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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II   


were the resources from which the genius of Pericles foresaw an easy
triumph in the war over the unaided forces of the Peloponnesians.
During the same summer the Lacedaemonians and their allies made an
expedition with a hundred ships against Zacynthus, an island lying off
the coast of Elis, peopled by a colony of Achaeans from Peloponnese,
and in alliance with Athens. There were a thousand Lacedaemonian heavy
infantry on board, and Cnemus, a Spartan, as admiral. They made a
descent from their ships, and ravaged most of the country; but as
the inhabitants would not submit, they sailed back home.
At the end of the same summer the Corinthian Aristeus, Aneristus,
Nicolaus, and Stratodemus, envoys from Lacedaemon, Timagoras, a
Tegean, and a private individual named Pollis from Argos, on their way
to Asia to persuade the King to supply funds and join in the war, came
to Sitalces, son of Teres in Thrace, with the idea of inducing him, if
possible, to forsake the alliance of Athens and to march on Potidaea
then besieged by an Athenian force, and also of getting conveyed by
his means to their destination across the Hellespont to Pharnabazus,
who was to send them up the country to the King. But there chanced
to be with Sitalces some Athenian ambassadors- Learchus, son of
Callimachus, and Ameiniades, son of Philemon- who persuaded Sitalces'
son, Sadocus, the new Athenian citizen, to put the men into their
hands and thus prevent their crossing over to the King and doing their
part to injure the country of his choice. He accordingly had them
seized, as they were travelling through Thrace to the vessel in
which they were to cross the Hellespont, by a party whom he had sent
on with Learchus and Ameiniades, and gave orders for their delivery to
the Athenian ambassadors, by whom they were brought to Athens. On
their arrival, the Athenians, afraid that Aristeus, who had been
notably the prime mover in the previous affairs of Potidaea and
their Thracian possessions, might live to do them still more
mischief if he escaped, slew them all the same day, without giving
them a trial or hearing the defence which they wished to offer, and
cast their bodies into a pit; thinking themselves justified in using
in retaliation the same mode of warfare which the Lacedaemonians had
begun, when they slew and cast into pits all the Athenian and allied
traders whom they caught on board the merchantmen round Peloponnese.
Indeed, at the outset of the war, the Lacedaemonians butchered as
enemies all whom they took on the sea, whether allies of Athens or
neutrals.
About the same time towards the close of the summer, the Ambraciot
forces, with a number of barbarians that they had raised, marched
against the Amphilochian Argos and the rest of that country. The
origin of their enmity against the Argives was this. This Argos and
the rest of Amphilochia were colonized by Amphilochus, son of
Amphiaraus. Dissatisfied with the state of affairs at home on his
return thither after the Trojan War, he built this city in the
Ambracian Gulf, and named it Argos after his own country. This was the
largest town in Amphilochia, and its inhabitants the most powerful.
Under the pressure of misfortune many generations afterwards, they
called in the Ambraciots, their neighbours on the Amphilochian border,
to join their colony; and it was by this union with the Ambraciots
that they learnt their present Hellenic speech, the rest of the
Amphilochians being barbarians. After a time the Ambraciots expelled
the Argives and held the city themselves. Upon this the
Amphilochians gave themselves over to the Acarnanians; and the two
together called the Athenians, who sent them Phormio as general and
thirty ships; upon whose arrival they took Argos by storm, and made
slaves of the Ambraciots; and the Amphilochians and Acarnanians
inhabited the town in common. After this began the alliance between
the Athenians and Acarnanians. The enmity of the Ambraciots against
the Argives thus commenced with the enslavement of their citizens; and
afterwards during the war they collected this armament among
themselves and the Chaonians, and other of the neighbouring
barbarians. Arrived before Argos, they became masters of the

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