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At the close of this year, in Athens the archon was Isarchus and in Rome the consuls elected were Titus Quinctius and Gaius Julius, and among the Eleians the Eighty-ninth Olympiad was celebrated, that in which Symmachus2 won the "stadion" for the second time. This year the Athenians chose as general Nicias, the son of Niceratus, and assigning to him sixty triremes and three thousand hoplites, they ordered him to plunder the allies of the Lacedaemonians. [2] He sailed to Melos as the first place, where he ravaged their territory and for a number of days laid siege to the city; for it was the only island of the Cyclades which was maintaining its alliance with the Lacedaemonians, being a Spartan colony. [3] Nicias was unable to take the city, however, since the Melians defended themselves gallantly, and he then sailed to Oropus3 in Boeotia. Leaving his ships there, he advanced with his hoplites into the territory of the Tanagraeans, where he fell in with another Athenian force which was commanded by Hipponicus, the son of Callias. [4] When the two armies had united, the generals pressed forward, plundering the land; and when the Thebans sallied forth to the rescue, the Athenians offered them battle, in which they inflicted heavy casualties and were victorious. [5]

After the battle the soldiers with Hipponicus made their way back to Athens, but Nicias, returning to his ships, sailed along the coast to Locris, and when he had laid waste the country on the coast, he added to his fleet forty triremes from the allies, so that he possessed in all one hundred ships. He also enrolled no small number of soldiers and gathered together a strong armament, whereupon he sailed against Corinth. [6] There he disembarked the soldiers, and when the Corinthians drew up their forces against them, the Athenians gained the victory in two battles, slew many of the enemy, and set up a trophy. There perished in the fighting eight Athenians and more than three hundred Corinthians.4 [7] Nicias then sailed to Crommyon,5 ravaged its territory, and seized its stronghold. Then he immediately removed from there and built a stronghold near Methone,6 in which he left a garrison for the twofold purpose of protecting the place and ravaging the neighbouring countryside; then Nicias plundered the coast and returned to Athens. [8]

After these events the Athenians sent sixty ships and two thousand hoplites to Cythera,7 the expedition being under the command of Nicias and certain other generals. Nicias attacked the island, hurled assaults upon the city, and received its formal surrender. And leaving a garrison behind on the island he sailed off to the Peloponnesus and ravaged the territory along the coast. [9] And Thyreae, which lies on the border between Laconia and Argolis, he took by siege, making slaves of its inhabitants, and razed it to the ground; and the Aeginetans, who inhabited the city, together with the commander of the garrison, Tantalus the Spartan, he took captive and carried off to Athens. And the Athenians fettered Tantalus and kept him under guard together with the other prisoners, as well as the Aeginetans.

1 424 B.C.

2 Of Messene; cp. chap. 49.1.

3 Oropus was always debatable territory between Attica and Boeotia.

4 Thuc. 4.44.6 states that two hundred and twelve Corinthians died, and of the Athenians "somewhat fewer than fifty."

5 In Megaris.

6 Strabo states that the correct name was Methana (in Argolis; cp. Thuc. 4.45.

7 The large island off the south-eastern tip of Laconia.

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