Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Thucydides
Pages of History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII



Previous | Next
                  

History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII   


war, now conceived great hopes of getting the government into their
own hands, and of triumphing over the enemy. Upon their return to
Samos the emissaries formed their partisans into a club, and openly
told the mass of the armament that the King would be their friend, and
would provide them with money, if Alcibiades were restored and the
democracy abolished. The multitude, if at first irritated by these
intrigues, were nevertheless kept quiet by the advantageous prospect
of the pay from the King; and the oligarchical conspirators, after
making this communication to the people, now re-examined the proposals
of Alcibiades among themselves, with most of their associates.
Unlike the rest, who thought them advantageous and trustworthy,
Phrynichus, who was still general, by no means approved of the
proposals. Alcibiades, he rightly thought, cared no more for an
oligarchy than for a democracy, and only sought to change the
institutions of his country in order to get himself recalled by his
associates; while for themselves their one object should be to avoid
civil discord. It was not the King's interest, when the Peloponnesians
were now their equals at sea, and in possession of some of the chief
cities in his empire, to go out of his way to side with the
Athenians whom he did not trust, when he might make friends of the
Peloponnesians who had never injured him. And as for the allied states
to whom oligarchy was now offered, because the democracy was to be put
down at Athens, he well knew that this would not make the rebels
come in any the sooner, or confirm the loyal in their allegiance; as
the allies would never prefer servitude with an oligarchy or democracy
to freedom with the constitution which they actually enjoyed, to
whichever type it belonged. Besides, the cities thought that the
so-called better classes would prove just as oppressive as the
commons, as being those who originated, proposed, and for the most
part benefited from the acts of the commons injurious to the
confederates. Indeed, if it depended on the better classes, the
confederates would be put to death without trial and with violence;
while the commons were their refuge and the chastiser of these men.
This he positively knew that the cities had learned by experience, and
that such was their opinion. The propositions of Alcibiades, and the
intrigues now in progress, could therefore never meet with his
approval.
However, the members of the club assembled, agreeably to their
original determination, accepted what was proposed, and prepared to
send Pisander and others on an embassy to Athens to treat for the
restoration of Alcibiades and the abolition of the democracy in the
city, and thus to make Tissaphernes the friend of the Athenians.
Phrynichus now saw that there would be a proposal to restore
Alcibiades, and that the Athenians would consent to it; and fearing
after what he had said against it that Alcibiades, if restored,
would revenge himself upon him for his opposition, had recourse to the
following expedient. He sent a secret letter to the Lacedaemonian
admiral Astyochus, who was still in the neighbourhood of Miletus, to
tell him that Alcibiades was ruining their cause by making
Tissaphernes the friend of the Athenians, and containing an express
revelation of the rest of the intrigue, desiring to be excused if he
sought to harm his enemy even at the expense of the interests of his
country. However, Astyochus, instead of thinking of punishing
Alcibiades, who, besides, no longer ventured within his reach as
formerly, went up to him and Tissaphernes at Magnesia, communicated to
them the letter from Samos, and turned informer, and, if report may be
trusted, became the paid creature of Tissaphernes, undertaking to
inform him as to this and all other matters; which was also the reason
why he did not remonstrate more strongly against the pay not being
given in full. Upon this Alcibiades instantly sent to the
authorities at Samos a letter against Phrynichus, stating what he
had done, and requiring that he should be put to death. Phrynichus
distracted, and placed in the utmost peril by the denunciation, sent
again to Astyochus, reproaching him with having so ill kept the secret

Previous | Next
Site Search