previous next

The Lacedaemonians together with the Peloponnesians and their other allies invaded Attica for a second time. In their advance through the country they chopped down orchards and burned the farm-buildings, and they laid waste almost the entire land with the exception of the region known as the Tetrapolis.1 This area they spared because their ancestors had once dwelt there and had gone forth from it as their base on the occasion when they had defeated Eurystheus; for they considered it only fair that the benefactors of their ancestors should in turn receive from their descendants the corresponding benefactions.2 [2] As for the Athenians, they could not venture to meet them in a pitched battle, and being confined as they were within the walls, found themselves involved in an emergency caused by a plague; for since a vast multitude of people of every description had streamed together into the city, there was good reason for their falling victim to diseases as they did, because of the cramped quarters, breathing air which had become polluted.3 [3] Consequently, since they were unable to expel the enemy from their territory, they again dispatched many ships against the Peloponnesus, appointing Pericles general. He ravaged a large part of the territory bordering on the sea, plundered some cities, and brought it about that the Lacedaemonians withdrew from Attica. [4] After this the Athenians, now that the trees of their countryside had been cut down and the plague was carrying off great numbers, were plunged into despondency and became angry with Pericles, considering him to have been responsible for their being at war. Consequently they removed him from the generalship, and on the strength of some petty grounds for accusation they imposed a fine upon him of eighty talents.4 [5] After this they dispatched embassies to the Lacedaemonians and asked that the war be brought to an end; but when not a man paid any attention to them, they were forced to elect Pericles general again.

These, then, were the events of this year.

1 "Four-city." This was the north-eastern part of Attica containing the four demes of Marathon, Oenoe, Probalinthus, and Tricorythus, forming an administrative unit.

2 The Athenians had been the only people of Greece to offer a home to the Heracleidae, in Tricorythus of the Tetrapolis; cp. Book 4.57.

3 The detailed description of this plague, whose symptoms resemble more those of typhus than of any other disease, is in Thuc. 2.47 ff

4 Thuc. 2.65.3 mentions only "a fine"; Plut. Per. 35 states that estimates of the fine varied from fifteen to fifty talents; according to Plato (Plat. Gorg. 516a) the charge was embezzlement. The scholia on Aristoph. Cl. 859, explain that Pericles entered in his accounts an expenditure εἰς τὰ δέοντα ("for necessary purposes"), which the Lacedaemonians interpreted as being for bribes and accordingly punished some of their leading men. Also mentioned is the charge that the gold on Athena's statue was not of the weight charged; but Pheidias removed and weighed it, disproving the allegation.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1989)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Attica (Greece) (3)
Peloponnesus (Greece) (1)
Greece (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (4):
    • Plato, Gorgias, 516a
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.47
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.65.3
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 859
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: