After the Athenians had accepted the plan of Themistocles, he and the
ambassadors set out for Sparta
, and the Athenians
began with great enthusiasm to build the walls, sparing neither houses nor tombs.1
everyone joined in the task, both children and women and, in a word, every alien and slave, no
one of them showing any lack of zeal.
And when the work was
being accomplished with amazing speed both because of the many workmen and the enthusiasm of
them all, Themistocles was summoned by the chief magistrates2
and upbraided for the building of the walls; but he denied that there was any
construction, and urged the magistrates not to believe empty rumours but to dispatch to
trustworthy ambassadors, from whom, he
assured them, they would learn the truth; and as surety for them he offered himself and the
ambassadors who had accompanied him.
following the advice of Themistocles, put him and his companions under guard and dispatched to
their most important men who were to spy
out whatever matter should arouse their curiosity. But time had passed, and the Athenians had
already got so far along with the construction that, when the Lacedaemonian ambassadors arrived
and with denunciations and threats of
violence upbraided them, the Athenians took them into custody, saying that they would release
them only when the Lacedaemonians in turn should release the ambassadors who accompanied
In this manner the Laconians were outgeneralled
and compelled to release the Athenian ambassadors in order to get back their own. And
Themistocles, having by means of so clever a stratagem fortified his native land speedily and
without danger, enjoyed high favour among his fellow citizens.
While the events we have described were taking place, a war
broke out between the Romans and the Aequi and the inhabitants of Tusculum
, and meeting the Aequi in battle the Romans
overcame them and slew many of the enemy, and then they took Tusculum
after a siege and occupied the city of the Aequi.