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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book IV   


from Eleusis, and six hundred horse, had marched all night, according
to agreement, and were now close at hand. The conspirators were all
ready anointed and at their posts by the gates, when one of their
accomplices denounced the plot to the opposite party, who gathered
together and came in a body, and roundly said that they must not march
out- a thing they had never yet ventured on even when in greater force
than at present- or wantonly compromise the safety of the town, and
that if what they said was not attended to, the battle would have to
be fought in Megara. For the rest, they gave no signs of their
knowledge of the intrigue, but stoutly maintained that their advice
was the best, and meanwhile kept close by and watched the gates,
making it impossible for the conspirators to effect their purpose.
The Athenian generals seeing that some obstacle had arisen, and that
the capture of the town by force was no longer practicable, at once
proceeded to invest Nisaea, thinking that, if they could take it
before relief arrived, the surrender of Megara would soon follow.
Iron, stone-masons, and everything else required quickly coming up
from Athens, the Athenians started from the wall which they
occupied, and from this point built a cross wall looking towards
Megara down to the sea on either side of Nisaea; the ditch and the
walls being divided among the army, stones and bricks taken from the
suburb, and the fruit-trees and timber cut down to make a palisade
wherever this seemed necessary; the houses also in the suburb with the
addition of battlements sometimes entering into the fortification. The
whole of this day the work continued, and by the afternoon of the next
the wall was all but completed, when the garrison in Nisaea, alarmed
by the absolute want of provisions, which they used to take in for the
day from the upper town, not anticipating any speedy relief from the
Peloponnesians, and supposing Megara to be hostile, capitulated to the
Athenians on condition that they should give up their arms, and should
each be ransomed for a stipulated sum; their Lacedaemonian
commander, and any others of his countrymen in the place, being left
to the discretion of the Athenians. On these conditions they
surrendered and came out, and the Athenians broke down the long
walls at their point of junction with Megara, took possession of
Nisaea, and went on with their other preparations.
Just at this time the Lacedaemonian Brasidas, son of Tellis,
happened to be in the neighbourhood of Sicyon and Corinth, getting
ready an army for Thrace. As soon as he heard of the capture of the
walls, fearing for the Peloponnesians in Nisaea and the safety of
Megara, he sent to the Boeotians to meet him as quickly as possible at
Tripodiscus, a village so called of the Megarid, under Mount Geraneia,
and went himself, with two thousand seven hundred Corinthian heavy
infantry, four hundred Phliasians, six hundred Sicyonians, and such
troops of his own as he had already levied, expecting to find Nisaea
not yet taken. Hearing of its fall (he had marched out by night to
Tripodiscus), he took three hundred picked men from the army,
without waiting till his coming should be known, and came up to Megara
unobserved by the Athenians, who were down by the sea, ostensibly, and
really if possible, to attempt Nisaea, but above all to get into
Megara and secure the town. He accordingly invited the townspeople
to admit his party, saying that he had hopes of recovering Nisaea.
However, one of the Megarian factions feared that he might expel
them and restore the exiles; the other that the commons,
apprehensive of this very danger, might set upon them, and the city be
thus destroyed by a battle within its gates under the eyes of the
ambushed Athenians. He was accordingly refused admittance, both
parties electing to remain quiet and await the event; each expecting a
battle between the Athenians and the relieving army, and thinking it
safer to see their friends victorious before declaring in their
favour.
Unable to carry his point, Brasidas went back to the rest of the
army. At daybreak the Boeotians joined him. Having determined to
relieve Megara, whose danger they considered their own, even before

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