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53. Meanwhile Peisander and the other envoys who had been sent from Samos arrived at Athens1 and made their proposals to the people. They said much in few words, insisting above all that if the Athenians restored Alcibiades and modified their democracy they might secure the alliance of the King and gain the victory over the Peloponnesians. [2] There was great opposition to any change in the democracy, and the enemies of Alcibiades were loud in protesting that it would be a dreadful thing if he were permitted to return in defiance of the law. The Eumolpidae and Ceryces called heaven and earth to witness that the city must never restore a man who had been banished for profaning the mysteries. Amid violent expressions of indignation Peisander came forward, and having up the objectors one by one he pointed out to them that the Peloponnesians had a fleet ready for action as large as their own, that they numbered more cities among their allies, and that they were furnished with money by Tissaphernes and the King; whereas the Athenians had spent everything: [3] he then asked them whether there was the least hope of saving the country unless the King could be won over. They all acknowledged that there was none. He then said to them plainly:—

'But this alliance is impossible unless we are governed in a wiser manner, and office is confined to a smaller number: then the King will trust us. Do not let us be dwelling on the form of the constitution2 which we may hereafter change as we please, when the very existence of Athens is at stake. And we must restore Alcibiades, who is the only man living capable of saving us.'

1 Peisander and his colleagues arrive at. Athens and insist on the recall of Alcibiades and the modification of the democracy. Violent indignation is aroused.

2 Reading βουλεύωμεν with most MSS.

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  • Commentary references to this page (19):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 688
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 6, 6.27
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.38
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.43
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.52
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.54
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.64
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.67
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.90
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.81
    • Harold North Fowler, Commentary on Thucydides Book 5, 5.10
    • Harold North Fowler, Commentary on Thucydides Book 5, 5.81
    • Harold North Fowler, Commentary on Thucydides Book 5, 5.87
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.137
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.26
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.35
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.38
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.55
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.85
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (11):
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