History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides

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

The same summer, about the same time that the Athenians were detained at Melos, their fellow-citizens in the thirty ships cruising round Peloponnese, after cutting off some guards in an ambush at Ellomenus in Leucadia, subsequently went against Leucas itself with a large armament, having been reinforced by the whole levy of the Acarnanians except Oeniadae, and by the Zacynthians and Cephallenans and fifteen ships from Corcyra.

While the Leucadians witnessed the devastation of their land, without and within the isthmus upon which the town of Leucas and the temple of Apollo stand, without making any movement on account of the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, the Acarnanians urged Demosthenes, the Athenian general, to build a wall so as to cut off the town from the continent, a measure which they were convinced would secure its capture and rid them once and for all of a most troublesome enemy.

Demosthenes however had in the meanwhile been persuaded by the Messenians that it was a fine opportunity for him, having so large an army assembled, to attack the Aetolians, who were not only the enemies of Naupactus, but whose reduction would further make it easy to gain the rest of that part of the continent for the Athenians.

The Aetolian nation, although numerous and warlike, yet dwelt in unwalled villages scattered far apart, and had nothing but light armour, and might, according to the Messenians, be subdued without much difficulty before succors could arrive.

The plan which they recommended was to attack first the Apodotians, next the Ophionians, and after these the Eurytanians, who are the largest tribe in Aetolia, and speak, as is said, a language exceedingly difficult to understand, and eat their flesh raw.

These once subdued, the rest would easily come in.