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History to Tickle Your Fancy > The rescuers of Mitylene

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message 1: by Codex (last edited Apr 23, 2015 04:10AM) (new)

Codex Regius (codex_regius) | 2 comments This is an anecdote that I have come upon in Thukydides, and it describes the deed of men who would deserve to be unforgotten:

The city of Mitylene had revolted against Athens, and the council of Athens sent a ship to the Athenian commander of Mitylene with the order to slay all men in the city and sell women and children into slavery.

The day after, the parliamentary gathering revoked the council's order with a close majority vote. Alas, the ship carrying the order was already out. There was no way to call it back to port.

The only chance to prevent the massacre was if a second ship was able to go fast enough to overtake the first. It was launched at once. With huge rewards as their incentives, captain and crew pulled as they could, rowing at full power, on through day and night, eating and drinking even without leaving their places at the rows.

The first ship was going at leisure speed, yet it was too far ahead. They did not overtake it. When they reached Mitylene a day and a half after departure, they found it already towed at the port.

But they had been so fast that the other commander had just a moment ago dispatched his orders to the Athenian commander. They had not yet been executed when the second ship arrived in port to revoke them. Thus the massacre was prevented, not a single Mitylenian lost his life.

I would like to see a film made out of that story! This intrepid captain and his crew are heroes that history should remember, not the murderers and conquerors.


message 2: by Debra (new)

Debra Brown (debrabrown) | 957 comments Mod
So true! I'd like to see authors and Hollywood cease to feed bloodlust.


message 3: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 31 comments That is a very cool story!


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