Thursday, January 14, 2016

Between the Peloponnesian War and the Corinthian War (404-395 BC)

You may recall that the Peloponnesians had made an alliance with Persia by agreeing to cede all of Asian Greece to the Persian Empire.  It was a shameful betrayal of the Greek cause, and the Athenians would no doubt have been outraged by it if they had not been equally willing to the the same thing.  Presumably no one actually expected the deal to hold; they simply wanted a tactical alliance to defeat a common enemy before going to war with each other.  Be that as it may, the Persians were not immediately in a position to collect on the deal because their emperor died shortly after the end of the war and Persia was consumed with civil war between two of his sons.  The Spartans backed Prince Cyrus and sent a mercenary force to fight for him.  This force included Xenophon and was the subject of his most famous work, the Anabasis, but it does not concern me here.

With Persia distracted, (circa 402-401 BC), the Spartans set out to settle a grudge with the city of Elis. Elis, though in the Peloponnese and therefore Sparta's own backyard, was a democracy, had formed an alliance with Athens and Argos earlier during the war, and had grossly insulted the Spartans by barring them from the Olympics and by beating one of their Elders* when he entered a chariot driven by a Theban.  Besides, Elis had subordinated a number of smaller neighboring cities and was starting to look like a mini-hegemon. Sparta's dominance was strong enough that all the mainland Greeks except Thebes and Corinth, but including Athens, joined. They received potential assistance from an oligarchic faction, led by a very rich man, who led a slaughter of democrats, including a man who resembled the leader of the democratic faction. This started to put the democrats to route, but in fact the democratic leader was drunk and sleeping it off.  When his followers realized he was still alive, they rallied and forced the oligarchs to take refuge with the invaders.  The end of the war was mixed.  Elis was forced to give up all subordinate cities, but kept its democracy.

Meanwhile (circa 400 BC), Persia's civil war had ended with Cyrus, the Greek candidate, being killed.  The southern satrap, Tissaphernes, who had been on the opposite side, was in a position to enforce the original treaty with Sparta and demanded that Ionia submit to his rule.  We have no information on whether Ionia had shaken off the decarchies or, if so, how far they had begun to recover.  Whatever the case, they had little choice but to appeal to Sparta for aid.  The Spartans sent a force consisting of 1000 freed helots and 4000 allies, commanded by Tibron.  When they asked Athens for troops, the Athenians sent 300 cavalry who had supported the Thirty, hoping they would not return.  He fought with considerable success, capturing cities or persuading them to defect, but was then ordered to head south.  However, he also plundered allied land and was therefore recalled  (and later exiled), and replaced with Dercylidas.  Dercylidas promptly made a truce with Tissaphernes (presumably requiring him to leave Ionia alone for the time being) and instead headed north to fight Pharnabazus, the rival satrap, who had been a loyal ally in the previous war, but had insulted Dercylidas personally, so he held a grudge.

Heading north, Dercylidas fought with considerable successwinning nine cities in eight days before stopping for the winter.  That spring (398 BC), he met with ambassadors from the Cheronese (the peninsula on the north side of the Hellespont) whose lands were being plundered by the Thracians. He drove the Thracians out and built a wall across the isthmus, thus protecting the peninsula and allowing it to prosper.  Xenophon also reports that he took messengers from the southern cities and found them "peaceful and prosperous," which seems unlikely, given the decarchies Lysander had imposed and the ordeal of getting rid of them.**  But in 397 BC, the Ionians sent ambassadors  warning that they were once again being menaced by Tissaphernes and asking for help, so Dercylidas headed south again.  The sides prepared for battle, but Tissaphernes was intimidated and sought a conference.  At it, the Greeks demanded independence for the Asian Greek cities, while the Persians demanded the withdrawal of the Greek army and Spartan garrisons.  Each side conveyed the proposal to their respective governments.

Xenophon described the Asian campaign in detail because he was almost certainly present; indeed, it contains a reference to himself.  But he makes no mention whatever of another very important development that was taking place at about the same time.  Remember Conon?  The Athenian admiral present at the city's final and utter defeat?  Fled to Cyprus, rather than return home and face the music?  Well, during the truce with Dercylidas, the satrap Pharnabazus persuaded the Persian king that he needed a Greek commander for his navy and then sailed to Cyprus and persuaded Conon  to take the job.  Conon began gathering forces as Pharnabazus headed for the mainland to join Tissaphernes to meet Dercylidas and the Greeks.  The Spartans countered by making an alliance with Egypt and setting out to build their own navy. They attempted to blockade Conon, but Conon escaped, sailed to Rhodes (far south of Asian Greece, see map above), and incited a revolt.

Xenophon does not mention any of this, only that in Sparta (396 BC) there were rumors of a Phoenician fleet of 300 ships setting sail.  But presumably these developments had something to do with why the Spartans raised a force of 2000 freed helots, 6000 allies, and 30 citizens, commanded by their new king Agesilaus, with Lysander second in command.  It is here that Xenophon first mentions the decarchies that Lysander set up, saying that he hoped to restore them.  On the way, he wanted to make sacrifice at Aulis (near Thebes), as Agamemnon had when sailing to Troy, but the Thebans refused.  At first he simply gained an extension of the truce and continuation of negotiations. Xenophon also acknowledges that many of the Asian Greek cities were in a state of "confusion,"  their decarchies overthrown, but the democracies not restored.  Lysander being better known in Asia than the king Agesilaus, everyone approaching him instead of the king.  Agesilaus and his council  resented this and responded by refusing any request Lysander made.  Egos clashed, and Agesilaus sent Lysander north, to the Hellespont.  Lysander was ultimately recalled to Sparta.

Agesilaus stayed and waged war, more successfully in the mountains, where infantry had the advantage, than on the plains, where advantage lay with the cavalry.  While wintering over, he began to raise his own cavalry.  He made raids deep into Persian territory, taking many captives and much booty.  He advanced inland as far as Sardis (see map), which was definitely Persian territory (Greeks were seafarers and lived along the coastline). Tissaphernes was present at Sardis at the time, leading the Persians to suspect collusion.  He was executed (no sorrow on the part of the Greeks!) and replaced with Tithraustes. Tithraustes persuaded  Agesilaus to head north again, into Pharnabazus' territory and offered to pay his army's expenses if he did.  Xenophon then  mentions, rather off-handedly, that the Spartan authorities placed Agesilaus in command of the navy, and that he set the cities to work building ships and placed his brother-in-law, Peisander in command, although he was lacking experience.  Not mentioning the navy Conon was raising or the revolt in Rhodes rather downplays the importance of naval matters!  Agesilaus then returned with his land campaign.  He may have downplayed the importance of naval matters as well.

