previous next

The Lacedaemonians, then, and their allies were gathering together in Phocis, and the Thebans had withdrawn to their own country and were guarding the passes. As for the Athenians, since they saw that the Thebans were growing in power through their help and still were not contributing money for their fleet, while they were themselves being worn out by extraordinary taxes, by plundering expeditions from Aegina, and by guarding their territory,1 they conceived a desire to cease from the war, and sending ambassadors to Lacedaemon, concluded peace. [2]

Two of the Athenian ambassadors, acting in accordance with a decree of the state, sailed directly from there and gave orders to Timotheus to sail back home, inasmuch as there was peace; as he was sailing back, however, he landed in their country the exiles of the Zacynthians. [3] And when the Zacynthians in the city sent to the Lacedaemonians and told them the sort of treatment they had received at the hands of Timotheus, the Lacedaemonians immediately deemed the Athenians guilty of wrong-doing, set about preparing a fleet again, and fixed the proportionate contingents, for a total of sixty ships, from Lacedaemon itself, Corinth, Leucas, Ambracia, Elis, Zacynthus, Achaea, Epidaurus, Troezen, Hermion, and Haliae. [4] Then they put Mnasippus in command of this fleet as admiral and directed him to look after all their interests in that part of the sea, and especially to make an expedition against Corcyra. They likewise sent to Dionysius,2 pointing out that it was advantageous to him also that Corcyra should not be under the Athenians. [5]

Mnasippus, accordingly, as soon as his fleet had been gathered together, set sail to Corcyra; and besides the troops from Lacedaemon who served with him he also had no fewer than one thousand five hundred mercenaries. [6] Now when he had disembarked he was master of the country, laid waste the land, which was most beautifully cultivated and planted, and destroyed magnificent dwellings and wine-cellars with which the farms were furnished;3 the result was, it was said, that his soldiers became so luxurious that they would not drink any wine unless it had a fine bouquet. Furthermore, very many slaves and cattle were captured on the farms. [7] Afterwards he encamped with his land forces on a hill which was distant from the city about five stadia and situated between the city and the country, so that he might from there intercept any of the Corcyraeans who might try to go out to their lands; then he had the sailors from his ships encamp on the other side of the city, at a point from which he thought they would observe in good time any vessels that approached and prevent their coming in. In addition he also maintained a blockade at the mouth of the harbour when the weather did not interfere. [8] In this way, then, he held the city besieged.

When the Corcyraeans found themselves unable to get anything from their farms because they were overmastered by land, while on the other hand nothing was brought in to them by water because they were overmastered by sea, they were in great straits. [9] Accordingly, sending to the Athenians, they begged them to come to their assistance, and pointed out that they would lose a great advantage if they were deprived of Corcyra, and would add great strength to their enemies; for from no other state, they said, except Athens, could come a greater number of ships or a greater amount of money. Further, Corcyra was situated in a favourable position with respect to the Corinthian Gulf and the states which reach down to its shores, in a favourable position for doing damage to the territory of Laconia, and in an extremely favourable position with respect to Epirus across the way and the coastwise route from Sicily to Peloponnesus.4 [10] When the Athenians heard these things they came to the conclusion that they must give serious care to the matter, and they sent out Ctesicles as general with about six hundred peltasts and requested Alcetas5 to help to convey them across. [11] Accordingly these troops were brought across by night to a place in the country of Corcyra, and made their way into the city. The Athenians also voted to man sixty ships, and elected Timotheus as commander of them. [12] But he was unable to man his ships at Athens, and6 therefore set sail for the islands and endeavoured to complete his crews there, thinking that it was a serious matter to sail light-heartedly around Peloponnesus to attack ships with well-trained crews. [13] The Athenians, however, believing that he was using up the time of the year which was favourable for his voyage, did not pardon him, but deposed him from his office and chose Iphicrates in his place. [14] As soon as he assumed office, he proceeded to man his ships expeditiously, and compelled his captains to do their duty. He also obtained from the Athenians whatever war-ships were cruising here or there in the neighbourhood of Attica, as well as the Paralus7 and the Salaminia, saying that if matters in Corcyra turned out successfully, he would send them back many ships. And his ships amounted in all to about seventy. [15]

