, he sent the despatch-boat out again the way she came, with an injunction to those on board of her to sail off quickly without exchanging a word with any one. Then on a sudden they were to return garlanded with wreaths of victory and shouting “Callicratidas has won a great sea fight, and the whole Athenian squadron is destroyed.” This they did, and Eteonicus, on his side, as soon as the despatch-boat came sailing in, proceeded to offer sacrifice of thanksgiving in honour of the good news. Meanwhile he gave orders that the troops were to take their evening meal, and that the masters of the trading ships were silently to stow away their goods on board the merchant ships and make sail as fast as the favourable breeze could speed them to Chios. The ships of war were to follow suit with what speed they might. This done, he set fire to his camp, and led off the land forces to Methymna. Conon, finding the enemy had made off, and the wind had grown comparatively mild,[13] got his ships afloat, and so fell in with the Athenian squadron, which had by this time set out from Arginusae. To these he explained the proceedings of Eteonicus. The squadron put into Mitylene, and from Mitylene stood across to Chios, and thence, without effecting anything further, sailed back to Samos.

[13] Or, “had changed to a finer quarter.”


All the above-named generals, with the exception of Conon, were presently deposed by the home authorities. In addition to Conon two new generals were chosen, Adeimantus and Philocles. Of those concerned in the late victory two never returned to Athens: these were Protomachus and Aristogenes. The other six sailed home. Their names were Pericles, Diomedon, Lysias, Aristocrates, Thrasylus, and Erasinides. On their arrival Archidemus, the leader of the democracy at that date, who had charge of the two obol fund,[1] inflicted a fine on Erasinides, and accused him before the Dicastery[2] of having appropriated money derived from the Hellespont, which belonged to the people. He brought a further charge against him of misconduct while acting as general, and the court sentenced him to imprisonment.

[1] Reading {tes diobelais}, a happy conjecture for the MSS. {tes diokelias}, which is inexplicable. See Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. viii. p. 244 note (2d ed.)

[2] I.e. a legal tribunal or court of law. At Athens the free citizens constitutionally sworn and impannelled sat as “dicasts” (“jurymen,” or rather as a bench of judges) to hear cases ({dikai}). Any particular board of dicasts formed a “dicastery.”

These proceedings in the law court were followed by the statement of the generals before the senate[3] touching the late victory and the magnitude of the storm. Timocrates then proposed that the other five generals should be put in custody and handed over to the public assembly.[4] Whereupon the senate committed them all to prison. Then came the meeting of the public assembly, in which others, and more particularly Theramenes, formally accused the generals. He insisted that they ought to show cause why they had not picked up the shipwrecked crews. To prove that there had been no attempt on their part to attach blame to others, he might point, as conclusive testimony, to the despatch sent by the generals themselves to the senate and the people, in which they attributed the whole disaster to the storm, and nothing else. After this the generals each in turn made a defence, which was necessarily limited to a few words, since no right of addressing the assembly at length was allowed by law. Their explanation of the occurrences was that, in order to be free to sail against the enemy themselves, they had devolved the duty of picking up the shipwrecked crews upon certain competent captains of men-of-war, who had themselves been generals in their time, to wit Theramenes and Tharysbulus, and others of like stamp. If blame could attach to any one at all with regard to the duty in question, those to whom their orders had been given were the sole persons they could hold responsible. “But,” they went on to say, “we will not, because these very persons have denounced us, invent a lie, and say that Theramenes and Thrasybulus are to blame, when the truth of the matter is that the magnitude of the storm alone prevented the burial of the dead and the rescue of the living.” In proof of their contention, they produced the pilots and numerous other witnesses from among those present at the engagement. By these arguments they were in a fair way to persuade the people of their innocence. Indeed many private citizens rose wishing to become bail for the accused, but it was resolved to defer decision till another meeting of the assembly. It was indeed already so late that it would have been impossible to see to count the show of hands. It was further resolved that the senate meanwhile should prepare a measure, to be introduced at the next assembly, as to the mode in which the accused should take their trial.

[3] This is the Senate or Council of Five Hundred. One of its chief duties was to prepare measures for discussion in the assembly. It had also a certain amount of judicial power, hearing complaints and inflicting fines up to fifty drachmas. It sat daily, a “prytany” of fifty members of each of the ten tribes in rotation holding office for a month in turn.

[4] This is the great Public Assembly (the Ecclesia), consisting of all genuine Athenian citizens of more than twenty years of age.

