History of the Peloponnesian War


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

The Corcyraean revolution began with the return of the prisoners taken in the sea-fights off Epidamnus.

These the Corinthians had released, nominally upon the security of eight hundred talents given by their Proxeni but in reality upon their engagement to bring over Corcyra to Corinth.

These men proceeded to canvass each of the citizens, and to intrigue with the view of detaching the city from Athens.

Upon the arrival of an Athenian and a Corinthian vessel, with envoys on board, a conference was held in which the Corcyraeans voted to remain allies of the Athenians according to their agreement, but to be friends of the Peloponnesians as they had been formerly.

Meanwhile, the returned prisoners brought Peithias, a volunteer Proxenus of the Athenians and leader of the commons, to trial, upon the charge of enslaving Corcyra to Athens.

He, being acquitted, retorted by accusing five of the richest of their number of cutting stakes in the ground sacred to Zeus and Alcinous; the legal penalty being a stater for each stake.

Upon their conviction, the amount of the penalty being very large, they seated themselves as suppliants in the temples, to be allowed to pay it by instalments; but Peithias, who was one of the senate, prevailed upon that body to enforce the law;

upon which the accused, rendered desperate by the law, and also learning that Peithias had the intention, while still a member of the senate, to persuade the people to conclude a defensive and offensive alliance with Athens, banded together armed with daggers, and suddenly bursting into the senate killed Peithias and sixty others, senators and private persons; some few only of the party of Peithias taking refuge in the Athenian trireme, which had not yet departed.