The Ancient Library

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para, which was most insisted on, were mere pre­texts by which the Lacedaemonians were trying the spirit and resolution of the Athenians ; and that in that point of view, involving the whole prin­ciple of submission to Sparta, it became of the utmost importance not to yield. He pointed out the advantages which Athens, as the head of a compact dominion, possessed over a disjointed league like that of the Pelopomiesians, which, more­over, had not at its immediate command the re­sources necessary for carrying on the war, and would find the greatest difficulty in raising them ; showed how impossible it was that the Pelopon-nesians should be able to cope with the Athenians by sea, and how utterly fruitless their attack would be while Athens remained mistress of the sea. The course which he recommended there­fore was, that the Athenians should not attempt to defend their territory when invaded, but retire within the city, and devote all their attention to securing the strength and efficiency of their navy, with which they could make severe retalia­tions on the territories of their enemies j since a victory by land would be of no service, and defeat would immediately be followed by the revolt of their subject allies. He warned them, however, that they must be content with defending what they already possessed, and must not attempt to extend their dominion. War, he bade them ob­serve, could not be avoided ; and they would the less feel the ill effects of it, if they met their an­tagonists with alacrity. At his suggestion the Athenians gave for answer to the Lacedaemonian ambassadors, that they would rescind the decree against Megara if the Lacedaemonians would cease to exclude strangers from intercourse with their citizens ; that they would leave their allies inde­pendent if they were so at the conclusion of the treaty, and if Sparta would grant real independence to her allies ; and that they were still willing to submit their differences to arbitration.

In one sense, indeed, Pericles may be looked upon as the author of the Peloponnesian war, in­asmuch as it was mainly his enlightened policy which had raised Athens to that degree of power which produced in the Lacedaemonians the jea­lousy and alarm which Thucydides (i. 23) dis­tinctly affirms to have been the real cause of the Peloponnesian war. How accurately Pericles had calculated the resources of Athens, and how wisely he had discerned her true policy in the war, was rendered manifest by the spirited struggle which she maintained even when the Peloponnesians were supplied with Persian gold, and by the irre­parable disasters into which she was plunged by her departure from the policy enjoined by Pericles.

In the spring of b.c. 431 Plataea was seized. Both sides prepared with vigour for hostilities ; and a Peloponnesian army having assembled at the isthmus, another embassy was sent to the Athenians by Archidamus to see if they were dis­posed to yield. In accordance with a decree which Pericles had had passed, that no herald or em­bassy should be received after the Lacedaemonians had taken the field, the ambassador, Melesippus, was not suffered to enter the city. Pericles, sus­pecting that Archidamus in his invasion might leave his property untouched, either out of private friendship, or by the direction of the Pelopon­nesians, in order to excite odium against him, declared in an assembly of the people that if his



lands were left unravaged, he would give them Tip to be the property of the state (Thucyd. ii. 13), He took the opportunity at the same time of giving the Athenians an account of the resources they had at their command. Acting upon his advice they conveyed their moveable property into the city, transporting their cattle and beasts of burden to Euboea. When the Peloponnesian army advanced desolating Attica, the Athenians were clamorous to be led out against the enemy, and were angry with Pericles because he steadily adhered to the policy he had recommended. He would hold no assembly or meeting of any kind. He, however, kept close guard on the walls, and sent out cavalry to protect the lands near the city. While the Peloponnesian army was in Attica, a fleet of 100 ships was sent round Peloponnesus. (Thucyd. ii. 18, &c.) The foresight of Pericles may probably be traced in the setting apart 1000 talents, and 100 of the best sailing galleys of the year, to be employed only in case of an attack being made on Athens by sea. Any one proposing to appropriate them to any other purpose was to suffer death. Another fleet of thirty ships was sent along the coasts of Locris and Euboea: and in this same summer the population of Aegina was expelled, and Athenian colonists sent to take possession of the island. An alliance was also entered into with Sitalces, king of Thrace. In the autumn Pericles in person led an army into Megaris, and ravaged most of the country. The decree against Megara before spoken of enacted that the Athenian generals on entering office should swear to invade Megaris tAvice a year (Plut. I. c.; Thucyd. iv. 66). In the winter (b. c. 431—430), on the occasion of paying funeral ho­nours to those who had fallen in the course of the hostilities, Pericles was chosen to deliver the ora­tion. (Thucyd. ii. 35—46.) In the summer of the next year, when the Peloponnesians invaded Attica, Pericles pursued the same policy as before. In this summer the plague made its appearance in Athens (Thucyd. ii. 48, &c.). An armament of 100 ships (Thucyd. ii. 56) was conducted by Pericles in person to the coast of Peloponnesus. An eclipse of the sun which happened just before the fleet set sail afforded Pericles an opportunity of applying the astronomical knowledge which he had derived from Anaxagoras in quieting the alarm which it occasioned. (Plut. Per. 35.)

The Athenians, being exposed to the devastation of the war and the plague at the same time, not unnaturally began to turn their thoughts to peace, and looked upon Pericles as .the author of all their distresses, inasmuch as he had persuaded them to go to war. Pericles was unable to prevent the sending of an embassy to Sparta, with proposals for peace. It was however fruitless. Pericles then called an assembly, and endeavoured to bring the people to a better mind ; set forth the grounds they had for hoping for success ; pointed out the unreasonableness of being cast down and diverted from a course of action deliberately taken up by an unforeseen accident like that of the plague, and especially the injustice of holding him in any way responsible for the hardships they were suffering on account of it. It was impossible now to retreat; their empire must be defended at any sacrifice, for it was perilous to abandon it (Thucyd. ii. 60—64). Though his speech to some extent allayed the public ferment, it did not remove from their minds the irritation they felt. Clean appears among his

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