-Written by Franc Rodriguez
Dramatis Personae ix
BASILEIOS-a follower of philosophy and friend of Heroides.
HEROIDES-faithful follower of Athenian democracy.
CRITIAS-supreme leader of the Thirty Tyrants.
THERAMENES-a leader of the Thirty Tyrants.
THRASYBULUS -one of the military men that led the uprising, against the Thirty Tyrants from the exiled democrats.
AMPELIOS-a wealthy democrat and uncle of Basileios and Phaedrias.
ALKIBIADES-a noble general that sides with the Thirty Tyrants.
PYTHAGOREANS-the followers of Pythagoras.
ANTIOCHOS-Prosecutor of Basileios.
DRAKON-the archon that presides over the court.
DEMETRIA-sister of Heroides.
THE GUARDS OF THE COUNCIL-the loyal Spartan guards of the Thirty Tyrants.
ANTHEMION-member of the Committee of prytanes.
LYCON-an Athenian democrat.
THE THIRTY TYRANTS-were composed of Aeschines, Anaetios, Aresias, Aristotle, Chaereleos, Charicles, Chremo, Cleomedes, Critias, Diocles, Dracontide, Erasistratos, Eratosthenes, Eucleides, Eumathes, Hiero, Hippolochos, Hippomachos Melobios, Mnesitheides, Onomacles, Peison, Phaedrias, Pheido, Polychares, Sophocles, Theogones, Theognis, Theramenes.
Scene in Athens, Greece, in the year 404 B.C.
Act 1: The centre of the agora, where the busy merchants kept stalls or shops to sell their goods, amidst the massive colonnades.
SCENE I. Critias and Phaedrias walk through the busy market of the agora, with the entourage of guards. Several days, before the sanguinary downfall of the oligarchic Thirty Tyrants.
CRITIAS. Look at the magnificent artisans of Athens that build our colourful market Phaedrias. Behold, their dedication to Athens. They are the actual representation of our modelled citizens.
PHAEDRIAS. The agora is busy! Thou hast converted Athens into a vibrant city once more.
CRITIAS. O, there is much to admire and learn from me Phaedrias. Thou art young and ambitious, as I was before.
PHAEDRIAS. Forsooth, my lord! I serve thee and Athens only.
CRITIAS. No need to be too modest Phaedrias, because modesty is only an inconsequential replacement to honour.
PHAEDRIAS. I shall consider thy words with admiration, my lord.
CRITIAS. What is that I hear stirring in the circumference?
PHAEDRIAS. I believe 'tis the voice of the manifold people of Athens.
CRITIAS. Aye Phaedrias! Thou shalt learn that there is nothing better than the voices of the Athenians that serve us. Never forget that they must be content always, if not they shall easily become thy foes. And to achieve that, thou must make them respect and fear thee always.
PHAEDRIAS. I shall never forget that clear distinction remarked.
CRITIAS. Then, let us leave the agora, and head towards the old temple of the acropolis to pay homage to the Gods. Thither Sophocles, shall be waiting for me.
PHAEDRIAS. I shall advise the guards to escort us forthwith to the temple, my lord.
At the old temple of the acropolis.
Sophocles speaks to Critias, about the urgent matter of a feasible riot of the Athenians.
SOPHOCLES. O noble Critias, 'tis good that thou hast come with such immediacy.
CRITIAS. What hath unsettled thee that thou lookest gaunt in thy countenance Sophocles?
SOPHOCLES. I must speak to thee in privacy at once, about an urgent matter that cannot wait any longer.
CRITIAS. Well, speak then Sophocles that thy tongue shall stiffen if not. I do not have time to dawdle in mere fatuousness.
SOPHOCLES. What I must apprise thee of is the worst of all acts of sedition, my lord. And there is absolute mention of the name of thy traitor.
CRITIAS. Sedition! Of whom dost thou speak that I must know that name immediately?
SOPHOCLES. I do not dare to utter his name, because I fear his cruel vengeance.
CRITIAS. If thou dost not pronounce his name Sophocles, then thou shalt fear my ultimate wrath. Thou knowest of my torment and brutality. Do not test my patience any longer!
SOPHOCLES. First, thou must promise to save my life, from the immediate threat I encounter in revealing this name.
CRITIAS. Thou hast my solemn word Sophocles. Now, tell me the name of the dastard traitor.
SOPHOCLES. My lord, I shall whisper. His name is Theramenes! He hath planned to execute thee.
CRITIAS. Art thou totally certain of what thou sayest Sophocles? When and how?
SOPHOCLES. Verily I am, my lord. As for when and how, that I do not know yet. But the answer to that question could be then discover, in the symposium. 'Twas there that I first heard the distinctive voices of Cleomedes and Diocles make the brazen utterance of the traitor's name.
CRITIAS. Art thou not aware, if Cleomedes and Diocles are involved, in this seditious plot concocted?
SOPHOCLES. That I cannot asseverate, my lord. I have done my duty well, and I hope thou shalt reward me, with thy kindness.
CRITIAS. If what thou allegest to be true, I then shall exact just chastisement for this impardonable act of treason. In the meantime, I shall have the guards observe the actions and whereabouts of Cleomedes, Diocles and above all, that conniving traitor of Theramenes. Take these fifty drachmae I give, for thine obedience to me. Now, go and be mine ears attentively. I shall give thee more drachmae in time, with more significant information thou revealest to me.
SOPHOCLES. Aye, my noble Critias!
At the Prytaneion that is adjacent to the agora.
Critias visits Anthemion, a loyal member of the Commitee of prytanes.
ANTHEMION. Critias my lord, I am honoured for thy visit, but what hast brought thee to this meeting, since we had nothing planned for this day that I was aware of its relevance?
CRITIAS. I am somewhat troubled, by a disturbing rumour that I must discover its unfathomable origin at once.
ANTHEMION. I am afraid that I do not know what thou art referring to, my lord.
CRITIAS. Come nigh Anthemion! I have been informed that the people of Athens shall attempt to riot anon. But that is not the worse, there are several members from amongst the council and assembly that are scheming to murder me.
ANTHEMION. Thy words are indeed frightful to imagine, my lord. If true, then these unscrupulous cowards, must be apprehended at once.
CRITIAS. Do not worry Anthemion, if there is any veracity in this rumour, then I shall punish these men, without any measure of leniency. But I have a lingering doubt and that is art thou aware of this audacious plan?
ANTHEMION. Nay my lord! I regret to inform thee that I wit naught of this mysterious scheme. However, I know of a manner that thou couldst determine the validity of this rumour.
CRITIAS. Be direct! How Anthemion? I demand to know!
ANTHEMION. At the symposium! Invite the members of the council this very night. Surely, thou shalt know the truth afterwards!
CRITIAS. A marvellous idea Anthemion, why did I not propose that ere? I shall sent a messenger to each of them to invite them cordially tonight.
ANTHEMION. Perhaps the noble Critias shall be kind to invite me as well to this specific gathering of affluent men of Athens.
CRITIAS. In sooth, thou art crafty Anthemion and I admire that inusitate trait. I shall invite thee, but do not expect this cordiality, on my part to be a great weakness of my character or expressed quotidianly.
