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After he had spent some little time in this business, and had sent messengers to Lacedaemon to report that he was sailing up with two hundred ships, he made a junction in Attica with the forces of Agis and Pausanias, the kings, believing that he would speedily capture the city.1 But since the Athenians held out against them, he took his ships and crossed again to Asia. Here he suppressed the governments of all the remaining cities in like manner, and set up decadarchies, many citizens being slain in each city, and many banished; he also drove out all the Samians, and handed their cities over to the men whom they had banished.2 [2] Moreover, when he had taken Sestos out of the hands of the Athenians, he would not permit the Sestians to dwell there, but gave the city and its territory to be divided among men who had been pilots and boatswains under him. And this was the first step of his which was resisted by the Lacedaemonians, who restored the Sestians again to their country. [3] But there were other measures of Lysander upon which all the Greeks looked with pleasure, when, for instance, the Aeginetans, after a long time,3 received back their own city, and when the Melians4 and Scionaeans5 were restored to their homes by him, after the Athenians had been driven out and had delivered back the cities.

And now, when he learned that the people of Athens were in a wretched plight from famine, he sailed into the Piraeus, and reduced the city, which was compelled to make terms on the basis of his commands. [4] It is true one hears it said by Lacedaemonians that Lysander wrote to the ephors thus: ‘Athens is taken’; and that the ephors wrote back to Lysander: ‘‘Taken’ were enough’; but this story was invented for its neatness' sake.6 The actual decree of the ephors ran thus: ‘This is what the Lacedaemonian authorities have decided: tear down the Piraeus and the long walls; quit all the cities and keep to your own land; if you do these things, and restore your exiles, you shall have peace, if you want it. [5] As regards the number of your ships, whatsoever shall be decided there, this do.’ 7 This edict was accepted by the Athenians, on the advice of Theramenes the son of Hagnon, who, they say, being asked at this time by Cleomenes, one of the young orators, if he dared to act and speak the contrary to Themistocles, by surrendering those walls to the Lacedaemonians which that statesman had erected in defiance of the Lacedaemonians, replied: [6] ‘But I am doing nothing, young man, that is contrary to Themistocles; for the same walls which he erected for the safety of the citizens, we shall tear down for their safety. And if walls made cities prosperous, then Sparta must be in the worst plight of all, since she has none.’

1 Cf. Xen. Hell. 2.2.5-9.

2 This was after the fall of Athens (Xen. Hell. 2.3.6 f.).

3 They had been expelled by the Athenians in 431 B.C.

4 The island and city of Melos were captured and depopulated by the Athenians in the winter of 416-415 B.C.

5 The city of Scione, on the Chalcidic peninsula, was captured and depopulated by the Athenians in 421 B.C.

6 To illustrate the Spartan passion for brevity of speech.

7 Cf. Xen. Hell. 2.2.20.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXSI´LIUM
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PLATAEA
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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