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When Euthydemus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected in place of consuls three military tribunes, Manius Aemilianus Mamercus, Gaius Julius, and Lucius Quinctius. In this year there began the Peloponnesian War, as it has been called, between the Athenians and the Peloponnesians, the longest of all the wars which history records; and it is necessary and appropriate to the plan of our history to set forth at the outset the causes2 of the war. [2]

While the Athenians were still striving for the mastery of the sea, the funds which had been collected as a common undertaking and placed at Delos, amounting to some eight thousand talents,3 they had transferred to Athens4 and given over to Pericles to guard. This man stood far above his fellow citizens in birth, renown, and ability as an orator. But after some time he had spent a very considerable amount of this money for his own purposes, and when he was called upon for an accounting he fell ill, since he was unable to render the statement of the monies with which he had been entrusted. [3] While he was worried over the matter, Alcibiades, his nephew, who was an orphan and was being reared at the home of Pericles, though still a lad showed him a way out of making an explanation of the use of the money. Seeing how his uncle was troubled he asked him the cause of his worry. And when Pericles said, "I am asked for the explanation of the use of the money and I am seeking some means whereby I may be able to render an accounting of it to the citizens," Alcibiades replied, "You should be seeking some means not how to render but how not to render an accounting." [4] Consequently Pericles, accepting the reply of the boy, kept pondering in what way he could embroil the Athenians in a great war; for that would be the best way, he thought, because of the disturbance and distractions and fears which would beset the city, for him to escape giving an exact accounting of the money. Bearing upon this expedient an incident happened to him by mere chance for the following causes.

1 431 B.C.

2 The following "causes" are clearly drawn from a violent anti-Periclean source, and Diodorus himself appears to wish to disavow them when he states (chap. 41.1) that he has taken them directly from Ephorus.

3 Given as ten thousand in chaps. 40.2; 54.3; Book 13.21.2.

4 In 454 B.C.

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