History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides

Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.

But when they saw the army at Acharnae, barely seven miles from Athens, they lost all patience.

The territory of Athens was being ravaged before the very eyes of the Athenians, a sight which the young men had never seen before and the old only in the Median wars; and it was naturally thought a grievous insult, and the determination was universal, especially among the young men, to sally forth and stop it.

Knots were formed in the streets and engaged in hot discussion; for if the proposed sally was warmly recommended, it was also in some cases opposed.

Oracles of the most various import were recited by the collectors, and found eager listeners in one or other of the disputants.

Foremost in pressing for the sally were the Acharnians, as constituting no small part of the army of the state, and as it was their land that was being ravaged.

In short, the whole city was in a most excited state; Pericles was the object of general indignation; his previous counsels were totally forgotten; he was abused for not leading out the army which he commanded, and was made responsible for the whole of the public suffering.

He, meanwhile, seeing anger and infatuation just now in the ascendant, and confident of his wisdom in refusing a sally, would not call either assembly or meeting of the people, fearing the fatal results of a debate inspired by passion and not by prudence.

Accordingly, he addressed himself to the defence of the city, and kept it as quiet as possible,

though he constantly sent out cavalry to prevent raids on the lands near the city from flying parties of the enemy.

There was a trifling affair at Phrygia between a squadron of the Athenian horse with the Thessalians and the Boeotian cavalry; in which the former had rather the best of it, until the heavy infantry advanced to the support of the Boeotians, when the Thessalians and Athenians were routed and lost a few men, whose bodies, however, were recovered the same day without a truce.

The next day the Peloponnesians set up a trophy.

Ancient alliance brought the Thessalians to the aid of Athens; those who came being the Larisaeans, Pharsalians, Cranonians, Pyrasians, Gyrtonians, and Pheraeans.

The Larisaean commanders were Polymedes and Aristonus, two party leaders in Larisa; the Pharsalian general was Menon; each of the other cities had also its own commander.