|Isle of Chios
History of the Peloponnesian War
|Eretria, Euboea, Greece
Alcibiades begins to pander to the Athenians again and Sparta is concerned about desertion if they do not win a decisive battle. Meanwhile, back in Athens there is discontent and people are now jockeying for position if the oligarchy falls. The oligarchs send an envoy to Sparta asking for peace and indeed, these cowardly oligarchs would have rather lost their liberty and their country than see a return to democracy. Murders and unrest abound and people are so panicked that some call for rule under the Five Thousand even though there is no proof that that body even exists. A Spartan fleet reaches Eretria in Euboea and the Euboeans revolt from Athens which promotes panic in the city but the Spartans are too obtuse to sense this opportunity, or so our learned author claims. Athens quickly disposes of the oligarchs, installs the Five Thousand, enacts new reforms and recalls Alcibiades. A victory for the Athenian fleet at the Hellespont restores their confidence.
|The Acropolis of Athens (1883)
Finally Thucydides’ narrative breaks off in the middle of the 21st year of the war in 411 B.C., and we learn no more directly from the author. The war ended in 404 B.C., so we miss seven more years of fighting, political posturing, strife and discontent. Among the war incidents not disclosed, we miss two partial Athenian victories at Cyzicus and Arginouse and her final defeat by the famous Spartan commander Lysander at Aegopotami, where he captured almost the entire Athenian fleet in the Hellespont. After this embarrassment, Athens had but no choice than to sue for peace. Sparta decided to allow Athens to remain as a city, but demanded her fleet, the demolition of the Walls protecting her, and freedom for all states that were once part of the Athenian empire. From a powerful, vibrant democracy to a broken, isolated dependent, the loss of freedom must have been heavy indeed to this once great city.