The Thirty Tyrants of Athens (Part 2)

by Franc

Preface

A play about the Thirty Tyrants in Ancient Greece.


Act IV

At the prison of the "Eleven", the memorable eve of the great revolt.

Basileios is taken, where Heroides was taken before, whilst Phaedrias has been taken to an abditive place, unknown to Basileios.

SCENE I.

HEROIDES.

Basileios, my good friend! I was not expecting to see thee again so soon.

BASILEIOS.

Heroides, how abhorrent is this place and how hapless hath been my luck.

HEROIDES.

Basileios, when and why wert thou apprehended?

BASILEIOS.

Yester, during the night, when I was attempting to flee the city. I do not know what charge I am being accused of, but I perceive that it must be the same accusation that hath brought thee here, sedition.

HEROIDES.

Thy fate is sealed like mine.

BASILEIOS.

Unfortunately, it doth seem to be the case, unless we are freed, by the Athenians.

HEROIDES.

Anon, the insurrection shall begin its final objective!

BASILEIOS.

I was told by Ampelios that the revolt would start today.

HEROIDES.

That is the genuine plan, from what I have understood!

BASILEIOS.

I doubt that, since Critias hath fortified the walls and gates with his guards.

HEROIDES.

Then someone must have alerted him.

BASILEIOS.

He hath arrested or exiled the principal leaders of the democrats.

HEROIDES.

Then one of them was coerced to reveal our strategy.

BASILEIOS.

All I know Heroides is that Critias is by this time aware of the intricate details of the revolt. He gloateth in his confidence that he shall suppress the clamour of the masses.

HEROIDES.

Perhaps! However, the voice of the people shall not be silenced or deafened. Critias can kill a thousand Athenians, but he cannot stop the course of the insurrection.

BASILEIOS.

For the sake of democracy, I hope thou art correct, if not there shall be a horrendous bloodbath.

HEROIDES.

Whatever blood is spilt shall be on the tainted hands of Critias.

BASILEIOS.

Why must we commit the same mistakes of the past? Have we not learnt, from our rapacity and incivility?

HEROIDES.

We are destined for change, and history shall make the distinction, between the oppressor or the oppressed. The voice of the oppressed must be triumphant in its nature.

BASILEIOS.

And what shall transpire afterwards?

HEROIDES.

Athens shall record in its history, the sadistic misdeeds of the Thirty Tyrants.

BASILEIOS.

I can hope for the abatement of this tyranny; although I fear that we shall not be alive to see its entire completion.

SCENE II.

At the council.

Critias has invoked an abrupt meeting to discuss the issue of the arrested democrats and the possible revolt. He is growing more anxious and desperate, with every passing hour.

CRITIAS.

I have gathered ye all the members at the council this morning to discuss the serious issues of the recent arrests of the main leaders of the democrats and the talk of a minacious revolt that has been circulating within the streets of Athens.

CHAERELEOS.

Are we to believe, my noble Critias that we are in danger or not?

CRITIAS.

I shall gladly dispel that sign of danger.

EUMATHES.

And the revolt of the insurgents?

CRITIAS.

I shall crush the revolt unequivocally!

MELOBIUS.

How, dost thou plan on doing that?

CRITIAS.

That is easy to respond and elucidate.

POLYCHARES.

Perhaps, my noble Critias can tell us, how he planneth to effectuate that.

CRITIAS.

Certainly! I have posted guards at the walls, gates and towers of the city.

ERASISTRATUS.

Then, thou are confident that by arresting or exiling our enemies, we shall be free of the democrats once for all?

CRITIAS.

Aye! I assure thee that we should be rid of them most definitely.

ARESIAS.

How, if I may be bold to ask thee, my noble Critias?

CRITIAS.

Simple, I shall hang their dead bodies over the walls inside, so that the good citizens of Athens could visibly see, what happeneth to my foes that dare to defy me.

ARISTOTELES.

Art thou sure that, this tactic shall scare thine enemies?

CRITIAS.

In sooth! This tactic as thou callest it, shall be enough to demonstrate mine ultimate power.

HIERO.

What of thy foes that thou hast exiled? I heard that they are massing an army to march, against Athens and our government.

CRITIAS.

We can discuss the issue of this so-called army, but our alliance with the Spartans is firm to protect us.

HIPPOLOCHUS.

And the Persians? Shall we not need to fear their intrusion? Where are the Spartans to assist us?

CRITIAS.

