Aeneas Tacticus 17.





17. [Precautions During Festivals]

1. Where the citizens are not of one mind, but suspicious of one another, careful watch must be kept on occasions when the crowds go out to see torch races, horse races, or other games – that is all public celebrations and armed processions outside the walls; and also the public docking of ships and at public funerals: for even on these occasions loyal citizens may be involved in disaster, 2. as I shall proceed to show by an actual instance.
At Argos a public festival took place outside the city, at which there was an armed procession of all the men of military age; and a number of the conspirators made ready and joined in the demand for arms to carry in the procession. 3. Their attempt was made close by the temple and the altar: most of the company piled their arms at some distance from the temple and went to the service of prayer at the altar; but some of the conspirators remained by the arms, while others, armed with daggers, took their places at the ceremony next to the magistrates and most prominent citizens, each picking his man. 4. After these had been struck down, others ran off with the arms to the city; while another party of conspirators, who had remained in the city, occupied points of vantage, armed with the extra weapons they had collected, so as to allow only those whom they wished to enter the city.
At no time, therefore, should you neglect to be on your guard against such plots. 5. When the people of Chios celebrate their Dionysiac festival with a splendid procession to the altar of Dionysus, they line the streets leading to the market place with guards and pickets in force, thus making things very difficult for would-be revolutionaries. 6. The best plan is for the magistrates to conduct the celebrations first, attended by the bodyguard I mentioned earlier, and not to allow the general public to assemble until the officials are clear of the crowd.





1. Ἐν δὲ μὴ ὁμονοούσῃ πόλει καὶ ὑπόπτως πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἐχόντων χρὴ προνοοῦντα εὐλαβεῖσθαι τὰς μετ̓ ὄχλου ἐξόδους ἐπὶ θεωρίαν λαμπάδος καὶ ἱπποδρομίας καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἀγώνων ὅσαι γε ἱεροποιίαι πανδημεὶ ἐκτὸς τῆς πόλεως καὶ σὺν ὅπλοις πομπαὶ ἐκπέμπονται, ἔτι καὶ περὶ τὰς πανδήμους νεωλκίας καὶ τὰς συνεκφορὰς τῶν τελευτησάντων: ἔνι γὰρ καὶ ἐν τοιῷδε καιρῷ σφαλῆναι τοὺς ἑτέρους. 2. παράδειγμα δὲ ἐξοίσω γενόμενον πάθος.
ἑορτῆς γὰρ πανδήμου ἔξω τῆς πόλεως Ἀργείων γενομένης ἐξῆγον πομπὴν σὺν ὅπλοις τῶν ἐν τῇ ἡλικίᾳ: συχνοὶ δὲ τῶν ἐπιβουλευόντων καὶ αὐτοὶ παρεσκευάζοντο καὶ αὐτοῖς συνείποντο ἔνοπλοι εἰς τὴν πομπήν, 3. καὶ ὡς ἐγένετο πρὸς τῷ ναῷ τε καὶ τῷ βωμῷ, οἱ μὲν πολλοὶ τὰ ὅπλα θέμενοι ἀπωτέρω τοῦ ναοῦ πρὸς τὰς εὐχάς τε καὶ τὸν βωμὸν ὥρμησαν. τῶν δὲ ἐπιβουλευόντων οἱ μὲν ἐπὶ τῶν ὅπλων ὑπέμειναν, οἱ δὲ ταῖς ἀρχαῖς τε καὶ τῶν πολιτῶν τοῖς προέχουσι παρέστησαν ἐν ταῖς εὐχαῖς, ἀνὴρ ἀνδρί, ἔχοντες ἐγχειρίδια: 4. καὶ τοὺς μὲν κατεβεβλήκεσαν, οἱ δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς τὴν πόλιν σὺν τοῖς ὅπλοις ἔσπευσαν. ἕτεροι δὲ τῶν συνεπιβουλευόντων ὑπομείναντες ἐν τῇ πόλει μετὰ τῶν προαλισθέντων ὁπλιτῶν προκατέλαβον οὓς προσῆκε τόπους τῆς πόλεως, ὥστε δέξασθαι τῶν ἔξω οὓς ἐβούλοντο.
διὸ δεῖ τὰς τοιαύτας ἐπιβουλὰς ἐν οὐδενὶ καιρῷ ἀφυλάκτως διακεῖσθαι. 5. Χῖοι δὲ ἄγοντες τὰ Διονύσια καὶ πέμποντες πομπὰς λαμπρὰς πρὸς τοῦ Διονύσου τὸν βωμόν, προκαταλαμβάνουσι τὰς εἰς τὴν ἀγορὰν φερούσας ὁδοὺς φυλακαῖς καὶ δυνάμεσι πολλαῖς, κώλυμα γοῦν οὐ μικρὸν τοῖς βουλομένοις νεωτερίζειν. 6. ἄριστον δὲ τὰς ἀρχὰς πρῶτον μετὰ τῆς προῃρημένης δυνάμεως ἱεροποιῆσαι, τούτων δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου ἀπαλλαγέντων, οὕτω τοὺς ἄλλους συνιέναι.

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created 04/07/2017 - updated 04/07/2017