Then came the festival of the Aparturia,[5] with its family gatherings of fathers and kinsfolk. Accordingly the party of Theramenes procured numbers of people clad in black apparel, and close-shaven,[6] who were to go in and present themselves before the public assembly in the middle of the festival, as relatives, presumably, of the men who had perished; and they persuaded Callixenus to accuse the generals in the senate. The next step was to convoke the assembly, when the senate laid before it the proposal just passed by their body, at the instance of Callixenus, which ran as follows: “Seeing that both the parties to this case, to wit, the prosecutors of the generals on the one hand, and the accused themselves in their defence on the other, have been heard in the late meeting of the assembly; we propose that the people of Athens now record their votes, one and all, by their tribes; that a couple of voting urns be placed for the convenience of each several tribe; and the public crier in the hearing of each several tribe proclaim the mode of voting as follows: ‘Let every one who finds the generals guilty of not rescuing the heroes of the late sea fight deposit his vote in urn No. 1. Let him who is of the contrary opinion deposit his vote in urn No. 2. Further, in the event of the aforesaid generals being found guilty, let death be the penalty. Let the guilty persons be delivered over to the eleven. Let their property be confiscated to the State, with the exception of one tithe, which falls to the goddess.'”

[5] An important festival held in October at Athens, and in nearly all Ionic cities. Its objects were (1) the recognition of a common descent from Ion, the son of Apollo Patrous; and (2) the maintenance of the ties of clanship. See Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. viii. p. 260 foll. (2d ed.); Jebb, “Theophr.” xviii. 5.

[6] I.e. in sign of mourning.

Now there came forward in the assembly a man, who said that he had escaped drowning by clinging to a meal tub. The poor fellows perishing around him had commissioned him, if he succeeded in saving himself, to tell the people of Athens how bravely they had fought for their fatherland, and how the generals had left them there to drown.

Presently Euryptolemus, the son of Peisianax, and others served a notice of indictment on Callixenus, insisting that his proposal was unconstitutional, and this view of the case was applauded by some members of the assembly. But the majority kept crying out that it was monstrous if the people were to be hindered by any stray individual from doing what seemed to them right. And when Lysicus, embodying the spirit of those cries, formally proposed that if these persons would not abandon their action, they should be tried by the same vote along with the generals: a proposition to which the mob gave vociferous assent; and so these were compelled to abandon their summonses. Again, when some of the Prytanes[7] objected to put a resolution to the vote which was in itself unconstitutional, Callixenus again got up and accused them in the same terms, and the shouting began again. “Yes, summons all who refuse,” until the Prytanes, in alarm, all agreed with one exception to permit the voting. This obstinate dissentient was Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus, who insisted that he would do nothing except in accordance with the law.[8] After this Euryptolemus rose and spoke in behalf of the generals. He said:–

[7] Prytanes–the technical term for the senators of the presiding tribe, who acted as presidents of the assembly. Their chairman for the day was called Epistates.

[8] For the part played by Socrates see further Xenophon’s “Memorabilia,” I. i. 18; IV. iv. 2.

“I stand here, men of Athens, partly to accuse Pericles, though he is a close and intimate connection of my own, and Diomedon, who is my friend, and partly to urge certain considerations on their behalf, but chiefly to press upon you what seems to me the best course for the State collectively. I hold them to blame in that they dissuaded their colleagues from their intention to send a despatch to the senate and this assembly, which should have informed you of the orders given to Theramenes and Thrasybulus to take forty-seven ships of war and pick up the shipwrecked crews, and of the neglect of the two officers to carry out those orders. And it follows that though the offence was committed by one or two, the responsibility must be shared by all; and in return for kindness in the past, they are in danger at present of sacrificing their lives to the machinations of these very men, and others whom I could mention. In danger, do I say, of losing their lives? No, not so, if you will suffer me to persuade you to do what is just and right; if you will only adopt such a course as shall enable you best to discover the truth and shall save you from too late repentance, when you find you have transgressed irremediably against heaven and your own selves. In what I urge there is no trap nor plot whereby you can be deceived by me or any other man; it is a straightforward course which will enable you to discover and punish the offender by whatever process you like, collectively or individually. Let them have, if not more, at any rate one whole day to make what defence they can for themselves; and trust to your own unbiased judgment to guide you to the right conclusion.