Nay, I guarantee thee gentlemen that the democrats or Persians shall be not be a problem or an antagonist for us. As for the Spartans, I have sent a messenger to them already with my formal request, for their gracious assistance to Athens.

MNESITHEIDES.

And what shall become of Phaedrias? As a member of the council, Phaedrias must have a trial. 'Tis the law! Shalt thou do to him what was done to Theramenes? And his brother Basileios? Dost thou want to inflame the masses more, with his death?

HIERO.

We should not provoke them, since Phaedrias and Basileios are the sons of a great diplomat esteemed by many Athenians.

CRITIAS.

Do not remind me of the death of Theramenes-for it haunteth me still. As for Phaedrias, I have a plan for him. And for Basileios, I shall grant him instead a trial, and I shall be pleasantly entertained and amused, with the fascinating spectacle.

SCENE III.

At the Round Chamber of the council.

The members of the council have left the building and only Critias and his Spartan guards remain.

Phaedrias and Basileios are brought to the Round Chamber, before Critias.

Phaedrias is instructed afterwards, by Critias to kill his brother.

CRITIAS.

Behold the man that betrayed me!

PHAEDRIAS.

'Tis thee that hast betrayed the council, the assembly, and above all, the citizens of Athens.

CRITIAS.

Thou durst to accuse me of betrayal, when 'tis thee who hast betrayed the laws we had established.

BASILEIOS.

Why hast thou brought us here? What dost thou plan on doing with us?

CRITIAS.

That is an excellent question, and I have the perfect answer. One of ye shall become a blatant murderer.

PHAEDRIAS.

What dost thou mean by that?

CRITIAS.

Ye both are instruments of a very lethiferous game of life or death. Which of ye are truly the authentic thespian of the family?

Critias throws a dagger on the ground.

BASILEIOS.

If thou art going to kill me, then kill me now!

CRITIAS.

I am not going to kill thee. Thy brother shall do the dastardly deed for me.

PHAEDRIAS.

I shall not do thy deed! Kill me instead, but let Basileios be freed. Is that not sufficient to please thee?

CRITIAS.

Nay, for me there is nothing more pleasing, than to witness how brave men become cowards subitaneously.

PHAEDRIAS

I am not a spineless coward like thee that has others kill for him.

CRITIAS.

Thou preferest death, over allegiance to me?

PHAEDRIAS.

I prefer to die, then to live another day, under thy tyranny and patent madness. Long live Athens! Long live democracy!

Critias rises from the seat of his palatial throne, and orders one of the guards to bring Phaedrias to him, where he proceeds to stab him to death, with a dagger he had hidden in his garments. Phaedrias falls to the ground and dies an agonising death.

CRITIAS.

Fool, I had given thee everything, even my respect, yet, thou decided to betray me, as a scurrilous defector.

BASILEIOS.

Thou pompous lout! The people of Athens shall take swift retribution, for thy malicious acts of corruption and vileness.

CRITIAS.

Perhaps one day, but 'tis extremely unlikely that thou shalt live to see that momentous occasion Basileios.

BASILEIOS.

Whether I live to see that day is verily inconsequential, when the masses of thine enemies shall overthrow thee and drag thy body through the streets of Athens, like a common criminal. Aye, I shall be rejoicing from the heavens above then!

CRITIAS.

I shall not allow thee that immense satisfaction. I shall be the judge of that.

BASILEIOS.

Doubtful! Time shall be the judge of that. I forewarn thee Critias that I shall take revenge upon thee. And I shall not forget thine irremissible crimes!

SCENE IV.

At the court of the trial of Basileios.

Basileios is then taken to the court, where he is to be speedily tried and condemned, on that same day.

CRITIAS.

Members of the assembly that are all present today, I have granted as the law demandeth a trial for any member of nobility; even though the accused is guilty of the charges. The archon presiding over this trial is the honourable Drakon and the selected prosecutor is Antiochos. As for the defendant, he hath chosen to defend himself.

Subsequently Critias departs to tend to other more important matters, but he shall regret not executing Basileios, when he should have seized the opportunity.

DRAKON.

As the presiding archon, I welcome ye all the present members of the assembly to the trial of one named Basileios, who is charged with mutiny and the attempt to assassinate the supreme leader of our government Critias. The trial shall thus commence, with the statements of the trial prosecutor.

ANTIOCHOS.

I thank thee, mine honourable lord. 'Tis an honour to serve thy court, as 'tis to serve our noble leaders present of the assembly.

