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Treason of the Cynaethans

The bold stroke by which they actually consummated this treason was as follows. Of the restored exiles certain officers had been appointed called Polemarchs, whose duty it was to lock the city-gates, and keep the keys while they remained closed, and also to be on guard during the day at the gate-houses. The Aetolians accordingly waited for this period of closing the gates, ready to make the attempt, and provided with ladders; while the Polemarchs of the exiles, having assassinated their colleagues on guard at the gate-house, opened the gate. Some of the Aetolians, therefore, got into the town by it, while others applied their ladders to the walls, and mounting by their means, took forcible possession of them. The inhabitants of the town, panic-stricken at the occurrence, could not tell which way to turn. They could not give their undivided energies to opposing the party which was forcing its way through the gate, because of those who were attacking them at the walls; nor could they defend the walls owing to the enemies that were pouring through the gate. The Aetolians having thus become rapidly masters of the town, in spite of the injustice of the whole proceeding, did one act of supreme justice. For the very men who had invited them, and betrayed the town to them, they massacred before any one else, and plundered their property. They then treated all the others of the party in the same way; and, finally, taking up their quarters in the houses, they systematically robbed them of all valuables, and in many cases put Cynaethans to the rack, if they suspected them of having anything concealed, whether money, or furniture, or anything else of unusual value.

After inflicting this ruin on the Cynaethans they departed, leaving a garrison to guard the walls, and marched towards Lusi. Arrived at the temple of Artemis, which lies between Cleitor and Cynaetha, and is regarded as inviolable by the Greeks, they threatened to plunder the cattle of the goddess and the other property round the temple. But the people of Lusi acted with great prudence: they gave the Aetolians some of the sacred furniture, and appealed to them not to commit the impiety of inflicting any outrage. The gift was accepted, and the Aetolians at once removed to Cleitor and pitched their camp under its walls.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CLEITOR
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CYNAETHA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LUSI
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