The Peloponnesian War. - Third Period, from the Sicilian Expedition to the end of the War, B.C. 413-404
Upon their arrival in Ionia they informed Alcibiades that measures had been taken for establishing an oligarchical form of government at Athens, and required him to fulfil his part of the engagement by procuring the aid and alliance of Persia. But Alcibiades knew that he had undertaken what he could not perform, and he now resolved to escape from the dilemma by one of his habitual artifices. He received the Athenian deputation in the presence of Tissaphernes himself, and made such extravagant demands on behalf of the satrap that Pisander and his colleagues indignantly broke off the conference.
Notwithstanding the conduct of Alcibiades the oligarchical conspirators proceeded with the revolution at Athens, in which they had gone too far to recede. Pisander, with five of the envoys, returned to Athens to complete the work they had begun.
Pisander proposed in the assembly, and carried a resolution, that a committee of ten should be appointed to prepare a new constitution, which was to be submitted to the approbation of the people. But when the day appointed for that purpose arrived, the assembly was not convened in the Pnyx, but in the temple of Poseidon at Colonus, a village upwards of a mile from Athens. Here the conspirators could plant their own partisans, and were less liable to be overawed by superior numbers. Pisander obtained the assent of the meeting to the following revolutionary changes:--1. The abolition of all the existing magistracies; 2. The cessation of all payments for the discharge of civil functions; 3. The appointment of a committee of five persons, who were to name ninety-five more; each of the hundred thus constituted to choose three persons; the body of Four Hundred thus formed to be an irresponsible government, holding its sittings in the senate house. The four hundred were to convene a select body of five thousand citizens whenever they thought proper. Nobody knew who these five thousand were, but they answered two purposes, namely, to give an air of greater popularity to the government, as well as to overawe the people by an exaggerated notion of its strength.
To Chapter XIV : The Thirty Tyrants, and the death of Socrates, B.C. 404-399
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