Then, convinced that what they had long expected was come, they rushed in a body to the residence of the tyrant, carrying firebrands. A great flame arose as the house caught fire, and it was visible as far as Corinth, so that the people of Corinth were astonished and were on the point of sallying forth to help. Nicocles, then, slipped out unnoticed by way of certain underground passages, and ran away from the city,
and the soldiers, after extinguishing the fire with the aid of the Sicyonians, plundered his house. Nor did Aratus prevent this, but put the rest of the wealth of the tyrants at the disposition of the citizens. And not a man was killed or even wounded at all, either among the assailants or their enemies, but fortune preserved the enterprise free from the taint of civil bloodshed.
Aratus restored eighty exiles who had been banished by Nicocles, and those also who had fled the city during the reign of former tyrants, to the number of five hundred. These had long been wanderers, yes, for close to fifty years. And now that they had come back, most of them in poverty, they laid claim to the property which they had formerly held, and by going to their farms and houses threw Aratus into great perplexity. For he saw that the city was plotted against by outsiders and eyed with jealousy by Antigonus because it had regained its freedom, while it was full of internal disturbances and faction.
Wherefore, as things stood, he thought it best to attach the city promptly to the Achaean League; and so, though the people of Sicyon were Dorians, they voluntarily assumed the name and civil polity of the Achaeans, who at that time had neither brilliant repute nor great strength. For most of them lived in small cities, owned land that was neither fertile nor extensive, and were neighbours to a sea that had no harbours and for the most part washed a precipitous and rocky shore.
But this people more than any other showed the world that Greek prowess was invincible, whenever it enjoyed good order, harmonious discipline, and a sensible leader. For though they had taken almost no part in the ancient glories of Greece, and at this time, though counted all together, had not the power of a single considerable city,
still, owing to their good counsels and their concord, and because they were able, in place of envying, to obey and follow the one who was pre-eminent among them for virtue, they not only preserved their own freedom in the midst of so great cities and powers and tyrannies, but also were continually saving and setting free very many of the other Greeks.