chapter  VII
32 Pages


THE old conception according to which the stranger ceased to be an enemy (e%#/>09) only if he were received as a guest (%evo$) had left many traces in the Greece of classical t imes. 1 The right of a city to lead foraying expeditions (o~v\av), carrying off persons (ayeiv) and property (<f>epeLv) from the territory of another city, remained intact so long as there existed no formal and bilateral convention as obstacle. It was exercised without scruple among the savage tribes of the North-West; 2 nowhere did peoples hesitate to have recourse to it when a claim deemed legitimate failed to receive a satisfactory answer, especially when they considered tha t justice called for reprisals and there was justification for the seizing of pledges (pvaidfciv). Within each city aliens had only very limited rights, even if their position were established not only by law but also by a treaty, and even if they were permanently domiciled in it as metics. These principles persisted to the end; but their severity was tempered, in international and public law alike, without, however, infringing the sovereignty of the State . 3

Customs which were ranked among the " unwritten laws," 4 the " common laws of the Hellenes," 5 and which

consequently were placed under the protection of the gods, 1 regulated the right of war. The heralds, who were rendered inviolable by the caduceus, played an important r61e therein : 2 a war was not legitimate unless it was declared by them, 3 they alone could pass between the belligerents as trucebearers, and they gave sacrosanctity to the negotiators sent into the ranks of the enemy. 4 After the battle the conquerors erected a trophy on which were suspended the arms of the conquered. This trophy usually took the form of a stake or simply the branch of a t ree; it was held tha t it should not be of stone or bronze in order tha t hatred might not be perpetuated. 6 It was a fine application of the Greek adage: " Treat thine enemy as if he ought to become thy friend." The conquered as a general rule recognized their defeat by demanding an armistice for the burying of their dead. 6 The victors might not refuse tha t request unless it came from a sacrilegious army, 7 and, when it was not made involuntarily, it was for them to bury the fallen enemy. 8 When a town surrendered itself, its fate was determined by the terms of the capitulation; but the general rule was tha t in war the lives of suppliants should be spared. 9 When a city was taken by assault, everything-persons and propertywas at the mercy of the conquerors : 1 0 the men were put to the sword, the women and children were reduced to servitude . 1 1 As for the prisoners, first of all exchange was effected ; 1 2 those who were left over were usually bought back by their city or by individuals, 1 3 but otherwise they were sold as slaves. 1 4 In the division of booty a tradition dating from Homeric times was followed, while at the same time the deduction of the t i the reserved for the gods was regarded as an absolute du ty . 1 6

were often violated, especially in the case of a people which had been guilty of disloyalty. But, on the other hand, even when the Peloponnesian war was at its height the Athenian and Spartan generals refused, for example, to avail themselves of their right of reducing Greeks to servitude. 1 Religion, too, had its influence on the laws of war. The inviolability of temples was recognized, provided they were not used as military bases. 2 The " Truce of God " (e/cex^pia) proclaimed by the spondophoroi,3 protected pilgrims travelling to pan-Hellenic festivals against all acts of hostility, even in a country occupied by a belligerent army. Moreover the Dorians of the Peloponnese agreed never to embark upon a campaign during the sacred month when the Carnea was held. They also refrained from marching against a city in the interval which elapsed between the announcement and the celebration of its festival: a scruple which certain cities sometimes abused by tampering with their calendar in such a way tha t they were able to demand the remission of hostilities which they feared to meet. 4

So much did war seem the natural state of affairs between cities tha t treaties of peace were only suspensions of arms, and even treaties of alliance did not offer very substantial guarantees. 6 A progressive step was taken when definite duration was assigned to treaties, a duration which might, it is t rue, be only of five years, 6 but which was more frequently th i r ty , 7 fifty,8 or even a hundred years. 9 It was for the most par t a Utopian vision to think of a state of perpetual peace (ek rbv del xpovov)}0

Attempts , however, were made to settle disputes by pacific means. Differences between cities were sometimes

266 THE CITY UNDER DEMOCRACY submitted to arbitration. 1 As early as the end of the seventh century or the beginning of the sixth the Athenians and the Mitylenians appealed to Periander, the tyrant of Corinth, to settle their dispute on the subject of Sigeum. 2 The Corinthians and the Corcyrseans entrusted to Themistocles the task of deciding between their pretensions to Leucas. 3 Conflicting cities usually took as arbiter, not an illustrious individual, but a third city (iroXw eV^X^ro?) or, in certain cases, the priesthood of Delphi. 4 Athens and Megara, who were squabbling over Salamis, called upon Sparta to give a deciding vote; five Spartans pronounced in favour of Athens. 6 As a general rule the treaties of peace and armistice concluded in the second half of the fifth century between the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians stipulated tha t in case of disagreement they should have recourse to judicial methods of settlement, they themselves and their allies. 6 By the t reaty of 418 the Lacedaemonians and the Argives bound themselves to submit all disputes, of any nature whatsoever, to the judgment of a third power. 7 Unfortunately, since the arbiter had not any means of constraint at his disposal, the defeated party was not always ready to yield. Thebes, after having appealed to the Corinthians to settle its difference with Athens on the subject of Plataea, rejected the award which went against i t . 8 We see, too, the Eleans refusing to accept a settlement proposed by Lepreon on a question of debts. 9 Facts of this sort explain perhaps why international arbitration disappeared in the fourth century and did not reappear till the Hellenistic epoch.