ANTHEMION. Of course not, my lord! I am not that deserving of thine amiability.
ANTHEMION. Shall we speak about the inclusion of the modification of the Prytaneion, my lord?
CRITIAS. O thou art wise Anthemion, but I shall consider that proposal!
ANTHEMION. This would serve thy purpose as well, my lord. Thou art ever generous to thy steadfast committee.
CRITIAS. My generosity has a limit, but for thee I shall make an unusual exception.
At the home of Critias in the affluent area of Athens. Critias has summoned the Pythagoreans to his home to speak, about the tidings of a possible revolt, against his oligarchy.
CRITIAS. Welcome to mine home Pythagoreans!
FIRST PYTHAGOREAN. Noble Critias, we are honoured by thy presence and invitation.
CRITIAS. 'Tis a welcome occasion! Pythagoreans, ye are wondering, why I have summoned ye hither suddenly.
THE SECOND PYTHAGOREAN. Aye, noble Critias.
CRITIAS. I have summoned ye my faithful Pythagoreans to converse, about a grave matter that is a disquietude for me.
THIRD PYTHAGOREAN. What hath caused this unrest in thee, noble Critias that we may be of great service?
CRITIAS. I have heard Pythagoreans, from a reliable source whose name I shall not disclose that there is an imminent plot to overthrow my rule.
FIRST PYTHAGOREAN. My noble Critias, I shudder to fathom that thought. Who would want to plot against thee or worst eliminate thee?
CRITIAS. That I shall not disclose! There is much hypocrisy in this city! Rest assure Pythagoreans that the mastermind, behind this supposed plot shall be arrested and executed for treason.
SECOND PYTHAGOREAN. Then, what dost thou need of us, noble Critias? We do not know the name or are we members of the assembly or council.
CRITIAS. I did not think so, but thou art mindful of the things that the members of the government are not prevalent of its circumstance.
THIRD PYTHAGOREAN. For example, my lord?
CRITIAS. What the active people of Athens are discussing surreptitiously, amongst themselves daily.
FIRST PYTHAGOREAN. But we are in Thebes for the most part. How can we know of what the Athenians are devising?
CRITIAS. Surely Pythagorean! Dost thou insult mine intellect? I know that ye have dedicated followers in the circles of the intellectual minds of Athens, in particular, with the scholars and democrats. Tell me, when ye have produced solid information, what the foul democrats and scholars say, about me and the ruthless subversion of their ancestral democracy.
SECOND PYTHAGOREAN. If I may be daring to answer, my noble Critias, there is much talk about thy cruelty, towards the merchants and the execution of innumerable democrats, as well, as the exile of intellectual scholars of the city.
CRITIAS. This was necessary to cause a redoubtable consternation, in the masses that are now fully scheming to murder me!
THIRD PYTHAGOREAN. O my noble Critias, the people of Athens do not know, who to follow; whether it is thee, Charicles or Theramenes.
CRITIAS. They must follow me, the only true leader of the assembly and council!
FIRST PYTHAGOREAN. The youth my lord have been stirring the passion and discontent of the populace. And Socrates is to be blamed, for that manifestation! They become more defiant by the passing day, my lord. This, is what has been told to us, by those Athenians that we share an acquaintance with.
CRITIAS. I would pay a thousand drachmae to anyone who killeth Socrates, but I shall not make a martyr of him yet, when he is useful to me. I have forbade Socrates to speak publicly, except on matters of practical business, because his clever usage of words or Atticism seem to lead young people astray, at the public promenades, at the agora, the Oracle at Delphi, the acropolis, and at the council, when he visiteth.
SECOND PYTHAGOREAN. I am somewhat dumbfounded a bit my lord. Why, dost thou not exile him at once?
CRITIAS. That is for me to decide in the end Pythagorean and not thee! Go now ye three, and return to Thebes, but keep me informed of the tidings. I shall pay ye handsomely not once, not twice, but thrice, for any relevant tidings ye have to offer me.
At the magnificent peristyle of the house of Critias.
Critias has summoned Charicles of the council to his home to speak privately, about the possible revolt against him.
CRITIAS. Charicles, my close friend! 'Tis good to see thee once more, outside of the council.
CHARICLES. Critias, I am always glad to be welcomed by thee! What urgent matter hath caused thee to summon me?
CRITIAS. I shall be overtly direct in my words Charicles. But first taste some wine with me.
They drink and then the conversation continues.
CRITIAS. Now, I have received special tidings that the Athenians, mainly the democrats are planning to overthrow us. I know thou thinkest that it is only the democrats, but the commoners and the youth are being truly influenced to partake in this possible rebellion.
CHARICLES. I would be an ignorant fool, if I did not admit that possibility Critias, since we have not been that lenient with them.
CRITIAS. Lenient thou hast durst to utter? How can we give any measure of leniency to criminals and traitors that have stood, against the principles of any established government?
CHARICLES. With all due respect Critias, have we not exceeded the principles of government, with our imposed oligarchy, I query?
CRITIAS. Hast thou forgotten that upon Lysander's request, we were elected as a legitimate government, not just as a mere legislative committee to rule over the antecedent corruption of democracy? We spared the destruction of Athens, from the Spartans and Persians.
CHARICLES. Nay! Although we were not elected by the masses of the people, I have not forgotten Critias. However, the good people of Athens have.
CRITIAS. I hate to contemplate that perturbing notion. Even more, if that be the truth. It maketh me completely sick to the core of my stomach!
CHARICLES. And what dost thou plan on doing Critias next that I may know?
CRITIAS. Be patient my friend! Soon, thou shalt know. All that I can reveal at the moment is that whomever dareth to defy me shall suffer the worst punishment devised by man.
CHARICLES. Judging from thy list Critias, I pity the fools that become thine enemies. I shall hope that I do not become one of those unfortunate fools.
CRITIAS. If that be true one day, then thou shalt be entreating the Gods for mercy!
CHARICLES. Am I thy foe?
CRITIAS. Shall I need to consider thee, my foe or rival?
CHARICLES. Consider me thy loyal friend always, noble Critias.
CRITIAS. Then smile Charicles, because there is nothing to fear, as long as thou art loyal and obedient to me.
CHARICLES. I must go now Critias! I have an engagement to tend to that cannot be delayed.
CRITIAS. Before thou leavest Charicles, I am personally inviting thee to join me tonight with my other guests, at the symposium.
CHARICLES. 'Tis such short notice, but it shall be a fain occasion. Shall the members of the council be attending as well?
CRITIAS. Aye! Every member of the council. I guarantee thee that without a doubt, the night shall be vividly entertaining!
That same night at the local symposium.
Critias has gathered the members of the council to enforce his diabolical purge.
CRITIAS. My fellow members of the council, I am glad to see that ye have all come and I am extremely thankful for that! I am honoured by thy presence.
EUCLEIDES. Critias, 'tis always a pleasure to attend a special gathering at the symposium.
CRITIAS. And 'tis a great pleasure to share an entertaining night, with all ye the members of the council.
THEOGENES. What sort of entertainment art thou referring to Critias?
CRITIAS. Theogenes, ever inquisitive fellow thou art. I assure thee that the entertainment shall be quite memorable, as the banquet that shall take place after the meal. We shall drink wine as is the Greek custom for pleasure, and we shall be accompanied by music, dancing, recitals and conversation.
