Thucydides’ History, Book 6

Chapter 7

And the ambassadors of the Athenians were sent to Sicily ; whereas the Lacedaimonians, during the same winter, and their allies except the Corinthians, campaigned against the Argives and laid waste to the land, but not much, and having brought ox-wagons, they brought back grain, and afterward they re-settled the fugitives from the Argives in Orneae and left with them a few men from the other army, and for some time, once they drank to a treaty1 that the Ornaeans and the Argives would not wrong each other’s land, they departed with the army for home. But not much later, when the Athenians went out with thirty ships and six-hundred hoplites, the Argives left with the Athenians with their whole army, and they besieged those in Orneae for a single day ; and at night, while the army bivouacked a long way off, the men of Orneae ran away. The next day, once the Argives perceived this and razed Orneae to the ground, they and the Athenians later returned to their ships for home.

And the Athenians, having conveyed cavalrymen along the sea to Methone, neighbour to Macedonia, both their own and those of the fugitives of Macedonians that were with them, ravaged the land of Perdikka. And so the Lacedaimonians sent to those Chalcideans at Thrace, and bid them to join Perdikka in war, but they held a ten-day truce2 with the Athenians ; so they didn’t go. And winter ended, and six and ten years ended in the war as follows, about which Thucydides wrote.

1. The Greek uses a form of the verb, σπένδω (spendo), “to pour or make a drink-offering before drinking”. In the middle voice (as it is here) it refers to a libation custom of making treaties, hence, “to make a treaty”.
2. Here the Greek uses a noun, σπονδή (sponde), related to the verb in note 1, with similar senses of being a drink-offering or a treaty. There is a fun scene in The Acharnians, a play by Aristophanes, that plays on this custom, in which the Athenian comic-hero, Dicaeopolis, samples the various treaties offered by the Spartans.

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