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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II   


longer in our path are honoured with a goodwill into which rivalry
does not enter. On the other hand, if I must say anything on the
subject of female excellence to those of you who will now be in
widowhood, it will be all comprised in this brief exhortation. Great
will be your glory in not falling short of your natural character; and
greatest will be hers who is least talked of among the men, whether
for good or for bad.
"My task is now finished. I have performed it to the best of my
ability, and in word, at least, the requirements of the law are now
satisfied. If deeds be in question, those who are here interred have
received part of their honours already, and for the rest, their
children will be brought up till manhood at the public expense: the
state thus offers a valuable prize, as the garland of victory in
this race of valour, for the reward both of those who have fallen
and their survivors. And where the rewards for merit are greatest,
there are found the best citizens.
"And now that you have brought to a close your lamentations for your
relatives, you may depart."

CHAPTER VII.

Second Year of the War - The Plague of Athens
- Position and Policy of Pericles - Fall
of Potidaea


SUCH was the funeral that took place during this winter, with
which the first year of the war came to an end. In the first days of
summer the Lacedaemonians and their allies, with two-thirds of their
forces as before, invaded Attica, under the command of Archidamus, son
of Zeuxidamus, King of Lacedaemon, and sat down and laid waste the
country. Not many days after their arrival in Attica the plague
first began to show itself among the Athenians. It was said that it
had broken out in many places previously in the neighbourhood of
Lemnos and elsewhere; but a pestilence of such extent and mortality
was nowhere remembered. Neither were the physicians at first of any
service, ignorant as they were of the proper way to treat it, but they
died themselves the most thickly, as they visited the sick most often;
nor did any human art succeed any better. Supplications in the
temples, divinations, and so forth were found equally futile, till the
overwhelming nature of the disaster at last put a stop to them
altogether.
It first began, it is said, in the parts of Ethiopia above Egypt,
and thence descended into Egypt and Libya and into most of the
King's country. Suddenly falling upon Athens, it first attacked the
population in Piraeus- which was the occasion of their saying that
the Peloponnesians had poisoned the reservoirs, there being as yet
no wells there- and afterwards appeared in the upper city, when the
deaths became much more frequent. All speculation as to its origin and
its causes, if causes can be found adequate to produce so great a
disturbance, I leave to other writers, whether lay or professional;
for myself, I shall simply set down its nature, and explain the
symptoms by which perhaps it may be recognized by the student, if it
should ever break out again. This I can the better do, as I had the
disease myself, and watched its operation in the case of others.
That year then is admitted to have been otherwise unprecedentedly
free from sickness; and such few cases as occurred all determined in
this. As a rule, however, there was no ostensible cause; but people in
good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the
head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such
as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and
fetid breath. These symptoms were followed by sneezing and hoarseness,
after which the pain soon reached the chest, and produced a hard
cough. When it fixed in the stomach, it upset it; and discharges of
bile of every kind named by physicians ensued, accompanied by very

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