The Persians, unable to dislodge the Greek army, sought to force it to leave by stirring up trouble in Greece.  Xenophon  reports that they sent a Rhodian to bribe politicians in Thebes, Corinth and Argos to start a war on Sparta. Athens did  not need a bribe; the desire to resume their former power was sufficient.  The Thebans then stirred up a war between two smaller neighbors, the Phocians and the Locrians and intervened  on behalf of the Phocians by invading Locris. The Spartans had a lot of old grudges with Thebes and were eager to intervene on the other side.  Plutarch, incidentally, is  skeptical of this version, offering it as one alternative, against the other, that the war began on its own without outside intervention, that Lysander was angry at the Thebans for claiming a share of the spoils of war and for giving refuge to Athenians fleeing the Thirty, and that he persuaded the Ephors to go to war with Thebes.  Threatened with invasion, the Thebans sought alliance with Athens. This was a bit awkward, since after Athens' defeat, it was the Thebans who had called for Carthaginian (or, the Greeks might have said, Melian) terms, and the Spartans who opposed them, but the Thebans blamed that on the individual delegate and pointed out that the Spartans had, after all, set up the Thirty and the Thebans given refuge to Athenians fleeing them, and pointed to the decarchies***  Lysander had imposed, and other complaints as well.  The Athenians agreed, despite their still-weakened condition nine years after the end of the last war.

Lysander gathered a local force under his command, while king Pausanias (the Spartans, you may  recall, had two kings), marched north with a Spartan force.  Lysander attacked the city of Harliartus  (see map above), a local city with a Theban garrison, without waiting for Pausanians' force to arrive.  According to Plutarch, Lysander wrote to Pausanias to inform him of his plans, but the message was intercepted and the king therefore did not know Lysander was attacking Haliartus. In any event, Lysander did not wait, but launched a direct attack on the wall.  Theban forces came to the city's relief, Lysander was killed, and his army routed to the hills.  Pausanias arrived too late to come to the rescue. Anything he might have accomplished was thwarted when the Athenian force showed up. Lysander's body was too close to the wall to recover by force, his army was scattered, the allies were dispirited. Pausanias therefore requested a truce to recover the bodies.  This was considered an admission of defeat.  The Thebans refused unless the army agreed to withdraw, which it did.  This was unheard-of.  Requests for a truce to recover bodies were always granted unconditionally. As the Peloponnesian army retreated, the Thebans harassed anyone who set a single foot of the road.

When Pausanias returned home, he was criminally charged with failing to show up on time, with agreeing to the truce, and with allowing the restoration of the Athenian democracy (which was beginning to re-assert itself in foreign policy for the first time since its defeat).  He fled for his life and was sentenced to death in abstentia.  Apparently Athenians were not the only ones with the deplorable habit of criminally charging defeated generals.  The restoration of democracy in Athens would not be the only time Pausanias would prove himself "soft" on democracy.  In exile he would be on "friendly terms" with the popular party in Mantinea and interceded with his son not to execute them after they were defeated in a later war.

The year was now 395 B.C.  The Corinthian War was on.  And my blogging on Ancient Greek history will stop for a while as I learn about the endless, sordid wars in which the Greeks wore each other down until the Macedonians came in and ended their system of sovereign and independent city-states.  I mean to return to contemporary topics now, but also to put up a few posts on Classical Greece in general, not related to the failure of democracy, but simply about the fascinating things I have learned along the way.

*Presumably meaning a member of the Council of Elders and not just an old man.
**Grote interprets this phrase to mean that the Persians were not bothering them, and not to address their domestic condition.
***These decarchies are referred to in the present tense.  Grote takes this as evidence that some of them still continued as late as 395 BC. My version of the Hellenica takes this to mean that Xenophon was trying to show up the Thebans as bald-faced liars.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Aftermath of the Peloponnesian War

The end of the Peloponnesian War did not bring peace to the troubled Greece, at least not for any significant length of time, because it did not resolve the basic underlying issues the caused the war. Thucydides saw the underlying cause of the war as lying in great power rivalry and the balance of power, specifically, the power of the Athenian Empire and the threat it posed to Sparta and the Peloponnesian League.  That could be said to have been resolved by Spartan victory.  Sparta was clearly the dominant hegemon over all of eastern Greece without rival.  Yet its hegemony along was enough to inspire other city-states to combine against it.  In that sense, one can say that the balance of power is never fully resolved.

But another issue was at stake as well.  Athenian hegemony was mightily resented in its weaker allies as an infringement on their independent sovereignty.  They resented the dominant hegemon's infringement on it, in such forms as collecting tribute, misappropriating the tribute to domestic use instead of the common treasury, imposing garrisons, demanding that all matters involving the alliance be tried in Athens (at considerable inconvenience to the allies), and used force when an allied refused to pay tribute.  The allies wanted nothing short of complete independence and sovereignty.  Yet city-states as independent sovereigns were simply not viable entities.  Inherently, they would be of unequal power and the stronger ones would tend to emerge has hegemons.  Besides, city states were too small to defend themselves against might empires and were bound to be swallowed up if left to themselves.  This is not necessarily to say that the only alternatives were either being a shark or being a minnow; at least the Greeks did not regard those as the only alternatives.  Indeed, all of Greek history from their defeat of the Persians to their conquest by the Macedonians might be seen as an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to find some sort of alternative to being a shark or being a minnow.

The Delian League was the first such attempt, yet it ended up turning into an Athenian Empire.  The Peloponnesian War was in large part a revolt against the Athenian Empire, with Sparta in the role of liberator, proudly boasting that they did not "enslave" allies by levying tribute against them or imposing garrisons on them.  Yet in the end, the Greeks turned out simply to be replacing one imperial power with a worse one.  Part of this could be put down to Lysander's bloody-mindedness and some to problems inherent in Sparta, but much of it was simply the logic inherent in being the hegemonic power over a naval empire.  Let us address these one at a time.

Lysander's atrocities:  Lysander, along with Sulla, is the closest Plutarch comes to writing a biography of a straight-up villain. We have already witnessed his atrocities and the despised juntas he established in friend and foe alike. The juntas proceeded to massacre the democratic leaders, and to kill off wealthy residents to seize their property for themselves. He also established garrisons with commanders (harmosts) throughout Asian Greece and levied tribute.  We know very little about this phase in Asian Greece.  Our main sources are Diodorus, Plutarch, and Athenian orators, all of whom emphasize the oppressiveness of the decarchies, but none of whom go into detail.  Presumably the example of Athens was typical, except that it had a junta of thirty instead of ten.  Diodorus does give one example that is atypical in involving a Spartan dictator instead of a local junta.  Byzantium was experiencing factional strife and war with the Thracians and appealed to Sparta for a general.  Sparta sent Clearchus, a reasonable choice in that he represented their city's interests in Sparta,* but in his previous command of Byzantium he had alienated the population with his harsh and arrogant behavior.  This time proved worse.  He proceeded to massacre the city's leading officials and wealthier citizens, seize their property, and use it to hire a mercenary army to support him.  The Spartan government, learning of his doings, attempted to recall him and, when he did not respond, dispatched an army to remove him by force.  Clearchus fled to Persia and took up service with Prince Cyrus in that country's civil war. The Spartan government gave little heed to complaints against Lysander until the Persian Satrap Pharnabazus complained about Lysander pillaging his territory at which point he was recalled.

