The History of the Peloponnesian War. The text according to The text according to Bekker's edition, with some alterations. Illustrated with maps, taken entirely from actual surveys. With notes, chiefly historical and geographical. Thucydides; Arnold, Thomas ed. Published by Oxford: Printed by S.
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The reasons he gave were three-fold: the Peloponnesian War was fought between two cities at the height of their power; these powers went into conflict prepared; and most of the Greek world and beyond was subsequently drawn into the fighting. What stands out throughout is the sharpness with which Thucydides reports. In contrast to Herodotus, he no longer includes alternative viewpoints and traditions but offers a strong, singular explanation of events. Yet the authorial voice Thucydides created in the History should not belie the fact that he engaged in his very own forms of make—believe.
Through the speeches, in particular, Thucydides offers evaluations of events and situations in a voice other than his own. Interspersed throughout the History, they provide a commentary on the events from the perspective of the historical actors. Yet Thucydides himself apparently saw no problem; there was no conflict between his aim to tell what really happened and his use of speeches, although he did find the subject important enough to warrant an explanation:.
Insofar as these facts involve what the various participants said both before and during the actual conflict, recalling the exact words was difficult for me regarding speeches I heard myself and for my informants about speeches made elsewhere; in the way I thought each would have said what was especially required in the given situation, I have stated accordingly, with the closest possible fidelity on my part to the overall sense of what was actually said.
Lawlessness, disregard for custom, egotism and a general lack of order in the face of death took hold of Athens. Time and again he shows that in extreme situations, it is human nature to diverge from ideals that are otherwise firmly held. In these moments, the anthropologist and humanist in Thucydides comes to the fore. Recent scholarship has highlighted this dimension of his work. Even though the main focus in his History remains on warfare and the geo-political deliberations that inform it, there is more on human nature and culture in this work than one may think.
And, more frequently than not, Thucydides extends his sharp analysis from politics and warfare to the human and cultural factors driving human history. The same sharp analysis runs throughout the work. The Mytilenean Debate revolves around whether the Athenians should revoke their decision to annihilate the entire western Ionian city of Mytilene in retaliation for a revolt. Thucydides has two main speakers set out the case. Both speakers make a series of complex arguments revolving around questions of justice, fairness, good governance, and the nature of hegemonic rule. Cleon a General during the Peloponnesian War argues for harsh treatment: doing otherwise would set a dangerous precedent for other allies.
Diodotus his opponent , on the other hand, takes up this point and insists that a more lenient response is the superior strategy: it would not corner those rebelling but provides them with a viable alternative that secures a future source of revenue for Athens. As such, the Athenians choose to overturn the decision. A trireme is dispatched just in time to prevent major bloodshed. However, a very different side of Athens emerges in the Melian Dialogue.
Importantly, this conceit allowed both the Athenians and the Melians to present their views directly and as a collective voice. Should the Melians a Spartan colony be allowed to remain neutral? Or should the Athenians insist they submit and pay tribute? The Melians make a passionate plea for justice and the right to remain neutral. The Athenians counter by pointing out:. Allowing the Melians to remain neutral would set a dangerous precedent and threaten Athenian hegemony. For where affairs succeed amiss, though there want neither providence nor courage in the conduction; yet with those that judge only upon events, the way to calumny is always open, and envy, in the likeness of zeal to the public good, easily findeth credit for an accusation.
After his banishment he lived in Scapte—Hyle, a city of Thrace before mentioned, as Plutarch writeth; but yet so, as he went abroad, and was present at the actions of the rest of the war; as appeareth by his own words in his fifth book, where he saith, that he was present at the actions of both parts, and no less at those of the Peloponnesians, by reason of his exile, than those of the Athenians. During this time also he perfected his history, so far as is now to be seen; nor doth it appear that after his exile he ever again enjoyed his country.
