While Callias was archon in athens, in Elis
the Eighty-first Olympiad was celebrated, that in which
Polymnastus of Cyrene
won the "stadion," and in
the consuls were Servius Sulpicius and Publius
During this year Tolmides, who was
commander of the naval forces and vied with both the valour and fame of Myronides, was eager to
accomplish a memorable deed.
Consequently, since in those
times no one had very yet laid waste Laconia
, he urged
the Athenian people to ravage the territory of the Spartans, and he promised that by taking one
thousand hoplites aboard the triremes he would with them lay waste Laconia
and dim the fame of the Spartans.
the Athenians acceded to his request, he then, wishing to take with him secretly a larger
number of hoplites, had recourse to the following cunning subterfuge. The citizens thought that
he would enrol for the force the young men in the prime of youth and most vigorous in body; but
Tolmides, determined to take with him in the campaign not merely the stipulated one thousand,
approached every young man of exceptional hardihood and told him that he was going to enrol
him; it would be better, however, he added, for him to go as a volunteer than be thought to
have been compelled to serve under compulsion by enrolment.
When by this scheme he had persuaded more than three thousand to enrol voluntarily and saw
that the rest of the youth showed no further interest, he then enrolled the thousand he had
been promised from all who were left.
When all the other preparations for his expedition had been made, Tolmides set out to
sea with fifty triremes and four thousand hoplites, and putting in at Methone
he took the place; and when the Lacedaemonians came to defend it, he withdrew, and cruising
along the cost to Gytheium, which was a seaport of the Lacedaemonians, he seized it, burned the
city and also the dockyards of the Lacedaemonians, and ravaged its territory.
From here he set out to sea and sailed to Zacynthos which belonged to
Cephallenia; he took the island and won over all the cities on Cephallenia, and then sailed
across to the opposite mainland and put in at Naupactus
. This city he likewise seized at the first assault and in it he settled
the prominent Messenians whom the Lacedaemonians had allowed to go free under a truce.
At this time, it may be explained, the Lacedaemonians had
finally overcome both the Helots and Messenians, with whom they had been at war over a long
and the Messenians they had allowed
to depart from Ithome
under a truce, as we have
said, but of the Helots they had punished those who were responsible for the revolt and had
enslaved the rest.