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had preceded. A few who survived were sold as slaves, and their talents and accomplishments won, in some instances, the friendship of their
Alcibiades sustained the credit of Athens in the Olympic Games, carried aid to the Argives against the Spartans, and zealously promoted the Sicilian expedition of his countrymen. On the eve of departure he was accused of sacrilege, and after his arrival in Sicily he was sentenced to death, and pronounced accursed. The siege of Syracuse, notwithstanding the great efforts of the Athenians, resulted in failure and disaster, while Athens itself was besieged by the king of Sparta. Reinforcements, led forth by Demosthenes, only completed the exhaustion of the city. The Syracusans gained a naval battle in their harbor, and captured the two Athenian armies in their retreat.
DECLINE OF ATHENS.
192. In the midst of private grief and national dismay, the Athenians learned that their allies were deserting them. Alcibiades was stirring up revolts in Chios, which, with Lesbos and Euboea, implored the aid of Sparta to free them from their dependence. The two satraps of Asia Minor sent envoys to the same power, inviting her coöperation in overthrowing the Athenian empire in Asia, and pledging Persian gold for the entire expense. To the lasting shame of Sparta, she concluded a treaty at Miletus, engaging to unite with Persia in a war against Athens, and to restore to the Persian dominion all the cities and territories which it had formerly embraced. This clause was explained, in a subsequent treaty, to include not only all the islands of the Ægean, but Thessaly and Boeotia, thus yielding to the Persians the field of Platæa, and fixing their frontier on the very border of Attica. Miletus itself was immediately surrendered to Tissaphernes.
193. In this general defection Samos remained faithful, and afforded a most important station for the Athenian fleet during the remaining years of the war. The Samians, warned by the example of Chios, overthrew their oligarchical government, and the democracy thus established was acknowledged by Athens as an equal and independent ally. Great preparations were now made in Athens. The reserve fund of a thousand talents, which had lain untouched since the time of Pericles, was applied to fitting out a fleet against Chios. Once more the Athenians were successful, both by sea and land. Lesbos and Clazomena were reconquered, the Chians defeated, and, in a battle near Miletus, the Spartans themselves were overcome. That city remained in the hands of the Persians and Lacedæmonians, but the relations between these widely contrasted allies were no longer cordial. The Spartans were ashamed of their dealings with the great enemy of Greece, and Tissaphernes was under the influence of Alcibiades. This deeply plotting Athenian persuaded the satrap that
B. C. 412.
it was not the interest of Persia to allow any party in Greece to become powerful, but, rather, to let them wear each other out by mutual hostilities, and then appropriate the domains of both. This advice tended most against the Spartans, who were now so strongly reinforced that they might soon have put an end to the war. Tissaphernes, accordingly, held the Spartan fleet inactive, waiting for the Phoenicians, who were never to appear; and when this pretext would no longer avail, he applied his golden arguments to its commanders with the same effect.
194. Alcibiades now sought to bring the satrap into alliance with Athens; and failing in this, he tried at least to convince his countrymen at Samos that he had power to effect such an alliance, for his sole desire was to be recalled to his native city. Hating and fearing the Athenian democracy, he made one condition, however, to his intercession with the Persian, which was, that a revolution should be effected, and an oligarchical government established. The generals at Samos acceded to this plan, and Pisander was sent to Athens to organize the political clubs in favor of the revolution.
When he presented the scheme of Alcibiades in the Assembly, a great tumult arose. The people clamored against the surrender of their rights; the Eumolpidæ protested against the return of a wretch who had profaned the Mysteries. Pisander could only plead the exhaustion and the misery of the Republic; but this argument, though distasteful, was unanswerable. The people reluctantly consented to the change in the constitution, and Pisander, with ten colleagues, was sent to treat with Alcibiades. The exile well knew that he had promised more than he could perform. To save his credit, he received the eleven ambassadors in the presence of Tissaphernes, and made such extravagant demands in his name, that they themselves angrily broke up the conference and withdrew.