“You know, men of Athens, the exceeding stringency of the decree of Cannonus,[9] which orders that man, whosoever he be, who is guilty of treason against the people of Athens, to be put in irons, and so to meet the charge against him before the people. If he be convicted, he is to be thrown into the Barathron and perish, and the property of such an one is to be confiscated, with the exception of the tithe which falls to the goddess. I call upon you to try these generals in accordance with this decree. Yes, and so help me God–if it please you, begin with my own kinsman Pericles for base would it be on my part to make him of more account than the whole of the State. Or, if you prefer, try them by that other law, which is directed against robbers of temples and betrayers of their country, which says: if a man betray his city or rob a sacred temple of the gods, he shall be tried before a law court, and if he be convicted, his body shall not be buried in Attica, and his goods shall be confiscated to the State. Take your choice as between these two laws, men of Athens, and let the prisoners be tried by one or other. Let three portions of a day be assigned to each respectively, one portion wherein they shall listen to their accusation, a second wherein they shall make their defence, and a third wherein you shall meet and give your votes in due order on the question of their guilt or innocence. By this procedure the malefactors will receive the desert of their misdeeds in full, and those who are innocent will owe you, men of Athens, the recovery of their liberty, in place of unmerited destruction.[10]

[9] “There was a rule in Attic judicial procedure, called the psephism of Kannonus (originally adopted, we do not know when, on the proposition of a citizen of that name, as a psephism or decree for some particular case, but since generalised into common practice, and grown into great prescriptive reverence), which peremptorily forbade any such collective trial or sentence, and directed that a separate judicial vote should in all cases be taken for or against each accused party.” Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. viii. p. 266 (2d ed.)

[10] Reading {adikos apolountai}.

“On your side, in trying the accused by recognised legal procedure, you will show that you obey the dictates of pious feeling, and can regard the sanctity of an oath, instead of joining hands with our enemies the Lacedaemonians and fighting their battles. For is it not to fight their battles, if you take their conquerors, the men who deprived them of seventy vessels, and at the moment of victory sent them to perdition untried and in the teeth of the law? What are you afraid of, that you press forward with such hot haste? Do you imagine that you may be robbed of the power of life and death over whom you please, should you condescend to a legal trial? but that you are safe if you take shelter behind an illegality, like the illegality of Callixenus, when he worked upon the senate to propose to this assembly to deal with the accused by a single vote? But consider, you may actually put to death an innocent man, and then repentance will one day visit you too late. Bethink you how painful and unavailing remorse will then be, and more particularly if your error has cost a fellow- creature his life. What a travesty of justice it would be if in the case of a man like Aristarchus,[11] who first tried to destroy the democracy and then betrayed Oenoe to our enemy the Thebans, you granted him a day for his defence, consulting his wishes, and conceded to him all the other benefits of the law; whereas now you are proposing to deprive of these same privileges your own generals, who in every way conformed to your views and defeated your enemies. Do not you, of all men, I implore you, men of Athens, act thus. Why, these laws are your own, to them, beyond all else you owe your greatness. Guard them jealously; in nothing, I implore you, act without their sanction.

[11] See below, II. iii; also cf. Thuc. viii. 90, 98.

“But now, turn for a moment and consider with me the actual occurrences which have created the suspicion of misconduct on the part of our late generals. The sea-fight had been fought and won, and the ships had returned to land, when Diomedon urged that the whole squadron should sail out in line and pick up the wrecks and floating crews. Erasinides was in favour of all the vessels sailing as fast as possible to deal with the enemy’s forces at Mitylene. And Thrasylus represented that both objects could be effected, by leaving one division of the fleet there, and with the rest sailing against the enemy; and if this resolution were agreed to, he advised that each of the eight generals should leave three ships of his own division with the ten vessels of the taxiarchs, the ten Samian vessels, and the three belonging to the navarchs. These added together make forty- seven, four for each of the lost vessels, twelve in number. Among the taxiarchs left behind, two were Thrasybulus and Theramenes, the men who in the late meeting of this assembly undertook to accuse the generals. With the remainder of the fleet they were to sail to attack the enemy’s fleet. Everything, you must admit, was duly and admirably planned. It was only common justice, therefore, that those whose duty it was to attack the enemy should render an account for all miscarriages of operations against the enemy; while those who were commissioned to pick up the dead and dying should, if they failed to carry out the instructions of the generals, be put on trial to explain the reasons of the failure. This indeed I may say in behalf of both parites. It was really the storm which, in spite of what the generals had planned, prevented anything being done. There are witnesses ready to attest the truth of this: the men who escaped as by a miracle, and among these one of these very generals, who was on a sinking ship and was saved. And this man, who needed picking up as much as anybody at that moment, is, they insist, to be tried by one and the same vote as those who neglected to perform their orders! Once more, I beg you, men of Athens, to accept your victory and your good fortune, instead of behaving like the desperate victims of misfortune and defeat. Recognise the finger of divine necessity; do not incur the reproach of stony-heartedness by discovering treason where there was merely powerlessness, and condemning as guilty those who were prevented by the storm from carrying out their instructions. Nay! you will better satisfy the demands of justice by crowning these conquerors with wreaths of victory than by punishing them with death at the instigation of wicked men.”

