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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II   


a herald to the Plataeans to forbid their proceeding to extremities
with their Theban prisoners without instructions from Athens. The news
of the men's death had of course not arrived; the first messenger
having left Plataea just when the Thebans entered it, the second
just after their defeat and capture; so there was no later news.
Thus the Athenians sent orders in ignorance of the facts; and the
herald on his arrival found the men slain. After this the Athenians
marched to Plataea and brought in provisions, and left a garrison in
the place, also taking away the women and children and such of the men
as were least efficient.
After the affair at Plataea, the treaty had been broken by an
overt act, and Athens at once prepared for war, as did also Lacedaemon
and her allies. They resolved to send embassies to the King and to
such other of the barbarian powers as either party could look to for
assistance, and tried to ally themselves with the independent states
at home. Lacedaemon, in addition to the existing marine, gave orders
to the states that had declared for her in Italy and Sicily to build
vessels up to a grand total of five hundred, the quota of each city
being determined by its size, and also to provide a specified sum of
money. Till these were ready they were to remain neutral and to
admit single Athenian ships into their harbours. Athens on her part
reviewed her existing confederacy, and sent embassies to the places
more immediately round Peloponnese- Corcyra, Cephallenia, Acarnania,
and Zacynthus- perceiving that if these could be relied on she could
carry the war all round Peloponnese.
And if both sides nourished the boldest hopes and put forth their
utmost strength for the war, this was only natural. Zeal is always
at its height at the commencement of an undertaking; and on this
particular occasion Peloponnese and Athens were both full of young men
whose inexperience made them eager to take up arms, while the rest
of Hellas stood straining with excitement at the conflict of its
leading cities. Everywhere predictions were being recited and
oracles being chanted by such persons as collect them, and this not
only in the contending cities. Further, some while before this,
there was an earthquake at Delos, for the first time in the memory
of the Hellenes. This was said and thought to be ominous of the events
impending; indeed, nothing of the kind that happened was allowed to
pass without remark. The good wishes of men made greatly for the
Lacedaemonians, especially as they proclaimed themselves the
liberators of Hellas. No private or public effort that could help them
in speech or action was omitted; each thinking that the cause suffered
wherever he could not himself see to it. So general was the
indignation felt against Athens, whether by those who wished to escape
from her empire, or were apprehensive of being absorbed by it. Such
were the preparations and such the feelings with which the contest
opened.
The allies of the two belligerents were the following. These were
the allies of Lacedaemon: all the Peloponnesians within the Isthmus
except the Argives and Achaeans, who were neutral; Pellene being the
only Achaean city that first joined in the war, though her example was
afterwards followed by the rest. Outside Peloponnese the Megarians,
Locrians, Boeotians, Phocians, Ambraciots, Leucadians, and
Anactorians. Of these, ships were furnished by the Corinthians,
Megarians, Sicyonians, Pellenians, Eleans, Ambraciots, and Leucadians;
and cavalry by the Boeotians, Phocians, and Locrians. The other states
sent infantry. This was the Lacedaemonian confederacy. That of
Athens comprised the Chians, Lesbians, Plataeans, the Messenians in
Naupactus, most of the Acarnanians, the Corcyraeans, Zacynthians,
and some tributary cities in the following countries, viz., Caria upon
the sea with her Dorian neighbours, Ionia, the Hellespont, the
Thracian towns, the islands lying between Peloponnese and Crete
towards the east, and all the Cyclades except Melos and Thera. Of
these, ships were furnished by Chios, Lesbos, and Corcyra, infantry
and money by the rest. Such were the allies of either party and

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