Living in the intellectual bastion that is Athens had allowed Nissicus the opportunity to study under some of the smartest philosophers the world has ever seen . What he wasn’t ready for, was that Sparta had been gearing up for a new war in hopes of finally getting their greedy hands on Athens’ spoils. He had never had to fight since he was from a wealthy family, but that might have to change. There have been reports that the Spartans are gearing up for an all out assault on Athens. Nissicus was not a cowardly man, he often liked to question his teachers when they said something that didn’t have a purpose. Many of his fellow classmates were nervous about the coming war, just as he was, but they didn’t believe that the Spartans would actually dare to challenge the might of Athens.
Nissicus knew that the Spartans were not a joke. When he was a child, he had seen a Spartan slave kill a man with his bare hands. The thought of seeing an army of such men scared him half-to-death. The traumatizing experience even worsened the fact that, because he was the heir to the family fortune, and that he was the only male old enough to fight in his family, he was to be conscripted for the war. Training for the war was in one week and he needed to be fit. However, his classes at school were not going to stop during said war. His teachers feared that if they stopped teaching Athenians about philosophy, that Athens might then become like savage Sparta.
Everything began to overwhelm Nissicus, who ran to the Parthenon to pray to Athena for guidance. Even after all of the sacrifices that Nissicus brought to the temple, nothing seemed to help him. Had Athena forsaken him? He thought to himself and questioned if the gods were real. He shook his head, of course they were real, even his teachers believed in the gods. They did however, say to question everything. Deciding that it would be better for him to just rest and deal with everything later, he headed home to sleep.
Nissicus, awoke the next morning to a horrifying shriek, and then someone yelled, “The Spartans are attacking!!!”
That was the last thing that he wanted to hear. He wasn’t prepared to fight, but he must defend his family and his city from those savages.He ran into the living room of his house and grabbed a bronze sword and shield that had been mounted on a wall. He then sprinted out the door and down the hill towards the walls of Athens. Upon approaching the walls he saw hundreds of Athenians soldiers standing in front of him.
“Hey you!” Nissicus heard someone yell at him.”Are you ready to fight for Athens!”
“I am ready!” Nissicus yelled back. He turned to see a giant of a man standing next to him. Nissicus himself was about average height, but hadn’t had to do much manual labor.
“Really? You look pretty scrawny. How good are you with a bow?”
“I’m better with a bow, then with a sword.”
The man turned and yelled, “Get this man bow! And you, get on top of the wall.”
Nissicus ran up the stairs to the top of the wall. He stood next to others who were in similar physique as him. A man came running up the stairs carrying a bow with a quiver full of arrows. He saw Nissicus, the only on the wall without a bow, and handed it to him saying, “May Athena be with you.”
He looked down from the wall at an encroaching Spartan army. He saw men carrying ladders and knew that if they succeeded in getting those ladders on the walls, he was going to die. He raised his bow into the sky, but a fellow archer took it from him. “Wait for orders to fire!” the archer yelled at him. He then gave Nissicus the bow.
This was all new to him. The gates of Athens opened and Athenian spear-men poured out. He knew that they couldn’t defeat the Spartans on the ground. The Spartans were known for their powerful spear infantry. How did they expect to win.
“Ready your bows men!” a man yelled. Nissicus pointed his bow into the air, took an arrow out, and pulled it back on the string. “Fire!” He let fly the arrow, and hoped that it stayed true. A flurry of arrows descended down on the Spartans, who had put their shields up to defend themselves, however some of the Spartans were killed from the arrows. The Spartans marched onward, towards the Athenian spear-men. “Ready! Fire!” Nissicus heard once more. More Spartans fell dead this time.
The Spartans finally reached the front-lines of the Athenians. It looked like it was going to be a massacre. Athenians fell dead, but so did the Spartans. To Nissicus’ surprise, the Athenians were doing quite well on the ground. “Ready! Fire!” Nissicus was going to hear this many more times before the battle is over. Every time those two words were yelled, more and more Spartans fell dead.Some of the Athenians got caught in the crossfire, but for the most part, the archers decimated the Spartan lines. The Spartans didn’t have any archers to retaliate with. After the Athenian archers killed the men carrying the ladders for the Spartans, they had no choice but to retreat.
Athens gathered their wounded and their dead after the battle. It made Nissicus sick to think that so many people could die, just for glory. Those disgusting Spartans killed thousands of Athenian men, just so they could appease Ares. Or at least that’s what their prisoners said, before they were sent to become slaves on the farms around Athens.
Nissicus, in the end returned to school in hopes that he would never have to see the battlefield again. His teachers said that war was necessary for the evolution of mankind. They must have never seen what transpires on a battlefield. For the very opposite of evolution occurs in the heat of battle. He went to the Parthenon and prayed that their wouldn’t be any more battles for Athens. However, he knew the gods loved war, and that his prayers would fall on deaf ears… But there is always hope.