At the conclusion of his speech Euryptolemus proposed, as an amendment, that the prisoners should, in accordance with the decree of Cannonus, be tried each separately, as against the proposal of the senate to try them all by a single vote.

At the show of hands the tellers gave the majority in favour of Euryptolemus’s amendment, but upon the application of Menecles, who took formal exception[12] to this decision, the show of hands was gone through again, and now the verdict was in favour of the resolution of the senate. At a later date the balloting was made, and by the votes recorded the eight generals were condemned, and the six who were in Athens were put to death.

[12] For this matter cf. Schomann, “De Comitiis Athen.” p. 161 foll.; also Grote, “Hist. of Grece,” vol. viii. p. 276 note (2d ed.)

Not long after, repentance seized the Athenians, and they passed a decree authorising the public prosecution of those who had deceived the people, and the appointment of proper securities for their persons until the trial was over. Callixenus was one of those committed for trail. There were, besides Callixenus, four others against whom true bills were declared, and they were all five imprisoned by their sureties. But all subsequently effected their escape before the trial, at the time of the sedition in which Cleophon[13] was killed. Callixenus eventually came back when the party in Piraeus returned to the city, at the date of the amnesty,[14] but only to die of hunger, an object of universal detestation.

[13] Cleophon, the well-known demagogue. For the occasion of his death see Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. viii. pp. 166, 310 (2d ed.); Prof. Jebb, “Attic Orators,” i. 266, ii. 288. For his character, as popularly conceived, cf. Aristoph. “Frogs,” 677.

[14] B.C. 403.



To return to Eteonicus and his troops in Chios. During summer they were well able to support themselves on the fruits of the season, or by labouring for hire in different parts of the island, but with the approach of winter these means of subsistence began to fail. Ill-clad at the same time, and ill-shod, they fell to caballing and arranging plans to attack the city of Chios. It was agreed amongst them, that in order to guage their numbers, every member of the conspiracy should carry a reed. Eteonicus got wind of the design, but was at a loss how to deal with it, considering the number of these reed-bearers. To make an open attack upon them seemed dangerous. It would probably lead to a rush to arms, in which the conspirators would seize the city and commence hostilities, and, in the event of their success, everything hitherto achieved would be lost. Or again, the destruction on his part of many fellow-creatures and allies was a terrible alternative, which would place the Spartans in an unenviable light with regard to the rest of Hellas, and render the soldiers ill-disposed to the cause in hand. Accordingly he took with him fifteen men, armed with daggers, and marched through the city. Falling in with one of the reed-bearers, a man suffering from ophthalmia, who was returning from the surgeon’s house, he put him to death. This led to some uproar, and people asked why the man was thus slain. By Eteonicus’s orders the answer was set afloat, “because he carried a reed.” As the explanation circulated, one reed-bearer after another threw away the symbol, each one saying to himself, as he heard the reason given, “I have better not be seen with this.” After a while Eteonicus called a meeting of the Chians, and imposed upon them a contribution of money, on the ground that with pay in their pockets the sailors would have no temptation to revolutionary projects. The Chians acquiesced. Whereupon Eteonicus promptly ordered his crews to get on board their vessels. He then rowed alongside each ship in turn, and addressed the men at some length in terms of encouragement and cheery admonition, just as though he knew nothing of what had taken place, and so distributed a month’s pay to every man on board.

After this the Chians and the other allies held a meeting in Ephesus, and, considering the present posture of affairs, determined to send ambassadors to Lacedaemon with a statement of the facts, and a request that Lysander might be sent out to take command of the fleet. Lysander’s high reputation among the allies dated back to his former period of office, when as admiral he had won the naval victory of Notium. The ambassadors accordingly were despatched, accompanied by envoys also from Cyrus, charged with the same message. The Lacedaemonians responded by sending them Lysander as second in command,[1] with Aracus as admiral, since it was contrary to their custom that the same man should be admiral twice. At the same time the fleet was entrusted to Lysander.[2]

[1] Epistoleus. See above.

[2] “At this date the war had lasted five-and-twenty years.” So the MSS. read. The words are probably an interpolation.

It was in this year[3] that Cyrus put Autoboesaces and Mitraeus to death. These were sons of the sister of Dariaeus[4] (the daughter of Xerxes, the father of Darius).[5] He put them to death for neglecting, when they met him, to thrust their hands into the sleeve (or “kore”) which is a tribute of respect paid to the king alone. This “kore” is longer than the ordinary sleeve, so long in fact that a man with his hand inside is rendered helpless. In consequence of this act on the part of Cyrus, Hieramenes[6] and his wife urged upon Dariaeus the danger of overlooking such excessive insolence on the part of the young prince, and Dariaeus, on the plea of sickness, sent a special embassy to summon Cyrus to his bedside.

