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

(7.57) I will now enumerate the various peoples who came to Sicily as friends or enemies, to share either in the conquest or in the defence of the country, and who fought before Syracuse,53 choosing their side, not so much from a sense of right, or from obligations of kinship, as from the accident of compulsion or of their own interest.

The Athenians themselves, who were Ionians, went of their own free will against the Syracusans, who were Dorians; they were followed by the Lemnians and Imbrians54 and the then inhabitants of Aegina,55 and by the Hestiaeans dwelling at Hestiaea in Euboea:56 all these were their own colonists, speaking the same language with them, and retaining the same institutions.

Of the rest who joined in the expedition, some were subjects, others independent allies, some again mercenaries. Of the subjects and tributaries, the Eretrians, Chalcidians, Styreans, and Carystians came from Euboea; the Ceans, Andrians, and Tenians from the islands; the Milesians, Samians, and Chians from Ionia. Of these however the Chians57 were independent, and instead of paying tribute, provided ships. All or nearly all were Ionians and descendants of the Athenians, with the exception of the Carystians, who are Dryopes. They were subjects and constrained to follow, but still they were Ionians fighting against Dorians. There were also Aeolians, namely, the Methymnaeans,58 who furnished ships but were not tributaries, and the Tenedians and Aenians, who paid tribute. These Aeolians were compelled to fight against their Aeolian founders, the Boeotians, who formed part of the Syracusan army. The Plataeans were the only Boeotians opposed to Boeotians, a natural result of mutual hatred. The Rhodians and Cytherians were both Dorians; the Cytherians, although Lacedaemonian colonists, bore arms in the Athenian cause against the Lacedaemonians who came with Gylippus; and the Rhodians, though by descent Argive, were compelled to fight against the Syracusans, who were Dorians, and against the Geloans, who were actually their own colony,59 and were taking part with Syracuse. Of the islanders around Peloponnesus, the Cephallenians and Zacynthians were independent;60 still, being islanders, they followed under a certain degree of constraint; for the Athenians were masters of the sea. The Corcyraeans, who were not only Dorians but actually Corinthians, were serving against Corinthians and Syracusans, although they were the colonists of the one and the kinsmen of the other; they followed under a decent appearance of compulsion, but quite readily, because they hated the Corinthians.61 The Messenians too, as the inhabitants of Naupactus were now called, including the garrison of Pylos, which was at that time held by the Athenians, were taken by them to the war. A few Megarians,62 having the misfortune to be exiles, were thus induced to fight against the Selinuntians, who were Megarians like themselves.63

The service of the remaining allies was voluntary. The Argives,64 not so much because they were allies of Athens, as owing to their hatred of the Lacedaemonians, and the desire of each man among them to better himself at the time, followed the Athenians, who were Ionians, being themselves Dorians, to fight against Dorians. The Mantineans and other Arcadians were mercenaries accustomed to attack any enemy who from time to time might be pointed out to them, and were now ready, if they were paid, to regard the Arcadians, who were in the service of the Corinthians,65 as their enemies. The Cretans and Aetolians also served for hire; the Cretans, who had once joined with the Rhodians in the foundation of Gela,66 came with reluctance; nevertheless for pay they consented to fight against their own colonists. Some of the Acarnanians came to aid their Athenian allies, partly from motives of gain, but much more out of regard for Demosthenes67 and good-will to Athens. All these dwelt on the eastern side of the Ionian Gulf.

Of the Hellenes in Italy, the Thurians and Metapontians, constrained by the necessities of a revolutionary period, joined in the enterprise; of the Hellenes in Sicily, the Naxians and Catanaeans. Of Barbarians, there were the Egestaeans, who invited the expedition, and the greater part of the Sicels, and, besides native Sicilians, certain Tyrrhenians68 who had a quarrel with the Syracusans; also Iapygians,69 who served for hire. These were the nations who followed the Athenians.

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


53.(From 7.57) Adopting the conjecture Syrakousais.

54.(From 7.57) Cp. iv. 28, n.

55.(From 7.57) Cp. ii. 27 med.

56.(From 7.57) Cp. i. 115 fin.

57.(From 7.57) Cp. vi. 85 med.

58.(From 7.57) Cp. iii. 50 med.; vi. 85 med.

59.(From 7.57) Cp. vi. 4 med.

60.(From 7.57) Cp. ii. 7 fin.; vi. 85 med.

61.(From 7.57) Cp. i. 25 med.

62.(From 7.57) Cp. iv. 74 ; vi. 43 fin.

63.(From 7.57) Cp. vi. 4 init.

64.(From 7.57) Cp. vi. 43.

65.(From 7.57) Cp. vii. 19 fin.

66.(From 7.57) Cp, vi. 4 med.

67.(From 7.57) Cp. iii. 105 foll.; vii. 31. fin.

68.(From 7.57) Cp. vi. 103 med.

69.(From 7.57) Cp. vii. 33 med.

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.