21.The Athenians, so long as the Lacedaemonians were in the neighbourhood of Eleusis and
the1 plain of Thria, entertained a hope that they would come no further.They remembered how, fourteen years before2, the Lacedaemonian king, Pleistoanax the son of Pausanias, invaded Attica with a
Peloponnesian army, and how after advancing as far as Eleusis and Thria he came no
further, but retreated.And indeed this retreat was the cause of his exile; for he was thought to have been
But when they saw the army in the neighbourhood of Acharnae, and barely seven miles
from the city, they felt the presence of the invader to be intolerable.The devastation of their country before their eyes, which the younger men had never
seen at all, nor the elder except in the Persian invasion, naturally appeared to them a
horrible thing, and the whole people, the young men especially, were anxious to go forth
and put a stop to it.
Knots were formed in the streets, and there were loud disputes, some eager to go out, a
minority resisting.Soothsayers were repeating oracles of the most different kinds, which all found in some
one or other enthusiastic listeners.The Acharnians, who in their own estimation were no small part of the Athenian state,
seeing their land ravaged, strongly insisted that they should go out and fight.The excitement in the city was universal; the people were furious with Pericles, and,
forgetting all his previous warnings, they abused him for not leading them to battle, as
their general should, and laid all their miseries to his charge.
Rage and excitement of the Athenians. Unpopularity of Pericles.
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