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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Page: 101

On his return along shore he touched, among other places, at Notium, the port of Colophon, where the Colophonians had settled after the capture of the upper town by Itamenes and the barbarians, who had been called in by certain individuals in a party quarrel. The capture of the town took place about the time of the second Peloponnesian invasion of Attica. However, the refugees, after settling at Notium, again split up into factions, one of which called in Arcadian and barbarian mercenaries from Pissuthnes and, entrenching these in a quarter apart, formed a new community with the Median party of the Colophonians who joined them from the upper town. Their opponents had retired into exile, and now called in Paches, who invited Hippias, the commander of the Arcadians in the fortified quarter, to a parley, upon condition that, if they could not agree, he was to be put back safe and sound in the fortification. However, upon his coming out to him, he put him into custody, though not in chains, and attacked suddenly and took by surprise the fortification, and putting the Arcadians and the barbarians found in it to the sword, afterwards took Hippias into it as he had promised, and, as soon as he was inside, seized him and shot him down. Paches then gave up Notium to the Colophonians not of the Median party; and settlers were afterwards sent out from Athens, and the place colonized according to Athenian laws, after collecting all the Colophonians found in any of the cities.

Arrived at Mitylene, Paches reduced Pyrrha and Eresus; and finding the Lacedaemonian, Salaethus, in hiding in the town, sent him off to Athens, together with the Mitylenians that he had placed in Tenedos, and any other persons that he thought concerned in the revolt. He also sent back the greater part of his forces, remaining with the rest to settle Mitylene and the rest of Lesbos as he thought best.

Upon the arrival of the prisoners with Salaethus, the Athenians at once put the latter to death, although he offered, among other things, to procure the withdrawal of the Peloponnesians from Plataea, which was still under siege; and after deliberating as to what they should do with the former, in the fury of the moment determined to put to death not only the prisoners at Athens, but the whole adult male population of Mitylene, and to make slaves of the women and children. It was remarked that Mitylene had revolted without being, like the rest, subjected to the empire; and what above all swelled the wrath of the Athenians was the fact of the Peloponnesian fleet having ventured over to Ionia to her support, a fact which was held to argue a long meditated rebellion. They accordingly sent a galley to communicate the decree to Paches, commanding him to lose no time in dispatching the Mitylenians. The morrow brought repentance with it and reflection on the horrid cruelty of a decree, which condemned a whole city to the fate merited only by the guilty. This was no sooner perceived by the Mitylenian ambassadors at Athens and their Athenian supporters, than they moved the authorities to put the question again to the vote; which they the more easily consented to do, as they themselves plainly saw that most of the citizens wished some one to give them an opportunity for reconsidering the matter. An assembly was therefore at once called, and after much expression of opinion upon both sides, Cleon, son of Cleaenetus, the same who had carried the former motion of putting the Mitylenians to death, the most violent man at Athens, and at that time by far the most powerful with the commons, came forward again and spoke as follows:


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