It is not clear in any author, where, or when, or in what year of his own age he died. Most agree that he died in banishment: yet there be that have written, that after the defeat in Sicily the Athenians decreed a general revocation of all banished persons, except those of the family of Peisistratus; and that he then returned, and was afterwards put to death at Athens. But this is very unlikely to be true, unless by after the defeat in Sicily, be meant so long after, that it was also after the end of the Peloponnesian war; because Thucydides himself maketh no mention of such return, though he outlived the whole war, as is manifest by his words in the fifth book.
For he saith he lived in banishment twenty years after his charge at Amphipolis; which happened in the eighth year of this war: which, in the whole, lasted but twenty—seven years complete. They that say he died at Athens, take their conjecture from his monument which was there. But this is not a sufficient argument; for he might be buried there secretly, as some have written he was , though he died abroad: or his monument might be there, and as others have affirmed he not buried in it.
And if it be true that is written by A. Gellius, of the ages of Hellanicus, Herodotus, and Thucydides, then died he not before the sixty—eighth year. For if he were forty when the war began, and lived as he did certainly to see it ended, he might be more when he died, but not less than sixty—eight years of age. What children he left, is not manifest. Plato in Menone, maketh mention of Milesias and Stephanus, sons of a Thucydides of a very noble family; but it is clear they were of Thucydides the rival of Pericles, both by the name Milesias, and because this Thucydides also was of the family of Miltiades, as Plutarch testifieth in the life of Cimon.
Thus much of the person of Thucydides. Now for his writings, two things are to be considered in them: truth and elocution. For in truth consisteth the soul, and in elocution the body of history. The latter without the former, is but a picture of history; and the former without the latter, unapt to instruct. But let us see how our author hath acquitted himself in both.
For the faith of this history, I shall have the less to say: in respect that no man hath ever yet called it into question. Nor indeed could any man justly doubt of the truth of that writer, in whom they had nothing at all to suspect of those things that could have caused him either voluntarily to lie, or ignorantly to deliver an untruth.
He overtasked not himself by undertaking an history of things done long before his time, and of which he was not able to inform himself. He was a man that had as much means, in Edition: current; Page: [ xxi ] regard both of his dignity and wealth, to find the truth of what he relateth, as was needful for a man to have. He used as much diligence in search of the truth, noting every thing whilst it was fresh in memory, and laying out his wealth upon intelligence , as was possible for a man to use.
He was far from the necessity of servile writers, either to fear or flatter. And whereas he may peradventure be thought to have been malevolent towards his country, because they deserved to have him so; yet hath he not written any thing that discovereth such passion. Nor is there any thing written of them that tendeth to their dishonour as Athenians, but only as people; and that by the necessity of the narration, not by any sought digression.
So that no word of his, but their own actions do sometimes reproach them. In sum, if the truth of a history did ever appear by the manner of relating, it doth so in this history: so coherent, perspicuous and persuasive is the whole narration, and every part thereof. In the elocution also, two things are considerable: disposition or method, and style.
Of the disposition here used by Thucydides, it will be sufficient in this place briefly to observe only this: that in his first book, first he hath, by way of exordium, derived the state of Greece from the cradle to the vigorous stature it then was at when he began to write: and next, declared the causes, both real and pretended, of the war he was to write of. In the rest, in which he handleth the war itself, he followeth distinctly and purely the order of time throughout; relating what came to pass from year to year, and subdividing each year into a summer and winter.
The grounds and motives of every action he setteth down before the action itself, either narratively, or else contriveth them into the form of deliberative orations in the persons of such as from time to time bare sway in the commonwealth. After Edition: current; Page: [ xxii ] the actions, when there is just occasion, he giveth his judgment of them; shewing by what means the success came either to be furthered or hindered. For his style, I refer it to the judgment of divers ancient and competent judges. The manner how Demosthenes arranged the Athenians on the rugged shore before Pylus; how Brasidas urged the steersman to run his galley aground; how he went to the ladder or place in the galley for descent; how he was hurt, and swooned, and fell down on the ledges of the galley; how the Spartans fought after the manner of a land—fight upon the sea, and the Athenians of a sea—fight upon land: again, in the Sicilian war, how a battle was fought by sea and land with equal fortune: these things, I say, are so described and so evidently set before our eyes, that the mind of the reader is no less affected therewith than if he had been present in the actions.
