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93. In such hurried fashion did the Athenians build the walls of their city. [2] To this day the structure shows evidence of haste. The foundations are made up of all sorts of stones, in some places unwrought, and laid just as each worker brought them; there were many columns too, taken from sepulchres, and many old stones already cut, inserted in the work. The circuit of the city was extended in1 every direction, and the citizens, in their ardour to complete the design, spared nothing.

[3] Themistocles also persuaded the Athenians to finish the2 Piraeus, of which he had made a beginning in his year of office as Archon. The3 situation of the place, which had three natural havens, was excellent; and now that the Athenians had become seamen, he thought that they had great advantage for the attainment of empire. [4] For he first dared to say that ‘they must make the sea their domain,’ and he lost no time in laying the foundations of their empire. [5] By his advice, they built the wall of such a width that two waggons carrying the stones could meet and pass on the top; this width may still be traced at the Piraeus; inside there was no rubble or mortar, but the whole wall was made up of large stones hewn square, which were clamped on the outer face with iron and lead. The height was not more than half what he had originally intended; [6] he had hoped by the very dimensions of the wall to paralyse the designs of an enemy, and he thought that a handful of the least efficient citizens would suffice for its defence, while the rest might man the fleet. [7] His mind was turned in this direction, as I conceive, from observing that the King's armament had met with fewer obstacles by sea than by land. The Piraeus appeared to him to be of more real consequence than the upper city. He was fond of telling the Athenians that if ever they were hard pressed on land they should go down to the Piraeus and fight the world at sea.

[8] Thus the Athenians built their walls and restored their city immediately after the retreat of the Persians.

1 B.C. 478.

2 B.C. 482.

3 Construction of the Piraeus, and foundation of the maritime empire of Athens.

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