Diodorus Siculus

BOOK XIV - The Library of History

Page 373


Thrasybulus opposes the Thirty Tyrants. The Cruelty of Psammiticus King of Aegypt, towards his old Friend Tamos that fled to him for succour from the Persians. Dercyllidas sent General against the Persians into Asia. Conon made Admiral of the Persian Fleet.

IN the mean time, the Usurping Tyrants at Athens every day were banishing or putting to Death some or other. At which Cruelty while the Thebans were much Incens'd, and courteously entertain'd the Exiles, Thrasybulus, Sirnam'd Tyrius, (but a Citizen of Athens, and forc'd to fly to avoid the Rage of the Thirty Usurpers) by the aid of the Thebans, underhand posses'd himself of a Place in Attica call'd Phila. It was a very strong Castle, an Hundred Stages distant from Athens: By which means an easie Passage might be had at all times to invade Attica.

As soon as the Tyrants had Intelligence of what was done, they led forth their Forces in order to Besiege the Place; but as soon as they were set down before it, there fell a great Snow: Whereupon, while some were very busie in removing their Tents, the Common Soldiers concluded that some of their Army was put to flight by an Enemy at hand, that had broke in suddenly upon them; upon which, being struck with a * Panick Fear, they drew off and Encamp'd in another Place. The Thirty, when they saw the Citizens of Athens (those that had no share in the Administration of the Commonwealth with the Three thousand) to be hot and earnest to Dissolve the Government, Encamp'd in the Pireum, and over-aw'd the City with Foreign Soldiers; and in the mean time put to Death some of Elusina and Salamis, for joining in a Conspiracy with the Exiles.

Whilst these things were acting, great numbers of the Fugitives flock'd to the Camp of Thrasybulus,and at the same time there came to him Ambassadors from the Thirty, under colour to treat concerning some Prisoners, but in truth privately to advise him to dismiss the Fugitives, and to share with them in the Covernment of the City in the room of Theramenes, and that he should have liberty to restore any Ten of the Exiles to their Country, such as he thought fit to chuse. To which Thrasybulus answer'd, That he look'd upon his Banishment to be far more honourable than the whole Power and Dominion of the Thirty, and that he would never put up his Sword till all the Citizens from every Place were receiv'd, and the People restor'd to their former Liberties, descended to them from their Ancestors.

When the Tyrants perceiv'd the Defection increas'd (through hatred of their Tyranny) and that the Number of the Exiles increased, they sent their Ambassadors to Sparta to desire aid; and they themselves in the mean time got together what Forces they could, and Encamp'd at a Place call'd Acarnas. Thrasybulus leaving but a small Guard in the Castle, marches out against them with Twelve hundred of the Exiles, and setting upon them in the Night at unawares, kills many of them, and the rest (being terrify'd with the Tumult and Confusion occasion'd by the Surprize) he forces in great precipitation to fly into the City. And presently after the success of this attack, he marches against the Pireum, and possesses himself of Munychia, a barren Hill, but strong and well fortify'd. Upon this the Tyrants brought all their Forces into the Pireum, and assaulted Munychia by Critias their General; whereupon was a sharp Encounter a long time. For the Tyrants had the advantage of Number, and the Exiles of the strength of the Place. At length the Forces of the Thirty (being discouraged and Critias slain) retir'd, but the Exiles judg'd it not advisable to pursue them.

Frequent Assaults were afterwards made upon the Exiles; at length the Army of Thrasybulus broke in on a sudden with great violence upon the Enemy, and not only routed them, but gain'd possession of the Pireum.

A great Multitude who hated the Tyranny, continually flock'd out of the City into the Pireum, and all the Exiles from every place (hearing of the Success of Thrasybulus) hasted thither to him, so that at length the number of the Exiles exceeded the other; upon which Encouragement they began to besiege the City. But they within, to the end a Peace might be concluded upon fair terms, cast off the Thirty, and sent them out of the City, and Established a Decemvirate with Sovereign Power. But as soon as these Ten were setled in the Magistracy (instead of minding any thing relating to the Peace) they turn'd absolute Tyrants, and sent to Lacedaemon for Forty Ships and a Thousand Soldiers,

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