The Age of Pericles: A History of the Politics and Arts of Greece from the Persian to the Peloponnesian War - Vol. 2

By William Watkiss Lloyd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER LXIV.
CONCLUSION.

PERICLES survived the commencement of the war two years and a half, and for so long he succeeded, though against great excitement and under some experience of the vacillating support characteristic of the masses--the phrase of Thucydides is significant indeed from such a 1 writer--in holding the Athenians to the policy on which he counted for success; such was the extraordinary power of the state at this time, that Thucydides believes the confidence to have been fully justifiable, and that not even the infraction of his policy by the Sicilian enterprise would have had results of the last seriousness but for more deeply-seated mischief in the conduct of the people and their political constitution.

In the first of these years the Athenians saw from their walls the army of the allied Peloponnesians in occupation of Acharnae, the most important of their townships, and ravaging the plains around and between the mountains Parne and Brilessus; destroying, that is, whatever could be destroyed of works of cultivation and industry, and not merely annual crops, but the olive and vine and fig and other productive trees, a loss irreparable for years.

The next year, but earlier in the summer, the invading

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1
Thuc. ii. 65, ὅπερ φιλει + ̂ ὅμλος ποιει + ̂ν. Cf. ib. iv. 28; viii. 1.

-398-

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