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When Phrasicleides was archon in Athens, the Eightieth Olympiad was celebrated, that in which Toryllas the Thessalian won the "stadion"; and the Romans elected as consuls Quintus Fabius and Titus Quinctius Capitolinus. During this year, in Asia the Persian generals who had passed over to Cilicia made ready three hundred ships, which they fitted out fully for warfare, and then with their land force they advanced overland through Syria and Phoenicia; and with the fleet accompanying the army along the coast, they arrived at Memphis in Egypt. [2] At the outset they broke the siege of the White Fortress, having struck the Egyptians and the Athenians with terror; but later on, adopting a prudent course, they avoided any frontal encounters and strove to bring the war to an end by the use of stratagems. Accordingly, since the Attic ships lay moored at the island known as Prosopitis, they diverted by means of canals the river which flowed around the island, and thus made the island a part of the mainland. [3] When the ships thus all of a sudden came to rest on dry land, the Egyptians in alarm left the Athenians in the lurch and came to terms with the Persians. The Athenians, being now without allies and seeing that their ships had become useless, set fire to them to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy, and then themselves, undismayed at the alarming plight they were in, fell to exhorting one another to do nothing unworthy of the fights they had won in the past. [4] Consequently, with a display of deeds of valour surpassing in heroism the men who perished in Thermopylae in defence of Greece, they stood ready to fight it out with the enemy. But the Persian generals, Artabazus and Megabyzus, taking note of the exceptional courage of their foes and reasoning that they would be unable to annihilate such men without sacrificing many myriads of their own, made a truce with the Athenians whereby they should with impunity depart from Egypt. [5] So the Athenians, having saved their lives by their courage, departed from Egypt, and making their way through Libya to Cyrene got safely back, as by a miracle, to their native land.2 [6]

While these events were taking place, in Athens Ephialtes the son of Sophonides, who, being a popular leader, had provoked the masses to anger against the Areopagites, persuaded the Assembly to vote to curtail the power of the Council of the Areopagus and to destroy the renowned customs which their fathers had followed. Nevertheless, he did not escape the punishment for attempting such lawlessness, but he was done to death by night and none ever knew how he lost his life.

1 460 B.C.

2 "The most of them perished," says Thucydides (Thuc. 1.110).

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