And in these two as saith Theophrastus history hath roused herself, and adventured to speak, but more copiously, and with more ornament than in those that were before them. For he is so full of matter, that the number of his sentences doth almost reach to the number of his words; and in his words he is so apt and so close, that it is hard to say whether his words do more illustrate his sentences, or his sentences his words. Lastly, for the purity and propriety, I cite Dionysius Halicarnassius: whose testimony is the stronger in this point, because he was a Greek rhetorician for his faculty, and for his affection, one that would no further commend him than of necessity he must.
What is that? That the language be pure, and retain the propriety of the Greek tongue. This they both observe diligently. For Herodotus is the best rule of the Ionic, and Thucydides of the Attic dialect. Moreover, I have thought it necessary to take out the principal objections he maketh against him; and without many words of mine own to leave them to the consideration of the reader. And this Herodotus, in my opinion, hath done better than Thucydides. But Thucydides writeth one only war, and that neither honourable nor fortunate; which principally were to be wished never to have been; and next, never to have been remembered nor known to posterity.
Now by how much it is better to write of the wonderful acts both of the barbarians and Grecians, than of the pitiful and horrible calamities of the Grecians; so much wiser is Herodotus in the choice of his argument than Thucydides. And in this point Herodotus seemeth to be far more discreet than Thucydides. For in the first place he layeth down the cause for which the barbarians began to injure the Grecians; and going on, maketh an end at the punishment and the revenge taken on the barbarians.
But Thucydides begins at the good estate of the Grecians; which, being a Grecian and an Athenian, he ought not to have done: nor Edition: current; Page: [ xxv ] ought he, being of that dignity amongst the Athenians, so evidently to have laid the fault of the war upon his own city, when there were other occasions enough to which he might have imputed it.
Then in the ending of his history, there be many errors committed. For though he profess he was present in the whole war, and that he would write it all: yet he ends with the naval battle at Cynos—sema, which was fought in the twenty—first year of the war. Whereas it had been better to have gone through with it, and ended his history with that admirable and grateful return of the banished Athenians from Phile; at which time the city recovered her liberty.
To this I say, that it was the duty of him that had undertaken to write the history of the Peloponnesian war, to begin his narration no further off than at the causes of the same, whether the Grecians were then in good or in evil estate. And if the injury, upon which the war arose, proceeded from the Athenians; then the writer, though an Athenian and honoured in his country, ought to declare the same; and not to seek nor take, though at hand, any other occasion to transfer the fault. And that the acts done before the time comprehended in the war he writ of, ought to have been touched but cursorily, and no more than may serve for the enlightening of the history to follow, how noble soever those acts have been.
Which when he had thus touched, without affection to either side, and not as a lover of his country but of truth; then to have proceeded to the rest with the like indifferency. And to have made an end of Edition: current; Page: [ xxvi ] writing, where the war ended, which he undertook to write; not producing his history beyond that period, though that which followed were never so admirable and acceptable. All this Thucydides hath observed. These two criminations I have therefore set down at large, translated almost verbatim, that the judgment of Dionysius Halicarnassius may the better appear concerning the main and principal virtues of a history.
I think there was never written so much absurdity in so few lines. He is contrary to the opinion of all men that ever spake of this subject besides himself, and to common sense. For he makes the scope of history, not profit by writing truth, but delight of the hearer, as if it were a song.
And the argument of history, he would not by any means have to contain the calamities and misery of his country; these he would have buried in silence: but only their glorious and splendid actions. Amongst the virtues of an historiographer, he reckons affection to his country; study to please the hearer; to write of more than his argument leads him to; and to conceal all actions that were not to the honour of his country. Most manifest vices. He was a rhetorician; and it seemeth he would have nothing written, but that which was most capable of rhetorical ornament.
