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Special thanks to for permission to use this image adapted from their authentic replica of a Spartan spear.

(5.46) The trick which had deceived the Lacedaemonians themselves completely deceived Nicias, who could not understand the disavowal of their powers. Nevertheless in the assembly which met on the following day he still continued to maintain that the Athenians ought to prefer the friendship of Sparta, and not to conclude the Argive alliance until they had sent to the Lacedaemonians and ascertained their intentions. He urged them not to renew the war now, when it could be put off with honour to themselves and discredit to the Lacedaemonians; they were successful and should seek to preserve their good fortune as long as they could, but the Lacedaemonians were in a bad way, and would be only too glad to fight as soon as possible at all hazards. And he prevailed on them to send envoys, of whom he was himself one, requiring the Lacedaemonians, if they were sincere in their intentions, to rebuild and restore Panactum, to restore Amphipolis, and to renounce their alliance with the Boeotians unless they came into the treaty, according to the stipulation which forbade the contracting parties to make a new alliance except by mutual consent. If we, they added, had wanted to deal unfairly, we should already have accepted an alliance with the Argives, whose ambassadors have come hither to offer it. They entrusted the representation of these and their other grievances to Nicias and his colleagues, and sent them away to Sparta. These, on their arrival, delivered their message, which they concluded by declaring that, unless the Lacedaemonians renounced their alliance with the Boeotians in case the latter still refused to accept the peace, the Athenians on their part would enter into an alliance with the Argives and their confederates. The Lacedaemonians refused to give up their Boeotian alliance, Xenares the Ephor, with his friends and partisans, carrying this point. However they consented to ratify their former oaths at the request of Nicias, who was afraid that he would return without having settled anything, and would incur the blame of failure, as indeed he did, because he was held to be responsible for the original treaty with the Lacedaemonians. When the Athenians learned on his return that the negotiations with Sparta had miscarried, they were furious; and acting under a sense of injustice, entered into an alliance with the Argives and their allies, whose ambassadors were present at the time, for Alcibiades had introduced them on purpose. The terms were as follows:

(5.47) 'I. The Athenians and the Argives, Mantineans, and Eleans, on their own behalf and that of the allies over whom they severally rule, make a peace to continue for a hundred years both by sea and land, without fraud or hurt. The Argives, Eleans, Mantineans, and their allies shall not make war against the Athenians and the allies over whom they rule, and the Athenians and their allies shall not make war against the Argives, Eleans, Mantineans, and their allies, in any sort or manner.

'II. Athens, Argos, Elis, and Mantinea shall be allied for a hundred years on the following conditions:--If enemies invade the territory of the Athenians, the Argives, Eleans, and Mantineans shall go to Athens and render the Athenians any assistance which they may demand of them, in the most effectual manner, and to the utmost of their power. And if the enemy spoil their territory and depart, the offending city shall be an enemy to Argos, Mantinea, Elis, and Athens, and suffer at the hands of all these cities; and it shall not be lawful for any of them to make peace with the offending city, unless they have the consent of all the rest. And if enemies shall invade the territory of the Eleans or Argives or Mantineans, the Athenians shall go to Argos, Mantinea, or Elis, and render these cities any assistance which they may demand of them, in the most effectual manner, and to the utmost of their power. If an enemy spoil their territory and depart, the offending city shall be an enemy to Athens, Argos, Mantinea, and Elis, and shall suffer at the hands of all these cities; and it shall not be lawful for any of them to make peace with the offending city, unless they have the consent of all the rest.

'III. The confederates shall not allow armed men to pass through their own territory, or that of the allies over whom they severally rule or may rule, or to pass by sea, with hostile intent, unless all the cities have formally consented to their passage--that is to say, Athens, Argos, Mantinea, and Elis.

'IV. The city which sends troops to help another shall supply them with provisions for thirty days, counting from the time of their arrival at the city which summons them; it shall also provide for them at their departure. But if the city which summons the troops wishes to employ them for a longer time, it shall give them provisions at the rate of three Aeginetan obols51 a day for heavy-armed and light-armed troops and for archers, and an Aeginetan drachma52 for cavalry.

'V. The city which sent for the troops shall have the command when the war is carried on in her territory. Or, if the allied cities agree to send out a joint expedition, then the command shall be equally shared among all the cities.

'VI. The Athenians shall swear to the peace on their own behalf and on that of their allies; the Argives, Mantineans, and Eleans, and their allies shall swear city by city. The oath shall be taken over full-grown victims, and shall be that oath which in the countries of the several contracting parties is deemed the most binding. The form of oath shall be as follows:

"I will be true to the alliance, and will observe the agreement in all honesty and without fraud or hurt; I will not transgress it in any way or manner."'