195. Though convinced that they had been cheated by Alcibiades, they had now gone too far to recede from the proposed revolution. Pisander, with five of his colleagues, returned to Athens, while the rest went about among the allies to establish oligarchies. At Athens the old offices were abolished, and a Council of Four Hundred, chiefly self-elected, held power for four months. By the aid of the army at Samos, a counter-revolution was effected, and the leaders of the oligarchy were accused of treason for their dealings with the Spartans. Most of them fled; but two, Ar'cheptol'emus and Antiphon, were tried and executed.
B. C. 411.
196. The remainder of the Peloponnesian war was wholly maritime, and its scene of operations was on the coast of Asia Minor. The Spartans, by long practice and close collision with their great rivals, had become nearly equal to the Athenians in naval skill. Their attention to this arm of the service was shown by the yearly appointment of the navarchus, an
officer whose power, while it lasted, was even greater than that of the kings, for he was above the control of the ephors.
B. C. 411.
197. Min'darus, the Spartan commander at Miletus, becoming disgusted with the fickle policy of Tissaphernes, set sail for the Hellespont, hoping to find the other satrap more constant to the Spartan alliance. He was followed by an Athenian fleet, under Thrasyl'lus, which, though less numerous than his own, inflicted upon him a severe defeat in the strait between Sestus and Abydus. Mindarus now sent for the allied fleet at Euboea, but in passing Mount Athos it was overtaken by a violent storm, and wholly destroyed. The Athenians followed up their advantage by the capture of Cyz'icus, which had revolted from them; and, a few weeks later, gained another great battle near Abydus, by the timely aid of Alcibiades.
198. In the spring of 410, Mindarus was besieging Cyzicus, and the Athenians determined to relieve it., They passed up the Hellespont in the night, and assembled at Proconnesus. Alcibiades moved toward Cyzicus. with his division of the fleet, and succeeded in enticing Mindarus to a distance from the harbor, while the other two divisions stole between him and the city, and thus cut off his retreat. A battle ensued, in which Mindarus was slain, the Spartans and their Persian allies routed, and the entire Peloponnesian fleet captured, except the Syracusan ships, which Hermocrates caused to be burnt.
199. This victory restored to the Athenians the control of the Propontis and the trade of the Euxine. Ships laden with corn now entered Piræus, bearing relief to the hungry poor, and discouragement to King Agis, who still held the heights of Decelea, in the vain hope of starving the city into surrender.
Pharnabazus, meanwhile, was aiding the Spartans by every means in his power. He fed and clothed, armed and paid their seamen, allowed them to cut timber in the forests of Mount Ida, and build their ships at his docks of Antandros. Through his assistance, Chalcedon, on the Bosphorus, was enabled to hold out two years against Alcibiades. It surrendered at last, in 408. Selym'bria and Byzantium were taken about the same time.
200. These repeated successes restored the credit of Alcibiades, and, in the spring of 407, he was welcomed back to his native city. All the people met him at Piræus, with as much joy and enthusiasm as they had escorted him thither, eight years before, when sailing for the fatal expedition to Sicily. He protested his innocence before the Senate and Assembly. His sentence was reversed by acclamation, his property restored, the curse revoked, and he was made general, with unlimited powers. Before his departure, with the large fleet and army which were now at his disposal, he resolved to atone to Demeter for whatever slight had been thrown upon her by his alleged sacrilege. The sacred procession from Athens to Eleusis had A. H.-23.
been intermitted these seven years, owing to the nearness of the Spartan troops. Alcibiades now delayed his departure, in order to escort and protect the participants.
B. C. 407.
201. The arrival of two new officers upon the Asiatic field of war turned the scale against Athens. The one was Cyrus, a son of the Persian king; the other was Lysander, the new Spartan navarchus, who took command of the Peloponnesian fleet at Ephesus. These two made common cause, and together took measures for severe and unrelenting war against the Athenians. The gold which the Persian prince lavished without stint, the Spartan applied to increasing the wages of his seamen. By this well-timed liberality, he drew over great numbers of men from the opposing fleet, and rendered even those who did not desert, discontented and mutinous.