The third fault he finds is this: that the method of his history is governed by the time, rather than the periods of several actions: for he declares in order what came to pass each summer and winter, and is thereby forced sometimes to leave the narration of a siege, or sedition, or a war, or other action in the middest, and enter into a relation of somewhat else done at the same time, in another place, and to come to the former again when the time requires it. This, saith he, causes confusion in the mind of his hearer, so that he cannot comprehend distinctly the several parts of the history.
Dionysius aimeth still at the delight of the present hearer; though Thucydides himself profess that his scope is not that, but to leave his work for a perpetual possession for posterity: and then have men leisure enough to comprehend him thoroughly. But indeed, whosoever shall read him once attentively, shall more distinctly conceive of every action this way than the other. And the method is more natural; forasmuch as his purpose being to write of one Peloponnesian war, this way he has incorporated all the parts thereof into one body; so that there is unity in the whole, and the several narrations are conceived only as parts of that.
Whereas the other way, he had sewed together many little histories, and left the Peloponnesian war, which he took for his subject, in a manner unwritten: for neither any part nor the whole could justly have carried such a title. For answer to this, I say thus. For the mentioning of the ancient state of Greece, he doth it briefly, insisting no longer upon it than is necessary for the well understanding of the following history. For without some general notions of these first times, many places of the history are the less easy to be understood; as depending upon the knowledge of the original of several cities and customs, which could not be at all inserted into the history itself, but must be either supposed to be foreknown by the reader, or else be delivered to him in the beginning as a necessary preface.
And for his putting first the narration of the public and avowed cause of this war, and after that the true and inward motive of the same; the reprehension is absurd. For it is plain, that a cause of war divulged and avowed, how slight soever it be, comes within the task of the historiographer, no less than the war itself. For without a pretext, no war follows.
This pretext is always an injury received, or pretended to be received. Whereas the Edition: current; Page: [ xxviii ] inward motive to hostility is but conjectural; and not of that evidence, that a historiographer should be always bound to take notice of it: as envy to the greatness of another state, or fear of an injury to come. Now let any man judge, whether a good writer of history ought to handle, as the principal cause of war, proclaimed injury or concealed envy.
Again he says, that he maketh a funeral oration which was solemnly done on all occasions through the war for fifteen horsemen only, that were slain at the brooks called Rheiti: and that for this reason only, that he might make it in the person of Pericles, who was then living, but before another the like occasion happened was dead. The manner of the Athenians was, that they that were slain the first in any war, should have a solemn funeral in the suburbs of the city.
During this war, they had many occasions to put this custom in practice. Seeing therefore it was fit to have that custom and the form of it known, and that once for all, the manner being ever the same; it was the fittest to relate it on the first occasion, what number soever they were that were then buried: which nevertheless is not likely to have been so few as Dionysius saith. For the funeral was not celebrated till the winter after they were slain: so that many more were slain before this solemnity, and may all be accounted amongst the first.
And that Pericles performed the office of making their funeral oration, there is no reason alledged by him why it should be doubted. Another fault he finds, is this: that he introduceth the Athenian generals, in a dialogue with the inhabitants of the Isle of Melos, pretending openly for the cause of their invasion Edition: current; Page: [ xxix ] of that isle, the power and will of the state of Athens; and rejecting utterly to enter into any disputation with them concerning the equity of their cause, which, he saith, was contrary to the dignity of the state.
To this may be answered, that the proceeding of these generals was not unlike to divers other actions, that the people of Athens openly took upon them: and therefore it is very likely they were allowed so to proceed. Other cavils he hath touching the matter and order of this history, but not needful to be answered.
Peloponnesian War: Sources Other Than Thucydides in: Brill's Companion to Thucydides
Then for his phrase, he carpeth at it in infinite places, both for obscure and licentious. He that will see the particular places he reprehendeth, let him read Dionysius himself, if he will: for the matter is too tedious for this place. It is true, that there be some sentences in him somewhat long: not obscure to one that is attentive: and besides that, they are but few.
