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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book IV   


and so returned home.
The same winter the Chians pulled down their new wall at the command
of the Athenians, who suspected them of meditating an insurrection,
after first however obtaining pledges from the Athenians, and security
as far as this was possible for their continuing to treat them as
before. Thus the winter ended, and with it ended the seventh year of
this war of which Thucydides is the historian.
In first days of the next summer there was an eclipse of the sun
at the time of new moon, and in the early part of the same month an
earthquake. Meanwhile, the Mitylenian and other Lesbian exiles set
out, for the most part from the continent, with mercenaries hired in
Peloponnese, and others levied on the spot, and took Rhoeteum, but
restored it without injury on the receipt of two thousand Phocaean
staters. After this they marched against Antandrus and took the town
by treachery, their plan being to free Antandrus and the rest of the
Actaean towns, formerly owned by Mitylene but now held by the
Athenians. Once fortified there, they would have every facility for
ship-building from the vicinity of Ida and the consequent abundance of
timber, and plenty of other supplies, and might from this base
easily ravage Lesbos, which was not far off, and make themselves
masters of the Aeolian towns on the continent.
While these were the schemes of the exiles, the Athenians in the
same summer made an expedition with sixty ships, two thousand heavy
infantry, a few cavalry, and some allied troops from Miletus and other
parts, against Cythera, under the command of Nicias, son of Niceratus,
Nicostratus, son of Diotrephes, and Autocles, son of Tolmaeus. Cythera
is an island lying off Laconia, opposite Malea; the inhabitants are
Lacedaemonians of the class of the Perioeci; and an officer called the
judge of Cythera went over to the place annually from Sparta. A
garrison of heavy infantry was also regularly sent there, and great
attention paid to the island, as it was the landing-place for the
merchantmen from Egypt and Libya, and at the same time secured Laconia
from the attacks of privateers from the sea, at the only point where
it is assailable, as the whole coast rises abruptly towards the
Sicilian and Cretan seas.
Coming to land here with their armament, the Athenians with ten
ships and two thousand Milesian heavy infantry took the town of
Scandea, on the sea; and with the rest of their forces landing on
the side of the island looking towards Malea, went against the lower
town of Cythera, where they found all the inhabitants encamped. A
battle ensuing, the Cytherians held their ground for some little
while, and then turned and fled into the upper town, where they soon
afterwards capitulated to Nicias and his colleagues, agreeing to leave
their fate to the decision of the Athenians, their lives only being
safe. A correspondence had previously been going on between Nicias and
certain of the inhabitants, which caused the surrender to be
effected more speedily, and upon terms more advantageous, present
and future, for the Cytherians; who would otherwise have been expelled
by the Athenians on account of their being Lacedaemonians and their
island being so near to Laconia. After the capitulation, the Athenians
occupied the town of Scandea near the harbour, and appointing a
garrison for Cythera, sailed to Asine, Helus, and most of the places
on the sea, and making descents and passing the night on shore at such
spots as were convenient, continued ravaging the country for about
seven days.
The Lacedaemonians seeing the Athenians masters of Cythera, and
expecting descents of the kind upon their coasts, nowhere opposed them
in force, but sent garrisons here and there through the country,
consisting of as many heavy infantry as the points menaced seemed to
require, and generally stood very much upon the defensive. After the
severe and unexpected blow that had befallen them in the island, the
occupation of Pylos and Cythera, and the apparition on every side of a
war whose rapidity defied precaution, they lived in constant fear of
internal revolution, and now took the unusual step of raising four

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