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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II   


Pausanias decreed."
The Plataeans had got thus far when they were cut short by
Archidamus saying: "There is justice, Plataeans, in what you say, if
you act up to your words. According, to the grant of Pausanias,
continue to be independent yourselves, and join in freeing those of
your fellow countrymen who, after sharing in the perils of that
period, joined in the oaths to you, and are now subject to the
Athenians; for it is to free them and the rest that all this provision
and war has been made. I could wish that you would share our labours
and abide by the oaths yourselves; if this is impossible, do what we
have already required of you- remain neutral, enjoying your own; join
neither side, but receive both as friends, neither as allies for the
war. With this we shall be satisfied." Such were the words of
Archidamus. The Plataeans, after hearing what he had to say, went into
the city and acquainted the people with what had passed, and presently
returned for answer that it was impossible for them to do what he
proposed without consulting the Athenians, with whom their children
and wives now were; besides which they had their fears for the town.
After his departure, what was to prevent the Athenians from coming and
taking it out of their hands, or the Thebans, who would be included in
the oaths, from taking advantage of the proposed neutrality to make
a second attempt to seize the city? Upon these points he tried to
reassure them by saying: "You have only to deliver over the city and
houses to us Lacedaemonians, to point out the boundaries of your land,
the number of your fruit-trees, and whatever else can be numerically
stated, and yourselves to withdraw wherever you like as long as the
war shall last. When it is over we will restore to you whatever we
received, and in the interim hold it in trust and keep it in
cultivation, paying you a sufficient allowance."
When they had heard what he had to say, they re-entered the city,
and after consulting with the people said that they wished first to
acquaint the Athenians with this proposal, and in the event of their
approving to accede to it; in the meantime they asked him to grant
them a truce and not to lay waste their territory. He accordingly
granted a truce for the number of days requisite for the journey,
and meanwhile abstained from ravaging their territory. The Plataean
envoys went to Athens, and consulted with the Athenians, and
returned with the following message to those in the city: "The
Athenians say, Plataeans, that they never hitherto, since we became
their allies, on any occasion abandoned us to an enemy, nor will
they now neglect us, but will help us according to their ability;
and they adjure you by the oaths which your fathers swore, to keep the
alliance unaltered."
On the delivery of this message by the envoys, the Plataeans
resolved not to be unfaithful to the Athenians but to endure, if it
must be, seeing their lands laid waste and any other trials that might
come to them, and not to send out again, but to answer from the wall
that it was impossible for them to do as the Lacedaemonians
proposed. As soon as he had received this answer, King Archidamus
proceeded first to make a solemn appeal to the gods and heroes of
the country in words following: "Ye gods and heroes of the Plataean
territory, be my witnesses that not as aggressors originally, nor
until these had first departed from the common oath, did we invade
this land, in which our fathers offered you their prayers before
defeating the Medes, and which you made auspicious to the Hellenic
arms; nor shall we be aggressors in the measures to which we may now
resort, since we have made many fair proposals but have not been
successful. Graciously accord that those who were the first to
offend may be punished for it, and that vengeance may be attained by
those who would righteously inflict it."
After this appeal to the gods Archidamus put his army in motion.
First he enclosed the town with a palisade formed of the fruit-trees
which they cut down, to prevent further egress from Plataea; next they
threw up a mound against the city, hoping that the largeness of the

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