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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book IV   


Athenians might spare the lives of the prisoners, had recourse to
the following stratagem. They gained over some few men on the island
by secretly sending friends with instructions to provide them with a
boat, and to tell them, as if for their own sakes, that they had
best escape as quickly as possible, as the Athenian generals were
going to give them up to the Corcyraean people.
These representations succeeding, it was so arranged that the men
were caught sailing out in the boat that was provided, and the
treaty became void accordingly, and the whole body were given up to
the Corcyraeans. For this result the Athenian generals were in a great
measure responsible; their evident disinclination to sail for
Sicily, and thus to leave to others the honour of conducting the men
to Athens, encouraged the intriguers in their design and seemed to
affirm the truth of their representations. The prisoners thus handed
over were shut up by the Corcyraeans in a large building, and
afterwards taken out by twenties and led past two lines of heavy
infantry, one on each side, being bound together, and beaten and
stabbed by the men in the lines whenever any saw pass a personal
enemy; while men carrying whips went by their side and hastened on the
road those that walked too slowly.
As many as sixty men were taken out and killed in this way without
the knowledge of their friends in the building, who fancied they
were merely being moved from one prison to another. At last,
however, someone opened their eyes to the truth, upon which they
called upon the Athenians to kill them themselves, if such was their
pleasure, and refused any longer to go out of the building, and said
they would do all they could to prevent any one coming in. The
Corcyraeans, not liking themselves to force a passage by the doors,
got up on the top of the building, and breaking through the roof,
threw down the tiles and let fly arrows at them, from which the
prisoners sheltered themselves as well as they could. Most of their
number, meanwhile, were engaged in dispatching themselves by thrusting
into their throats the arrows shot by the enemy, and hanging
themselves with the cords taken from some beds that happened to be
there, and with strips made from their clothing; adopting, in short,
every possible means of self-destruction, and also falling victims
to the missiles of their enemies on the roof. Night came on while
these horrors were enacting, and most of it had passed before they
were concluded. When it was day the Corcyraeans threw them in layers
upon wagons and carried them out of the city. All the women taken in
the stronghold were sold as slaves. In this way the Corcyraeans of the
mountain were destroyed by the commons; and so after terrible excesses
the party strife came to an end, at least as far as the period of this
war is concerned, for of one party there was practically nothing left.
Meanwhile the Athenians sailed off to Sicily, their primary
destination, and carried on the war with their allies there.
At the close of the summer, the Athenians at Naupactus and the
Acarnanians made an expedition against Anactorium, the Corinthian town
lying at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf, and took it by treachery;
and the Acarnanians themselves, sending settlers from all parts of
Acarnania, occupied the place.
Summer was now over. During the winter ensuing, Aristides, son of
Archippus, one of the commanders of the Athenian ships sent to collect
money from the allies, arrested at Eion, on the Strymon,
Artaphernes, a Persian, on his way from the King to Lacedaemon. He was
conducted to Athens, where the Athenians got his dispatches translated
from the Assyrian character and read them. With numerous references to
other subjects, they in substance told the Lacedaemonians that the
King did not know what they wanted, as of the many ambassadors they
had sent him no two ever told the same story; if however they were
prepared to speak plainly they might send him some envoys with this
Persian. The Athenians afterwards sent back Artaphernes in a galley to
Ephesus, and ambassadors with him, who heard there of the death of
King Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes, which took place about that time,

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