After this Brasidas and the army came nearer
to the sea and to Megara, and taking up a convenient position, remained
quiet in order of battle, expecting to be attacked by the Athenians and
knowing that the Megarians were waiting to see which would be the victor.
This attitude seemed to present two advantages.Without taking the offensive or willingly provoking the hazards of a
battle, they openly showed their readiness to fight, and thus without
bearing the burden of the day would fairly reap its honours; while at the same time they effectually served their interests at Megara.
For if they had failed to show themselves, they would not have had a
chance, but would have certainly been considered vanquished, and have lost
the town.As it was, the Athenians might possibly not be inclined to accept their
challenge, and their object would be attained without fighting.
And so it turned out.The Athenians formed outside the long walls, and the enemy not attacking,
there remained motionless; their generals having decided that the risk was too unequal.In fact most of their objects had been already attained; and they would have to begin a battle against superior numbers, and if
victorious could only gain Megara, while a defeat would destroy the flower
of their heavy soldiery.For the enemy it was different; as even the states actually represented in his army risked each only a part
of its entire force, he might well be more audacious.Accordingly after waiting for some time without either side attacking, the
Athenians withdrew to Nisaea, and the Peloponnesians after them to the point
from which they had set out.The friends of the Megarian exiles now threw aside their hesitation, and
opened the gates to Brasidas and the commanders from the different states
looking upon him as the victor and upon the Athenians as having declined the
battle—and receiving them into the town proceeded to discuss
matters with them; the party in correspondence with the Athenians being paralyzed by the turn
things had taken.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
An XML version of this text is available for download,
with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted
changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.