At the end of the same summer the Corinthian
Aristeus, Aneristus, Nicolaus, and Pratodamus, envoys from Lacedaemon,
Timagoras, a Tegean, and a private individual named Pollis from Argos, on
their way to Asia to persuade the king to supply funds and join in the war,
came to Sitalces, son of Teres in Thrace, with the idea of inducing him, if
possible, forsake the alliance of Athens and to march on Potidaea then
besieged by an Athenian force, and also of getting conveyed by his means to
their destination across the Hellespont to Pharnabazus, who was to send them
up the country to the king.
But there chanced to be with Sitalces some Athenian ambassadors, Learchus,
son of Callimachus, and Ameiniades, son of Philemon, who persuaded Sitalces'
son, Sadocus, the new Athenian citizen, to put the men into their hands and
thus prevent their crossing over to the king and doing their part to injure
the country of his choice.
He accordingly had them seized, as they were travelling through Thrace to
the vessel in which they were to cross the Hellespont, by a party whom he
had sent on with Learchus and Ameiniades, and gave orders for their delivery
to the Athenian ambassadors, by whom they were brought to Athens.
On their arrival, the Athenians, afraid that Aristeus, who had been notably
the prime mover in the previous affairs of Potidaea and their Thracian
possessions, might live to do them still more mischief if he escaped, slew
them all the same day, without giving them a trial or hearing the defence
which they wished to offer, and cast their bodies into a pit; thinking themselves justified in using in retaliation the same mode of
warfare which the Lacedaemonians had begun, when they slew and cast into
pits all the Athenian and allied traders whom they caught on board the
merchantmen round Peloponnese.Indeed, at the outset of the war, the Lacedaemonians butchered as enemies
all whom they took on the sea, whether allies of Athens or neutrals.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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