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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VI   


To return to Harmodius; Hipparchus having been repulsed in his
solicitations insulted him as he had resolved, by first inviting a
sister of his, a young girl, to come and bear a basket in a certain
procession, and then rejecting her, on the plea that she had never
been invited at all owing to her unworthiness. If Harmodius was
indignant at this, Aristogiton for his sake now became more
exasperated than ever; and having arranged everything with those who
were to join them in the enterprise, they only waited for the great
feast of the Panathenaea, the sole day upon which the citizens forming
part of the procession could meet together in arms without
suspicion. Aristogiton and Harmodius were to begin, but were to be
supported immediately by their accomplices against the bodyguard.
The conspirators were not many, for better security, besides which
they hoped that those not in the plot would be carried away by the
example of a few daring spirits, and use the arms in their hands to
recover their liberty.
At last the festival arrived; and Hippias with his bodyguard was
outside the city in the Ceramicus, arranging how the different parts
of the procession were to proceed. Harmodius and Aristogiton had
already their daggers and were getting ready to act, when seeing one
of their accomplices talking familiarly with Hippias, who was easy
of access to every one, they took fright, and concluded that they were
discovered and on the point of being taken; and eager if possible to
be revenged first upon the man who had wronged them and for whom
they had undertaken all this risk, they rushed, as they were, within
the gates, and meeting with Hipparchus by the Leocorium recklessly
fell upon him at once, infuriated, Aristogiton by love, and
Harmodius by insult, and smote him and slew him. Aristogiton escaped
the guards at the moment, through the crowd running up, but was
afterwards taken and dispatched in no merciful way: Harmodius was
killed on the spot.
When the news was brought to Hippias in the Ceramicus, he at once
proceeded not to the scene of action, but to the armed men in the
procession, before they, being some distance away, knew anything of
the matter, and composing his features for the occasion, so as not
to betray himself, pointed to a certain spot, and bade them repair
thither without their arms. They withdrew accordingly, fancying he had
something to say; upon which he told the mercenaries to remove the
arms, and there and then picked out the men he thought guilty and
all found with daggers, the shield and spear being the usual weapons
for a procession.
In this way offended love first led Harmodius and Aristogiton to
conspire, and the alarm of the moment to commit the rash action
recounted. After this the tyranny pressed harder on the Athenians, and
Hippias, now grown more fearful, put to death many of the citizens,
and at the same time began to turn his eyes abroad for a refuge in
case of revolution. Thus, although an Athenian, he gave his
daughter, Archedice, to a Lampsacene, Aeantides, son of the tyrant
of Lampsacus, seeing that they had great influence with Darius. And
there is her tomb in Lampsacus with this inscription:

Archedice lies buried in this earth,
Hippias her sire, and Athens gave her birth;
Unto her bosom pride was never known,
Though daughter, wife, and sister to the throne.

Hippias, after reigning three years longer over the Athenians, was
deposed in the fourth by the Lacedaemonians and the banished
Alcmaeonidae, and went with a safe conduct to Sigeum, and to Aeantides
at Lampsacus, and from thence to King Darius; from whose court he
set out twenty years after, in his old age, and came with the Medes to
Marathon.
With these events in their minds, and recalling everything they knew
by hearsay on the subject, the Athenian people grow difficult of

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