Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
PERICLES AND ELPINICE
 ATHENS was at first the leader of the Delian League; she soon
became its ruler.
Many of the allied cities offered to send, as their
contribution to the league, money instead of ships. To this
Athens agreed gladly, and with the money she added ship
after ship to her own fleet. So the navy of Athens
continued to grow while that of the other states dwindled
until they possessed only a few vessels.
The treasury of the league, which had been kept in the small
but sacred island of Delos, was moved to Athens with the
consent of the allies.
But after a time the other cities grew discontented. They
complained that the money they sent to the league was not
spent on ships alone. Some of it, at least, was used to
build beautiful temples for the city of Athens.
So dissatisfied were they that they declared that they would
leave the league. But they soon found that it would be
difficult to carry out their threat, for Athens was too
anxious to receive their contributions of money to let them
When the people who lived on the island of Samos revolted,
Pericles went with an army to besiege their capital town,
and after nine months the Samians were forced to surrender.
The walls of the city were pulled down, the ships belonging
to the island were seized, and the inhabitants were forced
to pay a heavy fine.
On his return to Athens, Pericles was welcomed by his
party, but Elpinice, the sister of Cimon, was indignant that
the citizens should rejoice at a victory gained over their
One day, soon after his triumphant return, Elpinice waylaid
Pericles as he was walking along the streets, and said to
him, "These are brave deeds, Pericles, that you have done,
and such as deserve our chaplets, who have lost us many a
worthy citizen, not in a war with Phoenicians or Medes, like
my brother Cimon, but for the overthrow of an allied and
Elpinice hoped to make Pericles ashamed that he had fought
with people of his own race.
And now for two years, from 447 B.C. to 445 B.C., loss after
loss befell Athens. While she was struggling with her other
enemies, the king of Sparta marched into Attica with an
army. Athens herself was in danger.
But before the army reached the city, it was ordered to
halt, and soon after it withdrew from Attica.
No one knew what had made the Spartans spare Athens, but it
was said that Pericles had paid their king a large sum of
money on condition that he took his army back to his own
In 445 B.C. Athens signed a Thirty Years' Truce with Sparta,
and at the same time peace was made with Persia.
Pericles was now able to devote himself to the work which
was his greatest pleasure. He spent fourteen years in
making Athens so beautiful that it became the wonder city of