Since the siege dragged on and the Athenians, after
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.
Consequently the Lacedaemonians, fearing for the men left on
the island, sent an embassy to Athens
the ending of the war. When no agreement was being reached, they asked for an exchange of
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.
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.
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.
this they sent for select troops from the Messenians who had been settled in Naupactus
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
by forays, once they were operating
from a strong position as their base.
Such were the events about
in this year.