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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book IV   

arriving at Heraclea in Trachis, from thence sent on a messenger to
his friends at Pharsalus, to ask them to conduct himself and his
army through the country. Accordingly there came to Melitia in
Achaia Panaerus, Dorus, Hippolochidas, Torylaus, and Strophacus, the
Chalcidian proxenus, under whose escort he resumed his march, being
accompanied also by other Thessalians, among whom was Niconidas from
Larissa, a friend of Perdiccas. It was never very easy to traverse
Thessaly without an escort; and throughout all Hellas for an armed
force to pass without leave through a neighbour's country was a
delicate step to take. Besides this the Thessalian people had always
sympathized with the Athenians. Indeed if instead of the customary
dose oligarchy there had been a constitutional government in Thessaly,
he would never have been able to proceed; since even as it was, he was
met on his march at the river Enipeus by certain of the opposite party
who forbade his further progress, and complained of his making the
attempt without the consent of the nation. To this his escort answered
that they had no intention of taking him through against their will;
they were only friends in attendance on an unexpected visitor.
Brasidas himself added that he came as a friend to Thessaly and its
inhabitants, his arms not being directed against them but against
the Athenians, with whom he was at war, and that although he knew of
no quarrel between the Thessalians and Lacedaemonians to prevent the
two nations having access to each other's territory, he neither
would nor could proceed against their wishes; he could only beg them
not to stop him. With this answer they went away, and he took the
advice of his escort, and pushed on without halting, before a
greater force might gather to prevent him. Thus in the day that he set
out from Melitia he performed the whole distance to Pharsalus, and
encamped on the river Apidanus; and so to Phacium and from thence to
Perrhaebia. Here his Thessalian escort went back, and the
Perrhaebians, who are subjects of Thessaly, set him down at Dium in
the dominions of Perdiccas, a Macedonian town under Mount Olympus,
looking towards Thessaly.
In this way Brasidas hurried through Thessaly before any one could
be got ready to stop him, and reached Perdiccas and Chalcidice. The
departure of the army from Peloponnese had been procured by the
Thracian towns in revolt against Athens and by Perdiccas, alarmed at
the successes of the Athenians. The Chalcidians thought that they
would be the first objects of an Athenian expedition, not that the
neighbouring towns which had not yet revolted did not also secretly
join in the invitation; and Perdiccas also had his apprehensions on
account of his old quarrels with the Athenians, although not openly at
war with them, and above all wished to reduce Arrhabaeus, king of
the Lyncestians. It had been less difficult for them to get an army to
leave Peloponnese, because of the ill fortune of the Lacedaemonians at
the present moment. The attacks of the Athenians upon Peloponnese, and
in particular upon Laconia, might, it was hoped, be diverted most
effectually by annoying them in return, and by sending an army to
their allies, especially as they were willing to maintain it and asked
for it to aid them in revolting. The Lacedaemonians were also glad
to have an excuse for sending some of the Helots out of the country,
for fear that the present aspect of affairs and the occupation of
Pylos might encourage them to move. Indeed fear of their numbers and
obstinacy even persuaded the Lacedaemonians to the action which I
shall now relate, their policy at all times having been governed by
the necessity of taking precautions against them. The Helots were
invited by a proclamation to pick out those of their number who
claimed to have most distinguished themselves against the enemy, in
order that they might receive their freedom; the object being to
test them, as it was thought that the first to claim their freedom
would be the most high-spirited and the most apt to rebel. As many
as two thousand were selected accordingly, who crowned themselves
and went round the temples, rejoicing in their new freedom. The
Spartans, however, soon afterwards did away with them, and no one ever

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