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μάχους ποιείσθαι. σεισμού δε γενομένου πρίν τι επικυρωθήναι, η εκκλησία αύτη ανεβλήθη.
Τη δ' ύςεραία εκκλησία ο Νικίας, καίπερ των Λακεδαιμονίων αυτών ηπατημένων, και αυτός εξηπατημένος σερί του μη αυτοκράτορες ομολογήσαι ήκειν, όμως τους Λακεδαιμονίοις έφη χρήναι φίλους μάλλον γίγνεσθαι, και επισχόνlας τα προς 'Αργείους, σέμψαι έτι ως αυτούς, και ειδέναι ό, τι διανοούνlαι» λέγων, εν μέν τω σφετέρω καλώ, εν δε τώ εκείνων απρεπεί, τον πόλεμον αναβάλλεσθαι. σφίσι μεν γαρ ευ εσώτων των πραγμάτων, ως επιπλείςον άρισον είναι διασώσασθαι την ευπραγίαν εκείνοις δε δυςυχούσιν, ότλάχιςα εύρημα είναι διακινδυνεύσαι. έπεισέ τε σέμψαι πρέσβεις, ών και αυτός ήν, κελεύσονίας Λακεδαιμονίους, είτι δίκαιον διανοούνlαι, Πάνακίόν τε ορθόν αποδιδόναι, και 'Αμφίπολιν και την Βοιωτών ξυμμαχίαν ανείναι, ήν μή ές τας σπονδάς έσίωσι, καθάπερ είρηθο, άνευ αλλήλων μηδενί ξυμβαίνειν. εισείν τε εκέλευον, ότι και σφείς, ει εβούλονιο αδικείν, ήδη αν 'Αργείους ξυμμάχους σεποιήσθαι· ως σαρεϊναι γ' αυτούς αυτού τούτου ένεκα. είτε τι άλλο ένεκάλουν, σάνια εσιςείλανίες, απέπεμψαν τους σερί τον Νικίαν πρέσβεις. και αφικομένων αυτών, και απαγγειλάντων, τά τε άλλα, και τέλος εισόνίων, ότι ει μή την ξυμμαχίαν ανήσουσι Βοιωθούς μη έσιούσιν ες τας σπονδάς, σοιήσονται και αυτοί 'Αργείους, και τους μετ' αυτών, ξυμμάχους» την μεν ξυμμαχίαν οι Λακεδαιμόνιοι Βοιωτοϊς ουκ έφασαν ανήσειν, επικρατούνλων των περί τον Ξενάρη τον "Έφορον ταύτα γίγνεσθαι, και όσοι άλλοι της αυτής γνώμης ήσαν. τους δε όρκους, δεομένου Νικίου, ανενεώσανθο. εφοβείτο γαρ μη σάνια ατελή έχων απέλθη, και διαβληθή (όσες και έγένειο), αίτιος δοκών είναι των προς Λακεδαιμονίους σπουδών. αναχωρήσανθός τε αυτού, ως ήκουσαν οι Αθηναίοι ουδέν έκ της Λακεδαίμονος σεπραγμένον, ευθύς δι' οργής είχον και νομίζονlες αδικείσθαι, έτυχον γαρ παρόνλες οι 'Αργείοι, και οι ξύμμαχοι, σαραγαγόνιος 'Αλκιβιάδου, εποιήσανlo σπονδάς και ξυμμαχίαν προς αυτούς τήνδε.
The remark of Plutarch on this precious roguery
is well worth attention :- Και τον μέν τρόπον ουδείς της πράξεως επήνει, μέγα δ' ήν το σεπραγμένων υσ' αυτού,
διαςήσαι και κραδάναι Πελοπόννησον ολίγου δείν άπασαν, και τοσαύτας ασπίδας εν ημέρα μια σερί Μανθίνειαν αντιτάξαι Λακεδαιμονίοις, και σορρωίάτω των Αθηναίων αγώνα κατασκευάσαι και κίνδυνον αυτοίς, εν ώ μέγα μεν ουδέν η νίκη προσέθηκε κρατήσασιν, ει δ' έσφάλησαν, έργον ήν την Λακεδαίμονα σεριγενέσθαι. The consequence was the battle of Mantinea, in which the Athenians were beaten without adding much to the confidence or to the resources of the Lace. demonians. .
The web of Alcibiades's policy was curiously wrought:- 'Αλκιβιάδης γαρ, ότε απήει εκ της αρχής ήδη μελάπεμπτος, επιςάμενος ότι φεύξολο, μηνύει τοϊς των Συρακουσίων φίλοις τοίς εν Μεσήνη, ξυνειδώς το μέλλον. -Thucyd. lib. Vi.
Cap. 66. Without any genuine and rational patriotism, he was continually stirring up the young men of Athens to aim at the empire, not only of the sea but of the land; and reminding them of the oath they had taken in the temple of Aglauros. Attica was a barren tract; and they had sworn to consider any country as their own, which abounded in corn, wine, and oil.
Among the military effeminacies of Alcibiades, was that of carrying a shield of gold in the wars, with the ensign, a Cupid bearing a thunderbolt, instead of the owl, or the olive, or Minerva herself, the usual and recognised devices of the Athenians.
