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the Lacedæmonians, from their walls, that they could not comply with what was desired. *
Archidamus then, after calling upon the gods to witness that he did not first infringe the alliance, and was not the cause of the calamities which might befall the Platæans, for having refused the just and reasonable conditions offered them, prepared for the siege. He surrounded the city with a circumvallation of trees, which were laid length ways, very close together, with their boughs interwoven and turned towards the city, to prevent any person from going out of it. He afterwards threw up a platform to set the batteries on, in hopes that as so many hands were employed, they should soon take the city. He therefore caused trees to be felled on mount Cithæron, and interwove them with fascines, in order to support the terrace on all sides; he then threw in wood, earth, and stones; in a word, whatever could help to fill it up. The whole army worked night and day, without the least intermission, during seventy days; one half of the soldiers reposing themselves while the others were at work.
The besieged, observing that the work began to rise, threw up a wooden wall upon the walls of the city opposite to the platform, in order that they might always out-top the besiegers, and filled the hollow of this wooden wall with the bricks they took from the rubbish of the neighbouring houses ; so that the wall of timber served in a manner as a defence to keep the wall from falling as it was carrying up. It was covered, on the outside, with hides, both raw and dry, in order to shelter the works and the workmen from the fires discharged against it. In proportion as it rose, the platform was raised also, which in this manner was carried to a great height. But the besieged made a hole in the opposite wall in order to carry off the earth that sustained the platform; which the besiegers perceiving, they put large panniers filled with mortar, in place of the earth which had been removed, because they could not be so easily carried off. The besieged, therefore, finding their first stratagem defeated, made a mine under ground as far as the platform, in order to shelter themselves, and to remove from it the earth and other materials of which it was composed, and which they passed from hand to hand, as far as the city. The besiegers were a considerable time without perceiving this, till at last they found that their work did not go forward, and that the more earth they laid on, the weaker it grew. But the besieged, judging that the superiority of numbers would at length prevail, without occupying themselves any longer at this work, or carrying the wall higher on the side towards the battery, contented themselves with building another within, in the form of a half-moon, both ends of which joined to the wall ; in order that the besieged might retire behind it when the first wall should be forced, and so oblige the enemy to make new works.
In the mean time the besiegers having set up their machines, doubtless after they had filled up the ditch, though Thucydides does not mention this, shook the city-wall in a very terrible manner, which, indeed alarmed the citizens very much, but did not discourage them. They employed every art that fortification could suggest against the enemy's batteries. They prevented the shock of the battering-rams, by ropes which turned aside their strokes.† They also employed another artifice; the two ends of a great beam were made fast by long iron chains to two large pieces of timber, supported at due distance upon the wall in the manner of a balance; so that whenever the enemy played their machine, the besieged lifted up this beam, and let it fall back on the head of the battering-ram, which quite deadened its force, and consequently destroyed its effect.
The besiegers finding that the attack did not go on successfully, and that a new wall was raised against their platform, despaired of being able to storm the place, and therefore changed the siege into a blockade. However, they first endeavoured to set fire to it, imagining that the town might easily be
* A. M. 3576. Ant. J. C. 428. Thucyd. I. ii. p. 147-151. Diod. I. xii. p. 102-109. † The lower end of these ropes were formed into numerous slip-knots, with which they cauglit the head of b: battering-ram, which they raised up by the help of the machine.
ournt down, as it was so small, whenever a strong wind should rise ; for tney employed every artifice imaginable to make themselves masters of it as soon as possible, and with little expense. They therefore threw fascines into the intervals between the walls of the city and the intrenchment with which they had surrounded them ; and filled these intervals in a very little time, because of the multitude of hands employed by them; in order to set fire, at the same time, to different parts of the city. They then lighted the fire with pitch and sulphur, which in a moment made a prodigious blaze. This invention was very near carrying the city, which had baftled all others ; for the besieged could not at the same time withstand the fire and the enemy in several parts of the town; and had the weather favoured the besiegers, as they flattered themselves it would, it bad certainly been taken: but history informs us, that an exceeding heavy rain fell, which extinguished the fire.
