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12. Having thus spoken, Archidamus dismissed the assembly. His first step was to send Melesippus,1 the son of Diacritus, a Spartan, to Athens in the hope that the Athenians might after all give way, when they saw their enemies actually on the march. [2] But they would not admit him to the assembly, nor even into the city. For Pericles had already carried a motion to the effect that they would have nothing to do with herald or embassy while the Lacedaemonians were in the field. So Melesippus was sent away without a hearing and told that he must cross the frontier before sunset; if the Lacedaemonians wanted to hold any parley with the Athenians, they must go home first. He was attended by an escort in order to prevent his communieating with any one. [3] When he arrived at the Athenian2 frontier, and was about to leave them, he uttered these words: 'This day will be to the Hellenes the beginning of great sorrows.' [4] On the return of the herald to the camp Archidamus learned that the Athenians were not as yet at all in the mood to yield; so at last he moved forward his army and prepared to enter Attica. [5] The Boeotians who had sent their contingent of two-thirds, including their cavalry, to the Peloponnesian army, marched to Plataea with the remainder of their forces and wasted the country.

1 Archidamus sends Melesippus to Athens, but he is refused admisson to the city, and immediately sent across the frontier.

2 B.C. 431.

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load focus Notes (E.C. Marchant, 1891)
load focus Greek (1942)
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