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The People of Abydos Resolve to Conquer or Die

On being informed of the message the people of Abydos
Desperate resolution of the people of Abydos.
met in public assembly, and with feelings of utter despair deliberated upon their position. They thereupon resolved, first to liberate the slaves, that they might secure their sincere interest and loyalty; next, to collect all the women into the temple of Artemis, and the children with their nurses into the gymnasium; and finally to bring together their silver and gold into the market-place, as well as collect their clothes which were of any value into the quadrireme of the Rhodians and the trireme of the Cyzicenes. Having formed these resolutions and acted on the decree with unanimity, they again assembled in public meeting, and elected fifty of the older and most trusted men, who at the same time were possessed of sufficient bodily vigour to enable them to carry out what had been determined upon; and these they bound on oath in the presence of the whole of the citizens, that "whenever they saw the inner wall being captured by the enemy, they would kill the children and women, and would burn the abovementioned ships, and, in accordance with the curses that had been invoked, would throw the silver and gold into the sea." After this they brought the priests forward, and all the citizens swore that they would conquer the enemy or die fighting for their country. To crown all, they slew victims and compelled the priests and priestesses to dictate the words of this imprecation over the burnt offerings. Having bound themselves by this solemn agreement, they left off attempting to countermine the enemy, and resolved that, directly the interior wall fell, they would fight to the last in the breach with the enemy's storming party and there die.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.17
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.18
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