This last effort of the besiegers having been defeated as successfully as all the rest, they now turned the siege into a blockade, and surrounded the city with a brick wall, strengthened on each side with a deep ditch. The whole army was engaged successively in this work, and when it was finished, they left a guard over half of it, the Baotians offering to guard the rest; upon which the Lacedæmonians returned to Sparta about the month of October. There were now, in Platææ, but four hundred inhabitants, and eighty Athenians, with a hundred and ten women to dress their victuals, and no other person, whether freeman or slave, all the rest having been sent 10 Athens before the siege.
During the campaign, some engagements were fought both by sea and land, which I omit, because of no importance.
The next summer, which was the fourth year of the war, the people of LesDOS, the citizens of Methymna excepted, resolved to break their alliance with the Athenians. They had designed to rebel before the war was declared, but the Lacedæmonians would not receive them at that time. The citizens of Methymna sent advice of this to the Athenians, assuring them, that if an immediate succour was not sent, the island would be inevitably lost. The affliction of the Athenians, who had sustained great losses by the war and the plague was greatly increased, when news was brought of the revolt of so considerable an island, whose forces, which were quite fresh, would now join the enemy, and reinforce them on a sudden by the addition of a powerful fleet. The Athenians therefore sent forty galleys designed for Peloponnesus, which accordingly sailed for Mitylene. The inhabitants, though in great consternation because they were quite unprepared, yet put on an appearance of bravery, and sailed out of the port with their ships ; however, being répulsed, they proposed an accomodation, which the Athenians listened to, from an apprehension that they were not strong enough to reduce the island to their allegiance. A suspension of arms was therefore agreed upon, during which the Mitylenians sent ambassadors to Athens. The fear of not obtaining their demands, made them send others to Lacedæmon, to desire succours. This was not ill judged, the Athenians sending them an answer which they had no reason to interpret in their favour.*
The ambassadors of Mitylene, after a dangerous voyage, having arrived in Lacedæmon, the Spartans deferred giving them audience, till the solemnization of the Olympic games, in order that the allies might hear the complaints they had to make. I shall repeat their whole speech on that occasion, as it may serve at once to give a just idea of the style of Thucydides, and of the disposition of the several states with regard to the Athenians and Lacedæmonians. “We are sensible," said the ambassadors,“ that it is the custom to use deserters well at first, because of the service they do those whom they fly to; but to despise them afterwards, as traitors to their country and friends. This is far from being unjust, when they have no inducement to such a change, when the same union subsists, and the same aids are reciprocally granted. But it is far otherwise between us and the Athenians : and we entreat you not
* Thucyd. l. iii. p. 174.207. Diod. l. xii. p. 108. 109.
to be prejudiced against us, because, after having been treated mildly by the Athenians during the peace, we now renounce their alliance when they are unfortunate. For, having come hither to demand admittance into the number of your friends and allies, we ought to begin our own justification, by showing the justice and necessity of our procedure ; it being impossible for a true friendship to be established between individuals, or a solid alliance between cities, unless both are founded on virtue and uniformity of principles and sentiments.
“To come to the point : the treaty we concluded with the Athenians, was not to enslave Greece, but to free it from the yoke of the barbarians; and it was concluded after the retreat of the Persians, when you renounced the command. We adhered to it with pleasure, as long as the Athenians continued to entertain just designs; but when we saw that they discontinued the war they were carrying on against the enemy, merely to oppress the allies, we could not but suspect their conduct. And as it was extremely difficult, in so great a diver, sity of interests and opinions, for all of them to continue in strict union, and still harder to make head against them when alone and separated, they have subjected, by insensible degrees, all the allies, except the inhabitants of Chios and our people, and used our own forces for this end. For, at the same time that they left us seemingly at liberty, they obliged us to follow them; though we could no longer rely on their words, and had the strongest reason to fear the like treatment. And indeed, what probability is there, after their enslaving all the other states, that they should show a regard to us only, and adnit us upon terms of equality, if they may become our masters whenever they please ; especially as their power increases daily, in proportion as ours lessens? A mutual fear between confederates, is a strong motive to make an alliance lasting, and to prevent unjust and violent attempts, by its keeping all things in an equilibrium. Their leaving us the enjoyment of our liberties, was merely because they could not intrench upon them by open force, but only by that specious equity and moderation they have shown us. First, they pretended to prove, from their moderate conduct in regard to us, that as we were free, we should not have marched in conjunction with them against the other allies, had they not given them just grounds for complaint. Secondly, by attacking the weakest first, and subduing them one after another, they enabled themselves, by their ruin, to subject the powerful without difficulty, who at last would be left alone and without support; whereas, had they begun by invading, us, at the time that the allies were possessed of all their troops, and were able to make some stand, they could not so easily have completed their designs. Besides, as we had a large fleet, which would strengthen considerably whatever party we should declare for, this was a check upon them. Add to this, that the high regard we have always shown for their republic, and the endeavours we have used to gain the favour of those who commanded it, have suspended our ruin.
