When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again. — Edith Hamilton

Story of Greece - Mary Macgregor

Pericles and Elpinice

Athens was at first the leader of the Delian League; she soon became its ruler.

Many of the allied cities offered to send, as their contribution to the league, money instead of ships. To this Athens agreed gladly, and with the money she added ship after ship to her own fleet. So the navy of Athens continued to grow while that of the other states dwindled until they possessed only a few vessels.

The treasury of the league, which had been kept in the small but sacred island of Delos, was moved to Athens with the consent of the allies.

But after a time the other cities grew discontented. They complained that the money they sent to the league was not spent on ships alone. Some of it, at least, was used to build beautiful temples for the city of Athens.

So dissatisfied were they that they declared that they would leave the league. But they soon found that it would be difficult to carry out their threat, for Athens was too anxious to receive their contributions of money to let them go.

When the people who lived on the island of Samos revolted, Pericles went with an army to besiege their capital town, and after nine months the Samians were forced to surrender. The walls of the city were pulled down, the ships belonging to the island were seized, and the inhabitants were forced to pay a heavy fine.

On his return to Athens, Pericles was welcomed by his own party, but Elpinice, the sister of Cimon, was indignant that the citizens should rejoice at a victory gained over their own countrymen.

One day, soon after his triumphant return, Elpinice waylaid Pericles as he was walking along the streets, and said to him, 'These are brave deeds, Pericles, that you have done, and such as deserve our chaplets, who have lost us many a worthy citizen, not in a war with Phoenicians or Medes, like my brother Cimon, but for the overthrow of an allied and kindred city.'

Elpinice hoped to make Pericles ashamed that he had fought with people of his own race.

And now for two years, from 447 B.C. to 445 B.C., loss after loss befell Athens. While she was struggling with her other enemies, the king of Sparta marched into Attica with an army. Athens herself was in danger.

But before the army reached the city, it was ordered to halt, and soon after it withdrew from Attica.

No one knew what had made the Spartans spare Athens, but it was said that Pericles had paid their king a large sum of money on condition that he took his army back to his own country.

In 445 B.C. Athens signed a Thirty Years' Truce with Sparta, and at the same time peace was made with Persia.

Pericles was now able to devote himself to the work which was his greatest pleasure. He spent fourteen years in making Athens so beautiful that it became the wonder city of the world.


Front Matter

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