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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Page: 196

The same summer Alcibiades, son of Clinias, now one of the generals at Athens, in concert with the Argives and the allies, went into Peloponnese with a few Athenian heavy infantry and archers and some of the allies in those parts whom he took up as he passed, and with this army marched here and there through Peloponnese, and settled various matters connected with the alliance, and among other things induced the Patrians to carry their walls down to the sea, intending himself also to build a fort near the Achaean Rhium. However, the Corinthians and Sicyonians, and all others who would have suffered by its being built, came up and hindered him.

The same summer war broke out between the Epidaurians and Argives. The pretext was that the Epidaurians did not send an offering for their pasture-land to Apollo Pythaeus, as they were bound to do, the Argives having the chief management of the temple; but, apart from this pretext, Alcibiades and the Argives were determined, if possible, to gain possession of Epidaurus, and thus to ensure the neutrality of Corinth and give the Athenians a shorter passage for their reinforcements from Aegina than if they had to sail round Scyllaeum. The Argives accordingly prepared to invade Epidaurus by themselves, to exact the offering.

About the same time the Lacedaemonians marched out with all their people to Leuctra upon their frontier, opposite to Mount Lycaeum, under the command of Agis, son of Archidamus, without any one knowing their destination, not even the cities that sent the contingents. The sacrifices, however, for crossing the frontier not proving propitious, the Lacedaemonians returned home themselves, and sent word to the allies to be ready to march after the month ensuing, which happened to be the month of Carneus, a holy time for the Dorians. Upon the retreat of the Lacedaemonians the Argives marched out on the last day but three of the month before Carneus, and keeping this as the day during the whole time that they were out, invaded and plundered Epidaurus. The Epidaurians summoned their allies to their aid, some of whom pleaded the month as an excuse; others came as far as the frontier of Epidaurus and there remained inactive.

While the Argives were in Epidaurus embassies from the cities assembled at Mantinea, upon the invitation of the Athenians. The conference having begun, the Corinthian Euphamidas said that their actions did not agree with their words; while they were sitting deliberating about peace, the Epidaurians and their allies and the Argives were arrayed against each other in arms; deputies from each party should first go and separate the armies, and then the talk about peace might be resumed. In compliance with this suggestion, they went and brought back the Argives from Epidaurus, and afterwards reassembled, but without succeeding any better in coming to a conclusion; and the Argives a second time invaded Epidaurus and plundered the country. The Lacedaemonians also marched out to Caryae; but the frontier sacrifices again proving unfavourable, they went back again, and the Argives, after ravaging about a third of the Epidaurian territory, returned home. Meanwhile a thousand Athenian heavy infantry had come to their aid under the command of Alcibiades, but finding that the Lacedaemonian expedition was at an end, and that they were no longer wanted, went back again.

So passed the summer. The next winter the Lacedaemonians managed to elude the vigilance of the Athenians, and sent in a garrison of three hundred men to Epidaurus, under the command of Agesippidas. Upon this the Argives went to the Athenians and complained of their having allowed an enemy to pass by sea, in spite of the clause in the treaty by which the allies were not to allow an enemy to pass through their country. Unless, therefore, they now put the Messenians and Helots in Pylos to annoy the Lacedaemonians, they, the Argives, should consider that faith had not been kept with them. The Athenians were persuaded by Alcibiades to inscribe at the bottom of the Laconian pillar that the Lacedaemonians had not kept their oaths, and to convey the Helots at Cranii to Pylos to plunder the country; but for the rest they remained quiet as before. During this winter hostilities went on between the Argives and Epidaurians, without any pitched battle taking place, but only forays and ambuscades, in which the losses were small and fell now on one side and now on the other. At the close of the winter, towards the beginning of spring, the Argives went with scaling ladders to Epidaurus, expecting to find it left unguarded on account of the war and to be able to take it by assault, but returned unsuccessful. And the winter ended, and with it the thirteenth year of the war ended also.


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