[3] B.C. 406.

[4] Dariaeus, i.e. Darius, but the spelling of the name is correct, and occurs in Ctesias, though in the “Anabasis” we have the spelling Darius.

[5] These words look like the note of a foolish and ignorant scribe. He ought to have written, “The daughter of Artaxerxes and own sister of Darius, commonly so called.”

[6] For Hieramenes cf. Thuc. viii. 95, and Prof. Jowett ad loc.

B.C. 405. In the following year[7] Lysander arrived at Ephesus, and sent for Eteonicus with his ships from Chios, and collected all other vessels elsewhere to be found. His time was now devoted to refitting the old ships and having new ones built in Antandrus. He also made a journey to the court of Cyrus with a request for money. All Cyrus could say was, that not only the money sent by the king was spent, but much more besides; and he pointed out the various sums which each of the admirals had received, but at the same time he gave him what he asked for. Furnished with this money, Lysander appointed captains to the different men-of-war, and remitted to the sailors their arrears of pay. Meanwhile the Athenian generals, on their side, were devoting their energies to the improvements of their navy at Samos.

[7] The MSS. add “during the ephorate of Archytas and the archonship at Athens of Alexias,” which, though correct enough, is probably an interpolation.

It was now Cyrus’s turn to send for Lysander. It was the moment at which the envoy from his father had arrived with the message: “Your father is on his sick-bed and desires your presence.” The king lay at Thamneria, in Media, near the territory of the Cadusians, against whom he had marched to put down a revolt. When Lysander presented himself, Cyrus was urgent with him not to engage the Athenians at sea unless he had many more ships than they. “The king,” he added, “and I have plenty of wealth, so that, as far as money goes, you can man plenty of vessels.” He then consigned to him all the tributes from the several cities which belonged to him personally, and gave him the ready money which he had as a gift; and finally, reminding him of the sincere friendship he entertained towards the state of Lacedaemon, as well as to himself personally, he set out up country to visit his father. Lysander, finding himself thus left with the complete control of the property of Cyrus (during the absence of that prince, so summoned to the bedside of his father), was able to distribute pay to his troops, after which he set sail for the Ceramic Gulf of Caria. Here he stormed a city in alliance with the Athenians named Cedreae, and on the following day’s assault took it, and reduced the inhabitants to slavery. These were of a mixed Hellene and barbaric stock. From Cedreae he continued his voyage to Rhodes. The Athenians meanwhile, using Samos as their base of operations, were employed in devastating the king’s territory, or in swooping down upon Chios and Ephesus, and in general were preparing for a naval battle, having but lately chosen three new generals in addition to those already in office, whose names were Menander, Tydeus, and Cephisodotus. Now Lysander, leaving Rhodes, and coasting along Ionia, made his way to the Hellespont, having an eye to the passage of vessels through the Straits, and, in a more hostile sense, on the cities which had revolted from Sparta. The Athenians also set sail from Chios, but stood out to open sea, since the seaboard of Asia was hostile to them.

Lysander was again on the move; leaving Abydos, he passed up channel to Lampsacus, which town was allied with Athens; the men of Abydos and the rest of the troops advancing by land, under the command of the Lacedaemonian Thorax. They then attacked and took by storm the town, which was wealthy, and with its stores of wine and wheat and other commodities was pillaged by the soldiery. All free-born persons, however, were without exception released by Lysander. And now the Athenian fleet, following close on his heels, came to moorings at Elaeus, in the Chersonesus, one hundred and eighty sail in all. It was not until they had reached this place, and were getting their early meal, that the news of what had happened at Lampsacus reached them. Then they instantly set sail again to Sestos, and, having halted long enough merely to take in stores, sailed on further to Aegospotami, a point facing Lampsacus, where the Hellespont is not quite two miles[8] broad. Here they took their evening meal.

[8] Lit. fifteen stades.

The night following, or rather early next morning, with the first streak of dawn, Lysander gave the signal for the men to take their breakfasts and get on board their vessels; and so, having got all ready for a naval engagement, with his ports closed and movable bulwarks attached, he issued the order that no one was to stir from his post or put out to sea. As the sun rose the Athenians drew up their vessels facing the harbour, in line of battle ready for action; but Lysander declining to come out to meet them, as the day advanced they retired again to Aegospotami. Then Lysander ordered the swiftest of his ships to follow the Athenians, and as soon as the crews had disembarked, to watch what they did, sail back, and report to him. Until these look-outs returned he would permit no disembarkation from his ships. This performance he repeated for four successive days, and each day the Athenians put out to sea and challenged an engagement.

