History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides

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

the rest of the Thebans who were to have joined them with all their forces before daybreak, in case of anything miscarrying with the body that had entered, received the news of the affair on the road, and pressed forward to their succor.

Now Plataea is nearly eight miles from Thebes, and their march was delayed by the rain that had fallen in the night, for the river Asopus had risen and was not easy of passage;

and so, having to march in the rain, and being hindered in crossing the river, they arrived too late, and found the whole party either slain or captive.

When they learned what had happened, there at once formed a design against the Plataeans outside the city.

As the attack had been made in time of peace, and was perfectly unexpected, there were of course men and stock in the fields; and the Thebans wished if possible to have some prisoners to exchange against their countrymen in the town, should any chance to have been taken alive.

Such was their plan.

But the Plataeans suspected their intention almost before it was formed, and becoming alarmed for their fellow-citizens outside the town, sent a herald to the Thebans, reproaching them for their unscrupulous attempt to seize their city in time of peace, and warning them against any outrage on those outside.

Should the warning be disregarded, they threatened to put to death the men they had in their hands, but added that, on the Thebans retiring from their territory, they would surrender the prisoners to their friends.

This is the Theban account of the matter, and they say that they had an oath given them.

The Plataeans, on the other hand, do not admit any promise of an immediate surrender, but make it contingent upon subsequent negotiation: the oath they deny altogether.

Be this as it may, upon the Thebans retiring from their territory without committing any injury, the Plataeans hastily got in whatever they had in the country and immediately put the men to death.

The prisoners were a hundred and eighty in number; Eurymachus, the person with whom the traitors had negotiated, being one.