But we had been undone, had not this war broke out; which the fate of others leaves no room to doubt.
What friendship, then, what lasting alliance can be concluded with those who are never friends and allies, but when force is employed to make them continue such? For, as they were obliged to caress us during the war, to prevent our joining with the enemy; we were constrained to treat them with the same regard in time of peace, to prevent their falling upon us. That which love produces in other places, was with us the effect of fear. It was this circumstance that made an alliance subsist some time, which both parties were determined to break upon the very first favourable opportunity: let therefore no one accuse us for the advantage we now take. We had not always the same opportunity to save, as they had to ruin us; but were under the necessity of waiting for a favourable moment before we could venture to declare ourselves.
"Sich are the motives which now oblige us to solicit your alliance; the equity and justice of which appear very strong to us, and consequently call on us to provide for our safety ; we should have claimed your protection before, had you been sooner inclined to afford it to us for we offered ourselves to you even before the war broke out: ive have now come at the persuasion of ile Boeotians
your allies, to disengage ourselves from the oppressors of Greece, and join our arms with its defenders; and to provide for the security of our state, which is now in imminent danger. If any thing can be objected to our conduct, it is the declaring ourselves so precipitately, with more generosity than prudence, and without having made the least preparations. But this also ought to engage you to be more ready in succouring us; that you may not lose ihe opportunity of protecting the oppressed, and avenging yourselves on your enemies, There never was a more favourable conjuncture than that wbich now offers itself; a conjuncture, when war and pestilence have consumed their forces, and exhausted their treasure : not to mention that their fleet is divided, by which means they will not be in a condition to resist you, should you invade them at the same time by land and sea. For they either will leave us to attack you, and give us an opportunity of succouring you; or they will oppose us all together, and then you will have but half their forces to contend with.
“ For the rest, let no one imagine that you will expose yourselves to dangers for a people incapable of doing you service. Our country indeed lies at a considerable distance from you, but our aid is near at hand. For the war will be carried on, not in Attica, as is supposed, but in that country wbose revenues are the support of Attica, and we are not far from it. Consider also, that in abandoning us, you will increase the power of the Athenians by the addition of ours; and that no state will then dare to take up arms against them. But in succouring us, you will strengthen yourselves with a fleet, which you so much want; you will induce many other people, after our example, to join you ; and you will take off the reproach cast upon you, of abandoning those who have recourse to your protection, which will be no inconsiderable advantage to you during the course of the war.
“We therefore implore you, in the name of Jupiter Olympus, in whose temple we now are, not to frustrate the hopes of the Greeks, nor reject suppliants, whose preservation may be highly advantageous, and whose ruin may be infinitely pernicious to you. Show yourselves such now, as the idea entertained of your generosity, and the extreme danger to which we are reduced, may demand ; that is, the protectors of the afflicted and the deliverers of Greece.
The allies, struck with these reasons, admitted them into the alliance of Peloponnesus. An immediate incursion into the enemy's country was resolved, and that the allies should rendezvous at Corinth with two thirds of their forces. The Lacedæmonians arrived first, and prepared engines for transporting the ships from the gulph of Corinth into the sea of Athens, in order to invade Attica both by land and sea. The Athenians were no less active on their side; but the allies, being employed in their harvest, and beginning to grow weary of the war, were a long time before they met.