MELOBIUS. Critias, can I make the general assumption that we are to be entertained, by thy presence?
CRITIAS. Melobius, thou shalt known soon. Members of the council, please sit down in the plentiful couches and allow the wonderful entertainment to begin.
Aresias comes closer to Critias to speak to him.
ARESIAS. Critias, I know thee well enough to know that thou art conniving something that I have not yet determined.
CRITIAS. Aresias, thou knowest me well indeed, but after the splendid entertainment is over, I shall make a fabulous announcement.
ARESIAS. An announcement thou hast said? For example, my noble Critias?
CRITIAS. Be patient my friend, the hour shall come sooner than later.
ARESIAS. 'Tis an exciting surprise? I enjoy surprises, my friend.
Cleomedes and Diocles are invited to sit with Critias.
CRITIAS. Gentlemen of the council, I have invited the both of ye to my couch to speak, about a serious matter that hath come to mine attention. But before we speak about that particularity, are ye enjoying the night?
CLEOMEDES. 'Tis the best event ever, since we celebrated the downfall of the plaintive democrats.
CRITIAS. And thee Diocles? Dost thou not share the same thought as Cleomedes?
DIOCLES. Certainly, I am in concurrence with the words expressed by Cleomedes.
CRITIAS. Excellent, then I shall proceed to make a simple enquiry to each of ye that requireth a response.
CLEOMEDES. What exactly art thou alluding to, my noble Critias?
CRITIAS. I have received the tidings of a dreadful rumour that is spreading, throughout the city of Athens, and its origin began with thee and Diocles. Is that not true Cleomedes?
CLEOMEDES. If thou art referring to the plot to overthrow thee, then aye, but who hath told thee?
CRITIAS. Whoever told me is not germane to the subject. What is important is that this rumour is either true or not.
DIOCLES. My noble Critias, our dearest friend, if we have not mentioned this to thee before, 'tis because we were threatened.
CRITIAS. Threatened by whom?
CLEOMEDES. By Theramenes!
CRITIAS. Now, I can reveal the name of the traitor that hath betrayed me, before the council. However, I must know if there are colluders or accomplices! If so, I shall not be merciful with them, as I was not with Leon of Salamis.
DIOCLES. I know only, my noble Critias that Theramenes hath stirred the populace of Athens against thee. I do not know the names of his colluders.
CLEOMEDES. Nor do I know, my friend. Thou are aware Critias of the tremendous influence Theramenes hath amongst several members of the council. He is revered, by a great portion of Athenians that remember him, as an august statesman and a general that commanded fleets, in the Aegean Sea and the Hellespont.
CRITIAS. That reality hath not been forgotten by me Cleomedes, and I have been under his fastidious shadow for some time now. But thou hast forgotten that he too is loathed by many Athenians. Theramenes and Alkiabides are intolerable men that cannot be reasoned with logic.
DIOCLES. What art thy plans for them, my noble Critias? Shalt thou allow them to traduce thine honour?
CRITIAS. 'Tis better that either one of ye not know of my plan. I cannot trust any member. Can I my reputable gentlemen?
CLEOMEDES. Thou canst trust us, my noble Critias!
CRITIAS. After this night, all my foes shall be exposed openly, after the fortnight hath passed. Now, begone and leave me be!
Critias abates the festivities, with a ceremonial toast to the Gods and to the absolute rule of the Thirty Tyrants.
CRITIAS. My fellow guests and members of the council, from this amphora I carry in mine hand, we shall drink the wine of unity, as one single cup shall be passed, amongst the men to honour our alliance and council. May the Gods be with us!
All rise their cups and say in unison.
Long live the Gods!
Act: 2 At the assembly, where the members of the council have gathered too.
Critias reveals the name of the traitor as Theramenes, and denounces him forcefully, before the members of the council and assembly.
CRITIAS. I stand before ye all noble members of the assembly and council to accuse Theramenes of treason, against the government. He hath stirred the populace, into an ominous frenzy.
ALKIABIDES. Critias, what thou art stating is a grievous accusation of a member of the council. Dost thou have sufficient evidence to prove that strong accusation?
CRITIAS. Alkibiades, my dearest friend, I would not dare to accuse any member of the council, without irrefutable proof.
CHAERELEOS. Then, reveal to the assembly and council thine evidence!
CRITIAS. I shall proceed to call the following names in just accordance, with their testimony. As I call them, they shall rise to their feet and confirm this act of treason. Anaetius, Eumathes, Onomocles, Phaedrias, Peison, Cleomedes, Diocles and Chremo.
Theramenes rises to his feet to defend himself.
THERAMENES. I have served Athens well for many years, as a proud general and as a worthy statesman. Shall not one man from amongst ye, except Alkibiades defendeth mine honour?
CHAERELEOS. I shall attest to that honour and further make the declaration that Theramenes cannot legally be accused, on the grounds of unfounded evidence.
HIPPOLOCHUS. Are we the members of the council and assembly to condemn or execute another member, without substantiated proof established?
CRITIAS. What we have here members of the council and assembly is sufficient evidence to condemn Theramenes for sedition, and his remonstrance has stirred the democrats and now the commoners.
POLYCHARES. If I may be allowed to interject Critias, thou hast fail to convincingly prove without a doubt that Theramenes is guilty, for any of these alleged crimes.
CRITIAS. Is not the fact that he standeth against us not enough? Is not the testimony of important members of the council, not the admission of his undeniable guilt exposed?
ALKIABIDES. 'Tis not, when the exposure of the crime hath not been committed. As far as I know, not one of thy witnesses hath validated the inducement for Theramenes' involvement, in the incitement of the democrats and commoners, when we all know that the execution of citizens and the confiscation of their properties are sufficient enough to induce the wrath and discontent of the people of Athens. As for thy claim of sedition, we all know that from amongst us, there are several of ye that detest Theramenes and bow to the insatiable thirst of power alone.
CRITIAS. Art thou insinuating Alkibiades that the noble members of the council that concurred in the affirmation of the plot of Theramenes have been bribed or threatened by me?
ALKIABIDES. Those are thy words Critias being spoken and not mine!
CRITIAS. So very eloquently expressed is thine interposition Alkibiades. But 'tis time for the assembly to decide on the matter at hand.
THERAMENES. Before the noble members of the assembly make thy decision, let me proclaim willingly that I am ready to serve either the democratic or oligarchic cause, seeking only to further mine own personal interest, as the majority of ye do. Hereto, I am no different than any of the members of the assembly and council. Thus, I impassionedly deny that my politics have ever been inconsistent. I have always insisted and favored a moderate policy, neither extreme democracy nor extreme oligarchy, and held true to the ideal of a just government composed of men of hoplite status or higher, who would be able to then effectively serve the state, before their ego.
Ultimately, the assembly are too reluctant to punish Theramenes afterwards, and dismiss the serious charge of sedition.
At the ancient temple in the acropolis. Two days before the initial insurrection, Critias speaks to Sophocles in privacy, about the threat of a revolt.
SOPHOCLES. My noble Critias, I have come forthwith. What hast caused this meeting betwixt us, if I may query?
