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After setting in order the affairs of Lampsacus, Lysander sailed against Byzantium and Calchedon. And the people of those cities admitted him, allowing the Athenian garrisons, by the terms of the surrender, to withdraw. And those who had betrayed Byzantium to Alcibiades fled at this time to the Pontus, but afterwards they went to Athens and became Athenian citizens. [2] Now the Athenian garrisons, and in fact every other Athenian whom he saw anywhere, Lysander sent home to Athens, giving them safe conduct if they sailed to that one place and not if they went to any other; for he knew that the more people were collected in the city and Piraeus, the more quickly there would be a scarcity of provisions. Then, after leaving Sthenelaus, a Laconian, as governor of Byzantium and Calchedon, he sailed back to Lampsacus and occupied himself with refitting his ships. [3]

It was at night that the Paralus arrived at Athens with tidings of the disaster, and a sound of wailing ran from Piraeus through the long walls to the city, one man passing on the news to another; and during that night no one slept, all mourning, not for the1 lost alone, but far more for their own selves, thinking that they would suffer such treatment as they had visited upon the Melians,2 colonists of the Lacedaemonians, after reducing them by siege, and upon the Histiaeans and Scionaeans and Toronaeans and Aeginetans and many other Greek peoples. [4] On the following day they convened an Assembly, at which it was resolved to block up all the harbours except one, to repair the walls, to station guards, and in all other respects to get the city ready for a siege. They busied themselves, accordingly, with these matters. [5]

Meanwhile Lysander, sailing out of the Hellespont with two hundred ships, arrived at Lesbos and arranged the affairs of Mytilene and the other cities of the island; and he sent Eteonicus with ten triremes to the places on the Thracian coast, and Eteonicus brought over everything in that region to the side of the Lacedaemonians. [6] Indeed, the rest of the Greek world also had fallen away from the Athenians immediately after the battle, with the exception of Samos; there the people slaughtered the aristocrats and held possession of their city. [7] After this Lysander sent word to Agis, at Decelea, and to Lacedaemon that he was coming with two hundred ships. Thereupon the Lacedaemonians took the field with their whole force, and likewise the rest of the Peloponnesians excepting the Argives, at the command of Pausanias, the other king of the Lacedaemonians. [8] And when all had been gathered together, Pausanias led them to Athens and encamped3 in the Academy. [9] Meantime Lysander, upon reaching Aegina, restored the state to the Aeginetans, gathering together as many of them as he could, and he did the same thing for the Melians also and for all the others who had been deprived of their native states. Then, after laying waste Salamis, he anchored at Piraeus with one hundred and fifty ships and closed the entrance to the harbour against all merchantmen. [10]

Now the Athenians, being thus besieged by land and by sea, knew not what to do, since they had neither ships nor allies nor provisions; and they thought that there was no way out, save only to suffer the pains which they had themselves inflicted, not in retaliation, but in wantonness and unjustly upon the people of small states, for no other single reason than because they were in alliance with the Lacedaemonians. [11] On this account they restored to the disfranchised their political rights and held out steadfastly, refusing to make overtures for peace even though many were dying in the city from starvation. When, however, their provisions had entirely given out, they sent ambassadors to Agis declaring their wish to become allies of the Lacedaemonians while still keeping their walls and Piraeus, and on these terms to conclude a treaty. [12] But Agis bade them go to Lacedaemon, saying that he himself had no authority. And when the ambassadors reported to the Athenians this reply, they sent them to Lacedaemon. [13] But when they were at Sellasia, near Laconia, and the ephors learned from them what proposals they were bringing,—the same, namely, as those which they had presented to Agis,—they directed them to go back again without coming4 a step farther and, if they really had any desire for peace, to take better counsel before they returned. [14] And when the ambassadors reached home and reported this to the people, despondency descended upon all; for they imagined that they would be reduced to slavery, and that while they were sending another set of ambassadors, many would die of the famine. [15] Nevertheless, no one wanted to make any proposal involving the destruction of the walls; for when Archestratus said in the Senate that it was best to make peace with the Lacedaemonians on the terms they offered—and the terms were that they should tear down a portion ten stadia long of each of the two long walls,—he was thrown into prison, and a decree was passed forbidding the making of a proposal of this sort. [16]