At Athens the senate and the home magistrates shall swear, and the prytanes shall administer the oath; at Argos the senate and the council of eighty and the artynae shall swear, and the eighty shall administer the oath; at Mantinea the demiurgi and the senate and the other magistrates shall swear, and the theori and the polemarchs shall administer the oath. At Elis the demiurgi and the supreme magistrates and the six hundred shall swear, and the demiurgi and the guardians of the law shall administer the oath. Thirty days before the Olympian games the Athenians shall go to Elis, to Mantinea, and to Argos, and renew the oath. Ten days before the Great Panathenaea the Argives, Eleans, and Mantineans shall go to Athens and renew the oath. The agreement concerning the treaty and the oaths and the alliance shall be inscribed on a stone column in the Acropolis by the Athenians, by the Argives on a similar column in the temple of Apollo in the Agora, and by the Mantineans in the temple of Zeus in the Agora. They shall together erect at Olympia a brazen column at the coming Olympic games. And if these cities think it desirable to make any improvement in the treaty, they shall add it to the provisions of it. Whatever the cities agree upon in common shall hold good.

(5.48) Thus the peace and the alliance were concluded. Nevertheless the previous treaty between the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians was not on that account renounced by either party. The Corinthians, although allies of the Argives, took no part in the new alliance; they had already refused to swear to an offensive and defensive alliance which the Eleans, Argives, and Mantineans had previously made with one another. They said that they were satisfied with the original defensive alliance which bound them only to assist one another when attacked, but not to join in offensive movements. Thus the Corinthians severed themselves from the allies, and were again beginning to turn their thoughts to the Lacedaemonians.

(5.49) During the summer the Olympic games were celebrated, the Olympiad being that in which Androsthenes, an Arcadian, won his first victory in the pancratium. The Lacedaemonians were excluded from the temple by the Eleans, and so could neither sacrifice nor contend in the games. For they had refused to pay the fine which, according to Olympic law, the Eleans had imposed upon them, alleging that they had brought an armed force against the fortress of Phyrcus, and had introduced some hoplites of their own into Lepreum during the Olympic truce. The fine amounted to two thousand minae,53 being two minae54 for each hoplite, which is the penalty imposed by the law. The Lacedaemonians sent envoys who argued that the sentence was unjust, for at the time when their troops entered Lepreum the truce had not been announced at Lacedaemon. The Eleans replied that the truce (which they always proclaim first to themselves) had already begun with them, and that while they were quietly observing the truce, and expecting nothing less, the Lacedaemonians had treacherously attacked them. The Lacedaemonians rejoined by asking why the Eleans proclaimed the truce at all at Lacedaemon if they considered them to have broken it already--they could not really have thought so when they made the proclamation; and from the moment when the announcement reached Lacedaemon all hostilities had ceased. The Eleans were still positive that the Lacedaemonians were in the wrong, and said that they would never be persuaded of the contrary. But if the Lacedaemonians were willing to restore Lepreum to them, they offered to remit their own share of the penalty, and pay on their behalf that part which was due to the God.

(5.50) As this proposal was rejected, the Eleans made another: the Lacedaemonians need not give up Lepreum if they did not like, but since they wanted to have access to the temple of Olympian Zeus, they might go up to his altar and swear before all the Hellenes that they would hereafter pay the fine. But neither to this offer would the Lacedaemonians agree; they were therefore excluded from the temple and from the sacrifices and games, and sacrificed at home. The other Hellenes, with the exception of the people of Lepreum, sent representatives to Olympia. The Eleans however, fearing that the Lacedaemonians would force their way into the temple and offer sacrifice, had a guard of young men under arms; there came to their aid likewise a thousand Argives, and a thousand Mantineans, and certain Athenian horsemen, who had been awaiting the celebration of the festival at Argos. The whole assembly were in terror lest the Lacedaemonians should come upon them in arms, and their fears were redoubled when Lichas, the son of Arcesilaus, was struck by the officers. As a Lacedaemonian he had been excluded from the lists, but his chariot had been entered in the name of the Boeotian state, and was declared victorious. He had then come forward into the arena and placed a garland on the head of his charioteer, wishing to show that the chariot was his own. When the blows were given the anxiety became intense, and every one thought that something serious would happen. But the Lacedaemonians did not stir, and the festival passed off quietly.

The Olympic games being over, the Argives and their allies went to Corinth, and requested the Corinthians to join them. An embassy from Lacedaemon was also present. After much discussion nothing was concluded, for an earthquake broke up the assembly, and the envoys from the several states returned home. So the summer ended.

Special thanks to for permission to use this image adapted from their authentic replica of a Spartan spear.


51.(From 5.47) About 6d.

52.(From 5.47) About is.

53.(From 5.49) About £6,660.

54.(From 5.49) About £6 12s.

From Thucydides, translated into English, to which is prefixed an essay on inscriptions and a note on the geography of Thucydides, by Benjamin Jowett. Second edition. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1900.

Scanned and edited specially for Peithô's Web. Jowett's footnotes have been converted to endnotes. Peithô's Web accepts no liability whatsoever for errors or any other problem with the texts or their use.

Special thanks to (link) for graciously permitting images of their ancient art and replicas of armor and weapons to appear in our Thucydides pages.

Background mosaic from the Architectural Ornament collection of the Architectural Engineering Graduate Students Association of The Pennsylvania State University.