CRITIAS. 'Tis good that thou hast heeded my words of loyalty. I had to speak to thee, about the matter of an imminent revolt.
SOPHOCLES. After yesterday, I had thought thou wouldst not stay quiet, for long. I see that I was not incorrect in mine assumption.
CRITIAS. Theramenes' speech had a substantial effect on the audience, and Theramenes was acquitted, as was the case. Nevertheless, I had to persist!
SOPHOCLES. I know thee well, my lord. What plan hast thou for Theramenes?
CRITIAS. It appeareth that my guise cannot conceal mine anger efficaciously.
SOPHOCLES. Thou art a brilliant machinator, my lord. There is none better than thee!
CRITIAS. And thou art excellent, at intuiting my mind.
SOPHOCLES. Therefore, what in particular art thou needing of my services, if I may ask?
CRITIAS. I need for thee to find someone to murder Cleomedes and Diocles.
SOPHOCLES. Murder them! Why dost thou not order the Spartans to murder them?
CRITIAS. Because I cannot afford more Athenian blood to be spilt by the Spartans. It would incite the distrust and detestation of them, by the people and several members of the council afterwards.
SOPHOCLES. My noble Critias, but I am only an orator. I shall attempt to find, such individuals to do this bold deed.
CRITIAS. Attempt is not enough! Thou must find them today. I want them to be murdered this very day. I do not care how or when, but it must be done today. Since thou art versed in oratory, then thou shalt not have any problem, in convincing the Athenians that their murders were justifiable.
SOPHOCLES. And the assembly and council?
CRITIAS. I shall take care of that accordingly!
SOPHOCLES What about Theramenes and Alkibiades?
CRITIAS. I shall deal with them both as well, in due time! Here take the three hundred drachmae I give thee, and once the deed is done, I shall reward thee with more drachmae.
SOPHOCLES. I shall inform thee, once the deed is done my lord, and I shall not fail in that endeavour!
CRITIAS. I shall not need to be apprised of the gruesome details of their murders, only the fact that they died. If thou failest me, then I warn thee that thou shalt meet the same fate as them!
SCENE III. At the assembly.
After conferring with the members of the council, Critias has ordered men with daggers to line the stage in front of the audience and then strikes Theramenes' name from the roster of the 3,000, denying him his right to a just trial. He has bribed the members of the assembly to effectuate this act, without the knowledge of Theramenes and Alkibiades. Afterwards, he speaks to Phaedrias.
CRITIAS. Now, that I have erased the name of Theramenes from the roster of the 3,000, I shall proceed to deal with the issue of Alkibiades.
PHAEDRIAS. But thou hast not told me my lord, how dost thou planned on dealing with Theramenes, once he is aware of thy bribery?
CRITIAS. O, so gullible art thou Phaedrias? Surely, thine intelligence is good enough to make thine own determination.
PHAEDRIAS. Aye my lord, but do tell me what thou hast planned for Theramenes!
CRITIAS. The only relevant thing thou must know is that at this very moment in time, he is being arrested and taken directly to prison.
CRITIAS. To the worst of all prisons.
PHAEDRIAS. To the Eleven!
CRITIAS. I shall let thee discover that, on thine own time! For the meantime, I need thee to be mine eyes and ears in the agora, the acropolis and in the council.
PHAEDRIAS. My noble Critias, I shall be thine eyes and ears willingly.
CRITIAS. Good, then I shall expect current tidings from thee no later than tonight.
PHAEDRIAS. But my lord, I cannot guarantee thee that.
CRITIAS. Is not thy brother a loyal follower of Socrates and the democrats?
CRITIAS. What is his name?
PHAEDRIAS. His name is Basileios.
CRITIAS. Then certainly, doest thou not know of the things thy brother doeth?
PHAEDRIAS. Aye, but I can provide thee my lord with this information, without the involvement of my brother.
CRITIAS. I am not asking thee kindly to do this. Instead, I am ordering thee. If thou art an intuitive man, as I believe thou art, then thou wilt find a way to obtain this information, without the implication of the involvement of thy brother.
PHAEDRIAS. How can I be certain my lord that thou wilt not implicate Basileios or arrest him?
CRITIAS. I give thee my solemn word as an Athenian that no harm shall occur to Basileios. Now, go and do what I have ordered thee. Do not be late!
Back at the assembly, Alkibiades has learnt about the arrest of Theramenes and reproaches Critias.
ALKIABIDES. Critias, I demand to know the reason thou hast arrested Theramenes?
CRITIAS. Whilst thou wert addressing the foreign Persian ambassador, I was busy with securing the city.
ALKIABIDES. By whose authority did thou use and what art thou insinuating with the Persians?
CRITIAS. The power of the council that hath voted.
ALKIABIDES. Thou hast bribed them!
CRITIAS. I would choose better thy words Alkibiades.
ALKIABIDES. Power can easily be obtained, as it can be removed. How often do we forget that Critias?
CRITIAS. Art thou threatening me? If so, I shall not be intimated by thine idle threat.
ALKIABIDES. Thou canst interpret my words, in whatever manner thou wisheth.
CRITIAS. Thus, I shall walk away, with the thought that the next time we meet, it shall be under a different pretext.
ALKIABIDES. Before thou departest the assembly, I shall remind thee that the Athenians eventually shall not be clement in their wrath.
CRITIAS. Do not test my patience Alkibiades, for mine enemies have not fared well.
ALKIABIDES. Critias, hast thou forgotten that I have powerful allies, amongst the Spartans and Persians.
CRITIAS. Nay, but apparently thou hast forgotten the lessons of history. 'Tis I that command the interest of the Spartans and Persians.
ALKIABIDES. How ironic are thy words bespoken, when 'tis thee that hast not learnt, from the lessons of history.
CRITIAS. History is always interpreted, in the eyes of the beholder. Hitherto, I am creating history and shall continue to. The question I have Alkibiades shalt thou be alive to see its incredible continuation?
ALKIABIDES. History is indeed is in the eye of the beholder, but I wonder Critias, if thou shalt be alive to see its absolute fulfilment?
CRITIAS. It almost seemeth that thou art speaking, as a participant of a revolt. If so, this shall be then understood as mutiny.
ALKIABIDES. In due time, justice shall be seen. Thou shalt not silence the voice of the masses for long. Thou mayst call it a revolt, but time shall determine thy fate.
CRITIAS. Dost thou think I am fearful of a revolt?
ALKIABIDES. Fearful or not Critias, if I was thee, I would be wondering, who are mine enemies.
SCENE V. At the home of Basileios, the brother of Phaedrias.
Heroides, a young democrat that is opposed to the Thirty Tyrants, visits his friend.
BASILEIOS. Heroides, 'tis good to see thee once more.
HEROIDES. I have been amongst the commoners, my friend. There is talk, about a revolt against the tyranny.
BASILEIOS. I know, I have heard this talk in the streets of the agora. Thou must be prudent, because the tyrants shall not be ignorant of thine actions and words.
HEROIDES. I am extremely mindful of the tyranny, and I shall proceed with utmost caution. Do not fret, my friend!
BASILEIOS. Then, tell me what dost thou know of the revolt and the thoughts of the commoners and young democrats?
