After eight months the Samians surrendered, and Pericles tore down their walls, took away their ships of war, and laid a heavy fine upon them, part of which they paid at once, and part they agreed to pay at a fixed time, giving hostages therefor. To these details Duris the Samian adds stuff for tragedy, accusing the Athenians and Pericles of great brutality, which is recorded neither by Thucydides, nor Ephorus, nor Aristotle.
But he appears not to speak the truth when he says, forsooth, that Pericles had the Samian trierarchs and marines brought into the market-place of Miletus and crucified there, and that then, when they had already suffered grievously for ten days, he gave orders to break their heads in with clubs and make an end of them, and then cast their bodies forth without burial rites.
At all events, since it is not the wont of Duris, even in cases where he has no private and personal interest, to hold his narrative down to the fundamental truth, it is all the more likely that here, in this instance, he has given a dreadful portrayal of the calamities of his country, that he might calumniate the Athenians.
When Pericles, after his subjection of Samos, had returned to Athens, he gave honorable burial to those who had fallen in the war, and for the oration which he made, according to the custom, over their tombs, he won the greatest admiration.
But as he came down from the bema, while the rest of the women clasped his hand and fastened wreaths and fillets on his head, as though he were some victorious athlete, Elpinice drew nigh and said:
‘This is admirable in thee, Pericles, and deserving of wreaths, in that thou hast lost us many brave citizens, not in a war with Phoenicians or Medes, like my brother Cimon, but in the subversion of an allied and kindred city.’
On Elpinice's saying this, Pericles, with a quiet smile, it is said, quoted to her the verse of Archilochus:—
Thou hadst not else, in spite of years, perfumed thyself.
Ion says that he had the most astonishingly great thoughts of himself for having subjected the Samians; whereas Agamemnon was all of ten years in taking a barbarian city, he had in nine months time reduced the foremost and most powerful people of Ionia.
And indeed his estimate of himself was not unjust, nay, the war actually brought with it much uncertainty and great peril, if indeed, as Thucydides says,2
the city of Samos came within a very little of stripping from Athens her power on the sea.