The Corcyraean revolution began with the
return of the prisoners taken in the sea-fights off Epidamnus.These the Corinthians had released, nominally upon the security of eight
hundred talents given by their Proxeni but in reality upon their engagement
to bring over Corcyra to Corinth.These men proceeded to canvass each of the citizens, and to intrigue with
the view of detaching the city from Athens.
Upon the arrival of an Athenian and a Corinthian vessel, with envoys on
board, a conference was held in which the Corcyraeans voted to remain allies
of the Athenians according to their agreement, but to be friends of the
Peloponnesians as they had been formerly.
Meanwhile, the returned prisoners brought Peithias, a volunteer Proxenus of
the Athenians and leader of the commons, to trial, upon the charge of
enslaving Corcyra to Athens.
He, being acquitted, retorted by accusing five of the richest of their
number of cutting stakes in the ground sacred to Zeus and Alcinous; the legal penalty being a stater for each stake.
Upon their conviction, the amount of the penalty being very large, they
seated themselves as suppliants in the temples, to be allowed to pay it by
instalments; but Peithias, who was one of the senate, prevailed upon that body to
enforce the law;
upon which the accused, rendered desperate by the law, and also learning
that Peithias had the intention, while still a member of the senate, to
persuade the people to conclude a defensive and offensive alliance with
Athens, banded together armed with daggers, and suddenly bursting into the
senate killed Peithias and sixty others, senators and private persons; some few only of the party of Peithias taking refuge in the Athenian
trireme , which had not yet departed.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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