Meanwhile the Corcyraeans were suffering so greatly from hunger that on account of the number of the deserters Mnasippus issued a proclamation directing that whoever deserted should be sold into slavery. And when they kept on deserting none the less, at last he even tried to drive them back with8 the scourge. Those in the city, however, would not admit the slaves within the wall again, and many died outside. [16] Now Mnasippus, seeing these things, and believing that he all but had possession of the city already, was trying innovations with his mercenaries. He had before this dismissed some of them from his service, and he now owed those who remained as much as two months' pay. This was not, so it was said, because he lacked money, for most of the states had sent him money instead of men,9 because it was an overseas expedition. [17] Now the people in the city, observing from their towers that the enemy's posts were less carefully guarded than formerly, and that the men were scattered through the country, made a sally, capturing some of them and cutting down others. [18] When Mnasippus perceived this, he put on his armour and went to the rescue himself, with all the hoplites he had, and at the same time ordered the captains and commanders of divisions to lead forth the mercenaries. [19] And when some captains replied that it was not easy to keep men obedient unless they were given provisions, he struck one of them with a staff and another with the spike of his spear. So it was, then, that when his forces issued from the city with him they were all dispirited and hostile to him — a situation that is by no means conducive to fighting. [20]

Now after he had formed the troops in line, Mnasippus himself turned to flight those of the enemy who were in front of the gates, and pursued them. When, however, these came near the wall, they turned about, and from the tombstones threw spears and javelins upon the Lacedaemonians; meanwhile10 others sallied out by the other gates and in mass formation attacked those who were at the extreme end of the line. [21] These latter, who were drawn up only eight deep, thinking that the outer end of the phalanx was too weak, undertook to swing it around upon itself.11 But as soon as they began the backward movement, the enemy fell upon them, in the belief that they were in flight, and they did not go on and swing forward; furthermore, those who were next to them also began to flee. [22] As for Mnasippus, while he was unable to aid the troops which were hard pressed, because the enemy was attacking him in front, he was left with an ever smaller number of men. Finally, all of the enemy massed themselves together and charged upon Mnasippus and his troops, which were by this time very few. And the citizens, seeing what was going on, came out to join in the attack. [23] Then after they had killed Mnasippus, all straightway joined in the pursuit. And they probably would have captured the very camp, along with its stockade, had not the pursuers turned back upon seeing the crowd of camp-followers, of attendants, and of slaves, imagining that there was some fighting ability in them. [24] At this time, accordingly, the Corcyraeans set up a trophy and gave back the bodies of the dead under a truce. And after this the people in the city were stouter of heart, while those outside were in the utmost despondency. For there was not only a report that Iphicrates was already practically at hand, but the Corcyraeans were in fact also manning ships. [25] Then Hypermenes, who chanced to be vice-admiral under12 Mnasippus, manned fully the entire fleet which he had there, and after sailing round to the stockade and filling all his transports with the slaves and the captured property, sent them off; he himself, however, with his marines and such of the soldiers as had been left alive, kept guard over the stockade; [26] but finally they, too, embarked upon the triremes in great confusion and went sailing off, leaving behind them a great deal of corn, much wine, and many slaves and sick soldiers; for they were exceedingly afraid that they would be caught on the island by the Athenians. And so they reached Leucas in safety. [27]

As for Iphicrates, when he began his voyage around Peloponnesus he went on with all needful preparations for a naval battle as he sailed; for at the outset he had left his large sails behind him at Athens, since he expected to fight, and now, further, he made but slight use of his smaller sails, even if the wind was favourable; by making his voyage, then, with the oar, he kept his men in better condition of body and caused the ships to go faster. [28] Furthermore, whenever the expedition was going to take the noonday or the evening meal at any particular spot, he would often draw back the head of the column from the shore opposite the place in question; then he would turn the line around again, cause the triremes to head toward the land, and start them off at a signal to race to the shore. It was counted a great prize of victory to be the first to get water or anything else they needed, and the first to get their meal. On the other hand, those who reached the shore last incurred a great penalty in that they came off worse in all these points, and in13 the fact that they had to put to sea again at the same time as the rest when the signal was given; for the result was that those who came in first did everything at their leisure, while those who came in last had to hurry. [29] Again, in setting watches, if he chanced to be taking the midday meal in a hostile country, he posted some on the land, as is proper, but besides he hoisted the masts on the ships and had men keep watch from their tops. These men, therefore, could see much farther, from their higher point of view, than those on the level. Further, wherever he dined or slept, he would not have a fire inside the camp during the night, but kept a light burning in front of his forces, so that no one could approach unobserved. Frequently, however, if it was good weather, he would put to sea again immediately after dining; and if there was a favourable breeze, they sailed and rested at the same time, while if it was necessary to row, he rested the sailors by turns. [30] Again, when he sailed by day, he would lead the fleet, by signals, at one time in column and at another in line of battle; so that, while still pursuing their voyage, they had at the same time practised and become skilled in all the manoeuvres of battle before they reached the sea which, as they supposed, was held by the enemy. And although for the most part they took both their noonday and their evening meals in the enemy's country, nevertheless, by doing only the necessary things, he always got to sea before the enemy's forces arrived to repel him and speedily got under way again. [31]