But now Alcibiades, from one of his fortresses, could espy the position of his fellow-countrymen, moored on an open beach beyond reach of any city, and forced to send for supplies to Sestos, which was nearly two miles distant, while their enemies were safely lodged in a harbour, with a city adjoining, and everything within reach. The situation did not please him, and he advised them to shift their anchorage to Sestos, where they would have the advantage of a harbour and a city. “Once there,” he concluded, “you can engage the enemy whenever it suits you.” But the generals, and more particularly Tydeus and Menander, bade him go about his business. “We are generals now– not you,” they said; and so he went away. And now for five days in succession the Athenians had sailed out to offer battle, and for the fifth time retired, followed by the same swift sailors of the enemy. But this time Lysander’s orders to the vessels so sent in pursuit were, that as soon as they saw the enemy’s crew fairly disembarked and dispersed along the shores of the Chersonesus (a practice, it should be mentioned, which had grown upon them from day to day owing to the distance at which eatables had to be purchased, and out of sheer contempt, no doubt, of Lysander, who refused to accept battle), they were to begin their return voyage, and when in mid-channel to hoist a shield. The orders were punctually carried out, and Lysander at once signalled to his whole squadron to put across with all speed, while Thorax, with the land forces, was to march parallel with the fleet along the coast. Aware of the enemy’s fleet, which he could see bearing down upon him, Conon had only time to signal to the crews to join their ships and rally to the rescue with all their might. But the men were scattered far and wide, and some of the vessels had only two out of their three banks of rowers, some only a single one, while others again were completely empty. Conon’s own ship, with seven others in attendance on him and the “Paralus,”[9] put out to sea, a little cluster of nine vessels, with their full complement of men; but every one of the remaining one hundred and seventy-one vessels were captured by Lysander on the beach. As to the men themselves, the large majority of them were easily made prisoners on shore, a few only escaping to the small fortresses of the neighbourhood. Meanwhile Conon and his nine vessels made good their escape. For himself, knowing that the fortune of Athens was ruined, he put into Abarnis, the promontory of Lampsacus, and there picked up the great sails of Lysander’s ships, and then with eight ships set sail himself to seek refuge with Evagoras in Cyprus, while the “Paralus” started for Athens with tidings of what had taken place.

[9] The “Paralus”–the Athenian sacred vessel; cf. Thuc. iii. 33 et passim.

Lysander, on his side, conveyed the ships and prisoners and all other spoil back to Lampsacus, having on board some of the Athenian generals, notably Philocles and Adeimantus. On the very day of these achievements he despatched Theopompus, a Milesian privateersman, to Lacedaemon to report what had taken place. This envoy arrived within three days and delivered his message. Lysander’s next step was to convene the allies and bid them deliberate as to the treatment of the prisoners. Many were the accusations here levied against the Athenians. There was talk of crimes committed against the law of Hellas, and of cruelties sanctioned by popular decrees; which, had they conquered in the late sea-fight, would have been carried out; such as the proposal to cut off the right hand of every prisoner taken alive, and lastly the ill-treatment of two captured men-of-war, a Corinthian and an Andrian vessel, when every man on board had been hurled headlong down the cliff. Philocles was the very general of the Athenians who had so ruthlessly destroyed those men. Many other tales were told; and at length a resolution was passed to put all the Athenian prisoners, with the exception of Adeimantus, to death. He alone, it was pleaded, had taken exception to the proposal to cut off the prisoners’ hands. On the other hand, he was himself accused by some people of having betrayed the fleet. As to Philocles, Lysander put to him one question, as the officer who had thrown[10] the Corinthians and Andrians down the cliff: What fate did the man deserve to suffer who had embarked on so cruel a course of illegality against Hellenes? and so delivered him to the executioner.

[10] Reading {os . . . katekremnise}.


When he had set the affairs of Lampsacus in order, Lysander sailed to Byzantium and Chalcedon, where the inhabitants, having first dismissed the Athenian garrison under a flag of truce, admitted him within their walls. Those citizens of Byzantium, who had betrayed Byzantium into the hands of Alcibiades, fled as exiles into Pontus, but subsequently betaking themselves to Athens, became Athenian citizens. In dealing with the Athenian garrisons, and indeed with all Athenians wheresoever found, Lysander made it a rule to give them safe conduct to Athens, and to Athens only, in the certainty that the larger the number collected within the city and Piraeus, the more quickly the want of necessaries of life would make itself felt. And now, leaving Sthenelaus, a Laconian, as governor-general of Byzantium and Chalcedon, he sailed back himself to Lampsacus and devoted himself to refitting his ships.

