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Since the siege dragged on and the Athenians, after their victory1 with their ships, were preventing the conveyance of food to the land, the soldiers caught on the island2 were in danger of death from starvation. [2] Consequently the Lacedaemonians, fearing for the men left on the island, sent an embassy to Athens to discuss the ending of the war. When no agreement was being reached, they asked for an exchange of men,3 the Athenians to get back an equal number of their soldiers now held prisoner; but not even to this would the Athenians agree. Whereupon the ambassadors spoke out frankly in Athens, that by their unwillingness to effect an exchange of prisoners the Athenians acknowledged that Lacedaemonians were better men than they. [3] Meanwhile the Athenians wore down the bodily strength of the Spartans on Sphacteria through their lack of provisions and accepted their formal surrender. Of the men who gave themselves up one hundred and twenty were Spartans and one hundred and eighty were of their allies. [4] These, then, were brought by Cleon the leader of the populace, since he held the office of general when this took place, in chains to Athens; and the people voted to keep them in custody in case the Lacedaemonians should be willing to end the war, but to slay all the captives if they should decide to continue it. [5] After this they sent for select troops from the Messenians who had been settled in Naupactus,4 joined to them an adequate force from their other allies, and turned over to them the garrisoning of Pylos; for they believed that the Messenians, by reason of their hatred of the Spartans, would show the greatest zeal in harrying Laconia by forays, once they were operating from a strong position as their base.

Such were the events about Pylos in this year.

1 Over the Spartan fleet; cp. Thuc. 4.14.

2 Sphacteria.

3 The Lacedaemonians would get back the Spartans upon Sphacteria.

4 Cp. Book 11.84.7-8.

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Sphacteria (Greece) (3)
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