HEROIDES. I shall be plain with my words, so that thou mayst know the truth in my words.
BASILEIOS. What dost thou mean Heroides that I see ire in thine eyes? Please do not tell me that thou shalt partake in the revolt!
HEROIDES. There shall be a revolt, and it shall commence within the duration of the following two days. Mark my words Basileios, there shall be no turning back!
BASILEIOS. I fear that there shall be more bloodshed, at the expense of our democracy.
HEROIDES. Hast thou forgotten the countless people that have been murdered, dispossessed and exiled, by the ruthless tyranny of the Thirty Tyrants?
BASILEIOS. Indeed, I have not! However, the thought of more blood being spilt in the streets of Athens terrifieth me.
HEROIDES. We cannot permit this madness to continue Basileios.
BASILEIOS. And of Socrates, what hast thou to tell me?
HEROIDES. I have not spoken to him for some time now.
BASILEIOS. What do the people say of Socrates?
HEROIDES. Some say that he is aligned with the tyrants, whilst others say he is not.
BASILEIOS. What dost thou believe?
HEROIDES. What I believe doth not matter. The people of Athens shall decide what to do with the enemies of democracy afterwards.
BASILEIOS. Socrates said "That from the deepest desires often cometh the deadliest hate."
HEROIDES. Socrates also said that, "Death may be the greatest of all human blessings."
BASILEIOS. But I wonder Heroides, what is the worth, not the meaning of death?
HEROIDES. To die for a principle or cause is the noblest death to man Basileios.
At the street in front of the house of Basileios.
Basileios escorts his friend to the street who departs, where Basileios is met then by Phaedrias his brother.
BASILEIOS. Phaedrias my brother, what hast brought thee to see me. Since thou hast left the home of our father, I have not seen much of thee.
PHAEDRIAS. Since the death of Father, I have busied myself with my position in the council.
They enter the home.
BASILEIOS. Thou art aware Phaedrias of the distinction of our lives since then?
PHAEDRIAS. There is no need to clarify that noticeable distinction, when it is apparently clear that thou art aligned, with the corrupted democrats.
BASILEIOS. And thou with the murderous tyrants.
PHAEDRIAS. Basileios my brother, I beseech thee to stay away from the democrats.
BASILEIOS. Phaedrias, thou wert once a cerebral student of philosophy and fervent believer in democracy.
PHAEDRIAS. Aye, but when democracy cannot serve the need of the government, then there must an alternative. We are that alternative!
BASILEIOS. I fear that thy zeal hath led thee to a blind contumacy, my brother.
PHAEDRIAS. No more, then the madness of the thought of a revolt Basileios. Where dost thou stand?
BASILEIOS. Wherefore dost thou ask, when thou hast known that my loyalty is to Athens. My philosophy hath not changed brother. It is thine that hath changed for the worst.
PHAEDRIAS. The time shall come brother, when thou must take side during the revolt. Thou shalt have to choose sooner or later.
BASILEIOS. I hope, when that day shall occur, it is not too late for thee! I shall dread to find thee, amongst the fallen dead brother.
PHAEDRIAS. Rest assure brother that the revolt shall be crushed and many Athenians shall suffer. For what purpose served?
BASILEIOS. For the voices of democracy and liberty that we Athenians have valued for decades.
PHAEDRIAS. I know Critias well, and he shall not be restrained exacting retribution. Stay away from Heroides and the others. I do not want to shame the memory of our father, with thy death.
BASILEIOS. Then let me honour his name with dignity. Hast thou forgotten that our beloved father's loyalty was to democracy?
PHAEDRIAS. Thou hast been warned brother! I hope to not bury thee on the solitary hillside that we were fond of as children!
BASILEIOS. If that day shall befall, then let not my name die in vain!
PHAEDRIAS. I cannot guarantee thee anything Basileios. Before I go, I am certain that thou hast heard of the imprisonment of Theramenes.
BASILEIOS. Aye, I have heard the tidings.
PHAEDRIAS. Good! Let it serve, as a monitory discretion Basileios!
BASILEIOS. What shall become of Theramenes?
PHAEDRIAS. I do not know, but I fear that his imprisonment is only the beginning. Heed my warning brother, there shall be more bloodshed and carnage.
SCENE VII. At the outskirt of the city, near the port of Piraeus, Basileios meets Ampelios, an Athenian democrat in exile.
AMPELIOS. Basileios, I hear the talk of a revolt, amongst the Athenians is growing by the day.
BASILEIOS. Uncle, I was not aware that the rumour of a revolt had raught the outskirts of Athens forthwith.
AMPELIOS. The tidings of the revolt have attracted the attention of all us exiled.
BASILEIOS. That is precisely the reason that I have come to Piraeus to speak to thee.
AMPELIOS. Thou art an honourable man Basileios, but the voices of the discontent and disillusion of the people shall not be silenced for long.
BASILEIOS. I worry about Heroides and Phaedrias.
AMPELIOS. I have heard in the port, at the centre, at the temple that Heroides along with the young philosophers have been stirring the anger of the emboldened commoners.
BASILEIOS. Indeed, and I fear that they shall become willing participants of this maddening insurrection that shall only exacerbate the tension, amongst the Athenians.
AMPELIOS. Was not Heroides a follower of Socrates, as was thy brother and thyself?
BASILEIOS. Once upon a time not long ago. But it feeleth like it was centuries ago.
AMPELIOS. Basileios, thou art my nephew, the son of my brother Hesiodos, the noblest of all Athenian democrats. Heroides is full of a burning flame that shall ignite into fire, and as for Phaedrias, save him before it is too late.
BASILEIOS. What dost thou mean by those words uncle?
AMPELIOS. Basileios, there shall be a revolt and it shall not be defeated nor kind to the tyrants that are ruling Athens. Hence, I warn thee, save thy brother.
BASILEIOS. How can I effectuate that, if he doth not heed to my counsel or admonition?
AMPELIOS. Thou must find a way! But before go and speak to Heroides.
BASILEIOS. What for my lord?
AMPELIOS. I have heard from a close source I cannot reveal nor endanger the identity of the person, except to say he is a member of the council.
BASILEIOS. Hast thou heard of the apprehension of Theramenes and the exile of Thrasybulus and Alkiabides?
AMPELIOS. Aye, and that is the reason, thou must warn Heroides.
BASILEIOS. Warn him of what, my lord. Do not speak to me in conundrums!
AMPELIOS. If thou must, thy beloved brother Phaedrias, shall betray Heroides and eventually thee also.
BASILEIOS. Surely, thou art wrong my lord. I cannot conceive that treacherous act of Phaedrias.
AMPELIOS. He is under the corrupted influence of Critias. And Critias is a madman that shall do everything in his power to not only defeat the revolt, but to remain in power.
BASILEIOS. That I do not doubt!
At the Boule House Critias meets with Anthemion, the leader of the committee of the Pyrtanes.
CRITIAS. Anthemion, thou art one of the few men that I entrust my loyalty.
ANTHEMION. 'Tis an honour, my noble Critias. My dedication to thee is undeniably unwavering.
CRITIAS. Good, then I can entrust thee to tell me, what dost thou know of the members of the prominent Athenians?
ANTHEMION. I am not certain, what exactly thou art referring to with thy query.
