The same Thucydides of Athens continued the history, following the order of events, which he1
reckoned by summers and winters, up to the destruction of the Athenian empire and the taking of Piraeus and the Long Walls by the Lacedaemonians and their allies. Altogether the war lasted twenty-seven years, for if which the truce continued should be excluded, he is mistaken.
If he have regard to the facts of the case, he will see that the term 'peace' can hardly be applied to a state of things in which neither party gave back or received all the places stipulated; moreover in the Mantinean and Epidaurian wars and in other matters there were violations of the treaty on both sides; the Chalcidian allies maintained their attitude of hostility towards Athens, and the Boeotians merely observed an armistice terminable at ten days' notice.
So that, including the first ten years' war, the doubtful truce which followed, and the war which followed that, he who reckons up the actual periods of time will find that I have rightly given the exact number of years with the difference only of a few days. He will also find that this was the solitary instance in which those who put their faith in oracles were justified by the event.
For I well remember how, from the beginning to the end of the war, there was a common and oftenrepeated saying that it was to last thrice nine years.
I lived through the whole of it, being of mature years and judgment, and I took great pains to make out the exact truth. For twenty years I was banished from my country after I held the command at Amphipolis, and associating with both sides, with the Peloponnesians quite as much as with the Athenians, because of my exile, I was thus enabled to watch quietly the course of events.
I will now proceed to narrate the quarrels which after the first ten years broke up the treaty, and the events of the war which followed.