It happened at this time that a serious civil strife
occurred in Corcyra
accompanied by massacre, which is
said to have been due to various causes but most of all to the mutual hatred that existed
between its own inhabitants.
For never in any state have there
taken place such murderings of citizens nor have there been greater quarrelling and
contentiousness which culminated in bloodshed.1
For it would seem that the number of those who were slain by their fellow
citizens before the present civil strife was some fifteen hundred, and all of these were
And although these misfortunes had already
befallen them, Fortune brought upon them a second disaster, in that she increased once more the
disaffection which prevailed among them. For the foremost Corcyraeans, who desired the
oligarchy, favoured the cause of the Lacedaemonians, whereas the masses which favoured the
democracy were eager to ally themselves with the Athenians.
For the peoples who were struggling for leadership in Greece
were devoted to opposing principles; the Lacedaemonians, for example, made
it their policy to put the control of the government in the hands of the leading citizens of
their allied states, whereas the Athenians regularly established democracies in their cities.
Accordingly the Corcyraeans, seeing that their most
influential citizens were planning to hand the city over to the Lacedaemonians, sent to the
Athenians for an army to protect their city.
, the general of the Athenians, sailed to Corcyra
and left in the city six hundred men from the Messenians
while he himself sailed on with
his ships and cast anchor off the sacred precinct of Hera.
the six hundred, setting out unexpectedly with the partisans of the people's party at the time
of full market3
against the supporters of the Lacedaemonians, arrested some of them, slew others, and drove
more than a thousand from the state; they also set the slaves free and gave citizenship to the
foreigners living among them as a precaution against the great number and influence of the
Now the men who had been exiled from their country
fled to the opposite mainland; but a few days later some people still in the city who favoured
the cause of the exiles seized the market-place, called back the exiles, and essayed a final
decision of the struggle. When night brought an end to the fighting they came to an agreement
with each other, stopped their quarrelling, and resumed living together as one people in their
Such, then, was the end of the massacre in