Diodorus Siculus

BOOK XII - The Library of History

Page 278


The Peloponesian War. Potidea Revolts; Besieg'd by the Athenians, and is surrendred upon Articles. Nicias made the Athenian Admiral. Gorgias an excellent Orator sent from Leontine in Sicily to Athens. A Peace concluded after the War had continu'd Ten Years.

WHen Euthydemus govern'd at Athens, the Romans created Three Military Tribunes, invested with Consular Power; Manius Emilius Mamercus, Caius Julius, and Lucius Quintius. At this time broke forth that War between the Athenians and the Lacedemonians, call'd the Peloponesian War, of longest continuance of any we read of in History.

According to the Design of our History, it is convenient in the first Place, to declare the Causes of this War. The Athenians now endeavouring to have the Dominion of the Sea, brought over to Athens all the Money they had laid-up at Delos, which they had gathered together from the Cities of Greece, almost to the value of Eight Thousand Talents, and made Pericles Treasurer. He was of a very noble Family, and in Eloquence far exceeded others of his Fellow Citizens: But not long after, having spent a great part of the Money (intrusted with him) upon his private occasions, and being call'd by the People to give an account, through grief of his incapacity to discharge himself, he fell Sick: And being thus disturb'd in his Mind, in regard he was not able to make satisfaction, Alcibiades his Nephew (who was then under Age, and under his Care and Guardianship) directed him into a way how to extricate himself out of the present trouble . For seeing his Uncle so disturb'd, he ask'd the Reason; who answered, I am studying how I shall give an Account to the People for the Moneys committed to my Care and Custody. He replied, That it were better for him to consider and advise how he might give no account at all. Pericles hereupon following the Advice of the Young Man, contriv'd by all the ways imaginable how he might involve the Athenians in some great War. For by this means he foresaw he should avoid the Account, inasmuch as the City would be so distracted with Cares and Fears in such a conjuncture. To forward this Design, an Accident fell out very opportunely upon the following occasion. Phidias had made the Statue of Minerva, and Pericles the Son of Xantippe, was imploy'd to see the Work done: But some of Phidias's Workmen and Servants fell out, and stir'd up by the Enemies of Pericles, they fled to the Altars of the Gods. And being commanded to declare the Reason of a thing so unusual, they said, that they could make it out, that Phidias, with the connivance and help of Pericles, had imbezilled a great Sum of Money belonging to the Goddess. Whereupon an Assembly was call'd, at which the Enemies of Pericles mov'd the People to apprehend Phidias, and charge Pericles with the Sacrilege. They accus'd likewise Anaxagoras the Sophist, the Master of Pericles, for his impious Opinions concerning the Gods; with the same Calumnies they loaded likewise Pericles, chiefly designing to stain the glory, and weaken the interest of so brave a Man. But Pericles being well acquainted with the Disposition of the People, as knowing that they highly valued Men of worth, in times when they were threatned with War, (the present Circumstances of Affairs making it at such times of absolute necessity:) And on the contrary, that in times of Peace (when they had nothing to do but giving the Reins to Envy and Malice) blackned the same Men with all manner of Calumny; therefore judg'd it advantagious for his Affairs, if he could engage the City in some considerable War, that thereby having occasion to make use of them, they should be deaf to all Acccusations against him, and should have no time or leisure to call him to an Account. To help on this his Design, it was lately decreed at Athens, that they of Megara, should have no Traffick with the Athenians either by Sea or Land: The Megareans therefore made their Address for Relief to the Spartans, who agreed to their Requests, and by the

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