CRITIAS. I need to know, what are the affluent Athenians thinking, in respect to the possible insurrection within Athens?
ANTHEMION. I dare to acknowledge that they are active in the matter it wouldeth seem.
CRITIAS. Am I to surmise subsequently that they shall be willing participants to this absurdity of a revolt?
ANTHEMION. I cannot state with equivalence that this would be the case. However, I doubt that they alone could overthrow thee.
CRITIAS. I would be more tranquil and less unnerved, if I had the reassurance.
ANTHEMION. I sense that thou art wanting something from me, my noble Critias.
CRITIAS. Thou art ever wise and clever to know me well.
ANTHEMION. I have served thee with devotement and know thee, since childhood, my noble Critias.
CRITIAS. True Anthemion! We are practically brethren. I want thee to invite the members of nobility to thine home and bribe them, if thou must, at whatever cost.
ANTHEMION. Bribe them, but thou knowest that there are several democrats, from amongst their class.
CRITIAS. Naturally! I know that thou hast ways to convince people, then use thy proclivous persuasion Anthemion. 'Tis an order! Hast thou forgotten that I gave thee thy status and position, amongst the prytanes?
ANTHEMION. I understand my lord, and I shall execute that order. I shall not fail in this paramount endeavour!
CRITIAS. I hope that for thy sake, thou dost not. I would hate to consider thee one of my foes, since they have not fared well in death or in exile Anthemion.
ANTHEMION. I repeat Critias, I shall not fail thee!
At the agora, Lycon has intercepted Basileios. One day, before the beginning of the revolt.
Lycon, a democrat and friend of Athemios informs Basileios of a tragic occurrence that has befallen.
BASILEIOS. Lycon, what hath caused thee to seek me, with such immediacy?
LYCON. I must inform thee Basileios that the guards of the council have arrested Heroides, and worse have executed Theramenes and exiled Alkibiades.
BASILEIOS. Fortunately, I was aware of those sudden and tragic occurrences.
LYCON. Theramenes was taken from the prison and escorted to the place of his death. He had sprung to a nearby altar for sanctuary and admonished the assemblage not to permit his murder, but to no avail; the Eleven, keepers of the prison had entered, dragged him away, and forced him to drink a cup of hemlock. Theramenes, imitated a popular drinking game in which the drinker toasted a loved one, as he finished his cup, downed the poison and then flung the dregs to the floor and exclaimed, "Here's to the health of my beloved Critias!"
BASILEIOS. I shall be sadden with the loss of Theramenes. Alack, I remember him, how fond he was of philosophy.
LYCON. He shall be missed by many and loathed by others.
BASILEIOS. Where was Heroides and Lycon arrested and why?
LYCON. After the death of Theramenes, the Thirty Tyrants began taking steps to exile anyone, not in the group of 3,000 trusted members of the assembly or those instigators of opposition and the clamours of insurrection.
BASILEIOS. But where and why?
LYCON. Here at the agora and he was apprehended by the Spartan guards, for inciting a mob that had gathered to listen to the propagation of his message.
BASILEIOS. Where was he taken to?
LYCON. To the atrocious prison of the "Eleven".
BASILEIOS. He shall be treated, worse than a common thief. His fate shall be the same, as the poor Theramenes I dread.
LYCON. Thou must leave Athens at once, before the guards come to arrest thee Basileios.
BASILEIOS. Whither shall I go?
LYCON. Thou canst come with me to Piraeus, till we leave the port.
BASILEIOS. I appreciate thy concern and warning, but I cannot leave, without helping Heroides.
LYCON. 'Tis too late to help Heroides.
BASILEIOS. What dost thou know that I do not?
LYCON. Heroides shall be executed, within the morrow.
At the prison of the Eleven, where Heroides has been taken to.
Basileios upon hearing the arrest of Heroides, visits urgently his childhood friend that is in a horrible condition.
BASILEIOS. So worn and bruised is thy countenance. And so torn and dishevelled are thy garments. What hath become of thee Heroides that I do not recognise thy semblance?
HEROIDES. Basileios my friend of childhood. What thou seest is the result of the cruelty of an oppressive tyranny. Now, thou knowest the truth. I shall most likely die and my body fed to the mongrels.
BASILEIOS. Heroides, was this truly a cause that was worth thy death?
HEROIDES. Aye, when that cause is greater than the man. There was once a wise man that taught us philosophy and spake ere the unforgettable words of a soothsayer. "He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy."
BASILEIOS. Socrates! I admire thy valiance and honorificabilitudinity. How I wish that I was brave as thee!
HEROIDES. Basileios, my childhood friend. Thou wert born with the character of a statesman and I of a soldier. We are as vastly different, as night and day.
BASILEIOS. If only, I had thy courage and conviction, I would be by thy side, my friend.
HEROIDES. In life and in death, thou hast been my friend and that shall comfort me in mine hour of death if necessary.
BASILEIOS. Tell me is there is anything I could do for thee? I could speak to Phaedrias, about the matter. He could free thee, if I implore him!
HEROIDES. Nay, not even Phaedrias or the Gods could help me. I am destined to the universal fate of death. But if Socrates was correct in his theory of the afterlife, then let my soul traverse the cosmos in a sempiternal course. As for doing something on my behalf. There is one thing that thou canst do.
BASILEIOS. What is it that I shall gladly do it?
HEROIDES. I need thee to go and speak to Demetria my sister. Tell her I must see her one last time, before I am executed.
BASILEIOS. I shall! Is there anything else I may do for thee?
HEROIDES. Aye! Let the people of Athens know that my death was not in vain. Do not let history forget my plight. Basileios, my name shall be forgotten, but let not the resurgence of democracy be forsaken!
BASILEIOS. I shall not permit that to occur, as long as I am amongst the living!
HEROIDES. Give me thy word. Swear on the name of thy father!
BASILEIOS. I swear on the name of my father!
HEROIDES. Thank you my friend. Presently, I do not have much time I regret. Take this epistle, so that thou shalt take it to Lycon, Ampelios or another member of the exiled democrats in Piraeus or abroad.
BASILEIOS. What is it?
HEROIDES. 'Tis of urgency and I cannot risk the guards or the prisoners overhearing us. They are the obedient ears of Critias. Thou shalt read it afterwards.
BASILEIOS. Do not worry my friend, this epistle shall reach its destination!
At the home of Ampelios in Piraeus.
Basileios has come to Piraeus to give the epistle of Heroides therewith.
AMPELIOS. Basileios, why hast thou returned to Piraeus, when thou art in grave peril my nephew? Dost thou not know that the tyrants are watching closely?
BASILEIOS. Yes I know uncle, but I came to give thee an epistle that was written by Heroides.
AMPELIOS. Then thou hast seen and spoken to him at the prison?
BASILEIOS. Aye, and he was in the most horrid condition uncle.
Ampelios reads the epistle.
AMPELIOS. If this letter had not been written by Heroides, I would not believe the contents written.
BASILEIOS There is much to read? Tell me uncle, what hath Heroides written that grieves thy consciousness?
AMPELIOS. Heroides speaketh of democracy, when it was first created. There is much to be learnt from these poignant words.
