| Stories of the Ancient Greeks|
|by Charles D. Shaw|
|Delightful collection of both mythological and historical stories of the ancient Greeks, in language simple enough for younger listeners, yet appealing to all ages. Provides an excellent introduction to ancient Greece, beginning with 32 of the best-known myths, and then continuing with 32 short stories of the historical era, arranged in chronological order. An extensive pronunciation guide is included. Ages 8-11 |
FALSE AND CRUEL
PARTA found her greatest though not her best citizen in Lysander. He was
born a Helot,—that is, a slave,—but he was given a good Spartan education
and by his own efforts gained the rights of a citizen. He was a very cunning
man and cared nothing for truth or honor. He said that where courage was not
enough deceit must be used; that the fox is wiser and more successful than
the lion; that oaths are made to deceive men, and only foolish people keep
them. He was willing to work hard and to suffer many things, but he loved
nobody and cared only for himself and his own power and glory.
He hated Athens and wished to humble her. Cyrus the Younger was at war with
that city and the Spartans were helping him. Lysander was made commander of
the fleet. There were no ships and he had much trouble in getting together
seventy sail. He took these to the harbor of Ephesus. That city had never
been friendly to Athens, and in its port he was nearer to the Persians.
Cyrus gave him money so that he could pay higher wages to the sailors and
many went to him from the Athenian ships.
Alcibiades, who led the Athenians, blockaded Lysander in the harbor of
Ephesus and went away, leaving
 Antiochus in charge. Lysander made a sudden attack, sank Antiochus and his
ship, and took or destroyed fifteen vessels.
Admirals were only elected for a certain time and could not be re-elected.
When Lysander's time was out he was made vice admiral and remained the real
leader of the fleet. He went back to Ephesus and built more ships. Cyrus
gave him plenty of money to pay soldiers and sailors, invited him to Sardis,
and went away on a journey to Media leaving Lysander to rule in his place.
In the spring he was ready for battle. He sailed about the sea in every
direction, landed at different places to show that he could do as he
pleased, and at last took his fleet to the Hellespont. He attacked the city
of Lampsacus and captured it with all its money and supplies.
The Athenian ships were gathered in an open bay opposite Lampsacus and near
the mouth of Goat River. No town was near and every day the sailors had to
go a mile inland to get something to eat. This was done for four days and
daily the Athenian sailors grew more careless. On the fifth day, when they
had gone inland and not many were left with the ships, Lysander sailed down
the bay and attacked the fleet. The few men who had remained by the ships
were not enough to work them and all except eight vessels surrendered to
Lysander. These put out to sea under the command of Conon and escaped.
Lysander captured one hundred and eighty ships and took three thousand
prisoners, whom he treated with the most savage cruelty.
 He conquered a number of other places but allowed the Athenians who were
living in them to go back to their own city. He wished to crowd Athens so
that there would be more mouths to feed when he made his attack there.
Troops were ordered to surround that unhappy capital by land. Lysander with
two hundred ships sailed to the mouth of the Piraeus and blockaded the port.
Food became very scarce in the city, though a few vessels sailed through the
enemy's fleet and brought in grain. The citizens met and agreed to give up
to Sparta all they owned in other places, keeping only the Piraeus and the
This word was carried to Sparta. A message was sent back that the walls of
the harbor and those joining it to the city must be torn down; that all the
ships of war except twelve must be given up to the Spartans; that troops
must be sent to their help whenever called for; and that Athens could rule
only in Attica.
Athens was obliged to yield. Lysander had the harbor filled up and the Long
Walls pulled down. While that was going on he ordered the most joyful music
to be played, to mock the grief of the Athenians.
He took away the power from the people and put thirty Spartan captains in
charge of the city. These were called the "Thirty Tyrants." Athens was no
longer the beautiful mistress of Greece; she was the poor slave of Sparta.
Lysander carried back the rich spoils of war to Sparta, and put them in the
 He was very vain and proud and hired poets to write his praises and
musicians to sing them. He was the first Greek to whom altars were built and
sacrifices offered as if he had been a god. He went to war against the
Thebans and was killed in battle. Divine honors could not preserve him from
the universal fate of mankind.
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