At the time of Mnasippus' death Iphicrates chanced to be near the Sphagiae.14 Then, after reaching Elis and sailing past the mouth of the15 Alpheus, he anchored beneath the promontory called Ichthys. From there he put to sea on the following day for Cephallenia, having his fleet in such order and making the voyage in such a way that, if it should be necessary to fight, he should be ready in all essential respects to do so. For he had not heard the news of Mnasippus' death from any eyewitness, but suspected that it was told to deceive him, and hence was on his guard; when he arrived at Cephallenia, however, he there got definite information, and so rested his forces. [32]

Now I am aware that all these matters of practice and training are customary whenever men expect to engage in a battle by sea, but that which I commend in Iphicrates is this, that when it was incumbent upon him to arrive speedily at the place where he supposed he should fight with the enemy, he discovered a way to keep his men from being either, by reason of the voyage they had made, unskilled in the tactics of fighting at sea, or, by reason of their having been trained in such tactics, any the more tardy in arriving at their destination. [33]

After subduing the cities in Cephallenia he sailed to Corcyra. There, upon hearing that ten triremes were sailing thither from Dionysius to aid the Lacedaemonians, he first went in person and looked over the ground to find a point from which any who approached the island could be seen and the men stationed there to send signals to the city would be visible; he then stationed his watchers at that point. [34] He also agreed with them as to how they were to signal when the enemy were approaching and when they were at anchor. Then he gave his orders to twenty of the captains, whose duty it should be to16 follow him when the herald gave the word; and in case anyone failed to follow, he warned him that he would not have occasion to find fault with his punishment. Now when the signal came that the triremes were approaching, and when the word was given by the herald, the ardour of all was a sight worth seeing; for there was no one among those who were to sail who did not run to get aboard his ship. [35] When Iphicrates had reached the place where the enemy's triremes were, he found the crews of all save one already disembarked on the shore, but Melanippus, the Rhodian, had not only advised the others not to remain there, but had manned his own ship and was sailing out to sea. Now although he met the ships of Iphicrates, he nevertheless escaped, but all the ships from Syracuse were captured, along with their crews. [36] Thereupon Iphicrates cut off the beaks and towed the triremes into the harbour of Corcyra; as for the crews, he concluded an agreement that each man should pay a fixed ransom, with the exception of Crinippus the commander, whom he kept under guard, intending either to exact a very large ransom or to sell him. Crinippus, however, was so mortified that he died by a self-inflicted death, and Iphicrates let the rest go, accepting Corcyraeans as sureties for the ransoms. [37] Now he maintained his sailors for the most part by having them work for the Corcyraeans on their lands; the peltasts, however, and the hoplites from his ships he took with him and crossed over to Acarnania. There he gave aid to the cities which were friendly, in case any of them needed aid, and made war upon the Thyrians, who were very valiant men and were in possession of a very strong fortress. [38] Furthermore,17 he took over the fleet which was at Corcyra, and with almost ninety18 ships first sailed to Cephallenia and collected money, in some cases with the consent of the people, in other cases against their will. Then he made preparations to inflict damage upon the territory of the Lacedaemonians, and to bring over to his side such of the other hostile states in that region as were willing and to make war upon such as would not yield. [39]

Now for my part I not only commend this campaign in particular among all the campaigns of Iphicrates, but I commend, further, his directing the Athenians to choose as his colleagues Callistratus, the popular orator, who was not very favourably inclined toward him, and Chabrias, who was regarded as a very good general. For if he thought them to be able men and hence wished to take them as advisers, he seems to me to have done a wise thing, while on the other hand if he believed them to be his adversaries and wished in so bold a way to prove that he was neither remiss nor neglectful in any point, this seems to me to be the act of a man possessed of great confidence in himself. He, then, was occupied with these things.

1 374 B.C.

2 Tyrant of Syracuse.

3 374 B.C.

4 374 B.C.

5 cp. i. 7.

6 373 B.C.

7 cp. II. i. 28.

8 373 B.C.

9 Under the arrangement described in v. ii. 21.

10 373 B.C.

11 The ἀναστροφή involved two movements, (1) a facing about, followed by a march to the rear, and (2) a turning of the line until it stood behind the adjacent troops, thus doubling the depth of the phalanx. In this case the enemy's attack prevented the accomplishment of the second movement.

12 373 B.C.

13 373 B.C.

14 Islands situated off Pylos in Laconia.

15 373 B.C.

16 373 B.C.

17 372 B.C.

18 The fleet of the Corcyraeans (cp. 24 above) having been added to Iphicrates' original seventy (14) ships. The text, however, appears to be faulty.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1900)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
373 BC (7)
374 BC (3)
372 BC (1)
hide References (13 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: