Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Thucydides
Pages of History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II



Previous | Next
                  

History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II   


with a fleet and as many soldiers as they could get together.
Beginning with the Odrysians, he first called out the Thracian
tribes subject to him between Mounts Haemus and Rhodope and the Euxine
and Hellespont; next the Getae beyond Haemus, and the other hordes
settled south of the Danube in the neighbourhood of the Euxine, who,
like the Getae, border on the Scythians and are armed in the same
manner, being all mounted archers. Besides these he summoned many of
the hill Thracian independent swordsmen, called Dii and mostly
inhabiting Mount Rhodope, some of whom came as mercenaries, others
as volunteers; also the Agrianes and Laeaeans, and the rest of the
Paeonian tribes in his empire, at the confines of which these lay,
extending up to the Laeaean Paeonians and the river Strymon, which
flows from Mount Scombrus through the country of the Agrianes and
Laeaeans; there the empire of Sitalces ends and the territory of the
independent Paeonians begins. Bordering on the Triballi, also
independent, were the Treres and Tilataeans, who dwell to the north of
Mount Scombrus and extend towards the setting sun as far as the
river Oskius. This river rises in the same mountains as the Nestus and
Hebrus, a wild and extensive range connected with Rhodope.
The empire of the Odrysians extended along the seaboard from
Abdera to the mouth of the Danube in the Euxine. The navigation of
this coast by the shortest route takes a merchantman four days and
four nights with a wind astern the whole way: by land an active man,
travelling by the shortest road, can get from Abdera to the Danube
in eleven days. Such was the length of its coast line. Inland from
Byzantium to the Laeaeans and the Strymon, the farthest limit of its
extension into the interior, it is a journey of thirteen days for an
active man. The tribute from all the barbarian districts and the
Hellenic cities, taking what they brought in under Seuthes, the
successor of Sitalces, who raised it to its greatest height,
amounted to about four hundred talents in gold and silver. There
were also presents in gold and silver to a no less amount, besides
stuff, plain and embroidered, and other articles, made not only for
the king, but also for the Odrysian lords and nobles. For there was
here established a custom opposite to that prevailing in the Persian
kingdom, namely, of taking rather than giving; more disgrace being
attached to not giving when asked than to asking and being refused;
and although this prevailed elsewhere in Thrace, it was practised most
extensively among the powerful Odrysians, it being impossible to get
anything done without a present. It was thus a very powerful
kingdom; in revenue and general prosperity surpassing all in Europe
between the Ionian Gulf and the Euxine, and in numbers and military
resources coming decidedly next to the Scythians, with whom indeed
no people in Europe can bear comparison, there not being even in
Asia any nation singly a match for them if unanimous, though of course
they are not on a level with other races in general intelligence and
the arts of civilized life.
It was the master of this empire that now prepared to take the
field. When everything was ready, he set out on his march for
Macedonia, first through his own dominions, next over the desolate
range of Cercine that divides the Sintians and Paeonians, crossing
by a road which he had made by felling the timber on a former campaign
against the latter people. Passing over these mountains, with the
Paeonians on his right and the Sintians and Maedians on the left, he
finally arrived at Doberus, in Paeonia, losing none of his army on the
march, except perhaps by sickness, but receiving some augmentations,
many of the independent Thracians volunteering to join him in the hope
of plunder; so that the whole is said to have formed a grand total
of a hundred and fifty thousand. Most of this was infantry, though
there was about a third cavalry, furnished principally by the
Odrysians themselves and next to them by the Getae. The most warlike
of the infantry were the independent swordsmen who came down from
Rhodope; the rest of the mixed multitude that followed him being
chiefly formidable by their numbers.

Previous | Next
Site Search