BASILEIOS. What doth he quethe that I may know?
AMPELIOS. Here take the letter and read out loud these philosophical words of a man that knoweth death shall encroach upon him soon.
BASILEIOS. I Heroides son of Hermogenes shall be executed, as a common criminal, but know ye the people of Athens that I died for the cause of Greek democracy. Do not be dissuaded, by the slice of the sword and the hauteur of thine enemies. Let thy sword be more swift and deadly, as thine opponent. Let thy voices be heard by the Athenians and the tyranny of the Thirty Tyrants. Ye the stirred and oppressed masses rise and defeat the tyrants that govern with corruption, fear and lastly, with murder. Let the whims of the tyranny be replaced, by the clamour of democracy! Let not my name die in vain. Take to the streets and revolt, against Critias and his vile rule. Thou art Athenians!
AMPELIOS. I have met few noble men in my life Basileios like Heroides, but I have also met multifarious foolish men that have perished for their justifiable principles.
BASILEIOS. "True wisdom cometh to each of us, when we realise how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us," said Socrates.
AMPELIOS. Where is Socrates now, when the sword of Damocles hath been used?
BASILEIOS. I have heard mentioned by some people that he is still in Athens, whilst others say, he is in Thebes.
AMPELIOS. I thought I once knew a man named Socrates, but as with Aristotle and Plato, I know not whether or not sadly they are for democracy or oligarchy.
BASILEIOS. Socrates would not betray Athens and our philosophy. Perhaps he too is being observed by the tyrants. Can it not be so?
AMPELIOS. I shall sent a messenger to Socrates and request to see him. But now, I must leave Piraeus, before I am arrested. The revolt shall happened. Critias and his tyranny must be defeated at all cost.
BASILEIOS. What shall become of Phaedrias, my beloved brother?
AMPELIOS. Only destiny knoweth that answer Basileios. What I am about to impose upon thee is the cruelest of all things asked of a brother.
BASILEIOS. What is it?
AMPELIOS. Thou must not warn Phaedrias, because he shall make the revelation known to Critias.
BASILEIOS. I give thee my word!
At a ruin of an ancient oracle.
Upon his return to Athens, Basileios meets Demetria, the sister of Heroides to inform her of her brother's request to see her.
BASILEIOS. Demetria, I am grateful that thou hast come.
DEMETRIA. I came as soon as possible Basileios. What hath urged thee to see me? 'Tis Heroides? If so, then tell me.
BASILEIOS. In sooth, I shall be candid in my words.
DEMETRIA. What hath happened to my brother?
BASILEIOS. I see that thou hast not been told.
DEMETRIA. Tell me what Basileios? I just arrived from Attica.
BASILEIOS. Heroides thy brother was apprehended by the Spartans Guards, for inciting manifest propaganda, against the oligarchy of the Thirty Tyrants.
DEMETRIA. Where was he taken to?
BASILEIOS. He was taken to the prison known, as the "Eleven".
DEMETRIA. Tell me that 'tis not true, but I have heard 'tis the worst of all prisons in Athens!
BASILEIOS. Heretofore, I wish 'twas not the case, but this prison hath been the precursor to death.
DEMETRIA. Thou must take me thither forthwith!
BASILEIOS. I shall take thee! However, we must disguise ourselves, because they shall arrest us if they recognise us.
DEMETRIA. How I remember Basileios, when times were different. I recall, when we were children, thou, Heroides and I.
BASILEIOS. If only 'twas feasible Demetria. We spent endless hours together. We were like two lovers.
DEMETRIA. I cannot think of anything, but my poor brother. What memories of our childhood are distant to me. What I feel for thee now is a love of a sister for her brother.
BASILEIOS. Although mine heart shall pertain to thee, I shall not burden thee with my love.
DEMETRIA. There is nothing more that I would give to reciprocate that love, but I cannot. Hitherto, 'tis the truth!
BASILEIOS. The truth is painful, but the only thing that mattereth in this moment of time is Heroides.
DEMETRIA. Aye Basileios!
BASILEIOS. Let us go then to the prison!
DEMETRIA. I am ready to see my brother Heroides.
At the prison, where Heroides is being kept, as a prisoner of Critias.
Basileios and Demetria's disguises are able to deceive the prison guards. Demetria enters, whilst Basileios waits nigh a building, on the opposite side of the prison.
HEROIDES. Who art thee that I do not recognise thy garments?
DEMETRIA. 'Tis I thy sister Demetria.
HEROIDES. Demetria, my dearest sister. 'Tis good to see thee once more.
DEMETRIA. Basileios had informed me of thine apprehension and the accusation charged against thee. Surely, there must be a mistake!
HEROIDES. All that I am being accused of is accurate sister, including the incitement of the people and plotting, against the tyrannical government of Critias.
DEMETRIA. Thou wert warned before by Basileios and others, including myself. Why did thou not heed our words of discretion?
HEROIDES. Because to have done that would have meant to forsake the cause of which the principles I represent and shall give my life for.
DEMETRIA. Is the cause greater than thy life? Thou art selfish! Hast thou not thought of me, thy sister and thy friends?
HEROIDES. Aye, but martyrs do not choose death over life. 'Tis death that chooses its martyrs.
DEMETRIA. Is not a man, at first, a son, a father, an uncle or a brother, before he is martyr?
HEROIDES. If only our societies were founded on the ethical belief of moral guidance and justice for all. However, in this dispiteous world we live, we know nothing but suffering, injustice and above all tyranny. I sense the people of Athens have had enough and shall fight against this oppressive oligarchy of Critias.
DEMETRIA. At the cost of thy life. Can one man overthrow any government?
HEROIDES. Nay, but one idea that is called democracy can amass a thousand or more persons consequently.
DEMETRIA. Alas, may the Gods be with thee Heroides.
HEROIDES. If they are Gods or only one God, then they or he shall be rejoicing in the heavens above.
DEMETRIA. If thou wert heard by others, thou would be accused of blasphemy.
HEROIDES. I care not what shall be thought of my words, instead, my actions shall lead a revolution that exceeds any thanatopsis!
DEMETRIA. How shall I bear thy lost, when thou art the only family I have left?
HEROIDES. Do not mourn me, when I am dead. Mourn for the countless Athenians that shall spill their blood valiantly, in the streets of Athens. I am but a sheep, amongst that growing flock.
DEMETRIA. I promise thee, I shall mourn them as well. I shall not forget them!
At the building of the council.
Anthemion has come to apprise Critias of the unrest of the masses.
CRITIAS. Why hast thou dare to come to the assembly and disturb me? Thou knowest that our matter is one of privacy.
ANTHEMION. My noble Critias, accept my apology. Nevertheless, my duty is to advise thee of all the pertinent information that I have gleaned in details.
CRITIAS. Let us be frank and speak the truth Anthemion. What tidings hast thou brought me that were urgent enough to interrupt my planned interlocution?
ANTHEMION. I have received tidings of the uprising, my lord.
CRITIAS. Whisper, what information dost thou have in particular that is an urgency?
ANTHEMION. According to my source, the angry people of Athens shall initiate their revolt tomorrow.
CRITIAS. Art thou certain of this Anthemion? If not, I shall have thee imprisoned.
ANTHEMION. Aye, my noble Critias. I would not endanger my life, if I knew that the tidings that I had to share with thee were not accurate and very plausible.
CRITIAS. Then, tell me who is involved of the important figures and where it shall transpire.
ANTHEMION. The list of names are the current voices of democracy and change. Hesiodos, Isidoros, Loukianos, Heroides, Basileios, Ampelios, Lycon and Thrasybulus.
CRITIAS. I have imprisoned Heroides and exiled the rest including Thrasybulus. However, there is one amongst them that I have not dealt with and that is this Basileios.
ANTHEMION. Is he not the brother of Phaedrias, the member of the council?
ANTHEMION. What shall thou do with Basileios? Shall thou kill him too, my noble Critias.
CRITIAS. I shall have him imprisoned immediately.
ANTHEMION. Why not kill him?
CRITIAS. Indeed, death would be a better punishment.
ANTHEMION. Thus, thou shalt kill him?
CRITIAS. Nay, I have concocted a better idea. I shall have his brother Phaedrias murder him. Why not? It would be the most entertaining scenario of death I have imagined. 'Tis better than a plot of a play at a theatre.
ANTHEMION. Thou art ever shrewd and intelligent, my noble Critias.
At the Theatre of Dionysus on that same night.
Critias has invited Phaedrias to the theatre to see a drama. What Phaedrias does not know is that he shall be ordered to murder his brother Basileios afterwards.
During the drama, Critias who is seated next to Phaedrias shares a conversation that Phaedrias shall never forget.
CRITIAS. Art thou enjoying the drama Phaedrias?
PHAEDRIAS. I am indeed, my lord!
CRITIAS. Good! 'Tis my favourite of all Greek dramas I have seen hitherto. 'Tis the period of the recent Peloponnesian War that sought Athens lose its vast sea empire.
PHAEDRIAS. If I may query my noble Critias, why hast thou present this drama, since the wound of that war is still recent in the history of Athens?
CRITIAS. That is simple to respond Phaedrias. Since the defeat was largely blamed on democratic politicians, such as Cleon and Cleophon, mine intention is to remind the good citizens of Athens, the horrific consequence of the failure of their democracy.
PHAEDRIAS. Thou art ever cunning, my lord. I believe thou art attempting to intimidate the people.
CRITIAS. Thou knowest me too well Phaedrias. Yet, I not only plan on utilising intimidation, but the psychological factor of fear as it presenteth itself.
PHAEDRIAS. Art thou certain that it shall have sufficient effect to dissuade the revolt?
CRITIAS. I guarantee thee that after tomorrow there shall be no urge to revolt.
PHAEDRIAS. How can thou have that certainty?
CRITIAS. I don't, but I shall make the doubtful Athenians believe that I do.
PHAEDRIAS. Thou art brilliant in thy masterful phenakism, my lord.
CRITIAS. In order to beguile thy foe, one must always employ all forms of possible deception.
PHAEDRIAS. 'Tis a measure that is effective and shall give thee a triumphant result.
CRITIAS. Indeed, and all is being prepared at this very moment to accomplish mine incredible plan.
PHAEDRIAS. Then, the Athenians are in, for a rude awakening.
CRITIAS. Thou knowest that I have always trusted thy judgement and loyalty to me.
PHAEDRIAS. I have served thee and the council, with the utmost commitment and duty afforded to me.
CRITIAS. True, but there is one thing-call it an authentic challenge that I need thee to do for me.
PHAEDRIAS. Anything, my noble Critias. Thy wish shall be my command.
CRITIAS. I need thee to murder someone for me, upon this very night.
PHAEDRIAS. Who, my lord. Tell me?
CRITIAS. Basileios, thy brother!
PHAEDRIAS. What thou art requesting is fratricide.
CRITIAS. Thou mayst call it what thou wantest, but I am ordering thee.
PHAEDRIAS. But why?
CRITIAS. Because he hath aligned himself with the foul democrats. Thou knowest that I must eliminate all mine enemies, including Basileios.
PHAEDRIAS. Let me speak to him. Would it not be best to exile him than to murder him? Would it not provoke a sudden disapprobation from the members of the council?
CRITIAS. Perhaps, but this is of little importance to me. And as for thy suggestion of exile, regrettably, I have no other choice. As with Heroides, his punishment must be death, since he is an evident threat to me!
PHAEDRIAS. Shall thee, not make a martyr of my brother like the others?
CRITIAS. Perhaps, but I rather have them dead than alive.
PHAEDRIAS. My lord, listen to me!
CRITIAS. Enough! Take this sharp dagger and kill thy brother upon this night, when the trumpets of the guards blare at their nightly hour from the tower. If thou dost not kill him tonight, I shall kill thee and finish the lineage of thine ancestors. Am I not clear Phaedrias in mine elucidation?
At the home of Basileios, during the late hours of the night.
Phaedrias has left the theatre and heads towards the agora, when after twenty minutes, he hears the blare of the trumpets from the walls of the tower. 'Tis the hour of the death of Basileios. He pulls out the dagger from his garments, but hesitates to do the murder, as he walks towards the home of Basileios and his brother greets him at the front entrance, with a brotherly salutation.
BASILEIOS. Phaedrias, I was not expecting thy visit tonight.
PHAEDRIAS. Basileios, where art thou going that thou seemest to hasten, in thy departure?
BASILEIOS. I shall be forthright with thee brother. They have arrested several members of the opposition and 'tis a matter of time, before the Spartan guards come to arrest me.
PHAEDRIAS. That is the reason, why I have come. Let us enter, where we can speak in privacy.
BASILEIOS. What dost thou know? Hast thou come to arrest me brother?
Phaedrias pulls out the sharp dagger and threatens Basileios
PHAEDRIAS. Worse, I have been ordered to murder thee.
BASILEIOS. Murder me? Shall I meet my death at the hand of the dagger of my brother?
PHAEDRIAS. No! Thou shalt leave the city of Athens at once! I have planned thine escape, through one of the gates by the west wall. Go now, before 'tis too late!
BASILEIOS. What shall become of thee, if I am caught?
PHAEDRIAS. I shall be executed as well, but this doth not matter brother.
BASILEIOS. What change I see in thee Phaedrias that I do not recognise so plainly! What hast unveiled thine eyes to the madness of Critias?
PHAEDRIAS. The death of Heroides and Theramenes.
BASILEIOS. Father would be truly proud of thee.
PHADREUS. I was wrong and thou wert correct. If I could save Athens from this horrid tyranny, then I shall honour Father.
BASILEIOS. And what shall become of Athens afterwards brother and its glorious democracy?
PHAEDRIAS. O democracy, 'tis like the ancient Gods, it shall surviveth, as long as there are people that aspire its relevance.
BASILEIOS. Thou speaketh like a democrat brother.
PHADREUS. Enough with the conversation. We are not abundant in time. I beg of thee, leave now!
BASILEIOS. Aye! The clamour of democracy shall not be deafened, by the tyranny of oppression.
PHAEDRIAS. Go now!
BASILEIOS. Aye, let us depart!
Basileios and Phaedrias leave and head towards the gate, where Basileios is to escape. But when they reach the gate, they are arrested by the guards that were waiting for them to arrive.