This being the condition of affairs in Athens, Theramenes said in the Assembly that if they were willing to send him to Lysander, he would find out before he came back whether the Lacedaemonians were insistent in the matter of the walls because they wished to reduce the city to slavery, or in order to obtain a guarantee of good faith. Upon being sent, however, he stayed with Lysander three months and more, waiting for the time when, on account of the failure of provisions, the Athenians would agree to anything and everything which might be proposed. [17] And when he returned in the fourth month, he reported in the Assembly that Lysander had detained him all this time and had then directed him to go to Lacedaemon, saying that he had no authority in the matters concerning which Theramenes asked for information, but only the ephors. After this Theramenes was chosen ambassador to Lacedaemon with5 full power, being at the head of an embassy of ten. [18] Lysander meanwhile sent Aristoteles, an Athenian exile, in company with some Lacedaemonians, to report to the ephors that the answer he had made to Theramenes was that they only had authority in the matter of peace and war. [19] Now when Theramenes and the other ambassadors were at Sellasia and, on being asked with what proposals they had come, replied that they had full power to treat for peace, the ephors thereupon gave orders to summon them to Lacedaemon. When they arrived, the ephors called an assembly, at which the Corinthians and Thebans in particular, though many other Greeks agreed with them, opposed making a treaty with the Athenians and favoured destroying their city. [20] The Lacedaemonians, however, said that they would not enslave a Greek city which had done great service amid the greatest perils that had befallen Greece,6 and they offered to make peace on these conditions: that the Athenians should destroy the long walls and the walls of Piraeus, surrender all their ships except twelve, allow their exiles to return, count the same people friends and enemies as the Lacedaemonians did, and follow the Lacedaemonians both by land and by sea wherever they should lead the way. [21]

So Theramenes and his fellow-ambassadors brought back this word to Athens. And as they were entering the city, a great crowd gathered around them, fearful that they had returned unsuccessful; for it was no longer possible to delay, on account of the number who were dying of the famine. [22] On the next day the ambassadors reported to the Assembly7 the terms on which the Lacedaemonians offered to make peace; Theramenes acted as spokesman for the embassy, and urged that it was best to obey the Lacedaemonians and tear down the walls. And while some spoke in opposition to him, a far greater number supported him, and it was voted to accept the peace. [23] After this Lysander sailed into Piraeus, the exiles returned, and the Peloponnesians with great enthusiasm began to tear down the walls to the music of flute-girls, thinking that that day was the beginning of freedom for Greece. [24]

So the year ended, in the middle of which Dionysius of Syracuse, the son of Hermocrates, became tyrant, after the Carthaginians had been defeated in battle by the Syracusans, but had captured Acragas by famine, the Siceliots abandoning the city.

1 405 B.C.

2 When Melos surrendered to the Athenians, in 416 B.C., the men who were taken were put to death and the women and children sold into slavery (Thuc. v. 116). The Aeginetans were expelled from their island in 431 B.C. Seven years later a large number of them were captured in their place of refuge, in Peloponnesus, and put to death (Thuc. ii. 27 and iv. 57). The other peoples mentioned had been similarly exiled, enslaved, or massacred.

3 405 B.C.

4 405 B.C.

5 405 B.C.

6 i.e., the Persian wars.

7 405 B.C.

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  • Cross-references to this page (6):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), E´PHORI
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), GEROU´SIA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), NOMEN
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ATHE´NAE
    • Smith's Bio, Thera'menes
    • Smith's Bio, Thucy'dides
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), NOMO´THETES
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