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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 201

7. For the Lacedemonians in fact were keeping a feast during this time, and celebrating the Hyakinthia; and they held it of the greatest consequence to provide for the things which concerned the god, while at the same time their wall which they had been building at the Isthmus was just at this moment being completed with battlements. And when the envoys from the Athenians came to Lacedemon, bringing with them also envoys from Megara and Plataia, they came in before the Ephors and said as follows: "The Athenians sent us saying that the king of the Medes not only offers to give us back our land, but also desires to make us his allies on fair and equal terms without deceit or treachery, 7 and is desirous moreover to give us another land in addition to our own, whichsoever we shall ourselves choose. We however, having respect for Zeus of the Hellenes and disdaining to be traitors to Hellas, did not agree but refused, although we were unjustly dealt with by the other Hellenes and left to destruction, and although we knew that it was more profitable to make a treaty with the Persian than to carry on war: nor shall we make a treaty at any future time, if we have our own will. Thus sincerely is our duty done towards the Hellenes: 8 but as for you, after having come then to great dread lest we should make a treaty with the Persian, so soon as ye learnt certainly what our spirit was, namely that we should never betray Hellas, and because your wall across the Isthmus is all but finished, now ye make no account of the Athenians, but having agreed with us to come to Boeotia to oppose the Persian, ye have now deserted us, and ye permitted the Barbarian moreover to make invasion of Attica. For the present then the Athenians have anger against you, for ye did not do as was fitting to be done: and now they bid 9 you with all speed send out an army together with us, in order that we may receive the Barbarian in the land of Attica; for since we failed of Boeotia, the most suitable place to fight in our land is the Thriasian plain.".

8. When the Ephors heard this they deferred their reply to the next day, and then on the next day to the succeeding one; and this they did even for ten days, deferring the matter from day to day, while during this time the whole body of the Peloponnesians were building the wall over the Isthmus with great diligence and were just about to complete it. Now I am not able to say why, when Alexander the Macedonian had come to Athens, they were so very anxious lest the Athenians should take the side of the Medes, whereas now they had no care about it, except indeed that their wall over the Isthmus had now been built, and they thought they had no need of the Athenians any more; whereas when Alexander came to Attica the wall had not yet been completed, but they were working at it in great dread of the Persians..


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