previous next
73. Brasidas and his army then moved nearer to the sea and to the town of Megara, and there,1 taking up a convenient position and marshalling their forces, they remained without moving. They were expecting the Athenians to attack them, and knew that the Megarians were waiting to see who would be the conquerors. They were very well satisfied, for two reasons. [2] In the first place they were not the assailants, and had not gone out of their way to risk a battle, although they had clearly shown that they were ready to engage; and so they might fairly claim a victory without fighting. Again, the result in regard to Megara was good: for if they had not put in an appearance they would have had no chance at all, but would have been as good as beaten, and beyond a doubt would immediately have lost the city. [3] Whereas now the Athenians themselves might be unwilling to fight; and, if so, they would gain their object without striking a blow. And this turned out to be the fact; for the Megarians did in the end receive Brasidas. [4] At first the Athenians came out and drew up near the Long Walls, but not being attacked they likewise remained inactive. The generals on their side were restrained by similar reflections. They had gained the greater part of what they wanted; they would be offering battle against a superior force; and their own danger would be out of proportion to that of the enemy. They might be victorious and take Megara, but if they failed the loss would fall on the flower of their infantry. Whereas the Peloponnesians were naturally more willing to encounter a risk which would be divided among the several contingents making up the army now in the field; and each of these was but a part of their whole force, present and absent. Both armies waited for a time, and, when neither saw the other moving, the Athenians first of the two retired into Nisaea and the Peloponnesians returned to their previous position. Whereupon the party in Megara friendly to the exiles took courage, opened the gates, and received Brasidas and the generals of the other cities, considering that the Athenians had finally made up their minds not to fight, and that he was the conqueror. They then entered into negotiations with him; for the other faction which had conspired with the Athenians was now paralysed.

1 The Peloponnesians, having shown that they are ready to engage, do not care to risk a battle. The Athenians are even more unwilling tonight than the Peloponnesians. The result is that Brasidas is admitted into Megara by the oligarchical party.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (C.E. Graves, 1884)
load focus Greek (1942)
load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
load focus English (1910)
hide References (30 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (14):
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.11
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.48
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.99
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.31
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.33
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.60
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.72
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.89
    • Harold North Fowler, Commentary on Thucydides Book 5, 5.72
    • Harold North Fowler, Commentary on Thucydides Book 5, 5.76
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.102
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.52
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides Book 7, 7.33
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides Book 7, 7.50
  • Cross-references to this page (4):
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
    • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Thuc. 4.108
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (11):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: