However, Pericles was moved by no such things, but gently and silently underwent the ignominy and the hatred, and, sending out an armament of a hundred ships against the Peloponnesus, did not himself sail with it, but remained behind, keeping the city under watch and ward and well in hand, until the Peloponnesians withdrew. Then, by way of soothing the multitude, who, in spite of their enemies' departure, were distressed over the war, he won their favour by distributions of moneys and proposed allotments of conquered lands; the Aeginetans, for instance, he drove out entirely, and parcelled out their island among the Athenians by lot. And some consolation was to be had from what their enemies suffered.
For the expedition around the Peloponnesus ravaged much territory and sacked villages and small cities, while Pericles himself, by land, invaded the Megarid and razed it all. Wherein also it was evident that though their enemies did the Athenians much harm by land, they suffered much too at their hands by sea, and therefore would not have protracted the war to such a length, but would have speedily given up, just as Pericles prophesied in the beginning, had not a terrible visitation from heaven thwarted human calculations.
As it was, in the first place, a pestilential destruction fell upon them1
and devoured clean the prime of their youth and power. It weakened them in body and in spirit, and made them altogether wild against Pericles, so that, for all the world as the mad will attack a physician or a father, so they, in the delirium of the plague, attempted to do him harm, persuaded thereto by his enemies. These urged that the plague was caused by the crowding of the rustic multitudes together into the city,
where, in the summer season, many were huddled together in small dwellings and stifling barracks, and compelled to lead a stay-at-home and inactive life, instead of being in the pure and open air of heaven as they were wont. They said that Pericles was responsible for this, who, because of the war, had poured the rabble from the country into the walled city and then gave that mass of men no employment whatever, but suffered them, thus penned up like cattle, to fill one another full of corruption, and provided them no change or respite.