Yet is this the most important fault he findeth. For the rest, the obscurity that is, proceedeth from the profoundness of the sentences; containing contemplations of those human passions, which either dissembled or not commonly discoursed of, do yet carry the greatest sway with men in their public conversation. If then one cannot penetrate into them without much meditation, we are not to expect a man should understand them at the first speaking. Marcellinus saith, he was obscure on purpose; that the common people might not understand him.
And not unlikely: for a wise man should so write, though in words understood by all men , that wise men only should be able to commend him. But this obscurity is not to be in the narrations of things done, nor in the descriptions of places or of battles, in all which Thucydides is most perspicuous: as Plutarch in the words Edition: current; Page: [ xxx ] before cited hath testified of him. If therefore Thucydides in his orations, or in the description of a sedition, or other thing of that kind, be not easily understood; it is of those only that cannot penetrate into the nature of such things, and proceedeth not from any intricacy of expression.
Dionysius further findeth fault with his using to set word against word: which the rhetoricians call antitheta. Which, as it is in some kind of speech a very great vice, so is it not improper in characters: and of comparative discourses, it is almost the only style. Some man may peradventure desire to know, what motive Dionysius might have to extenuate the worth of him, whom he himself acknowledgeth to have been esteemed by all men for the best by far of all historians that ever wrote, and to have been taken by all the ancient orators and philosophers for the measure and rule of writing history.
What motive he had to it, I know not: but what glory he might expect by it, is easily known. For having first preferred Herodotus, his countryman, a Halicarnassian, before Thucydides, who was accounted the best; and then conceiving that his own history might perhaps be thought not inferior to that of Herodotus: by this computation he saw the honour of the best historiographer falling on himself. Wherein, in the opinion of all men, he hath misreckoned. And thus much for the objections of Denis of Halicarnasse.
It is written of Demosthenes, the famous orator, that he wrote over the history of Thucydides with his own Edition: current; Page: [ xxxi ] hand eight times.
So much was this work esteemed, even for the eloquence. But yet was this his eloquence not at all fit for the bar; but proper for history, and rather to be read than heard. For words that pass away as in public orations they must without pause, ought to be understood with ease, and are lost else: though words that remain in writing for the reader to meditate on, ought rather to be pithy and full.
Cicero therefore doth justly set him apart from the rank of pleaders; but withal, he continually giveth him his due for history, lib. Yet all men praise him, I confess it, as a wise, severe, grave relator of things done: not for a pleader of causes at the bar, but a reporter of war in history. So that he was never reckoned an orator: nor if he had never written a history, had his name therefore not been extant, being a man of honour and nobility.
Yet none of them imitate the gravity of his words and sentences; but when they have uttered a kind of lame and disjointed stuff, they presently think themselves brothers of Thucydides. But this is nothing to the orator we seek: for it is one thing to unfold a matter by way of narration; another thing to accuse a man, or clear him by arguments. And in narrations, one thing to stay the hearer, another to stir him. In his orations and excursions, almost divine. Whom the oftener you read, the more you shall carry away; yet never be dismissed without appetite.
The estate of Greece, derived from the remotest known antiquity thereof, to the beginning of the Peloponnesian War. Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the war of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians as 1 they warred against each other, beginning to write as soon as the war was on foot; with expectation it should prove a great one, and most worthy the relation of all that had been before it: conjecturing so much, both from this, that they flourished on both sides in all manner of provision; and also because he Edition: current; Page: [ 2 ] saw the rest of Greece siding with the one or the other faction, some then presently and some intending so to do.
For this was certainly the greatest commotion that ever happened amongst the Grecians, reaching also to part of the barbarians 1 , and, as a man may say, to most nations. For the actions that preceded this, and those again that are yet more ancient, though the truth of them through length of time cannot by any means clearly be discovered; yet for any argument that, looking into times far past, I have yet light on to persuade me, I do not think they have been very great, either for matter of war or otherwise. For it is evident that that which now is called Hellas 2 , was not of old constantly inhabited; but that at first there were often removals, every one easily leaving the place of his abode to the violence always of some greater number.
