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The Plataeans dispatched ambassadors to the Thebans demanding that they leave Plataean territory and receive their own captives back. And so, when this had been agreed upon, the Thebans received their captives back,1 restored the booty they had taken, and returned to Thebes. The Plataeans dispatched ambassadors to the Athenians asking for aid, while they themselves gathered the larger part of their possessions into the city. [2] The Athenians, when they learned of what had taken place in Plataea, at once sent a considerable body of soldiers; these arrived in haste, although not before the Thebans, and gathered the rest of the property from the countryside into the city, and then, collecting both the children and women and the rabble,2 sent them off to Athens. [3]

The Lacedaemonians, deciding that the Athenians had broken the truce,3 mustered a strong army from both Lacedaemon and the rest of the Peloponnesians. [4] The allies of the Lacedaemonians at this time were all the inhabitants of the Peloponnesus with the exception of the Argives, who remained neutral; and of the peoples outside of the Peloponnesus the Megarians, Ambraciotes, Leucadians, Phocians, Boeotians, and of the Locrians,4 the majority of those facing Euboea, and the Amphissians of the rest. [5] The Athenians had as allies the peoples of the coast of Asia, namely, the Carians, Dorians, Ionians, and Hellespontines, also all the islanders except the inhabitants of Melos and Thera, likewise the dwellers in Thrace except the Chalcidians and Potidaeans, furthermore the Messenians who dwelt in Naupactus and the Cercyraeans. Of these, the Chians, Lesbians, and Cercyraeans furnished ships,5 and all the rest supplied infantry. The allies, then, on both sides were as we have listed them. [6]

After the Lacedaemonians had prepared for service a strong army, they placed the command in the hands of Archidamus their king. He invaded Attica with his army, made repeated assaults upon its fortified places, and ravaged a large part of the countryside. And when the Athenians, being incensed because of the raiding of their countryside, wished to offer battle to the enemy, Pericles, who was a general6 and held in his hands the entire leadership of the state, urged the young men to make no move, promising that he would expel the Lacedaemonians from Attica without the peril of battle. [7] Whereupon, fitting out one hundred triremes and putting on them a strong force of men, he appointed Carcinus general over them together with certain others and sent them against the Peloponnesus. This force, by ravaging a large extent of the Peloponnesian territory along the sea and capturing some fortresses, struck terror into the Lacedaemonians; consequently they speedily recalled their army from Attica and thus provided a large measure of safety to the Peloponnesians.7 [8] In this manner Athens was delivered from the enemy, and Pericles received approbation among his fellow citizens as having the ability to perform the duties of a general and to fight it out with the Lacedaemonians.

1 Thucydides (Thuc. 2.5.7) says that the Plataeans persuaded the Thebans to withdraw from their territory and that they then slew the Theban captives.

2 Thucydides (Thuc. 2.6.4) calls these "the least efficient of the men."

3 The thirty-year truce concluded in 446 B.C. (chap. 7).

4 Those facing Euboea were the Opuntian Locrians, those on the Corinthian Gulf the Ozolian.

5 There is a lacuna in the Greek; the preceding words of the sentence are taken from Thuc. 2.9.5.

6 The ten generals were the most important Athenian magistrates of this period, and Pericles, elected every year as one of the ten, acted as their president.

7 Many editors read "enemy" for "Peloponnesians," thereby making the Athenians the ones who were made safe. But there is no reason to emend the text. The fleet dispatched by Pericles was ravaging the territory of many of Sparta's Peloponnesian allies; cp. the following chapter, and Thuc. 2.25, 30.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (4):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.6.4
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.25
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.5.7
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.9.5
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