92.Therefore they went diligently on with the fortification, wherein were wickets and entries and backways for the enemy, and desired to have it finished in time.
And though these things were spoken but amongst a few before and in secret, yet when Phrynichus, after his return from his Lacedaemonian ambassage, was by a certain watchman wounded treacherously in the market place when it was full, as he went from the councilhouse, and not far from it fell instantly dead, and the murtherer gone, and that one of his complices, an Argive, taken by The Four Hundred and put to the torture, would confess no man of those named to him nor anything else saving this, that many men used to assemble at the house of the captain of the watch and at other houses;then at length, because this accident bred no alteration, Theramenes and Aristocrates, and as many other either of The Four Hundred or out of that number as were of the same faction proceeded more boldly to assault the government.For now also the fleet, being come about from Laconia and lying upon the coast of Epidaurus, had made incursions upon Aegina.
And Theramenes thereupon alleged that it was improbable that those galleys holding their course for Euboea would have put in at Aegina and then have gone back again to lie at Epidaurus, unless they had been sent for by such men as he had ever accused of the same;and that therefore there was no reason any longer to sit still.
And in the end, after many seditious and suspicious speeches, they fell upon the state in good earnest.For the soldiers that were in Peiraeus employed in fortifying Eetioneia (amongst whom was also Aristocrates, captain of a band of men, and his band with him) seized on Alexicles, principal commander of the soldiers under The Four Hundred, an eminent man of the other side, and carrying him into a house, kept him in hold.
As soon as the news hereof was brought unto The Four Hundred, who chanced at the same time to be sitting in the council-house, they were ready all of them presently to have taken arms, threatening Theramenes and his faction.
He to purge himself was ready to go with them and to help to rescue Alexicles, and taking with him one of the commanders who was also of his faction, went down into Peiraeus.To help him went also Aristarchus and certain horsemen of the younger sort.Great and terrible was the tumult.For in the city they thought Peiraeus was already taken and him that was laid in hold slain;and in Peiraeus they expected every hour the power of the city to come upon them.
At last the ancient men, stopping them that ran up and down the city to arm themselves, and Thucydides of Pharsalus, the city's host, being then there, going boldly and close up to every one he met and crying out unto them not to destroy their country when the enemy lay so near waiting for an advantage, with much ado quieted them and held their hands from spilling their own blood.
Theramenes, coming into Peiraeus (for he also had command over the soldiers), made a shew by his exclaiming of being angry with them;but Aristarchus and those that were of the contrary side were extremely angry in good earnest.
Nevertheless the soldiers went on with their business and repented not a jot of what they had done.Then they asked Theramenes if he thought this fortification were made to any good end and whether it were not better to have it demolished.
And he answered that if they thought good to demolish it, he also thought the same.At which word they presently got up, both the soldiers and also many others of Peiraeus, and fell a digging down of the wall.Now the provocation that they used to the multitude was in these words, that whosoever desired that the sovereignty should be in The Five Thousand instead of The Four Hundred ought also to set himself to the work in hand.
For notwithstanding all this, they thought fit as yet to veil the democracy with the name of The Five Thousand and not to say plainly whosoever will have the sovereignty in the people, lest The Five Thousand should have been extant indeed, and so a man by speaking to some or other of them might do hurt to the business through ignorance.And for this cause it was that The Four Hundred would neither let The Five Thousand be extant nor yet let it be known that they were not.For to make so many participant of the affairs of state they thought was a direct democracy, but to have it doubtful would make them afraid of one another.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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