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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Page: 171

The Scionaeans say that they are Pallenians from Peloponnese, and that their first founders on their voyage from Troy were carried in to this spot by the storm which the Achaeans were caught in, and there settled. The Scionaeans had no sooner revolted than Brasidas crossed over by night to Scione, with a friendly galley ahead and himself in a small boat some way behind; his idea being that if he fell in with a vessel larger than the boat he would have the galley to defend him, while a ship that was a match for the galley would probably neglect the small vessel to attack the large one, and thus leave him time to escape. His passage effected, he called a meeting of the Scionaeans and spoke to the same effect as at Acanthus and Torone, adding that they merited the utmost commendation, in that, in spite of Pallene within the isthmus being cut off by the Athenian occupation of Potidaea and of their own practically insular position, they had of their own free will gone forward to meet their liberty instead of timorously waiting until they had been by force compelled to their own manifest good. This was a sign that they would valiantly undergo any trial, however great; and if he should order affairs as he intended, he should count them among the truest and sincerest friends of the Lacedaemonians, and would in every other way honour them.

The Scionaeans were elated by his language, and even those who had at first disapproved of what was being done catching the general confidence, they determined on a vigorous conduct of the war, and welcomed Brasidas with all possible honours, publicly crowning him with a crown of gold as the liberator of Hellas; while private persons crowded round him and decked him with garlands as though he had been an athlete. Meanwhile Brasidas left them a small garrison for the present and crossed back again, and not long afterwards sent over a larger force, intending with the help of the Scionaeans to attempt Mende and Potidaea before the Athenians should arrive; Scione, he felt, being too like an island for them not to relieve it. He had besides intelligence in the above towns about their betrayal.

In the midst of his designs upon the towns in question, a galley arrived with the commissioners carrying round the news of the armistice, Aristonymus for the Athenians and Athenaeus for the Lacedaemonians. The troops now crossed back to Torone, and the commissioners gave Brasidas notice of the convention. All the Lacedaemonian allies in Thrace accepted what had been done; and Aristonymus made no difficulty about the rest, but finding, on counting the days, that the Scionaeans had revolted after the date of the convention, refused to include them in it. To this Brasidas earnestly objected, asserting that the revolt took place before, and would not give up the town. Upon Aristonymus reporting the case to Athens, the people at once prepared to send an expedition to Scione. Upon this, envoys arrived from Lacedaemon, alleging that this would be a breach of the truce, and laying claim to the town upon the faith of the assertion of Brasidas, and meanwhile offering to submit the question to arbitration. Arbitration, however, was what the Athenians did not choose to risk; being determined to send troops at once to the place, and furious at the idea of even the islanders now daring to revolt, in a vain reliance upon the power of the Lacedaemonians by land. Besides the facts of the revolt were rather as the Athenians contended, the Scionaeans having revolted two days after the convention. Cleon accordingly succeeded in carrying a decree to reduce and put to death the Scionaeans; and the Athenians employed the leisure which they now enjoyed in preparing for the expedition.

Meanwhile Mende revolted, a town in Pallene and a colony of the Eretrians, and was received without scruple by Brasidas, in spite of its having evidently come over during the armistice, on account of certain infringements of the truce alleged by him against the Athenians. This audacity of Mende was partly caused by seeing Brasidas forward in the matter and by the conclusions drawn from his refusal to betray Scione; and besides, the conspirators in Mende were few, and, as I have already intimated, had carried on their practices too long not to fear detection for themselves, and not to wish to force the inclination of the multitude. This news made the Athenians more furious than ever, and they at once prepared against both towns. Brasidas, expecting their arrival, conveyed away to Olynthus in Chalcidice the women and children of the Scionaeans and Mendaeans, and sent over to them five hundred Peloponnesian heavy infantry and three hundred Chalcidian targeteers, all under the command of Polydamidas.


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