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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Page: 158

Brasidas himself added that he came as a friend to Thessaly and its inhabitants, his arms not being directed against them but against the Athenians, with whom he was at war, and that although he knew of no quarrel between the Thessalians and Lacedaemonians to prevent the two nations having access to each other's territory, he neither would nor could proceed against their wishes; he could only beg them not to stop him. With this answer they went away, and he took the advice of his escort, and pushed on without halting, before a greater force might gather to prevent him. Thus in the day that he set out from Melitia he performed the whole distance to Pharsalus, and encamped on the river Apidanus; and so to Phacium and from thence to Perrhaebia. Here his Thessalian escort went back, and the Perrhaebians, who are subjects of Thessaly, set him down at Dium in the dominions of Perdiccas, a Macedonian town under Mount Olympus, looking towards Thessaly.

In this way Brasidas hurried through Thessaly before any one could be got ready to stop him, and reached Perdiccas and Chalcidice. The departure of the army from Peloponnese had been procured by the Thracian towns in revolt against Athens and by Perdiccas, alarmed at the successes of the Athenians. The Chalcidians thought that they would be the first objects of an Athenian expedition, not that the neighbouring towns which had not yet revolted did not also secretly join in the invitation; and Perdiccas also had his apprehensions on account of his old quarrels with the Athenians, although not openly at war with them, and above all wished to reduce Arrhabaeus, king of the Lyncestians. It had been less difficult for them to get an army to leave Peloponnese, because of the ill fortune of the Lacedaemonians at the present moment. The attacks of the Athenians upon Peloponnese, and in particular upon Laconia, might, it was hoped, be diverted most effectually by annoying them in return, and by sending an army to their allies, especially as they were willing to maintain it and asked for it to aid them in revolting. The Lacedaemonians were also glad to have an excuse for sending some of the Helots out of the country, for fear that the present aspect of affairs and the occupation of Pylos might encourage them to move. Indeed fear of their numbers and obstinacy even persuaded the Lacedaemonians to the action which I shall now relate, their policy at all times having been governed by the necessity of taking precautions against them. The Helots were invited by a proclamation to pick out those of their number who claimed to have most distinguished themselves against the enemy, in order that they might receive their freedom; the object being to test them, as it was thought that the first to claim their freedom would be the most high-spirited and the most apt to rebel. As many as two thousand were selected accordingly, who crowned themselves and went round the temples, rejoicing in their new freedom. The Spartans, however, soon afterwards did away with them, and no one ever knew how each of them perished. The Spartans now therefore gladly sent seven hundred as heavy infantry with Brasidas, who recruited the rest of his force by means of money in Peloponnese.

Brasidas himself was sent out by the Lacedaemonians mainly at his own desire, although the Chalcidians also were eager to have a man so thorough as he had shown himself whenever there was anything to be done at Sparta, and whose after-service abroad proved of the utmost use to his country. At the present moment his just and moderate conduct towards the towns generally succeeded in procuring their revolt, besides the places which he managed to take by treachery; and thus when the Lacedaemonians desired to treat, as they ultimately did, they had places to offer in exchange, and the burden of war meanwhile shifted from Peloponnese. Later on in the war, after the events in Sicily, the present valour and conduct of Brasidas, known by experience to some, by hearsay to others, was what mainly created in the allies of Athens a feeling for the Lacedaemonians. He was the first who went out and showed himself so good a man at all points as to leave behind him the conviction that the rest were like him.

Meanwhile his arrival in the Thracian country no sooner became known to the Athenians than they declared war against Perdiccas, whom they regarded as the author of the expedition, and kept a closer watch on their allies in that quarter.

Upon the arrival of Brasidas and his army, Perdiccas immediately started with them and with his own forces against Arrhabaeus, son of Bromerus, king of the Lyncestian Macedonians, his neighbour, with whom he had a quarrel and whom he wished to subdue. However, when he arrived with his army and Brasidas at the pass leading into Lyncus, Brasidas told him that before commencing hostilities he wished to go and try to persuade Arrhabaeus to become the ally of Lacedaemon, this latter having already made overtures intimating his willingness to make Brasidas arbitrator between them, and the Chalcidian envoys accompanying him having warned him not to remove the apprehensions of Perdiccas, in order to ensure his greater zeal in their cause. Besides, the envoys of Perdiccas had talked at Lacedaemon about his bringing many of the places round him into alliance with them; and thus Brasidas thought he might take a larger view of the question of Arrhabaeus. Perdiccas however retorted that he had not brought him with him to arbitrate in their quarrel, but to put down the enemies whom he might point out to him; and that while he, Perdiccas, maintained half his army it was a breach of faith for Brasidas to parley with Arrhabaeus. Nevertheless Brasidas disregarded the wishes of Perdiccas and held the parley in spite of him, and suffered himself to be persuaded to lead off the army without invading the country of Arrhabaeus; after which Perdiccas, holding that faith had not been kept with him, contributed only a third instead of half of the support of the army.

The same summer, without loss of time, Brasidas marched with the Chalcidians against Acanthus, a colony of the Andrians, a little before vintage. The inhabitants were divided into two parties on the question of receiving him; those who had joined the Chalcidians in inviting him, and the popular party. However, fear for their fruit, which was still out, enabled Brasidas to persuade the multitude to admit him alone, and to hear what he had to say before making a decision; and he was admitted accordingly and appeared before the people, and not being a bad speaker for a Lacedaemonian, addressed them as follows:


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