It was night when the “Paralus” reached Athens with her evil tidings, on receipt of which a bitter wail of woe broke forth. From Piraeus, following the line of the long walls up to the heart of the city, it swept and swelled, as each man to his neighbour passed on the news. On that night no man slept. There was mourning and sorrow for those that were lost, but the lamentation for the dead was merged in even deeper sorrow for themselves, as they pictured the evils they were about to suffer, the like of which they themselves had inflicted upon the men of Melos, who were colonists of the Lacedaemonians, when they mastered them by siege. Or on the men of Histiaea; on Scione and Torone; on the Aeginetans, and many another Hellene city.[1] On the following day the public assembly met, and, after debate, it was resolved to block up all the harbours save one, to put the walls in a state of defence, to post guards at various points, and to make all other necessary preparations for a siege. Such were the concerns of the men of Athens.

[1] With regard to these painful recollections, see (1) for the siege and surrender of Melos (in B.C. 416), Thuc. v. 114, 116; and cf. Aristoph. “Birds,” 186; Plut. (“Lysander,” 14); (2) for the ejection of the Histiaeans, an incident of the recovery of Euboea in 445 B.C., see Thuc. i. 14; Plut. (“Pericles,” 23); (3) for the matter of Scione, which revolted in 423 B.C., and was for a long time a source of disagreement between the Athenians and Lacedaemonians, until finally captured by the former in 421 B.C., when the citizens were slain and the city given to the Plataeans, see Thuc. iv. 120-122, 129-133; v. 18, 32; (4) for Torone see Thuc. ib., and also v. 3; (5) for the expulsion of the Aeginetans in 431 B.C. see Thuc. ii. 27.

Lysander presently left the Hellespont with two hundred sail and arrived at Lesbos, where he established a new order of things in Mitylene and the other cities of the island. Meanwhile he despatched Eteonicus with a squadron of ten ships to the northern coasts,[2] where that officer brought about a revolution of affairs which placed the whole region in the hands of Lacedaemon. Indeed, in a moment of time, after the sea-fight, the whole of Hellas had revolted from Athens, with the solitary exception of the men of Samos. These, having massacred the notables,[3] held the state under their control. After a while Lysander sent messages to Agis at Deceleia, and to Lacedaemon, announcing his approach with a squadron of two hundred sail.

[2] Lit. “the Thraceward districts.” See above, p. 16.

[3] Or, “since they had slain their notables, held the state under popular control.” See Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. viii. p. 303 note 3 (2d ed.), who thinks that the incident referred to is the violent democratic revolution in Samos described in Thuc. viii. 21, B.C. 412.

In obedience to a general order of Pausanias, the other king of Lacedaemon, a levy in force of the Lacedaemonians and all the rest of Peloponnesus, except the Argives, was set in motion for a campaign. As soon as the several contingents had arrived, the king put himself at their head and marched against Athens, encamping in the gymnasium of the Academy,[4] as it is called. Lysander had now reached Aegina, where, having got together as many of the former inhabitants as possible, he formally reinstated them in their city; and what he did in behalf of the Aeginetans, he did also in behalf of the Melians, and of the rest who had been deprived of their countries. He then pillaged the island of Salamis, and finally came to moorings off Piraeus with one hundred and fifty ships of the line, and established a strict blockade against all merchant ships entering that harbour.

[4] For this most illustrious of Athenian gymnasia, which still retains its name, see Leake, “Topography of Athens,” i. 195 foll.