For whilst traffic was not, nor mutual intercourse but with fear, neither by sea nor land; and every man so husbanded the ground as but barely to live upon it, without any stock of riches 3 , and planted nothing; because it was uncertain when another should invade them and carry all away, especially not having the defence of walls ; but made account to be masters, in any place, of such necessary sustenance as might serve them from day to day: they made little difficulty to change their habitations.
And for this cause they were of no ability at all, either for greatness of cities or other provision. For the goodness of the land increasing the power of some particular men, both caused seditions, whereby they were ruined at home; and withal made them more obnoxious to the insidiation of strangers. From hence it is that Attica 1 , from great antiquity for the sterility of the soil free from seditions, hath been inhabited ever by the same people 2.
And it is none of the least evidences of what I have said, that Greece 3 , by reason of sundry transplantations, hath not in other parts received the like augmentation. For such as by war or sedition were driven out of other places, the most potent of them, as to a place of stability, retired themselves to Athens; where receiving the freedom of the city, they long since so increased the same in number of people, as Attica, being incapable of them itself, they sent out colonies into Ionia.
And to me the imbecility of ancient times is not a little demonstrated also by this [that followeth]. For before the Trojan war nothing Edition: current; Page: [ 4 ] appeareth to have been done by Greece in common; nor indeed was it, as I think, called all by that one name of Hellas; nor before the time of Hellen, the son of Deucalion, was there any such name at all.
But Pelasgicum 1 which was the farthest extended and the other parts, by regions, received their names from their own inhabitants. But Hellen and his sons being strong in Phthiotis, and called in for their aid into other cities; these cities, because of their conversing with them, began more particularly to be called Hellenes: and yet could not that name of a long time after prevail upon them all. This is conjectured principally out of Homer. Nor doth he likewise use the word barbarians; because the Grecians 2 , as it seemeth unto me, were not yet distinguished by one common name of Hellenes, oppositely answerable unto them.
The Grecians 3 then, neither as they had that name in particular by mutual intercourse, nor after, universally so termed, did ever before the Trojan war, for want of strength and correspondence, enter into any action with their forces joined. And to that Edition: current; Page: [ 5 ] expedition they came together by the means of navigation, which the most part 1 of Greece had now received. For Minos was the most ancient of all that by report we know to have built a navy. And he made himself master of the now Grecian Sea 2 ; and both commanded the isles called Cyclades, and also was the first that sent colonies into most of the same, expelling thence the Carians and constituting his own sons there for governors; and also freed the seas of pirates as much as he could, for the better coming in, as is likely, of his own revenue.
For the Grecians in old time, and such barbarians as in the continent lived near unto the sea, or else inhabited the islands, after once they began to 3 cross over one to another in ships, became thieves, and went abroad under the conduct of their most puissant men, both to enrich themselves and to fetch in maintenance for the weak; and falling upon towns unfortified and scatteringly 4 inhabited, Edition: current; Page: [ 6 ] rifled them, and made this the best means of their living; being a matter at that time nowhere in disgrace, but rather carrying with it something of glory.
This is manifest by some that dwell on the continent, amongst whom, so it be performed nobly, it is still esteemed as an ornament. The same also is proved by some of the ancient poets, who introduce men questioning 1 of such as sail by, on all coasts alike, whether they be thieves or not; as a thing neither scorned by such as were asked, nor upbraided by those that were desirous to know. They also robbed one another within the main land. Moreover, the fashion of wearing iron remaineth yet with the people of that continent from their old trade of thieving.
For once they were wont throughout all Greece to go armed, because their houses were unfenced and travelling was unsafe; and accustomed themselves, like the barbarians, to the ordinary wearing of their armour.
Thucydides Reader: Annotated Passages from Books I-VIII of the Histories
And the nations of Greece that live so yet, do testify that the same manner of life was anciently universal to all the rest. Amongst whom, the Athenians were the first that laid by their armour, and growing civil, passed into a more tender kind of life. And such of the rich as were anything stepped into years, laid away upon the same 3 delicacy, not long after, the fashion Edition: current; Page: [ 7 ] of wearing linen coats and golden grasshoppers 1 , which they were wont to bind up in the locks of their hair. From whence also the same fashion, by reason of their affinity, remained a long time in use amongst the ancient Ionians.