202. Alcibiades arrived with his fleet to find the situation less favorable than he had hoped. The Spartan troops were better paid and equipped than his own, and to raise funds he resorted to levying forced contributions on friendly states. During his absence on one of these forays, the fleet became engaged in battle with the Spartans, and was defeated with considerable loss. The Athenians began to perceive that eight years' exile and two or three years' good behavior, had not altered the character of the man, but that he was as dissolute, fickle, and unscrupulous as ever. They dismissed him from his command, and appointed ten generals, with Conon at their head.
203. At the same time that Conon arrived to take command of the Athenians, Callicrat'idas succeeded Lysander as navarchus.
He found an empty treasury and a cold reception, alike from his own countrymen and the Persians, whom Lysander had purposely prejudiced against him. Cyrus refused to see or aid him. Callicratidas now took bolder counsel. He sailed to Miletus, and urged its citizens to throw off the Persian alliance. Many rich men came forward with generous contributions of money, with which he equipped fifty new triremes, and sailed to Lesbos with a fleet twice as numerous as that of the Athenians.
B. C. 406.
204. He had a battle with Conon in the harbor of Mytilene, in which the Athenians lost nearly half their ships, and only saved the rest by drawing them ashore under the walls of the town. Callicratidas then blockaded the city by sea and land; and Cyrus, perceiving his success, assisted him with supplies of money. Great efforts were made at Athens, as soon as the condition of Conon was known. A large fleet was sent out in a few days, and being reinforced by the allies at Samos, arrived at the south-eastern extremity of Lesbos, numbering 150 vessels. Callicratidas left fifty ships to continue the blockade, and sailed to meet his
BATTLE OF ARGINUSE. A long and obstinate combat followed; but Callicratidas was at length thrown overboard and drowned, and victory declared for the Athenians. The Spartans had lost seventy-seven vessels, and their fleet at Mytilene hastily withdrew, leaving the harbor open for the escape of Conon.
205. At the beginning of the next year, Lysander was again placed in command of the Spartan fleet. His numbers being still B. C. 405.
inferior, he avoided an engagement, but he crossed the
Ægean to the coast of Attica, for a personal consultation with Agis, and thence proceeded to the Hellespont, where he commenced the siege of Lampsacus. The Athenian fleet followed, but arrived too late to save the town. Conon stationed himself, however, at Ægos-Potami (Goat's River), on the northern side of the channel, with the intention of bringing the Spartan to an engagement. The Athenians were upon a barren plain; while the Spartans, better situated and abundantly supplied with provisions, were in no haste to begin the battle. Alcibiades, who was living near in his own castle, saw the danger of his countrymen, and advised their generals to remove to Sestus, but his counsels were resented as impertinence; and attributing the Spartan delay to cowardice, the Athenians became every day more neglectful of discipline.
206. Battle of ÆGOS-POTAMI. At length Lysander, seizing a moment when the Athenian seamen were scattered over the country, B. C. 405, Sept. crossed the strait with his entire force. Only a dozen vessels, in Conon's personal command, were in condition for battle; and the whole fleet, with the exception of the flag-ship, the sacred Par'alus, and eight or ten others, fell into the Spartan possession without a blow. Three or four thousand prisoners, including officers and men, were massacred, in retaliation for recent cruelties of the Athenians in the treatment of their captives. The defeat at Ægos-Potami was the death-blow of the Athenian empire. Chalcedon, Byzantium, and Mytilene soon surrendered; and all the Athenian towns, except that of Samos, fell without resistance into the hands of the Spartans. Popular governments were every-where overthrown, and a new form of oligarchy was established, consisting of ten citizens, with a Spartan officer, called a harmost, 'at their head.
207. The news of the great calamity arrived in the night at Piræus. A cry of sorrow and despair spread instantly from the port to the city, as each man passed the terrible tidings to his neighbor. "That night no man slept;"* and in the morning the Assembly was called, to consider how the existence of the city might be prolonged. The situation was desperate. Even though no hostile force should approach Athens, Lysander, by holding the Euxine, could effectually reduce it to starvation.
The words of Xenophon, who was present in Athens.