Xenophon, strongly pro-Sparta, does not mention any of these awkward incidents (except the Thirty in Athens, which he personally witnessed), nor does he mention any discreditable story about Clearchus, who was his commanding officer in Persia.  He does, however, indirectly acknowledge Lysander's juntas when he mentions that when Lysander returned to Asia after his recall he hoped to restore the decarchies that Xenophon did not previously see fit to mention.  Certainly all sources seem to agree that the Ephors soon withdrew support from these juntas and allowed cities to return to their traditional governments.  No account exists of how the various city-states (other than Athens and Byzantium) got rid of these juntas, who presumably did not go down without a fight.  It does seem a safe assumption, though that this took place soon after Lysander was recalled.  Xenophon  implies that at the end of the Peloponnesian War Sparta had real moral authority, but ultimately forfeited it by later misconduct.  But Lysander's behavior must have dealt their moral authority a severe blow from the very start.

The inherent nature of a naval hegemon.  Still, appalling as Lysander's behavior was, it could be dismissed as the action of an aberrant individual.  Certainly he could not be considered typical or unavoidable.  What did prove unavoidable were many of the actions Athens had done that gave offense to their subject/allies.  At the outset of the war, it was a matter of pride to Sparta that unlike those dastardly Athenians, they did not levy tribute on their allies, or impose garrisons on them.  Yet the matter of tribute turned out not to be the result of any moral superiority on the part of Sparta, but simply because a navy is more expensive to maintain than an army.  Consider.  When the Athenian navy dominated the Aegean, it kept the Persians at bay, protected the Asian Greeks from a Persian resurgence,** suppressed piracy, and allowed trade to flourish.  All Aegean Greeks, and not just Athens as hegemon, benefited from this arrangement.  The navy was expensive to maintain.  Was it reasonable that the hegemon alone should bear the expense of protecting the Aegean when everyone benefited?  Furthermore, it was clear from the experience of the Delian League that making a contribution of money was less burdensome, especially for the smaller and weaker cities, than providing ships or sailors.  Furthermore, protecting the entire sea from Persians and pirates more or less inherently implies stationing garrisons in strategic or vulnerable locations to be able to act when needed.  Conflict between the garrison and the town is inevitable, and local courts are invariably biased in favor of their fellow citizens and against the garrison.  Finally, there was the free rider problem. The navy not only protected the Aegean Greeks from Persians and pirates, it had no way of excluding a member who refused to contribute.  The league was in danger of collapsing under the weight of all these defections unless it had some coercive means of collecting tribute from a member who refused to pay.  And, of course, once force was used, it ceased being a league and became an empire.

None of this was to suggest that Athens' actions were justifiable, or that no better alternatives were available.  Perhaps Athens could have financed its navy by a tax on commerce with the Black Sea. This would have had the advantage of causing less friction because people would pay only indirectly, through higher prices, and the disadvantage of having a single choke point and therefore being easily disrupted.  Certainly Athens was not justified in misappropriating league funds to is domestic use.  (This, too, could perhaps have been avoided by the tax on trade).  Garrisons were not just used for defense, but to fight domestic unemployment by sending poor men abroad to seek their fortune, often at the expense of local residents.  Requiring anyone with a dispute regarding the league to come to Athens to try it was a hardship for the travel and simply replaced courts biased against Athenians for courts biased in their favor.  A more neutral system of arbitration would have been better.  And Athens often used its domination of the Aegean to its own advantage at the expense of allies.  No doubt some system of meeting was needed that would give allies a voice in such matters without being so unwieldy as to prevent anything from ever being done.

But this was not due to any unusual wickedness on the part of Athens; it simply means that power tends to be abused, and that the Athenians were neither better nor worse than most in this regard.  All hegemonic powers ended up abusing their powers to varying degrees.  But these overall structural problems would apply regardless of who was hegemon.  And Sparta had a number of traits that made it particularly ill-suited to run a naval empire.

Problems peculiar to Sparta.  All these problems would have applied regardless of who was hegemon, and the problems caused by Lysander could be avoided simply by substituting someone else.  But there were some additional problems that Sparta suffered above and beyond most naval hegemons, and that were not so easily addressed simply by replacing guilty individuals.  The Spartan commander who alienated the local population with his harsh and arrogant behavior was so widespread as to become a cliche.  Certainly there were honorable exceptions, like Brasidas or Callicratides, but a certain degree of frequency suggests that the problem was not just in the individuals, but with the overall culture.

There were more systemic problems as well.  From the very start, Sparta's barracks existence was not (as so many admirers foolishly believed) a voluntary lifestyle choice, but a matter forced on it by internal security problems.  A small citizen body was holding down a huge subjugated population.  They could ill afford to add any more.  Furthermore, the problems of a small citizen body just kept getting worse.  Large numbers of men were being killed in wars.  Their system made no provisions for men to have more than one wife, or for children of an unmarried woman to become citizens, and made it difficult to promote non-citizens.  On the other hand, it was extremely easy to demote citizens.  Famously, eligible participants were required to eat in communal dining halls.  Each man must pay for his own meals.  Any man unable to do so lost his citizenship.  Is it any wonder, then, that the citizen body kept shrinking.  Xenophon reports a potential rebel as saying that of 4000 people in the agora, only 40 besides the Council and Ephors were citizens, and that on country estates, only one, the master, would be a citizen.

As that last comment implies, Sparta's internal security problems were a serious disadvantage in fighting overseas wars.  The citizen army was needed at home for domestic security.  At most, they could fight local wars on the Peloponnese with perhaps occasional deployments to other parts of mainland Greece.  Thucydides recounts the shocking story of how the Spartans offered freedom to any helot who could give an account of the services he had done the state and them massacred the claimants who came forward, some 2000 of them, believing that these were the most aggressive and energetic and most likely to revolt.  But when Brasidas wanted to make an extended overland march, they liberated some 700 helots and sent the with him.  This proved to be an effective way to kill two birds with one stone -- to add much-needed manpower to their army and to send potential trouble makers out of the country.  Presumably the liberated helots were encouraged to settle down in foreign countries and make their fortunes there, a nice, safe distance away.  Thus we hear of forces consisting of 1000 liberated helots and 4000 allies, or 2000 liberated helots, 6000 allies, and a mere 30 citizens.  Many garrisons stationed abroad were have only one citizen -- the commander.  Presumably sending the most enterprising and ambitious of the helots abroad relieved internal security problems from that quarter, but the ever-shrinking citizen body gave rise to a new domestic security problem -- revolts by disenfranchised ex-citizens.  Xenophon gives one such account, and presumably there were others.

