previous next

The story breaks off short. Apparently the Athenians are successful both on sea (92. 1; Thuc. i. 41) and land (92. 3); yet we find their fleet in disorder (93), and defeated with the loss of four ships. No doubt the Argive corps suffered severely in the land-fight, but only a success of the Aeginetans on land can account for a second seabattle, and the disorder and final retreat of the Athenians. Hence it has been proposed to transfer to this war the events given by H. as the Argive and Aeginetan version of the earlier war (v. 86, 87 n.; Busolt, ii. 648). That Aegina had the better in the war is proved by the increase of the Athenian navy, which was justified by the exigencies of this war.

The date of this war has been much discussed. H. placed its outbreak before Marathon, as is shown by its position in his narrative and by the pluperfect in ch. 94: Ἀθηναίοισι μὲν δὴ πόλεμος συνῆπτο πρὸς Αἰγινήτας, δὲ Πέρσης τὸ ἑωυτοῦ ἐποίεε. But the reasons for preferring a later date (circ. 488-486) are very strong.

1. The accession of Leotychides, since it follows the arrival of the heralds of Darius, must be placed late in 491 B. C. There is not time before Marathon (490 B. C.) for the discovery of the corruption of the Pythia, the exile of Cleomenes, his restoration and his death (85. 1). Yet his death preceded the demand for the return of the hostages, which led to this war.

2. The Aeginetan war is always treated as the ground or pretext for the creation of a great Athenian navy by Themistocles (vii. 144; Thuc. i. 14), dated by Ath. Pol. 22 to 483 B. C., and clearly immediately preceded the invasion of Xerxes, since in 480 the feud between Athens and Aegina is still the bitterest among patriotic Greeks (vii. 145). The connexion of the Aeginetan war with the Attic navy dates it to the years preceding Salamis. Did the war belong to 491-490 B. C. we might well ask what were the Aeginetans about when Datis and Artaphrenes sacked Eretria and threatened Athens.

3. The oracle (v. 89) bidding the Athenians wait thirty years for their revenge would seem to be a vaticinium post eventum dating from 458 B. C., when Aegina was reduced. If so, it would refer to the greatest war between Athens and Aegina and would date it about 488 B. C. (cf. v. 89 n.).

4. If the Argive war of Cleomenes be correctly placed, circ. 495 B. C. (cf. App. XVII. 3), it would be barely possible that Argos should send a thousand volunteers as early as 490 B. C., though she might have sufficiently recovered to do so four years later. On the whole question cf. Macan, App. VIII, §§ 5, 6; Busolt, ii. 644 f.

5. The dispatch of the whole navy (cf. 89 n.) to Paros in 489 B. C. is irreconcilable with a still undecided struggle with Aegina.

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.

hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 22
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.14
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.41
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: