History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides

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

Nothing that happened in the war surprised the Hellenes so much as this.

It was the opinion that no force or famine could make the Lacedaemonians give up their arms, but that they would fight on as they could, and die with them in their hands:

indeed people could scarcely believe that those who had surrendered were of the same stuff as the fallen; and an Athenian ally, who some time after insultingly asked one of the prisoners from the island if those that had fallen were men of honor, received for answer that the atraktos—that is, the arrow—would be worth a great deal if it could tell men of honor from the rest; in allusion to the fact that the killed were those whom the stones and the arrow happened to hit.