And then there was the problem of money. Sparta had banned precious metals and instead used an iron currency, too plentiful to be made valuable by scarcity, deliberately treated with vinegar to make it useless as iron, and too large to be convenient, let alone to hide.***  But a naval power needs a "hard" currency (in the sense of one universally accepted).  The need is stronger if the power has a serious shortage of citizens and must also hire mercenary troops.  Gold and silver coin did not just circulate in the empire, but necessarily came home to Sparta as well.  Keep in mind that a Spartan was supposed to be stern and incorruptible, indifferent to wealth.  But love of wealth appears to be part of human nature.  Certainly, it is not equal in all people.  Some people are truly indifferent to wealth beyond a certain subsistence level, but such people are rare.  And it turned out that Spartans had the same love of wealth as anyone else.  And, since any participant who could not pay his mess hall fees was disenfranchised, they had ample reason to fear poverty.  It would seem that Spartan incorruptibility was rather like Mark Twain's imaginary town of Hadleyburg, where the people took such pride in their reputation for honesty that every resident was shielded from the earliest age from any opportunity to be dishonest.  As a result, the people of Hadleyburg never had any practice in resisting temptation and, when exposed to temptation, promptly succumbed.  At least since the end of the Persian War, Spartans serving abroad and exposed to wealth and luxury for the first time showed a marked tendency to succumb to temptation.  (Again, with honorable exceptions, but honorably exceptions are a poor basis for policy).  When all that wealth came home, the result was massive  corruption, starting with Gylippus, the officer tasked with bringing home the sealed sacks of loot, who opened them at the bottom and helped himself.  (His father, incidentally, went into exile when charged with a similar offense).

So, in short, the basic problems that led to the revolt against the Athenian empire, remained, and were, if anything, made worse.  A whole series of wars followed.  I will address them, though hopefully in less detail that the Pelponnesian War.  They did not directly lead to the downfall of democracy in Athens.  (I await to see if they overturned democracy in other cities).  But they led to the downfall of the whole city-state system that made self-government of the day possible, as the Greeks so weakened each other with constant warfare that Phillip of Macedon was able to move in and conquer the whole lot.

*It was considered perfectly acceptable and honorable for a Greek to act as proxenos, or agent, of a foreign city with his own government.  
**The Delian League was to some extent a victim of its own success in this.  The longer it succeeded in keeping the Persians at bay, the more members were convinced that Persian power was a thing of the past and was simply being used as a bogey to scare them.  Subsequent events would prove them very wrong.
***Modern historians have questioned this, but classical historians have unanimously supported it, including Xenophon, who actually witnessed the transition to precious metals.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Thirty and Fascism

All right, now for the rundown of the Thirty and fascism.

Middle class populist movement that punches up, but predominantly kicks down.  Aside from the kicking down part (well, and some punching up at prominent democratic leaders), none of these apply.  The Thirty were ultimate elitists seeking to create a very narrow, very tight, oligarchy.  There was nothing middle class or populist about them.  Theramenes, it is true, appears to have favored a moderate oligarchy that would admit all men of hoplite status or above.  Given different circumstances, one can imaging him inciting the hoplites to resent that navy rabble that ruined the city by getting them into this senseless war and refused to get out when the going was good.*  In such a case, Theramenes might have made a pretty good right-wing populist, or even a proto-fascist. But it would also be unthinkable in the context of Ancient Greece, where "respectable" figures like Theramenes despised rabble rousers, and the whole idea of a populist movement based mostly on kicking down does not seem to have occurred to anyone.

Driven by both fear and ambition, but fear predominates.  Once again, oligarchy in Classical Greek appears to have been altogether driven by ambition.

A paramilitary party seizing power and claiming an effective monopoly on political activity.  That is a fair description of the 400.  The Thirty went through the outward forms of participating in the democracy before seizing power, but they were effectively agents of a foreign power.

A.  The fascist negations:

Anti-radical:  Fear of radical revolution does not seem to have been at issue, so no.  If anything, the Thirty were the radicals.

Anti-liberal:  If by this we mean seeking to narrow the circle of people who morally matter, then yes, the Thirty were anti-liberal, in the extreme.

Anti-conservative:  Although minimal lip service was paid to the "ancestral constitution," it is clear that Critias in particular, and no doubt many others, had no respect whatever for tradition, for traditional values, conventional religion and morality, and the like.  They are quite properly described as anti-conservative.

B.  Ideology and goals:
-- Creation of a new nationalist authoritarian state based not merely on traditional principles or models
-- Organization of some new kind of regulated, multiclass, integrated national economic structure, whether called national corporatist, national socialist, or national syndicalist
-- The goal of empire or a radical change in the nation’s relationship with other powers
-- Specific espousal of an idealist, voluntarist creed, normally involving the attempt to realize a new form of modern, self-determined, secular culture.
Except for the part about empire or radical change in international relations, there are all modern concepts quite foreign to Ancient Greece.  They presuppose a society in which all members are citizens (though not participants in the decision-making process).  As for international matters, the Thirty showed no interest in the subject and were faithfully subservient to Sparta.

C.  Style and organization:

- Emphasis on aesthetic structure of meetings, symbols, and political choreography, stressing romantic and mystical aspects.  There is nothing to suggest this, nor should we expect it.  This is a populist feature of fascism, and the Thirty were anything but populist.

-- Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political relationships and style and with the goal of a mass party militia.  Once again, no.  The goal was a narrow military rule over a passive population.

-- Positive evaluation and use of, or willingness to use, violence.  Taken to the extreme.  The Thirty were nothing if not violent.

-- Extreme stress on the masculine principle and male dominance, while espousing the organic view of society.  On the one hand, I would say no more than any other Ancient Greeks.  On the other hand, if this means the sort of organization that sees reason, morality, constraint, and even thought as emasculating, I suppose you might see it to some extent among the Thirty.

-- Exaltation of youth above other phases of life, emphasizing the conflict of generations, at least in effecting the initial political transformation.  This is a bit hard to say, although there are some hints that the Thirty, like the 400 before them, drew their support particularly among the young.  First and foremost, the extreme violence of their government suggests that it was one of young men.  Second is simply the vague impression that it would be young men, who never saw the democracy in its glory day but only in its ruin under the Peloponnesian War who would be most likely to be disillusioned with democracy and think an oligarchy could do better.  And there were the audacious young men with daggers sent to intimidate the Council.  So maybe.

-- Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal style of command, whether or not the command is to some degree initially elective.   There appears to have been at least some degree of this with Critias, who offered a very person, authoritarian style of leadership.  The movement appears to have started to break down once he was killed.  And Theramenes, in saying that Critias made enemies of democrats and oligarchs alike, seems to have been accusing him of wanting a personal dictatorship.  But he never quite achieved that.  He still had to carry the approval of at least a majority of the Thirty.

Mobilizing passions of fascism:

-- a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions; No, at least not at first.  This is part of the fear side of fascism, and the Thirty were based mostly on ambition.  Then again, when Thrasybulus and the exiles showed up and started defeating them, this sense of crisis did begin.  And Critias certainly felt no restriction to "traditional solutions"!

-- the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual, and the subordination of the individual to it;  This seems like a fair description of Critias' outlook, at least to the extent  of placing his group (whether the Thirty or his small citizen body) ahead of any individual or universal right and giving zero moral weight to anyone who stood in their way.  Subordination of the individual -- probably yes, unless that individual is named Critias!  Most others, by contrast, were probably not prepared to take things so far.

-- the belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against the group's enemies, both internal and external;  Clearly Critias was ready to take any action, without legal or moral limits, against his group's enemies, internal or external.  Most of the others were probably not prepared to go quite so far.  But seeing one's group as a victim is more of the overall fear-based aspect of fascism, which does not seem to have applied as much here.  More at work was the belief that the oligarchs were the best rulers (in the case of some), or simply raw lust for power (in the case of Critias, and perhaps others).  

-- dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effect of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;  Probably.

-- the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;  Yes, I would say.  Not in the same manner as modern fascism, but the Thirty were shrinking the citizen body down to 3000 like-minded eligible participants, with the tight bond of mutual criminality and fear of retaliation.

-- the need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny;  Well, Critias saw things in those terms anyhow.  Not so sure about the others.

-- the superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason; Ditto.

-- the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group's success;  In spades!

-- the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group's prowess in a Darwinian struggle. Well, once again, that seems like a fair description of how Critias saw things.  Most oligarchs, it seems reasonable to say, were not prepared to go so far and preferred to ground their claimed right to power on moral grounds, particularly the claim that they were "the good and the fair" and other such terms the applied to themselves, basically, on claims of moral superiority.  But there is ample evidence that, like elites everywhere and always, the aristocracy in classical times confused its own privileges with the public good.  When they claimed to better serve the public good, most aristocrats did not classify the lower classes as part of the "public."**

In short, the Thirty had none of the populist features of fascism, few of its fear-based features (and then only when they had so provoked the general public as to give themselves ample grounds for fear), and probably not most of its paramilitary features, as fascist paramilitaries are essentially populist.  What it had in common with fascism was (1) violence, (2) a powerful leader, and (3) its amorality, or at least definition of morality solely in terms of advancing the interest of one's group. But while fascism defines its "group" as a nation, the Thirty defined it as, at best, a narrow and tight oligarchy and at worst (by Critias) a clique of conspirators.

Yet surprisingly, the Thirty has a different trait in common with some of the lesser-known and less successful fascist movements, ones like the Hungarian Arrow Cross, the Romanian Iron Guard, and the Croatian Ustasha.  These were fascist movement that never acquired the sort of popular following seen in Germany or Italy and were never able to take power on their own.  But they were installed in power by Nazi occupiers and had brief but extraordinarily savage reigns as despised collaborationists. This was particularly ironic in the case of modern fascism, which is a form of hyper-nationalism. Critias and the Thirty were not nationalists, and Critias at least was a known Laconophile (Spartophile), so the irony is not present in their case.  Nonetheless, although the Thirty had little in common with modern fascism, it is well to keep those movements in the back of one's mind, just as reminders that even fascism is not always what we expect.

*Of course, this would go contrary to actual, historical fascism, which is quite militaristic.
**Just as most democrats did not fit slaves into that category, and all invariably saw the best role of women as maximum subjugation to men).

My Standard Analysis of The Thirty and Failures of Democracy

All right, now for my usual analysis of how democracies fail, applied to the reign of the Thirty.  It doesn't fit all that well.

Extreme polarization and strife:  The Thirty were imposed by foreign conquest, and to that extent cannot be considered the result of domestic polarization and strife.  But even when a democracy is overthrown by foreign invaders, the question remains of how much collaboration and support the invaders have.  Some Athenians had gone into exile following the failed coup by the 400. Most of these went over directly to the Spartans.  During the city's final days, under siege and facing mass starvation, no one seems to have directly favored the besiegers, but there was considerable strife over whether to make peace and on what terms, to the extent that one man was imprisoned for proposing that Athens accept the Spartan terms, and later, when anything better was clearly hopeless and any peace was better than continued starvation, a few bitter-enders continued to hold out, such that Cleophon was executed and two generals arrested for opposing the terms.  Further evidence that there was a non-trivial degree of support for an oligarchy among prospective oligarchs are that, according to Lysias, a majority of the Council before surrender went on to hold seats under the Thirty, and that at least one member of the Council went on to be one of the Thirty and another to be their chief executioner.  Add to that the role Xenophon ascribed to the cavalry suggests that enough Athenians favored an oligarchy that we can fairly say the Thirty were aided by polarization.  Obviously, most of the oligarchs had in mind something a good deal milder and more respectful of law than what Critias established.  Nonetheless, according to my modern footnotes (citing a source I was unable to find), even after all the horrors of the Thirty, Critias' friends build a monument to him, showing Oligarchy putting a torch to Democracy, with the inscription, "This memorial is for the gallant gentlemen who briefly checked the insolence of the Athenian mob."

Abandonment of procedural norms.  Athenian procedural norms had been crumbling for some time.  They weakened themselves every time a general was put on trial for losing a battle.  They took a major hit in the moral panic that followed the vandalism of the herms.  They were further weakened when Anytus bribed a jury (unjust though the accusations against him were),  And they took a devastating blow when the Assembly sentenced six generals to death in a single vote. Seen in this light, the execution of Cleophon and the arrest of Strombichides and Dionysodorus may be seen as coming late to the party, and desperate measure to prevent the whole city from dying of starvation. In short, procedural norms were undermined, but this does not seem to have been a major factor.

Political violence.  This clearly attended the coup by the 400.  Domestic political violence does not appear to have been a significant factor in the Thirty coming to power, although they obviously used a lot of it once they were in power.  Rather, it was the threat by the Spartan forced the persuaded Athens to cede power to the Thirty.

Paramilitaries.  The Thirty appear to have used a paramilitary (young men noted for their audacity, armed with daggers) to intimidate the Council into executing Theramenes.  Aristotle says that they were initially supported by 300 retainers carrying whips, which sounds very much like a paramilitary.  The Thirty arrested metics in person, accompanied by some sort of attendants who might be considered a paramilitary.  And they forced ordinary citizens into taking part in the arrests. But the takeover had nothing to do with private paramilitaries and everything to do with the presence of the Spartan army and navy.  And their power appears to have rested on the regular military, reduced to the cavalry and a few select hoplites, backed by the Spartan garrison.  (Aristotle places the Spartan garrison after the execution of Theramenes and the beginning of the Phyle revolt, but all other sources disagree).

The danger lies on the right.  Assuming one treats oligarchy as right-wing and populism as "left" (as seems reasonably in Classical Antiquity), this fits.  It was the prospective oligarchs, not just the Thirty, but their supporters among the cavalry, who wanted an oligarchy.  This is not to let the Athenian "left" off by any means.  They blundered into the Sicilian expedition, terrorized Athens' leading citizens in the wake of the herm mutilation, executed six generals by a single vote of the Assembly, and refused peace when they had the opportunity for it.  But they were not threatening to dispossess the upper classes.  Except in the moral panic over the herms, which was fully squelched when Andocides came forward, they did not punch up in a way the oligarchy even pretended to see as threatening.  Which leads to the next point.

Fear is a greater danger than ambition.  This does not appear to have been the case in Ancient Greece.  There is nothing to suggest that the Thirty or their supporters were acting out of fear. Athens was beaten.  No radical reforms were being proposed.  The democracy had not done anything even remotely threatening to the oligarchy since the herm panic ten years earlier.  Ambition, not fear, was the motivating factor.

The importance of a middle class.  Does not appear to have been a factor, nor was the issue of radical reforms.

The importance of understanding political parties and a loyal opposition.  Political parties in the modern sense did not exist in Classical times, but the Athenians appear to have been beginning, at least, to understand that long-term disagreement was normal, and that opposing politicians could exist within the city, each intending the city's best interests, and not needing to fight.  The practice ostracism (banishing the loser of a political dispute) was used for the final time in 415 BC, ten years before the coup, and had not been used for 25 years before that.  This was not a case of party strife tearing a community asunder because no one understood that it was normal.  In fact, if anyone was unable to tolerate disagreement and party strife, it was the Thirty, hence the deadly split between Critias and Theramenes.

Traits of a right-wing failure of democracy:

Driven by fear, a middle class being squeezed out, and inability to tell radical from moderate reformers:  None of these appear to have been at work.  The oligarchy simply decided that the democracy had failed altogether and the rightful rulers were seizing power.  Critias' motives were even more self serving.  He wanted power; others stood in his way; the others must go.

Not dependent on a charismatic leader:  It is hard to say whether Critias was a charismatic leader. Certainly, although he was not a sole dictator, he was a strong leader and not first among equals.

Triggered by economic crisis or military defeat:  Actually, the Thirty coming to power could not strictly be said to have been "triggered" by anything, since that suggests a strong underlying predisposition in that direction.  The Thirty were not "triggered" by military defeat in the same way that the 400 were; they were installed by an invading army.

Conclusion:  Once again, whatever its merits in modern times, and even in Ancient Rome, my model just doesn't seem to work in Ancient Greece.  Oligarchy was seen as much more legitimate then than it is now.  As a result, oligarchs did not just lash out in fear when they saw their prerogatives threatened; they acted openly out of desire for power and the belief that oligarchy was morally superior to democracy.  The reign of the Thirty put an end to oligarchic plots in Athens precisely because its casualties included the oligarchs' claim to any sort of moral authority.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

On the Athenian Amnesty

So, the most obvious questions about the amnesty the Athenians declared are, why did they do it?  And was it the right thing to do?

As for why they did it, the answer is clear enough.  It was the quickest and easiest way to end the civil war, allow the exiles to return, and restore the democracy.  The oligarchs held the city, which was so strongly fortified that there was no real prospect of taking it by storm.  The Spartans in the past had made a few half-hearted efforts, all easily repulsed, and ended up prevailing by blockade. Besides, the exiles did not want to damage the city if they could avoid it since it was, after all, their  city. As for the Spartans, they had, after all, headed north to intervene on behalf of the oligarchs. They were willing to negotiate a settlement, but would probably intervene to prevent their allies from being defeated by force.  And, one can well imagine, they might not have minded sacrificing 30 (or  51) of Lysander's creatures who certainly deserved it, but allowing whole-scale revenge against the entire aristocracy would be another matter altogether.  According to the Second Century AD geographer Pausanias (no relation to the king), even that was enough to get King Pausanias put on trial before the Council and acquitted by a tie vote.  It seems unlikely.  No other source mentions such a trial and Xenophon makes clear that the settlement had the approval of the Ephors and Assembly in Sparta and was thus indisputably lawful.

But if fear of retaliation from Sparta explains why the Athenians initially agreed to the deal, it cannot explain why it held.  It was not long before Sparta's power as dominant hegemon was being challenged, the Greek city-states were at war again, and Sparta's hand were more than full, leaving no time to intervene in Athens' internal affairs.  If the Spartans get credit (or blame) for instituting the amnesty, to the Athenians goes credit (or blame) for sticking with it and achieving a genuine reconciliation that allowed the democracy to become stable, endure, and ultimately only succumb, not to internal strife, but to foreign conquest.

So, once again, that raises the question of whether the amnesty was the right thing to do.  That is, after all, a very significant question to this day.  In our own times, when dictators have been overthrown the question of how to deal with their past crimes has been one of the most controversial subjects around.  To forgive and forget is to let serious crimes go unpunished.  But to punish is to invite retaliation, and perhaps even an attempt to restore the dictatorship out of pure motives of fear and self-preservation.  Fear and self-preservation were the main reasons the small citizen body held out as long as it did, and why settlement had to be negotiated by an outside power.  Besides, one man, or thirty (or even 51), even when backed by a foreign garrison, cannot possibly rule all by themselves. They will necessarily have accomplices in the broader public.  Attempts to bring all accomplices to justice can tear a country asunder and lead to endless revenge and recrimination between citizens.

The amnesty was clearly the right thing to do in at least one sense.  It worked. The rival factions did reconcile and no further attempts were made to institute an oligarchy.  It stands in remarkable contrast to Samos, where the democrats massacres some 200 oligarchs, exiled 400, and disenfranchised the rest, and later chose mass exile over whatever revenge the oligarchs might have in mind.  It stands in remarkable contrast to Argos, where the popular party killed or expelled the oligarchs, and the oligarchs appealed to Sparta for aid.  It stands in remarkable contrast to Corcyra,  where democrats slaughtered oligarchs en masse, not even sparing the ones who took refuge in temples.  The surviving oligarchs who escaped returned and burned their boats to prevent themselves from retreating, and pillaged the countryside.  When the invading oligarchs were defeated, the Corcyrians slaughtered them to the last man.  If the amnesty saved Athens such horrors, then the injustice of letting the oligarchy's crimes go unpunished seems a small price to pay!

Besides, its supporters were (presumably) a mixed bag.  Xenophon describes the actions of the cavalry enough to give the distinct impression that he was one of the cavalry who took part, sometimes in immistakable crimes.  Likewise, Plato was an initial supporter of the new government, whose leaders included some of his relatives, and "imagined that they would administer the State by leading it out of an unjust way of life into a just way."  Young aristocrats like Xenophon and Plato had reason to be disillusioned with the democracy.  They were too young to remember its glory days when it led the war against the Persians, liberated the Asian Greeks, and established voluntary defensive league.

What they saw, instead, was the government that massacred and enslaved the populations of Melos and Scione, that was talked into the reckless Sicilian expedition, that succumbed to such moral panic over the vandalism of the herms that no leading citizen was safe, that refused honorable offers of peace when the going was good, that sentenced six generals to death in a single vote after they had won a nearly miraculous victory, and that remained in deep denial even when it was obvious that all was lost.  Such men might understandably believe, at first, that government by more "enlightened" men would offer a better rule, and might be unable to believe that a man as cultured and polished and Critias undoubtedly was could be an utter psychopath.

As has been all to often the case, no doubt they applauded when the Thirty executed men they regarded as vile demagogues, and rationalized when they moved on to more respectable prey, convinced themselves that some undoubtedly indefensible measures were temporary expedients and, after all, you can't make omelets without breaking eggs.  By the time such rationalization became impossible to sustain, the 3000 were too mired in the Thirty's crimes to hope for any reconciliation with their fellow countrymen.  The Thirty were eager to implicate as many as possible in their crimes.  Many no doubt went along out of fear. Perhaps complicity was an initiation rite required for citizenship.  Even some of the Thirty themselves capitulated to their colleagues out of fear.  Most of the 3000 doubtless saw themselves as  victims of the Thirty, compelled to share in their crimes without receiving any advantage.

