Plutarch, Pericles (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plut. Per.].
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26.2But in any case, whichever design he cherished, he seems to have made a mistake. For no sooner had he sailed off than Melissus, the son of Ithagenes, a philosopher who was then acting as general at Samos, despising either the small number of ships that were left, or the inexperience of the generals in charge of them, persuaded his fellow-citizens to make an attack upon the Athenians. In the battle that ensued the Samians were victorious, taking many of their enemy captive, and destroying many of their ships, so that they commanded the sea and laid in large store of such necessaries for the war as they did not have before. 26.3And Aristotle says that Pericles was himself also defeated by Melissus in the sea-fight which preceded this.

The Samians retaliated upon the Athenians by branding their prisoners in the forehead with owls; for the Athenians had once branded some of them with the samaena. Now the samaena is a ship of war with a boar's head design for prow and ram, but more capacious than usual and paunchlike, so that it is a good deep-sea traveller and a swift sailor too. 26.4It got this name because it made its first appearance in Samos, where Polycrates the tyrant had some built. To these brand-marks, they say, the verse of Aristophanes made riddling reference:— For oh! how lettered is the folk of the Samians!
Aristophanes, Babylonians; Kock, Com. Att. Frag. i. p. 408

ch. 27 27.1

Be that true or not, when Pericles learned of the disaster which had befallen his fleet, he came speedily to its aid. And though Melissus arrayed his forces against him, he conquered and routed the enemy and at once walled their city in, preferring to get the upper hand and capture it at the price of money and time, rather than of the wounds and deadly perils of his fellow-citizens. 27.2And since it was a hard task for him to restrain the Athenians in their impatience of delay and eagerness to fight, he separated his whole force into eight divisions, had them draw lots, and allowed the division which got the white bean to feast and take their ease, while the others did the fighting. And this is the reason, as they say, why those who have had a gay and festive time call it a“white day,”—from the white bean. 27.3

Ephorus says that Pericles actually employed siege-engines, in his admiration of their novelty, and that Artemon the engineer was with him there, who, since he was lame, and so had to be brought on a stretcher to the works which demanded his instant attention, was dubbed Periphoretus. Heracleides Ponticus, however, refutes this story out of the poems of Anacreon, in which Artemon Periphoretus is mentioned many generations before the Samian War and its events. 27.4And he says that Artemon was very luxurious in his life, as well as weak and panic-stricken in the presence of his fears, and therefore for the most part sat still at home, while two servants held a bronze shield over his head to keep anything from falling down upon it. Whenever he was forced to go abroad, he had himself carried in a little hammock which was borne along just above the surface of the ground. On this account he was called Periphoretus.

ch. 28 28.1

After eight months the Samians surrendered, and Pericles tore down their walls, took away their ships of war, and laid a heavy fine upon them, part of which they paid at once, and part they agreed to pay at a fixed time, giving hostages therefor. To these details Duris the Samian adds stuff for tragedy, accusing the Athenians and Pericles of great brutality, which is recorded neither by Thucydides, nor Ephorus, nor Aristotle. 28.2But he appears not to speak the truth when he says, forsooth, that Pericles had the Samian trierarchs and marines brought into the market-place of Miletus and crucified there, and that then, when they had already suffered grievously for ten days, he gave orders to break their heads in with clubs and make an end of them, and then cast their bodies forth without burial rites. 28.3At all events, since it is not the wont of Duris, even in cases where he has no private and personal interest, to hold his narrative down to the fundamental truth, it is all the more likely that here, in this instance, he has given a dreadful portrayal of the calamities of his country, that he might calumniate the Athenians.

When Pericles, after his subjection of Samos, had returned to Athens, he gave honorable burial to those who had fallen in the war, and for the oration which he made, according to the custom, over their tombs, he won the greatest admiration. 28.4But as he came down from the bema, while the rest of the women clasped his hand and fastened wreaths and fillets on his head, as though he were some victorious athlete, Elpinice drew nigh and said: “This is admirable in thee, Pericles, and deserving of wreaths, in that thou hast lost us many brave citizens, not in a war with Phoenicians or Medes, like my brother Cimon, but in the subversion of an allied and kindred city.” 28.5On Elpinice's saying this, Pericles, with a quiet smile, it is said, quoted to her the verse of Archilochus:— Thou hadst not else, in spite of years, perfumed thyself.” [Note]
West, Iambi et Elegi Graeci i. 205
Ion says that he had the most astonishingly great thoughts of himself for having subjected the Samians; whereas Agamemnon was all of ten years in taking a barbarian city, he had in nine months time reduced the foremost and most powerful people of Ionia.



Plutarch, Pericles (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plut. Per.].
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