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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Page: 168

The capture of the town was effected before the great body of the Toronaeans had recovered from their surprise and confusion; but the conspirators and the citizens of their party at once joined the invaders. About fifty of the Athenian heavy infantry happened to be sleeping in the market-place when the alarm reached them. A few of these were killed fighting; the rest escaped, some by land, others to the two ships on the station, and took refuge in Lecythus, a fort garrisoned by their own men in the corner of the town running out into the sea and cut off by a narrow isthmus; where they were joined by the Toronaeans of their party.

Day now arrived, and the town being secured, Brasidas made a proclamation to the Toronaeans who had taken refuge with the Athenians, to come out, as many as chose, to their homes without fearing for their rights or persons, and sent a herald to invite the Athenians to accept a truce, and to evacuate Lecythus with their property, as being Chalcidian ground. The Athenians refused this offer, but asked for a truce for a day to take up their dead. Brasidas granted it for two days, which he employed in fortifying the houses near, and the Athenians in doing the same to their positions. Meanwhile he called a meeting of the Toronaeans, and said very much what he had said at Acanthus, namely, that they must not look upon those who had negotiated with him for the capture of the town as bad men or as traitors, as they had not acted as they had done from corrupt motives or in order to enslave the city, but for the good and freedom of Torone; nor again must those who had not shared in the enterprise fancy that they would not equally reap its fruits, as he had not come to destroy either city or individual. This was the reason of his proclamation to those that had fled for refuge to the Athenians: he thought none the worse of them for their friendship for the Athenians; he believed that they had only to make trial of the Lacedaemonians to like them as well, or even much better, as acting much more justly: it was for want of such a trial that they were now afraid of them. Meanwhile he warned all of them to prepare to be staunch allies, and for being held responsible for all faults in future: for the past, they had not wronged the Lacedaemonians but had been wronged by others who were too strong for them, and any opposition that they might have offered him could be excused.

Having encouraged them with this address, as soon as the truce expired he made his attack upon Lecythus; the Athenians defending themselves from a poor wall and from some houses with parapets. One day they beat him off; the next the enemy were preparing to bring up an engine against them from which they meant to throw fire upon the wooden defences, and the troops were already coming up to the point where they fancied they could best bring up the engine, and where place was most assailable; meanwhile the Athenians put a wooden tower upon a house opposite, and carried up a quantity of jars and casks of water and big stones, and a large number of men also climbed up. The house thus laden too heavily suddenly broke down with a loud crash; at which the men who were near and saw it were more vexed than frightened; but those not so near, and still more those furthest off, thought that the place was already taken at that point, and fled in haste to the sea and the ships.


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