It was a self-serving outlook, no doubt, that covered many a crime, and offered the usual excuse of "just following orders."  But given the endless division, the bitter recrimination, and the possibility of civil war that might have followed any attempt to prosecute the accomplices of the Thirty, an amnesty was doubtless the least possible evil.

The amnesty does raise an interesting question.  Besides Xenophon, our leading source of information about the Thirty is from speeches given afterward, sometimes to the Assembly, but mostly in lawsuits.*  There were numerous suits in the years following the overthrow of the Thirty in which their actions became an issue, the most famous, of course, being the trial of Socrates. How could there be lawsuits about events under the Thirty if there was a general amnesty in place?  In Athens, as ever since, people looked for loopholes and found a number.  The most obvious was that the Thirty themselves were not exempt from trial.  At least one (Eratosthenes) actually was tried (outcome unknown).  Another was the argument that the amnesty was reached between the city and Piraeus, and that anyone implicated in the Thirty's crimes who nonetheless defected to Piraeus was not covered by the amnesty.  (Assuming one wants to encourage defections, this sounds like very poor reasoning).  Another was that supporters of the Thirty, though not subject to criminal penalties, could be excluded from certain offices, so someone seeking to disqualify a candidate might raise that issue.  There were also private suits for defamation over an allegation that one collaborated with the Thirty.  Or, most controversially, it could be used to create prejudice in a suit on an unrelated matter.  In the case of Socrates, his real "crime" was almost certainly his association with Critias, but this was protected under the amnesty, so the accusers had to resort to vague charges of irreligion and corrupting the youth of Athens.

Finally, Thrasybulus, the leader of the democratic restoration, really deserves a few words.  Aristotle pair aristocratic and popular politicians and names Theramenes as if he were just another conservative politician like Kimon or Nicias, both of whom were loyal to the democracy even if they did want some brakes on it.  He even names Theramenes with Nicias as one of the "best" political leaders after those of early times, completely glossing over his role in twice overthrowing the democracy!  As for popular politicians, he names Cleon and Cleophon as Theramenes' rivals and says, "From Cleon onward the leadership of the People was handed on in an unbroken line by the men most willing to play a bold part and to gratify the many with an eye to immediate popularity." He never so much as mentions Thrasybulus in his list of democratic leaders!  He does briefly mention him as leading the exiles, but his main judgment is one of disapproval for his willingness to extent citizenship to extend citizenship to anyone taking part in the restoration, even slaves.  He gives credit to Archinus for the reconciliation, but does not include him on the list of pairing politicians.

Others have been more generous in their assessment.  Xenophon praises his tactical skill, his  inspiring leadership, his piety, his patriotism, his forbearance in not stripping the dead because they were countrymen, and his role in reconciliation (without so much as mentioning Archinus).  The geographer Pausanias says that his grave is first among all Athenians, even ahead of Pericles, and calls him, "in all respects the greatest of all famous Athenians, whether they lived before him or after him" for his role in overthrowing the Thirty and effecting a reconciliation afterward.  The Roman biographer Cornelius Nepos says of Thrasybulus:
If merit is to be valued by itself, without regard to fortune, I doubt whether I ought not to place him first of all the Greek commanders. This I can say without hesitation, that I set no man above him in integrity, firmness, greatness of mind, and love for his country; for while many have wished, and few have been able, to deliver their country from one tyrant, it was his lot to restore his country, oppressed by thirty tyrants, from slavery to freedom. But though no man excelled him in these virtues, many, I know not how, surpassed him in fame.
 Plutarch did not write a Life of Thrasybulus, which is a shame, although it is hard to tell who he would have compared him to.  Perhaps whoever restored the Roman Republic after the fall of Sulla?  But that (as I understand it) was Pompey and Crassus, both of whom played a major part in its later and permanent downfall, through their own lust for power (and alliance with Caesar, of course). Thrasybulus was a different matter altogether.  If anyone had the opportunity to establish himself as a left-wing populist dictator, championing the common people against the proven oppression of the oligarchs, it was Thrasybulus.**  He even had the opportunity to emulate Pisistratus and establish himself on the benevolent wing of such rulers.  But he made no such attempt, setting the democracy on a firm basis and willingly yielding place if other leaders proved more popular than he was.  Wikipedia, at least, attributes his eclipse to being too ardent a democrat, not only in wanting to extend citizenship to everyone who fought at Piraeus, but also in wanting to restore pay for political office.  (I have not found a source for that latter).

Be that as it may, the democracy in Athens did continue to flourish, did restore pay for offices, and even started offering pay for attending the Assembly.  But at the same time, it managed to establish a much-needed brake on the democracy, without resorting to an aristocratic institution like the old Areopagus.  This brake took the form of the graphe paranomon, roughly an allegation of unconstitutionality.  Given that the last time the graphe paranomon was suspended, the 400 established their oligarchy, and the last time the Assembly ignored an allegation of graphe paranomon they sentenced six generals to death in a single vote and later came to regret it, this device must have been cherished much as we cherish appeals to constitutionality.  Suit was before a jury of ordinary citizens, but in a more deliberative fashion than the assembly, and after hearing of the case.  If a measure was found unconstitutional within a year of enactment, the law was rescinded and the author(s) penalized, usually by a fine.  If it was found unconstitutional within five years, no penalty was imposed, but the measure became invalid.  After five years, the measure was no longer available.

Democracy flourished in Athens thereafter until it succumbed to conquest  by the Macedonians.  But we are not there yet.

*With the caveat that these speeches invariably had an ax to grind and should not be taken as gospel truth.
**Except, perhaps, for the watchful presence of the Spartans.  They may have been willing to tolerate the presence of a democracy, but probably not a left-wing populist dictator.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Downfall of the Thirty (403 BC)

When Theramenes warned Critias against the course he was taking, he refrained from making moral arguments, since it was obvious that morality meant nothing to Critias.  Instead, he argued that it was unwise to make so many enemies.  And so it would turn out to be.

Among the enemies Theramenes named were Thrasybulus, Anytus, and Alcibiades.  Thrasybulus was one of the admirals who rallied the fleet against the coup of the 400 and led it to its series of victories in the Propontis.  Anytus had been sent to relieve the siege of Pylos but been defeated by a storm, was put on trial and escaped by bribing the jury.  The experience can hardly have endeared the democracy to him, and Aristotle names him at first with Theramenes, Archinus and others as wanting to reign in the democracy but not belonging to any conspiracies.*  Alcibiades appears to the son of the Alcibiades, who had been murdered in exile under uncertain circumstances, but possibly on the order of either Lysander or Critias.  It is unclear whether they were formally sentenced to exile, left voluntarily, or fled for their lives.

