This same summer arrived at Athens thirteen
hundred targeteers, Thracian swordsmen of the tribe of the Dii, who were to
have sailed to Sicily with Demosthenes.
Since they had come too late, the Athenians determined to send them back to
Thrace, whence they had come; to keep them for the Decelean war appearing too expensive, as the pay of
each man was a drachma a day.
Indeed since Decelea had been first fortified by the whole Peloponnesian
army during this summer, and then occupied for the annoyance of the country
by the garrisons from the cities relieving each other at stated intervals,
it had been doing great mischief to the Athenians; in fact this occupation, by the destruction of property and loss of men
which resulted from it, was one of the principal causes of their ruin.
Previously the invasions were short, and did not prevent their enjoying
their land during the rest of the time: the enemy was now permanently fixed
in Attica; at one time it was an attack in force, at another it was the regular
garrison overrunning the country and making forays for its subsistence, and
the Lacedaemonian king, Agis, was in the field and diligently prosecuting
the war; great mischief was therefore done to the Athenians.
They were deprived of their whole country: more than twenty thousand slaves
had deserted, a great part of them artisans, and all their sheep and beasts
of burden were lost; and as the cavalry rode out daily upon excursions to Decelea and to guard
the country, their horses were either lamed by being constantly worked upon
rocky ground, or wounded by the enemy.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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