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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book IV   


have to free those who do not wish it? Empire we do not aspire to:
it is what we are labouring to put down; and we should wrong the
greater number if we allowed you to stand in the way of the
independence that we offer to all. Endeavour, therefore, to decide
wisely, and strive to begin the work of liberation for the Hellenes,
and lay up for yourselves endless renown, while you escape private
loss, and cover your commonwealth with glory."
Such were the words of Brasidas. The Acanthians, after much had been
said on both sides of the question, gave their votes in secret, and
the majority, influenced by the seductive arguments of Brasidas and by
fear for their fruit, decided to revolt from Athens; not however
admitting the army until they had taken his personal security for
the oaths sworn by his government before they sent him out, assuring
the independence of the allies whom he might bring over. Not long
after, Stagirus, a colony of the Andrians, followed their example
and revolted.
Such were the events of this summer. It was in the first days of the
winter following that the places in Boeotia were to be put into the
hands of the Athenian generals, Hippocrates and Demosthenes, the
latter of whom was to go with his ships to Siphae, the former to
Delium. A mistake, however, was made in the days on which they were
each to start; and Demosthenes, sailing first to Siphae, with the
Acarnanians and many of the allies from those parts on board, failed
to effect anything, through the plot having been betrayed by
Nicomachus, a Phocian from Phanotis, who told the Lacedaemonians,
and they the Boeotians. Succours accordingly flocked in from all parts
of Boeotia, Hippocrates not being yet there to make his diversion, and
Siphae and Chaeronea were promptly secured, and the conspirators,
informed of the mistake, did not venture on any movement in the towns.
Meanwhile Hippocrates made a levy in mass of the citizens,
resident aliens, and foreigners in Athens, and arrived at his
destination after the Boeotians had already come back from Siphae, and
encamping his army began to fortify Delium, the sanctuary of Apollo,
in the following manner. A trench was dug all round the temple and the
consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was
made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted, the
vines round the sanctuary being cut down and thrown in, together
with stones and bricks pulled down from the houses near; every
means, in short, being used to run up the rampart. Wooden towers
were also erected where they were wanted, and where there was no
part of the temple buildings left standing, as on the side where the
gallery once existing had fallen in. The work was begun on the third
day after leaving home, and continued during the fourth, and till
dinnertime on the fifth, when most of it being now finished the army
removed from Delium about a mile and a quarter on its way home. From
this point most of the light troops went straight on, while the
heavy infantry halted and remained where they were; Hippocrates having
stayed behind at Delium to arrange the posts, and to give directions
for the completion of such part of the outworks as had been left
unfinished.
During the days thus employed the Boeotians were mustering at
Tanagra, and by the time that they had come in from all the towns,
found the Athenians already on their way home. The rest of the
eleven Boeotarchs were against giving battle, as the enemy was no
longer in Boeotia, the Athenians being just over the Oropian border,
when they halted; but Pagondas, son of Aeolidas, one of the Boeotarchs
of Thebes (Arianthides, son of Lysimachidas, being the other), and
then commander-in-chief, thought it best to hazard a battle. He
accordingly called the men to him, company after company, to prevent
their all leaving their arms at once, and urged them to attack the
Athenians, and stand the issue of a battle, speaking as follows:
"Boeotians, the idea that we ought not to give battle to the
Athenians, unless we came up with them in Boeotia, is one which should
never have entered into the head of any of us, your generals. It was

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