ATHENS' RECOVERY, B.C.
The whole Greek world now expected Athens' immediate down fall. Sparta, who had resumed war officially in August 414 B.C., had the disposal of a fleet of equal or superior strength, with naval reinforcements added from the west. Athens' own best mariners were dead. Her treasury was practically empty. In March 413 B.C. King Agis at Alcibiades' suggestion had occupied Decelea and kept her in a state of semi-blockade, and 20,000 of her slaves deserted to the king. The cities of her empire fell away from her in a series of revolts in 412-411 B.C. Persia now for the first time intervened actively in the war, and Sparta seemed able to count on the support of Tissaphernes, satrap of Sardis. Finally there was a successful conspiracy in Athens her self against the utterly discredited democracy, and the oligarchic extremists, Antiphon, Peisander and Phrynichus, seizing the power in June 411 B.C., opened secret and treasonable negotiations with the enemy. Two men saved Athens in this extremity. At home the "Moderate" leader Theramenes frustrated and crushed the ex tremists and established the "Constitution of the Five Thousand," which guarded the city and maintained the struggle. Alcibiades meanwhile had fled from Sparta to Sardis and by his charm so prevailed upon Tissaphernes that the satrap's aid to Sparta in gold was niggardly and in ships was nil. The Athenian navy, strongly democratic in sympathy, recalled Alcibiades to command at Samos, its base, and at Theramenes' urging the people in the city confirmed the election. Athens once more had a powerful
fleet in being, but it was her last, and could not with safety be divided, however strenuously reinforced. The last stages of the war are purely naval.
Presently operations shifted to the Hellespont, where a victory won by the Athenian commanders Thrasybulus and Thrasylus over the Spartan Mindarus at Cynossema in Sept. 411 B.C., if far from decisive, at least restored Athenian confidence, though all hopes of Persian support had by this time been proved fallacious. At this point Thucydides' narrative breaks off short, and Xeno phon, an inferior and dull, though an honest and trustworthy writer, takes up the tale. But in March 410 B.C. Alcibiades and his colleagues won so crushing a victory over the hostile navy and its supporting Persian army on land at Cyzicus in the Sea of Marmora that the Athenians were once again indisputable mas ters of the sea and Sparta actually suggested peace. The newly restored democracy under the demagogue Cleophon's guidance let slip the opportunity. Next year Alcibiades recaptured rebel Byzantium, cleared the Bosporus, secured Athens' corn supply, and so on June 16, 408 B.C., was able to make a triumphal entry into Athens after seven years' absence. He received a rapturous welcome, though there were many who cherished bitter ill-will against him secretly; was appointed general with autocratic powers; and so left to rejoin the fleet, now once again at Samos. He never saw his city again.