Whatever the case, Thrasybulus had taken refuge in Thebes and marched out in the winter with 70 men to seize the fortress of Phyle.  The Thirty and their forces marched against them but were thwarted by a  late snowstorm. The Thirty returned to Athens but left most of the Spartan garrison and two divisions of cavalry to guard the fort.  Thrasybulus' men, now numbering  700, launched a surprise attack on the camp and scattered them,** before returning to the fort.

The Thirty then became increasingly fearful for their power and decided  to secure a place of refuge.  They took the cavalry** to the village of Eleuis on the pretext of registering them men there for military service.  After each man was registered, he was told to march out the gate, where the cavalry and their attendants were waiting.  They seized and bound each man, took them back to Athens, and delivered them to the executioners.  Something similar was done at Salamis, but Xenophon was apparently not present, so we do not have a detailed account.  The Thirty then summoned the Assembly, perhaps the only time they ever did so.  Critias told them that if they were to share in the benefits of the oligarchy, they must share in the dangers and prove their loyalty by voting the death sentence on these men, totaling 300.***  With the Spartan garrison present, fully armed, no one dared refuse, but by now the participants had come to look upon the Thirty with horror and revulsion.

The exiles, now numbering a thousand, advanced to the Piraeus and seized a strongly defensible hill called the Munichia. And, at least according to Diodorus, the Thirty sought to buy Thrasybulus off by offering to admit him to replace Theramenes.  He indignantly refused.  The Thirty attacked with the Spartans, the cavalry, and their selected hoplites.  The exiles, though outnumbered, were able to hold their strong position.  The forces of the Thirty were driven back and Critias was killed, along with Hippomachus, another of the Thirty, and Critias' cousin and fellow Socratic pupil Charmides, one of the ten given command of the Piraeus.  Here Thrasybulus departed from the usual custom, which was to raise a trophy, strip the dead, and granted the losers a truce to retrieve the bodies.  He took the arms from the dead, which his forces were sorely lacking, but returned them without stripping them and apparently did not raise a trophy.  This was intended as a display of respect for his fellow countrymen.  The herald called on the forces as fellow countrymen to turn against the Thirty.

And in fact, the 3000 began quarreling among themselves,** some wanting to allow the exiles to return and others fearing retaliation if they did.  In the end, they deposed the Thirty and elected ten to end the war.  The remaining Thirty fled, except for Pheidon, who joined the Ten, and Eratosthenes, deemed a moderate.  But the Ten continued the policies of the Thirty, and the war continued.  The exiles swelled in number, though many were lightly armed, and vowed to exempt any foreigner in their number from special taxes on non-citizens.  They foraged the countryside for food, harassed by the cavalry.  The cavalry commander killed one such party, when even many of his own men were opposed.**  The exiles retaliated by killing a cavalryman and even began attacking the walled city.

The Thirtyor the Ten, sent to Sparta to ask for relief forces, commanded by Lysander.  Instead of providing men, the Spartans lent the oligarchs 100 talents, which they used to hire a mercenary force, commanded by Lysander, with his brother commanding a fleet.  They proceeded to blockade the men at Piraeus and might perhaps have won, but the government at Sparta began having other ideas.  The brutality of the Thirty had sickened them no less than anyone else, and they were beginning to get nervous about all the power Lysander had amassed by installing juntas all across the empire that were loyal to him personally rather than to Sparta.

Pausanias, one of the two kings, persuaded three of the five Ephors to send him out with the regular army.  Diognetus, Nicias' last surviving brother, presented the children of Nicias' murdered son and brother to Pausanias and begged for his support and began to win him over.  Pausanias went through the motions or ordering the men at the Piraeus to disburse.  When they did not, he gave battle, losing important officers in the fighting and was  ultimately (though minimally) victorious.  He encouraged both the city and the Piraeus to send ambassadors to him and seek to negotiate.  The men in the city overthrew the Ten and replaced them with a new body who genuinely wanted to end the war. They sent envoys to the Piraeus, and all parties sent envoys to Sparta.  The Ephors and Assembly sent mediators, who worked with Pausanias to negotiate a peace between the parties.

The terms were extraordinarily generous.  Everyone was to be granted amnesty for any actions he had done, except the Thirty, the Ten (who ruled the Piraeus) and the Eleven (the executioners).  Whoever did not trust these terms would be allowed to retire to Eleusis.  Anyone currently holding office under the oligarchy was to present an accounting to the democracy.  Eleusis was to be allowed self-government any anyone withdrawing there would retain full rights, except that they could not go to Athens, nor the people of Athens go to Eleusis, except for religious rituals.  Provisions were even made for how to determine the price of a house being bought in Eleusis.

Thrasybulus crowned for his reconciliation
Pausanias then disbanded his army and withdrew.  Thrasybulus, entering the city, gave the oligarchs a thorough tongue-lashing, telling them that any grounds they might have for proclaiming the superiority of oligarchy to democracy were decisively disproven.  Compared to the democracy, the oligarchy showed less respect for wealth and property, less military might, and less support from Sparta.  Nonetheless the amnesty held.  Those wishing to withdraw to Eleusis were given a fixed date to register the move.  Most of them postponed it until the last minute, which allowed Archinus (remember him?  Named by Aristotle as wanting to restrict democracy but not part of any conspiracy) to abruptly cancel the remaining days and compel most of the oligarchs to remain. Nothing happened to them.  Aristotle approved of this act.  He also approved of Archinus striking down as unconstitutional Thrasybulus' decree extending citizenship to anyone who took part in the Piraeus revolt, even slaves. He also approved of Archinus persuading the Council to execute, without trial, the first man to try to stir up trouble between the oligarchs and the returnees.  Shocking as this last act was, it proved effective.  No one violated the amnesty again.  The Athenians even agreed to repay the 100 talents the oligarchs had borrowed, on the grounds that it set the city on the course of reconciliation. Aristotle regarded this degree of statesmanship as unprecedented and, although generally a skeptic of democracy, concedes it as "just" in this case because the people accomplished its own return.

There was one little blemish on the reconciliation.  Aristotle passes it over with the euphemism,  "They also made a reconciliation with those that had settled at Eleusis two years after the migration."  Xenophon does not mince words.  Two years later (401 BC), the exiles at Eleusis hired mercenaries  with the presumed intent of either seizing power once again, or at least complete secession.  The whole Athenian army marched out against Eleusis, invited the generals to a conference, and then killed them.  They then reincorporated Eleusis back into Athens with no further retaliation.  Archinus might be considered vindicated.  Separation was more dangerous than integration.

Next: Reflections on the amnesty

*But Antyus is best known to posterity as one of the accusers of Socrates.
**Based on Xenophon's account.  This degree of detail suggests that he was present, among the cavalry.
***Perseus likens this to the vote sentence the generals to death, but the comparison is absurd.  Six lives were at stake in the case of the generals; 300 in this case.  In the case of the generals, a population distraught over their failure to rescue the survivors of a naval battle accused them, however unjustly, of negligence in the failure.  The massacre here was cold blooded murder of men no one pretended were guilty of anything.  The generals were at least given a hearing, however inadequate, before the Assembly.  No pretense of trial was offered in this case.