DRAKON.

Proceed!

ANTIOCHOS.

Members of the assembly, we are all cognisant of the civic obedience of the laws that govern us quotidianly. The defendant hath committed the severe crimes that warrant the punishment of death. Not only hath he defied our leaders, he hath defied also, the institution of which he professeth to follow, democracy. How, can the assembly that is gathered today, not find this man guilty? 'Tis evident that he is guilty, when in his words, he espouseth the overthrowing of our laudable government.

The vulpine prosecutor addresses Basileios, who knows that he shall not be found innocent afterwards.

ANTIOCUS

Is that not so?

BASILEIOS.

Aye! I am gulity, because thou hast said I am.

ANTIOCHUS.

Dost thou deny the fact that these abominable things that are ascribed to thee are false? Dost thou not believe in these disturbing revelations?

BASILEIOS.

If I told thee what I believe, thou shalt misconstrue my words and find me guilty, regardless of any admission on my part.

ANTIOCHUS.

Then, thou admit that thou art guilty, before the members of the assembly and the archon?

BASILEIOS.

I ask thee, what I acknowledge as the truth shall thee or any of the members of the assembly accept as veritable?

ANTIOCHUS.

Tell us Basileios, what is the truth that thou seemest to know?

BASILEIOS.

The truth of which thou and the members know too well.

ANTIOCHUS.

Well, we are waiting for thy particular truth.

BASILEIOS.

What I shall bespeak with candour, let no man here present forget. We are proud Athenians and sons of democracy. I am guilty of only acknowledging mine inalienable right to profess that expression of devotion and reverence of that democracy. As a man of philosophy, I am a voice of reason and a humble man, yet I am here tried as a criminal. Therefore, on the sole accountability of mine actions, I stand before ye!

DRAKON.

Dost thou repudiate the process, when thou hast been afforded the right to a trial?

BASILEIOS.

How can I expect my lord a reasonable trial with no witnesses to defend me, when only the facts of this case shall be what I have been accused of and my testimony omitted thereafter?

DRAKON.

Thou hast the right to defend thyself. If the prosecutor hath finished, the defendant may state his innocence.

ANTIOCHUS.

Aye! I have no objection to that demand of the court, my lord.

DRAKON.

Then, may the defendant proceed.

BASILEIOS.

Members of the assembly. Ye the sons of Athens. Hast thou forgotten democracy? Hast thou forsaken its core principles in disavowal?

ANTIOCHUS.

What doth this have to do with thy trial?

BASILEIOS

Everything!

DRAKON.

Tell us then young man, what is the relevance of this?

BASILEIOS.

Certainly, my lord. I have not killed, exiled or punished anyone like Critias hath. My family for decades hath served Athens and its people unconditionally. Thus, what I am guilty of instead, is to restore that, which belongeth to all the citizens of Athens, democracy! That same democracy that all of ye wert deferential, towards its establishment.

ANTIOCHUS.

All of us have seen what democracy caused to Athens, the near destruction of Athens, by the Spartans. If it had not been for our government and the noble Critias, we would be subjugated to the Persians thereafter.

BASILEIOS.

Is not what the Athenians have under thy rule, not worse than the subversion of the Spartans or Persians?

ANTIOCHUS.

Thou darest to compare us the members of the assembly and council, worse than the Spartans and Persians?

BASILEIOS.

Aye! 'Tis not worse to kill thine own citizens, than to kill a Spartan or a Persian?

ANTIOCHUS.

Thou art calling us murderers and criminals?

BASILEIOS.

'Tis thee and not I, who hast uttered those words.

DRAKON.

Enough, we have heard enough. This testimony hath abated. Now, the members of the assembly shall therefore determine thy fate.

The assembly return their verdict of guilty.

DRAKON.

The members of the assembly have spoken. What is thy verdict?

THE ASSEMBLY.

Guilty!

DRAKON.

I pronounce this trial is over, and the defendant shall be executed as required by our law.

SCENE V.

At the prison of the "Eleven".

Basileios is then escorted to the prison, where he sees Heroides once more.

HEROIDES.

I thought I would never see thy countenance again, my good friend!

BASILEIOS.

I am now a prisoner of Critias.

HEROIDES.

When wert thou apprehended?

BASILEIOS.

Last night, I was arrested along with Phaedrias, by the guards.

HEROIDES.

How cruel is destiny, when it decideth to impose itself on innocent men.

BASILEIOS.

