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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Page: 89

Assembling in Doberus, they prepared for descending from the heights upon Lower Macedonia, where the dominions of Perdiccas lay; for the Lyncestae, Elimiots, and other tribes more inland, though Macedonians by blood, and allies and dependants of their kindred, still have their own separate governments. The country on the sea coast, now called Macedonia, was first acquired by Alexander, the father of Perdiccas, and his ancestors, originally Temenids from Argos. This was effected by the expulsion from Pieria of the Pierians, who afterwards inhabited Phagres and other places under Mount Pangaeus, beyond the Strymon (indeed the country between Pangaeus and the sea is still called the Pierian Gulf); of the Bottiaeans, at present neighbours of the Chalcidians, from Bottia, and by the acquisition in Paeonia of a narrow strip along the river Axius extending to Pella and the sea; the district of Mygdonia, between the Axius and the Strymon, being also added by the expulsion of the Edonians. From Eordia also were driven the Eordians, most of whom perished, though a few of them still live round Physca, and the Almopians from Almopia. These Macedonians also conquered places belonging to the other tribes, which are still theirs—Anthemus, Crestonia, Bisaltia, and much of Macedonia proper. The whole is now called Macedonia, and at the time of the invasion of Sitalces, Perdiccas, Alexander's son, was the reigning king.

These Macedonians, unable to take the field against so numerous an invader, shut themselves up in such strong places and fortresses as the country possessed. Of these there was no great number, most of those now found in the country having been erected subsequently by Archelaus, the son of Perdiccas, on his accession, who also cut straight roads, and otherwise put the kingdom on a better footing as regards horses, heavy infantry, and other war material than had been done by all the eight kings that preceded him. Advancing from Doberus, the Thracian host first invaded what had been once Philip's government, and took Idomene by assault, Gortynia, Atalanta, and some other places by negotiation, these last coming over for love of Philip's son, Amyntas, then with Sitalces. Laying siege to Europus, and failing to take it, he next advanced into the rest of Macedonia to the left of Pella and Cyrrhus, not proceeding beyond this into Bottiaea and Pieria, but staying to lay waste Mygdonia, Crestonia, and Anthemus.

The Macedonians never even thought of meeting him with infantry; but the Thracian host was, as opportunity offered, attacked by handfuls of their horse, which had been reinforced from their allies in the interior. Armed with cuirasses, and excellent horsemen, wherever these charged they overthrew all before them, but ran considerable risk in entangling themselves in the masses of the enemy, and so finally desisted from these efforts, deciding that they were not strong enough to venture against numbers so superior.

Meanwhile Sitalces opened negotiations with Perdiccas on the objects of his expedition; and finding that the Athenians, not believing that he would come, did not appear with their fleet, though they sent presents and envoys, dispatched a large part of his army against the Chalcidians and Bottiaeans, and shutting them up inside their walls laid waste their country. While he remained in these parts, the people farther south, such as the Thessalians, Magnetes, and the other tribes subject to the Thessalians, and the Hellenes as far as Thermopylae, all feared that the army might advance against them, and prepared accordingly. These fears were shared by the Thracians beyond the Strymon to the north, who inhabited the plains, such as the Panaeans, the Odomanti, the Droi, and the Dersaeans, all of whom are independent. It was even matter of conversation among the Hellenes who were enemies of Athens whether he might not be invited by his ally to advance also against them. Meanwhile he held Chalcidice and Bottice and Macedonia, and was ravaging them all; but finding that he was not succeeding in any of the objects of his invasion, and that his army was without provisions and was suffering from the severity of the season, he listened to the advice of Seuthes, son of Spardacus, his nephew and highest officer, and decided to retreat without delay. This Seuthes had been secretly gained by Perdiccas by the promise of his sister in marriage with a rich dowry. In accordance with this advice, and after a stay of thirty days in all, eight of which were spent in Chalcidice, he retired home as quickly as he could; and Perdiccas afterwards gave his sister Stratonice to Seuthes as he had promised. Such was the history of the expedition of Sitalces.


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