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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII   

of his previous letter, and saying that he was now prepared to give
them an opportunity of destroying the whole Athenian armament at
Samos; giving a detailed account of the means which he should
employ, Samos being unfortified, and pleading that, being in danger of
his life on their account, he could not now be blamed for doing this
or anything else to escape being destroyed by his mortal enemies. This
also Astyochus revealed to Alcibiades.
Meanwhile Phrynichus having had timely notice that he was playing
him false, and that a letter on the subject was on the point of
arriving from Alcibiades, himself anticipated the news, and told the
army that the enemy, seeing that Samos was unfortified and the fleet
not all stationed within the harbour, meant to attack the camp, that
he could be certain of this intelligence, and that they must fortify
Samos as quickly as possible, and generally look to their defences. It
will be remembered that he was general, and had himself authority to
carry out these measures. Accordingly they addressed themselves to the
work of fortification, and Samos was thus fortified sooner than it
would otherwise have been. Not long afterwards came the letter from
Alcibiades, saying that the army was betrayed by Phrynichus, and the
enemy about to attack it. Alcibiades, however, gained no credit, it
being thought that he was in the secret of the enemy's designs, and
had tried to fasten them upon Phrynichus, and to make out that he
was their accomplice, out of hatred; and consequently far from hurting
him he rather bore witness to what he had said by this intelligence.
After this Alcibiades set to work to persuade Tissaphernes to become
the friend of the Athenians. Tissaphernes, although afraid of the
Peloponnesians because they had more ships in Asia than the Athenians,
was yet disposed to be persuaded if he could, especially after his
quarrel with the Peloponnesians at Cnidus about the treaty of
Therimenes. The quarrel had already taken place, as the Peloponnesians
were by this time actually at Rhodes; and in it the original
argument of Alcibiades touching the liberation of all the towns by the
Lacedaemonians had been verified by the declaration of Lichas that
it was impossible to submit to a convention which made the King master
of all the states at any former time ruled by himself or by his
While Alcibiades was besieging the favour of Tissaphernes with an
earnestness proportioned to the greatness of the issue, the Athenian
envoys who had been dispatched from Samos with Pisander arrived at
Athens, and made a speech before the people, giving a brief summary of
their views, and particularly insisting that, if Alcibiades were
recalled and the democratic constitution changed, they could have
the King as their ally, and would be able to overcome the
Peloponnesians. A number of speakers opposed them on the question of
the democracy, the enemies of Alcibiades cried out against the scandal
of a restoration to be effected by a violation of the constitution,
and the Eumolpidae and Ceryces protested in behalf of the mysteries,
the cause of his banishment, and called upon the gods to avert his
recall; when Pisander, in the midst of much opposition and abuse, came
forward, and taking each of his opponents aside asked him the
following question: In the face of the fact that the Peloponnesians
had as many ships as their own confronting them at sea, more cities in
alliance with them, and the King and Tissaphernes to supply them
with money, of which the Athenians had none left, had he any hope of
saving the state, unless someone could induce the King to come over to
their side? Upon their replying that they had not, he then plainly
said to them: "This we cannot have unless we have a more moderate form
of government, and put the offices into fewer hands, and so gain the
King's confidence, and forthwith restore Alcibiades, who is the only
man living that can bring this about. The safety of the state, not the
form of its government, is for the moment the most pressing
question, as we can always change afterwards whatever we do not like."
The people were at first highly irritated at the mention of an
oligarchy, but upon understanding clearly from Pisander that this

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