Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Plutarch
Pages of Pericles

Previous | Next


the Peloponnesus, having set out from Pegae, or The Fountains, the
port of Megara, with a hundred galleys. For he not only laid waste
the sea-coast, as Tolmides had done before, but also, advancing far
up into the mainland with the soldiers he had on board, by the terror
of his appearance drove many within their walls; and at Nemea, with
main force, routed and raised a trophy over the Sicyonians, who stood
their ground and joined battle with him. And having taken on board
a supply of soldiers into the galleys out of Achaia, then in league
with Athens, he crossed with the fleet to the opposite continent,
and, sailing along by the mouth of the river Achelous, overran Acarnania
and shut up the Oeniadae within their city walls, and having ravaged
and wasted their country, weighed anchor for home with the double
advantage of having shown himself formidable to his enemies, and at
the same time safe and energetic to his fellow citizens; for there
was not so much as any chance miscarriage that happened, the whole
voyage through, to those who were under his charge.
Entering also the Euxine Sea with a large and finely equipped fleet,
he obtained for the Greek cities any new arrangements they wanted,
and entered into friendly relations with them; and to the barbarous
nations, and kings and chiefs round about them, displayed the greatness
of the power of the Athenians, their perfect ability avid confidence
to sail where-ever they had a mind, and to bring the whole sea under
their control. He left the Sinopians thirteen ships of war, with soldiers
under the command of Lamachus, to assist them against Timesileus the
tyrant; and when he and his accomplices had been thrown out, obtained
a decree that six hundred of the Athenians that were willing should
sail to Sinope and plant themselves there with the Sinopians, sharing
among them the houses and land which the tyrant and his party had
previously held.
But in other things he did not comply with the giddy impulses of the
citizens, nor quit his own resolutions to follow their fancies, when,
carried away with the thought of their strength and great success,
they were eager to interfere again in Egypt, and to disturb the King
of Persia's maritime dominions. Nay, there were a good many who were,
even then, possessed with that unblest and inauspicious passion for
Sicily, which afterward the orators of Alcibiades's party blew up
into a flame. There were some also who dreamt of Tuscany and Carthage,
and not without plausible reason in their present large dominion and
prosperous course of their affairs.
But Pericles curbed this passion for foreign conquest, and unsparingly
pruned and cut down their ever busy fancies for a multitude of undertakings;
and directed their power for the most part to securing and consolidating
what they had already got, supposing it would be quite enough for
them to do, if they could keep the Lacedaemonians in check; to whom
he entertained all along a sense of opposition; which, as upon many
other occasions, so he particularly showed by what he did in the time
of the holy war. The Lacedaemonians, having gone with an army to Delphi,
restored Apollo's temple, which the Phocians had got into their possession,
to the Delphians; immediately after their departure, Pericles, with
another army, came and restored the Phocians. And the Lacedaemonians,
having engraven the record of their privilege of consulting the oracle
before others, which the Delphians gave them, upon the forehead of
the brazen wolf which stands there, he, also, having received from
the Phocians the like privilege for the Athenians, had it cut upon
the same wolf of brass on his right side.
That he did well and wisely in thus restraining the exertions of the
Athenians within the compass of Greece, the events themselves that
happened afterward bore sufficient witness. For, in the first place,
the Euboeans revolted, against whom he passed over with forces; and
then, immediately after, news came that the Megarians were turned
their enemies; and a hostile army was upon the borders of Attica,
under the conduct of Plistoanax, King of the Lacedaemonians. Wherefore
Pericles came with his army back again in all haste out of Euboea,
to meet the war which threatened at home; and did not venture to engage

Previous | Next
Site Search