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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II   


one. When he reached the frontier and was just going to be
dismissed, he departed with these words: "This day will be the
beginning of great misfortunes to the Hellenes." As soon as he arrived
at the camp, and Archidamus learnt that the Athenians had still no
thoughts of submitting, he at length began his march, and advanced
with his army into their territory. Meanwhile the Boeotians, sending
their contingent and cavalry to join the Peloponnesian expedition,
went to Plataea with the remainder and laid waste the country.
While the Peloponnesians were still mustering at the Isthmus, or
on the march before they invaded Attica, Pericles, son of
Xanthippus, one of the ten generals of the Athenians, finding that the
invasion was to take place, conceived the idea that Archidamus, who
happened to be his friend, might possibly pass by his estate without
ravaging it. This he might do, either from a personal wish to oblige
him, or acting under instructions from Lacedaemon for the purpose of
creating a prejudice against him, as had been before attempted in
the demand for the expulsion of the accursed family. He accordingly
took the precaution of announcing to the Athenians in the assembly
that, although Archidamus was his friend, yet this friendship should
not extend to the detriment of the state, and that in case the enemy
should make his houses and lands an exception to the rest and not
pillage them, he at once gave them up to be public property, so that
they should not bring him into suspicion. He also gave the citizens
some advice on their present affairs in the same strain as before.
They were to prepare for the war, and to carry in their property
from the country. They were not to go out to battle, but to come
into the city and guard it, and get ready their fleet, in which
their real strength lay. They were also to keep a tight rein on
their allies- the strength of Athens being derived from the money
brought in by their payments, and success in war depending principally
upon conduct and capital. had no reason to despond. Apart from other
sources of income, an average revenue of six hundred talents of silver
was drawn from the tribute of the allies; and there were still six
thousand talents of coined silver in the Acropolis, out of nine
thousand seven hundred that had once been there, from which the
money had been taken for the porch of the Acropolis, the other
public buildings, and for Potidaea. This did not include the
uncoined gold and silver in public and private offerings, the sacred
vessels for the processions and games, the Median spoils, and
similar resources to the amount of five hundred talents. To this he
added the treasures of the other temples. These were by no means
inconsiderable, and might fairly be used. Nay, if they were ever
absolutely driven to it, they might take even the gold ornaments of
Athene herself; for the statue contained forty talents of pure gold
and it was all removable. This might be used for self-preservation,
and must every penny of it be restored. Such was their financial
position- surely a satisfactory one. Then they had an army of
thirteen thousand heavy infantry, besides sixteen thousand more in the
garrisons and on home duty at Athens. This was at first the number
of men on guard in the event of an invasion: it was composed of the
oldest and youngest levies and the resident aliens who had heavy
armour. The Phaleric wall ran for four miles, before it joined that
round the city; and of this last nearly five had a guard, although
part of it was left without one, viz., that between the Long Wall
and the Phaleric. Then there were the Long Walls to Piraeus, a
distance of some four miles and a half, the outer of which was manned.
Lastly, the circumference of Piraeus with Munychia was nearly seven
miles and a half; only half of this, however, was guarded. Pericles
also showed them that they had twelve hundred horse including
mounted archers, with sixteen hundred archers unmounted, and three
hundred galleys fit for service. Such were the resources of Athens
in the different departments when the Peloponnesian invasion was
impending and hostilities were being commenced. Pericles also urged
his usual arguments for expecting a favourable issue to the war.

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