90.The Lacedaemonians knew what would happen and sent an embassy to Athens. They would1 rather themselves have seen neither the Athenians nor any one else protected by
a wall; but their main motive was the importunity of their allies, who dreaded not only
the Athenian navy, which had until lately been quite small, but also the spirit which
had animated them in the Persian War.
So the Lacedaemonians requested them not to restore their walls2, but on the contrary to join with them in razing the fortifications of other
towns outside the Peloponnesus which had them standing. They did not reveal their real wishes or the suspicion which they entertained of the
Athenians, but argued that the Barbarian, if he again attacked them, would then have no
strong place3 which he
could make his head-quarters as he had lately made Thebes.Peloponnesus would be a sufficient retreat for all Hellas and a good base of
To this the Athenians, by the advice of Themistocles, replied, that they
would send an embassy of their own to discuss the matter, and so got rid of the Spartan
envoys.He then proposed that he should himself start at once for Sparta, and that they should
give him colleagues who were not to go immediately, but were to wait until the wall
reached the lowest height which could possibly be defended.The whole people, who were in the city, men, women, and children, should join in the
work, and they must spare no building, private or public, which could be of use, but
demolish them all.
Having given these instructions and intimated that he would manage affairs at Sparta,
On his arrival he did not at once present himself officially to the magistrates, but
delayed and made excuses;and when any of them asked him ‘why he did not
appear before the assembly,’ he said ‘that he was waiting for his colleagues, who had
been detained by some engagement; he was daily expecting them, and wondered that they
had not appeared.’
The Lacedaemonians at the instigation other allies try to prevent the Athenians
from rebuilding their walls.
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