The Athenians, finding themselves besieged by land and sea, were in sore perplexity what to do. Without ships, without allies, without provisions, the belief gained hold upon them that there was no way of escape. They must now, in their turn, suffer what they had themselves inflincted upon others; not in retaliation, indeed, for ills received, but out of sheer insolence, overriding the citizens of petty states, and for no better reason than that these were allies of the very men now at their gates. In this frame of mind they enfranchised those who at any time had lost their civil rights, and schooled themselves to endurance; and, albeit many succumbed to starvation, no thought of truce or reconciliation with their foes was breathed.[5] But when the stock of corn was absolutely insufficient, they sent an embassage to Agis, proposing to become allies of the Lacedaemonians on the sole condition of keeping their fortification walls and Piraeus; and to draw up articles of treaty on these terms. Agis bade them betake themselves to Lacedaemon, seeing that he had no authority to act himself. With this answer the ambassadors returned to Athens, and were forthwith sent on to Lacedaemon. On reaching Sellasia,[6] a town in[7] Laconian territory, they waited till they got their answer from the ephors, who, having learnt their terms (which were identical to those already proposed to Agis), bade them instantly to be gone, and, if they really desired peace, to come with other proposals, the fruit of happier reflection. Thus the ambassadors returned home, and reported the result of their embassage, whereupon despondency fell upon all. It was a painful reflection that in the end they would be sold into slavery; and meanwhile, pending the return of a second embassy, many must needs fall victims to starvation. The razing of their fortifications was not a solution which any one cared to recommend. A senator, Archestratus, had indeed put the question in the senate, whether it were not best to make peace with the Lacedaemonians on such terms as they were willing to propose; but he was thrown into prison. The Laconian proposals referred to involved the destruction of both long walls for a space of more than a mile. And a decree had been passed, making it illegal to submit any such proposition about the walls. Things having reached this pass, Theramenes made a proposal in the public assembly as follows: If they chose to send him as an ambassador to Lysander, he would go and find out why the Lacedaemonians were so unyielding about the walls; whether it was they really intended to enslave the city, or merely that they wanted a guarantee of good faith. Despatched accordingly, he lingered on with Lysander for three whole months and more, watching for the time when the Athenians, at the last pinch of starvation, would be willing to accede to any terms that might be offered. At last, in the fourth month, he returned and reported to the public assembly that Lysander had detained him all this while, and had ended by bidding him betake himself to Lacedaemon, since he had no authority himself to answer his questions, which must be addressed directly to the ephors. After this Theramenes was chosen with nine others to go to Lacedaemon as ambassadors with full powers. Meanwhile Lysander had sent an Athenian exile, named Aristoteles, in company of certain Lacedaemonians, to Sparta to report to the board of ephors how he had answered Theramenes, that they, and they alone, had supreme authority in matters of peace and war.

[5] Or, “they refused to treat for peace.”

[6] Sellasia, the bulwark of Sparta in the valley of the Oenus.

[7] The MSS. have “in the neighbourhood of,” which words are inappropriate at this date, though they may well have been added by some annotator after the Cleomenic war and the battle of Sellasia, B.C. 222, when Antigonus of Macedon destroyed the place in the interests of the Achaean League.

Theramenes and his companions presently reached Sellasia, and being there questioned as to the reason of their visit, replied that they had full powers to treat of peace. After which the ephors ordered them to be summoned to their presence. On their arrival a general assembly was convened, in which the Corinthians and Thebans more particularly, though their views were shared by many other Hellenes also, urged the meeting not to come to terms with the Athenians, but to destroy them. The Lacedaemonians replied that they would never reduce to slavery a city which was itself an integral portion of Hellas, and had performed a great and noble service to Hellas in the most perilous of emergencies. On the contrary, they were willing to offer peace on the terms now specified–namely, “That the long walls and the fortifications of Piraeus should be destroyed; that the Athenian fleet, with the exception of twelve vessels, should be surrendered; that the exiles should be restored; and lastly, that the Athenians should acknowledge the headship of Sparta in peace and war, leaving to her the choice of friends and foes, and following her lead by land and sea.” Such were the terms which Theramenes and the rest who acted with him were able to report on their return to Athens. As they entered the city, a vast crowd met them, trembling lest their mission have proved fruitless. For indeed delay was no longer possible, so long already was the list of victims daily perishing from starvation. On the day following, the ambassadors delivered their report, stating the terms upon which the Lacedaemonians were willing to make peace. Theramenes acted as spokesman, insisting that they ought to obey the Lacedaemonians and pull down the walls. A small minority raised their voice in opposition, but the majority were strongly in favour of the proposition, and the resolution was passed to accept the peace. After that, Lysander sailed into the Piraeus, and the exiles were readmitted. And so they fell to levelling the fortifications and walls with much enthusiasm, to the accompaniment of female flute-players, deeming that day the beginning of liberty to Greece.

Thus the year drew to its close[8]–during its middle months took place the accession of Dionysius, the son of Hermocrates the Syracusan, to the tyranny of Syracuse; an incident itself preceded by a victory gained over the Carthaginians by the Syracusans; the reduction of Agrigentum through famine by the Carthaginians themselves; and the exodus of the Sicilian Greeks from that city.

[8] For the puzzling chronology of this paragraph see Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. x. p 619 (2d ed.) If genuine, the words may perhaps have slipt out of their natural place in chapter i. above, in front of the words “in the following year Lysander arrived,” etc. L. Dindorf brackets them as spurious. Xen., “Hist. Gr.” ed. tertia, Lipsiae, MDCCCLXXII. For the incidents referred to see above; Grote, “Hist. of Greece,” vol. x. pp. 582, 598 (2d ed.)