Demosthenes, in his oration against Midias, speaks .with mingled praise and censure of Alcibiades :Λέγεθαι τοίνυν σο7ε εν τη πόλει, καια την παλαιάν εκείνην ευδαιμονίαν, Αλκιβιάδης γενέσθαι, ώ σκέψασθε, τίνων ευεργεσιών υπαρχουσών, και σοίων τινών προς τον δήμον, σώς έχρήσανθ' υμών οι πρόγονοι, επειδή βδελυρός και υβρισής ώείο δεϊν είναι και ουκ, επεικάσαι δήσου Μειδίαν 'Αλκιβιάδη βουλόμενος, τούτου μέμνημαι
The slaughter of all the adult males among the Melians, a crime unlike those generally committed by Alcibiades, is stated by Plutarch to have taken place under a decree promoted by him. But Thucydides, who gives an account of the affair with the Melians, ending in this nefarious transaction, in the last three sections of his fifth book, neither mentions such decree, nor names Alcibiades. It has been suggested that he wished to have the carnage thought the effect of a sudden transport of the soldiery, and not a deliberate act of cruelty on the part of the. Athenians. If so, what becomes of the severely impartial historian ? He certainly gets over the massacre as fast as he can, in a single sentence; but had there been such a decree, and Alcibiades its promoter, it would have been unlike his usual proceeding to have suppressed the fact. Melos was one of the Cyclades, and a Lacedemonian colony. That Alcibiades was the officer who blockaded it, is true. His force amounted to thirty-six ships, and three · thousand men. He could not take the island till the second year, after he had received a reinforcement under Philocrates. It but too often happened in ancient times, that troops were exasperated by being detained long at a siege, and committed ravages which their officers were unable to prevent. Effeminacy, and the violation of public decency, are offences of more probable imputation.
On this subject Athenæus relates an anecdote, immediately preceding that of Anytus and Thrasyllus, in a chapter before quoted : -'Apixóuevos 8° 'Αθηνώσιν εξ Ολυμπίας, δύο πίνακας ανέθηκεν, 'Αγλαοφώντος γραφήν· ών ο μεν είχεν Όλυμπιάδα και Πυθιάδα ξεφανούσας αυτόν εν δε θαλέρω Νεμέα ήν καθημένη, και επί των γονάτων αυτής 'Aλ
κιβιάδης, καλλίων φαινόμενος των γυναικείων προσώπων. This Aglaophon was the father of Polygnotus. He is mentioned in good company by Cicero, De Orat. jii. 7.:-“Una est ars ratioque picturæ, dissimillimique tamen inter se Zeuxis, Aglaophon, Apelles: neque eorum quisquam est, cui quidquam in arte sua deesse videatur.”
Ambition showed itself under contrasted forms in Alcibiades and his guardian Pericles : in the former, headstrong, inconsiderate, and personal ; in the latter, prudent, statesman-like, and patriotic. Pericles knew the lust of conquest to be the national error of the Athenians; and his authority was always exerted to restrain its extravagance. He died in the third year of the Peloponnesian war. During his lifetime, they had felt a longing desire to mix themselves up with the divisions of the Sicilians; but when the check of his disapprobation was removed, they aimed at the conquest of the island, and banished two of their generals and fined a third, for not having effected it. Alcibiades lent himself to these lofty notions, and with an imprudence the reverse of his guardian's policy, suggested the entire occupation of the island, instead of that gradual conquest which only they had hitherto meditated. * But Socrates was warned by that genius, who was fabled to have waited on him, and, fable apart, is true wisdom, that this career would not be ultimately successful. Meton the astronomer read no favourable destiny in the stars, and wished to exempt his son from the hazards of the campaign. He affected madness, set his house on fire, and conveniently recovering his senses, petitioned the people to let his son stay at home to comfort him. Nicias also opposed a wise and cautious policy to the arrogance and impetuous rashness of his opponent. But violence carried its point against counsel and experience.
* Mr. Mitford, I find on consulting him since I wrote this passage, does not consider the project of Alcibiades as so imprudent; but, on the contrary, speaks of it as “extensively founded.” I do not dispute so high an authority, but as there is historical warrant in the expressed opinions of Socrates and Meton, I have allowed the passage to stand.
The arguments on both sides are so admirably constructed by Thucydides, in speeches which he probably framed from traditionary heads or remnants of their respective harangues, that. I should insert them but for their extreme length: I will therefore give them as condensed by that excellent historian of Greece, Mr. Mitford :- “ To urge to Athenian tempers,” Nicias said, “ that in reason they should rather take measures to secure what they alreddy possess, than ingage in wild projects for farther acquisition, I fear will be vain ; yet I think it my duty to endevor to show you how rash and unadvised your present purpose is. Within Greece you seem to imagine yourselves at peace : yet some of the most powerful states, of the confederacy with which you have been at war, have not yet acceded to the treaty, and some of the articles are still controverted by all. . In short, it is not a peace, but meerly a dubious suspension of hostilities, prolonged by ten-day truces, which will hold only till some misfortune befal us, or till Lacedæmon give the word for war. At the same time your antient subjects, the Chalcidians of Thrace, have been years in a rebellion which they are still maintaining; and some others, whom you esteem dependent states, pay you but a precarious