F Heritage History | Story of Greece by Mary Macgregor
Contents 
Front Matter Wonderland The Great God Pan The Six Pomegranate Seeds The Birth of Athene The Two Weavers The Purple Flowers Danae and Her Little Son The Quest of Perseus Andromeda and Sea-Monster Acrisius Killed by Perseus Achilles and Briseis Menelaus and Paris Do Battle Hector and Andromache The Horses of Achilles The Death of Hector Polyphemus the Giant Odysseus Escapes from Cave Odysseus Returns to Ithaca Argus the Hound Dies The Bow of Odysseus The Land of Hellas Lycurgus and His Nephew Lycurgus Returns to Sparta Training of the Spartans The Helots Aristomenes and the Fox The Olympian Games The Last King of Athens Cylon Fails to be Tyrant Solon Frees the Slaves Athenians Take Salamis Pisistratus Becomes Tyrant Harmodius and Aristogiton The Law of Ostracism The Bridge of Boats Darius Rewards Histiaeus Histiaeus Shaves His Slave Sardis Is Destroyed Sandal Sewn by Histiaeus Earth and Water Battle of Marathon Miltiades Sails to Paros Aristides is Ostracised The Dream of Xerxes Xerxes Scourges the Hellespont Bravest Men of All Hellas Battle of Thermopylae Battle of Artemisium Themistocles at Salamis Themistocles Tricks Admirals Battle of Salamis Battle of Plataea Delian League Themistocles Deceives Spartans Themistocles is Ostracised Eloquence of Pericles Pericles and Elpinice The City of Athens Great Men of Athens Thebans Attack Plataeans Attica Invaded by Spartans Last Words of Pericles Siege of Plataea The Sentence of Death Brasidas Loses His Shield The Spartans Surrender Brasidas the Spartan Amphipolus Surrenders Alcibiades the Favourite Socrates the Philosopher Alcibiades Praises Socrates Images of Hermes Destroyed Alcibiades Escapes to Sparta The Siege of Syracuse Athenian Army is Destroyed Alcibiades Returns to Athens Antiochus Disobeys Alcibiades Walls of Athens Destroyed March of the Ten Thousand Pelopidas and Epaminondas Seven Conspirators Battle of Leuctra Death of Epaminondas The Two Brothers Timoleon exiles Dionysius Icetes Attacks Timoleon Battle of Crimisus Demosthenes' Wish Greatest Orator of Athens The Sacred War Alexander and Bucephalus Alexander and Diogenes Battle of Granicus The Gordian Knot Darius Gallops from Battle Tyre Stormed by Alexander Battle of Gaugamela Alexander Burns Persepolis Alexander Slays Foster-Brother Porus and His Elephant Alexander Is Wounded The Death of Alexander Demosthenes in the Temple

Story of Greece - Mary Macgregor




Attica Is Invaded by the Spartans

In the month of May 431 B.C. Attica itself was invaded by a large Spartan army, under King Archidamus.

Before he crossed the border into Attica the king bade his army halt, while he sent an ambassador named Melesippus to the Athenians, to offer them terms if they would submit to him. But Pericles persuaded the council to refuse even to listen to Melesippus, who had been told to return to his own army before the setting of the sun. As he turned away from the council, Melesippus said to the Athenians, 'This day will be the beginning of many woes to the Greeks.'

Pericles knew that the Spartans would march into Attica, as soon as their ambassador had returned, so he ordered the country folk to hasten within the strong walls of Athens for safety. Their cattle he bade them send to the island of Euboea.

The Spartans found the Attic farms deserted, but they destroyed and burned them, while they trampled down the cornfields and spoiled the olive groves and orchards.

As the invading army drew nearer to Athens, the people within the city walls could mark its progress by the smoke that rose from burning farms and villas. The men rushed to the gates, eager to go to attack the enemy, and it was all but beyond the power of Pericles to restrain them.

As winter drew near, Archidamus was forced to retreat, for he had neither money nor food to keep his troops longer in the country of the enemy.

Then Pericles knowing that the way was clear, sailed from Athens with thirteen thousand men, and surprised many villages on the Peloponnesian coast. He also burned the farms and houses in the district of Megara.

When Pericles returned from Megara, a public burial was given, as was the custom, to those who had been slain in battle.

A cedar box, in which were placed the bones of the fallen, was carried without the walls of the city and buried. For those whose bodies had not been recovered, there was an empty bed covered with a pall. The funeral oration, or Panegyric as it was named, was spoken by Pericles.

Here are a few of the sentences which Thucydides, the historian, heard, as he stood among the people and listened to the Panegyric.

'Our city is equally admirable in peace and in war. For we are lovers of the beautiful, yet simple in our tastes, and we cultivate the mind without loss of manliness. Wealth we employ, not for talk and ostentation, but when there is real use for it. To avow poverty is with us no disgrace; the true disgrace is in doing nothing to avoid it.

'An Athenian citizen does not neglect the State because he takes care of his own household; and even those of us who are engaged in business have a very fair idea of politics. We alone regard a man who takes no interest in public affairs, not as harmless, but as a useless character. . . .

'I would have you day by day fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed with the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it . . . . they freely gave their lives to her as the fairest offering which they could present at her feast. The whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven, not on stone, but in the hearts of men. Make them your example.'