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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 24

"Matched in the deeds of war with the tribes of Boeotia and Chalkis The sons of Athens prevailed, conquered and tamed them in fight: In chains of iron and darkness they quenched their insolent spirit; And to Athene present these, of their ransom a tithe."

78. The Athenians accordingly increased in power; and it is evident, not by one instance only but in every way, that Equality 68 is an excellent thing, since the Athenians while they were ruled by despots were not better in war that any of those who dwelt about them, whereas after they had got rid of despots they became far the first. This proves that when they were kept down they were wilfully slack, because they were working for a master, whereas when they had been set free each one was eager to achieve something for himself.

79. These then were faring thus: and the Thebans after this sent to the god, desiring to be avenged on the Athenians; the Pythian prophetess however said that vengeance was not possible for them by their own strength alone, but bade them report the matter to the "many-voiced" and ask help of those who were "nearest" to them. So when those who were sent to consult the Oracle returned, they made a general assembly and reported the oracle; and then the Thebans heard them say that they were to ask help of those who were nearest to them, they said: "Surely those who dwell nearest to us are the men of Tanagra and Coroneia and Thespiai; and these always fight zealously on our side and endure the war with us to the end: what need is there that we ask of these? Rather perhaps that is not the meaning of the oracle.".

80. While they commented upon it thus, at length one perceived "that which the oracle means to tell us. Asopos is said to have had two daughters born to him, Thebe and Egina; and as these are sisters, I think that the god gave us for answer that we should ask the men of Egina to become our helpers." Then as there seemed to be no opinion expressed which was better than this, they sent forthwith and asked the men of Egina to help them, calling upon them in accordance with the oracle; and they, when these made request, said that they sent with them the sons of Aiacos to help them..

81. After that the Thebans, having made an attempt with the alliance of the sons of Aiacos and having been roughly handled by the Athenians, sent again and gave them back the sons of Aiacos and asked them for men. So the Eginetans, exalted by great prosperity and calling to mind an ancient grudge against the Athenians, then on the request of the Thebans commenced a war against the Athenians without notice: for while the Athenians were intent on the Boeotians, they sailed against them to Attica with ships of war, and they devastated Phaleron and also many demes in the remainder of the coast region, and so doing they deeply stirred the resentment of the Athenians. 69


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