the Lesbians revolted from the Athenians; for they
harboured against them the complaint that, when they wished to merge all the cities of
with the city of the Mytilenaeans,1
Athenians had prevented it.
Consequently, after dispatching
ambassadors to the Peloponnesians and concluding an alliance with them, they advised the
Spartans to make an attempt to seize the supremacy at sea, and toward this design they promised
to supply many triremes for the war.
The Lacedaemonians were
glad to accept this offer, but while they were busied with the building of the triremes, the
Athenians forestalled their completion by sending forthwith a force against Lesbos
, having manned forty ships and chosen Cleinippides as
their commander, He gathered reinforcements from the allies and put in at Mytilene
In a naval
battle which followed the Mytilenaeans were defeated and enclosed within a siege of their city.
Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians had voted to send aid to the Mytilenaeans and were making ready a
strong fleet, but the Athenians forestalled them by sending to Lesbos
additional ships along with a thousand hoplites.
Their commander, Paches the son of Epiclerus, upon arriving at Mytilene
, took over the force already there, threw a wall
about the city, and kept launching continuous assaults upon it not only by land but by sea as
The Lacedaemonians sent
forty-five triremes to Mytilene
under the command
of Alcidas, and they also invaded Attica
their allies; here they visited the districts of Attica
which they had passed by before, ravaged the countryside, and then returned
And the Mytilenaeans, who were distressed by lack of
food and the war and were also quarrelling among themselves, formally surrendered the city to
While in Athens
the people were deliberating on what action they should take against the
Mytilenaeans, Cleon, the leader of the populace and a man of cruel and violent nature, spurred
on the people, declaring that they should slay all the male Mytilenaeans from the youth upward
and sell into slavery the children and women.
In the end the
Athenians were won over and voted as Cleon had proposed, and messengers were dispatched to
to make known to the general the
measures decreed by the popular assembly.
Even as Paches had
finished reading the decree a second decree arrived, the opposite of the first. Paches was glad
when he learned that the Athenians had changed their minds, and gathering the Mytilenaeans in
assembly he declared them free of the charges as well as of the greatest fears. The Athenians
pulled down the walls of Mytilene
out in allotments2
the entire island of Lesbos
with the exception of the territory of the Methymnaeans.
Such, then, was the end of the revolt of the Lesbians from the Athenians.