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While these events were taking place Thrasybulus, the Athenian general, sailing to Thasos with fifteen ships defeated in battle the troops who came out from the city and slew about two hundred of them; then, having bottled them up in a siege of the city, he forced them to receive back their exiles, that is the men who favoured the Athenians, to accept a garrison, and to be allies of the Athenians. [2] After this, sailing to Abdera,1 he brought that city, which at that time was among the most powerful in Thrace, over to the side of the Athenians.

Now the foregoing is what the Athenian generals had accomplished since they sailed from Athens. [3] But Agis, the king of the Lacedaemonians, as it happened, was at the time in Deceleia2 with his army, and when he learned that the best Athenian troops were engaged in an expedition with Alcibiades, he led his army on a moonless night to Athens. [4] He had twenty-eight thousand infantry, one-half of whom were picked hoplites and the other half light-armed troops; there were also attached to his army some twelve hundred cavalry, of whom the Boeotians furnished nine hundred and the rest had been sent with him by Peloponnesians. As he drew near the city, he came upon the outposts before they were aware of him, and easily dispersing them because they were taken by surprise he slew a few and pursued the rest within the walls. [5] When the Athenians learned what had happened, they issued orders for all the order men and the sturdiest of the youth to present themselves under arms. Since these promptly responded to the call, the circuit of the wall was manned with those who had rushed together to meet the common peril; [6] and the Athenian generals, when in the morning they surveyed the army of the enemy extended in a line four men deep and eight stades in length, at the moment were at first dismayed, seeing as they did that approximately two-thirds of the wall was surrounded by the enemy. [7] After this, however, they sent out their cavalry, who were about equal in number to the opposing cavalry, and when the two bodies met in a cavalry-battle before the city, sharp fighting ensued which lasted for some time. For the line of the infantry was some five stades from the wall, but the cavalry which had engaged each other were fighting at the very walls. [8] Now the Boeotians, who by themselves alone had formerly defeated the Athenians at Delium,3 thought it would be a terrible thing if they should prove to be inferior to the men they had once conquered, while the Athenians, since they had as spectators of their valour the populace standing upon the walls and were known every one to them, were ready to endure everything for the sake of victory. [9] Finally, overpowering their opponents they slew great numbers of them and pursued the remainder as far as the line of the infantry. After this when the infantry advanced against them, they withdrew within the city.

1 The birthplace of the great Greek physical philosopher Democritus.

2 The fortress in Attica which the Lacedaemonians, on the advice of Alcibiades (cp. chap. 9.2), had permanently occupied.

3 Cp. Book 12.70.

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