Book II of The Peloponnesian War: Treachery

There is such weight and sonority in the telling of this part of The Peloponnesian War (There are eight books in all; the eighth is unfinished) Because of what’s happening right now in America, self can’t help seeing through a particular lens, the lens of Thucydides.

Warning: The second sentence of the excerpt is super-long but also super-great. May the name of the traitor Naucleides be remembered with shame!

Thucydides names every single traitor, and even their fathers.

The thirty years’ war which was entered into after the conquest of Euboea lasted fourteen years. In the fifteenth, in the forty-eighth year of the priestess-ship of Chysis at Argos, in the ephorate of Aenesias at Sparta, in the last month but two of the archonship of Pythodorus at Athens, and six months after the battle of Potidaea, just at the beginning of spring, a Theban force of a little over three hundred strong, under the command of their Beotarchs, Pythangelus, son of Phyleides, and Diemporus, son of Onetorides, about the first watch of the night, made an armed entry into Platea, a town of Beotia in alliance with Athens. The gates were opened to them by a Plataean named Naucleides, who, with his party, had invited them in, meaning to put to death the citizens of the opposite party, bring over the city to Thebes, and thus obtain power for themselves. This was arranged through Eurymachus, son of Leontiades, a person of great influence at Thebes.

— The peloponnesian war, book ii

Stay tuned.


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