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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book IV   


the island, had lasted seventy-two days. For twenty of these, during
the absence of the envoys sent to treat for peace, the men had
provisions given them, for the rest they were fed by the smugglers.
Corn and other victual was found in the island; the commander Epitadas
having kept the men upon half rations. The Athenians and
Peloponnesians now each withdrew their forces from Pylos, and went
home, and crazy as Cleon's promise was, he fulfilled it, by bringing
the men to Athens within the twenty days as he had pledged himself
to do.
Nothing that happened in the war surprised the Hellenes so much as
this. It was the opinion that no force or famine could make the
Lacedaemonians give up their arms, but that they would fight on as
they could, and die with them in their hands: indeed people could
scarcely believe that those who had surrendered were of the same stuff
as the fallen; and an Athenian ally, who some time after insultingly
asked one of the prisoners from the island if those that had fallen
were men of honour, received for answer that the atraktos- that is,
the arrow- would be worth a great deal if it could tell men of honour
from the rest; in allusion to the fact that the killed were those whom
the stones and the arrows happened to hit.
Upon the arrival of the men the Athenians determined to keep them in
prison until the peace, and if the Peloponnesians invaded their
country in the interval, to bring them out and put them to death.
Meanwhile the defence of Pylos was not forgotten; the Messenians
from Naupactus sent to their old country, to which Pylos formerly
belonged, some of the likeliest of their number, and began a series of
incursions into Laconia, which their common dialect rendered most
destructive. The Lacedaemonians, hitherto without experience of
incursions or a warfare of the kind, finding the Helots deserting, and
fearing the march of revolution in their country, began to be
seriously uneasy, and in spite of their unwillingness to betray this
to the Athenians began to send envoys to Athens, and tried to
recover Pylos and the prisoners. The Athenians, however, kept grasping
at more, and dismissed envoy after envoy without their having effected
anything. Such was the history of the affair of Pylos.

CHAPTER XIII.

Seventh and Eighth Years of the War - End of
Corcyraean Revolution - Peace of Gela -
Capture of Nisaea


THE same summer, directly after these events, the Athenians made
an expedition against the territory of Corinth with eighty ships and
two thousand Athenian heavy infantry, and two hundred cavalry on board
horse transports, accompanied by the Milesians, Andrians, and
Carystians from the allies, under the command of Nicias, son of
Niceratus, with two colleagues. Putting out to sea they made land at
daybreak between Chersonese and Rheitus, at the beach of the country
underneath the Solygian hill, upon which the Dorians in old times
established themselves and carried on war against the Aeolian
inhabitants of Corinth, and where a village now stands called Solygia.
The beach where the fleet came to is about a mile and a half from
the village, seven miles from Corinth, and two and a quarter from
the Isthmus. The Corinthians had heard from Argos of the coming of the
Athenian armament, and had all come up to the Isthmus long before,
with the exception of those who lived beyond it, and also of five
hundred who were away in garrison in Ambracia and Leucadia; and they
were there in full force watching for the Athenians to land. These
last, however, gave them the slip by coming in the dark; and being
informed by signals of the fact the Corinthians left half their number
at Cenchreae, in case the Athenians should go against Crommyon, and
marched in all haste to the rescue.
Battus, one of the two generals present at the action, went with a

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