The same were also the first, that when they were to contend in the Olympic games 3 , stripped themselves naked 4 and anointed their bodies with ointment: whereas in ancient times, the champions did also in the Olympic games use breeches; nor is it many years since this custom ceased. Also there are to this day amongst the barbarians, especially those of Asia, prizes propounded of fighting with fists and of wrestling, and the combatants about their privy parts wear breeches in the exercise.
It may likewise by 5 many other things be Edition: current; Page: [ 8 ] demonstrated, that the old Greeks used the same form of life that is now in force amongst the barbarians of the present age. As for cities, such as are of late foundation and since the increase of navigation, inasmuch as they have had since more plenty of riches, have been walled about and built upon the shore; and have taken up isthmi, [that is to say, necks of land between sea and sea], both for merchandise and for the better strength against confiners.
But the old cities, men having been 1 in those times for the most part infested by thieves, are built farther up, as well in the islands as in the continent. For others 2 also that dwelt on the sea—side, though not seamen, yet they molested one another with robberies. And even to these times, those people are planted up high in the country. For by them were the greatest part of the islands 3 inhabited; a testimony whereof is this. The Athenians, when in this present war 4 they hallowed the isle of Delos and had digged up the sepulchres of the dead, found that more than half of them were Carians 5 ; known so to be, both Edition: current; Page: [ 9 ] by the armour buried with them, and also by their manner of burial at this day.
And 1 when Minos his navy was once afloat, navigators had the sea more free.
For he expelled the malefactors out of the islands, and in the most of them planted colonies of his own. By which means they who inhabited the sea—coasts, becoming more addicted to riches, grew more constant to their dwellings; of whom some, grown now rich, compassed their towns about with walls. For out of desire of gain, the meaner sort underwent servitude with the mighty; and the mighty with their wealth brought the lesser cities into subjection. And so it came to pass, that rising to power they proceeded afterward to the war against Troy.
And to me it seemeth that Agamemnon 2 got together that fleet, not so much for that he had with him the suitors 3 of Helena, bound thereto by oath to Tindareus, as for this, that he exceeded the rest in power. For they that by tradition of their ancestors know the most certainty of the acts 4 of Edition: current; Page: [ 10 ] the Peloponnesians, say that first Pelops, by the abundance of his wealth which he brought with him out of Asia to men in want, obtained such power amongst them, as, though he were a stranger, yet the country was called 1 after his name; and that this power was also increased by his posterity.
To which greatness Agamemnon 7 succeeding, and also far excelling the rest in shipping, took that war in hand, as I conceive it, and assembled the said Edition: current; Page: [ 11 ] forces, not so much upon favour as by fear. For it is clear, that he himself both conferred most ships to that action, and that some also he lent to the Arcadians. And by this expedition we are to estimate what were those of the ages before it. For although of five parts 5 of Peloponnesus it possess two 6 , and hath the leading of the rest, and also of many confederates Edition: current; Page: [ 12 ] without; yet the city being not close built, and the temples and other edifices not costly, and because 1 it is but scatteringly inhabited after the ancient manner of Greece, their power would seem inferior to the report.
Again, the same things happening to Athens, one would conjecture, by the sight of their city, that their power were double to what it is. We ought not therefore to be incredulous [concerning the forces that went to Troy], nor have in regard so much the external show of a city as the power: but we are to think, that that expedition was indeed greater than those that went before it, but yet inferior to those of the present age; if in this also 2 we may credit the poetry of Homer, who being a poet was like to set it forth to the utmost.
And yet even thus it cometh short. And for such as wrought not, it is not likely that many went along, except kings 1 and such as were in chief authority; especially being to pass the sea with munition of war, and in bottoms without decks, built after the old and piratical fashion.