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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II   


there would be division in the Athenian counsels. These were the
motives of Archidamus for remaining at Acharnae.
In the meanwhile, as long as the army was at Eleusis and the
Thriasian plain, hopes were still entertained of its not advancing any
nearer. It was remembered that Pleistoanax, son of Pausanias, king
of Lacedaemon, had invaded Attica with a Peloponnesian army fourteen
years before, but had retreated without advancing farther than Eleusis
and Thria, which indeed proved the cause of his exile from Sparta,
as it was thought he had been bribed to retreat. But when they saw the
army at Acharnae, barely seven miles from Athens, they lost all
patience. The territory of Athens was being ravaged before the very
eyes of the Athenians, a sight which the young men had never seen
before and the old only in the Median wars; and it was naturally
thought a grievous insult, and the determination was universal,
especially among the young men, to sally forth and stop it. Knots were
formed in the streets and engaged in hot discussion; for if the
proposed sally was warmly recommended, it was also in some cases
opposed. Oracles of the most various import were recited by the
collectors, and found eager listeners in one or other of the
disputants. Foremost in pressing for the sally were the Acharnians, as
constituting no small part of the army of the state, and as it was
their land that was being ravaged. In short, the whole city was in a
most excited state; Pericles was the object of general indignation;
his previous counsels were totally forgotten; he was abused for not
leading out the army which he commanded, and was made responsible
for the whole of the public suffering.
He, meanwhile, seeing anger and infatuation just now in the
ascendant, and of his wisdom in refusing a sally, would not call
either assembly or meeting of the people, fearing the fatal results of
a debate inspired by passion and not by prudence. Accordingly he
addressed himself to the defence of the city, and kept it as quiet
as possible, though he constantly sent out cavalry to prevent raids on
the lands near the city from flying parties of the enemy. There was
a trifling affair at Phrygia between a squadron of the Athenian
horse with the Thessalians and the Boeotian cavalry; in which the
former had rather the best of it, until the heavy infantry advanced to
the support of the Boeotians, when the Thessalians and Athenians
were routed and lost a few men, whose bodies, however, were
recovered the same day without a truce. The next day the
Peloponnesians set up a trophy. Ancient alliance brought the
Thessalians to the aid of Athens; those who came being the Larisaeans,
Pharsalians, Cranonians, Pyrasians, Gyrtonians, and Pheraeans. The
Larisaean commanders were Polymedes and Aristonus, two party leaders
in Larisa; the Pharsalian general was Menon; each of the other
cities had also its own commander.
In the meantime the Peloponnesians, as the Athenians did not come
out to engage them, broke up from Acharnae and ravaged some of the
demes between Mount Parnes and Brilessus. While they were in Attica
the Athenians sent off the hundred ships which they had been preparing
round Peloponnese, with a thousand heavy infantry and four hundred
archers on board, under the command of Carcinus, son of Xenotimus,
Proteas, son of Epicles, and Socrates, son of Antigenes. This armament
weighed anchor and started on its cruise, and the Peloponnesians,
after remaining in Attica as long as their provisions lasted,
retired through Boeotia by a different road to that by which they
had entered. As they passed Oropus they ravaged the territory of
Graea, which is held by the Oropians from Athens, and reaching
Peloponnese broke up to their respective cities.
After they had retired the Athenians set guards by land and sea at
the points at which they intended to have regular stations during
the war. They also resolved to set apart a special fund of a
thousand talents from the moneys in the Acropolis. This was not to
be spent, but the current expenses of the war were to be otherwise
provided for. If any one should move or put to the vote a

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