The people, observing the fair dealing of
Theramenes and believing that his honourable principles would act to some extent to check the
encroachments of the leaders, elected him also as one of the thirty officials. It was the duty
of those selected to appoint both a Council and the other magistrates and to draw up laws in
accordance with which they were to administer the state.
they kept postponing the drawing up of laws, always putting forth fine-sounding excuses, but a
Council and the other magistrates they appointed from their personal friends, so that these
bore the name indeed of magistrates but actually were underlings of the Thirty. At first they
brought to trial the lowest elements of the city and condemned them to death; and thus far the
most honourable citizens approved of their actions.
this, desiring to commit acts more violent and lawless, they asked the Lacedaemonians for a
garrison, saying that they were going to establish a form of government that would serve the
interests of the Lacedaemonians. For they realized that they would be unable to accomplish
murders without foreign armed aid, since all men, they knew, would unite to support the common
When the Lacedaemonians sent a garrison and
Callibius to command it, the Thirty won the commander over by bribes and other accommodations.
Then, choosing out from the rich such men as suited their ends, they proceeded to arrest them
as revolutionaries, put them to death, and confiscated their possessions.
When Theramenes opposed his colleagues and threatened to join the ranks
of those who claimed the right to be secure, the Thirty called a meeting of the Council.
Critias was their spokesman, and in a long speech accused Theramenes of betraying this
government of which he was a voluntary member; but Theramenes in his reply cleared himself of
the several charges and gained the sympathy of the entire Council.1
Critias, fearing that Theramenes might overthrow the
oligarchy, threw about him a band of soldiers with drawn swords.
They were going to arrest him, but, forestalling them, Theramenes leaped up to the
altar of Hestia of the Council Chamber, crying out, "I flee for refuge to the gods, not with
the thought that I shall be saved, but to make sure that my slayers will involve themselves in
an act of impiety against the gods."