During this interval, the Athenians, who perceived that all these preparations were made against them, from a supposition that they were very weak, to undeceive the world, and show that they alone were able to support a fleet without the aid of Lesbos, sent to sea a fleet of one hundred sail, which they manned with citizens as well as foreigners ; not exempting a single citizen, except such only as were obliged to serve on horseback, or whose revenue amounted to five hundred measures of corn. After having showed themselves before the isthmus of Corinth, the inore to display their power, they made descents into whatever parts of Peloponnesus they pleased.
The world never saw a finer fleet. The Athenians guarded their own country, and the coasts of Eubea and Salamin, with a fleet of a bundred ships; they cruised round Peloponnesus with another fleet of the like number of vessels, without including their fleet before Lesbos and other places. The whole amounted to upwards of two hundred and fifty galleys. The expenses of this powerful armament entirely exhausted their treasure, which had been very much drained before by the siege of Potidæa.
The Lacedæmonians, greatly surprised at so formidable a fleet, which they by no means expected, returned with t!_2 utmost expedition to their own coun try, and only ordered forty galleys to be fitted out for the succour of Mitylene.
The Athenians had sent a reinforcement thither, consisting of a thousand heavy armed troops, by whose assistance they made a contravallation, with forts in the most commodious places ; so that it was blocked up, both by sea and land, in the beginning of winter. The Athenians were in such great want of money for carrying on this siege, that they were obliged to assess themselves, which they had never done before, and by this means two hundred talents were sent
The people of Mitylene being in want of all things, and having waited to no purpose for the succours which the Lacedæmonians had promised them, surrendered, upon condition that no person should be put to death or imprisoned till the ambassadors, whom they should send to Athens, were returned ; and that, in the mean time, the troops should be admitted into the city.t As soon as the Athenians had got possession of the city, such of the factious Mityleneans as bad fled to the altars for refuge, were conveyed to Tenedos, and afterwards to Athens. There the affair of the Mityleneans was debated. As their revolt had greatly exasperated the people, because it had not been preceded by any ill treatment, and seemed å mere effect of their hatred for the Athenians, in the first transports of their rage, they resolved to put all the citizens to death indiscriminately, and to make all the women and children slaves, and immediately sent a galley to put the decree in execution.
But night gave them leisure to make different retlections. This severity was judged too cruel, and carried farther than consisted with justice. They imagined to themselves the fate of that unhappy city, entirely abandoned to slaughter, and repented their having involved the innocent with the guilty. This sudden change of the Athenians gave the Mitylenean ambassadors some little glimmerings of hupe ; and they prevailed so far with the magistrates as to have the affair debated a second time. Cleon, who had suggested the first decree, a man of a fiery temper, and who bad great authority over the people, maintained bis opinion with great vehemence and heat. He represented, that it was unworthy a wise government to change with every wind, and to annul in the morning what they had decreed the night before ; and that it was highly important to take an exemplary vengeance of the Mityleneans, in order to awe the rest of their allies, who were every where ready to revolt.
Diodorus, who had contradicted Cleon in the first assembly, now opposed his arguments more strongly than before. After describing, in a tender and pathetic manner, the deplorable condition of the Mityleneans, whose minds, he said, must necessarily be on the rack, while they were expecting a sentence that was to determine their fate, he represented to the Athenians, that the fame of their mildness and clemency bad always reflected the highest honour on them, and distinguished them gloriously from all other nations : be observed, that the citizens of Mitylene had been drawn involuntarily into the rebellion, a proof of which was, their surrendering the city to them the instant it was in their power to do it; they therefore, by this decree, would murder their benefactors, and consequently be both unjust and ungrateful, in punishing the innocent with the guilty. He observed farther, that supposing the Mityleneans in general were guilty, it would however be for the interest of the Athenians to dissemble, in order that the rigorous punishment they had decreed might not exasperate the rest of the allies; and that the best way to put a stop to the evil, would be to leave room for repentance and not plunge people into despair, by the absolute and irrevocable refusal of a pardon. His opinion therefore was, that they should examine very deliberately, the cause of those factious Mityleneans who had been brought to Athens, and pardon all the rest.
The assembly was very much divided, so that Diodorus carried it only by a few votes. A second galley was therefore immediately fitted out. It was furnished with every thing that might accelerate its course ; and the ambassadors of Mitylene promised a great reward to the crew, provided they arrived
• Two hundred thousand dollars.
| A.M. 3577.
Ant. J.C. 427