I was given a trial, but I was found guilty, by the corrupted members of the assembly of Critias.

HEROIDES.

And what hath become of Phaedrias?

BASILEIOS.

Alas, he was murdered, by Critias.

HEROIDES.

I have one aspiration Basileios and that is to restore democracy and punish the pitiless tyrants that rule, beginning with Critias!

BASILEIOS.

I swear by the God of the heaven that I shall exact my vengeance upon him, and I shall not be merciful.

HEROIDES.

I wonder my friend, if neither one of us shall see Critias lingered in his death.

BASILEIOS.

I do not know and perchance time shall not bestow this final act of tyranny upon us.

HEROIDES.

I am not certain that we shall die today or tomorrow, but soon!

BASILEIOS.

Unfortunately, I am in concurrence with that opinion.

HEROIDES.

I am afraid that we are doomed, between Scylla and Charybdis.

BASILEIOS.

The madness of Critias is worse than the fear of either of those two monsters of the sea.

HEROIDES.

We cannot allow the madness of Critias to continue any longer Basileios.

BASILEIOS.

I have tidings of the revolt and of the exiled community in Piraeus and abroad.

HEROIDES.

Do not hesitate! Tell me, what tidings dost thou have to disclose?

BASILEIOS.

There is an army I was told by Antemios that shall attempt to liberate the city, from the tyrannical oligarchy of Critias.

HEROIDES.

When shall they be coming and from where? And who is the leader?

BASILEIOS.

That I do not know, except that the army could be from Samos.

One of the guards of the prison interrupts the conversation and takes Heroides from the cell he is in. What Basileios or Heroides do not realise is that Heroides shall be brutally murdered afterwards.

SCENE VI.

At the colossal walls of the city of Athens.

The disturbing mob of citizens have begun to gather in the important areas of the city, including near the agora, where the walls of Athens are being guarded and observed, by the elite Spartan guards of Critias. Critias addresses the mob on top of one of the towers.

CRITIAS.

Ye the citizens of Athens, return to thine homes. If ye persist on rioting, then I shall be deadly in my course of action. Do not commit the foolish act of revolt. I shall be compassionate towards ye only this time in diplomacy.

THE MOB.

We have grown weary of thy rule! Give us back our way of living and our democracy!

CRITIAS.

I warn ye that if ye continue, I shall be force to crush this rebellion forthwith!

THE MOB.

We do not fear thee! We are not fearful of death!

CRITIAS.

Then, ye shall pay the consequences. But before, let me give ye a token of what mine enemies have encountered.

The Spartan guards thrown down the walls the hanging dead bodies of the democrats that were arrested, including Heroides and Phaedrias.

THE MOB.

We do not fear thee! We are not fearful of death!

CRITIAS.

Behold the bodies of my foes! Do ye wish to continue and be dead as the traitors that are hanging down these sturdy walls of Athens? There is absolute silence in the mob.

CRITIAS.

Now then, disperse and return to thine homes or occupations. Once more, ye have been warned!

THE FIRST GUARD.

Ye have heard the noble Critias. Now disperse at once, before we shall arrest any citizen that resists our direct command.

CRITIAS.

I shall give each man of the household 3,000 drachmae, if they bring me the heads of any of the remaining democrats.

Critias throws minted coins on to the streets, in order to bribe the mob that gathered. Some of the men take the coins, whilst others do not.

THE SECOND GUARD.

What else dost thou want us to do, my noble Critias?

CRITIAS.

Nothing for now, I shall inform thee, when I need ye the guards again.

ONOMACLES.

I would not believe that thou couldst have dissuaded the mob so easily. I am impressed by thy display of power, my lord.

CRITIAS.

Look at them! They are like wild savages from the East that can only be tamed, by their loyal master.

ONOMACLES.

I wonder if it shall be enough to hold them back for long, when their dissatisfaction is increasing.

CRITIAS.

I have fully contemplated that feasibility and I assure thee with an affirmation Onomacles that the revolt shall be expediently crushed.

ONOMACLES.

What about the army that is gathering in Boeotia and Corinth, with the exiled democrats?

CRITIAS.

I shall take care of them as well promptly.

ONOMACLES.

I know those men too well, and they shall not be easily bribed.

CRITIAS.

My dear friend Onomacles, hast thou not learnt from the immeasurable lessons of history that any man can be bribed willingly or forcefully, including the most obstinate of them all.

SCENE VII

At the home of Critias.

'Tis the late hours of the night, when Critias is resting in his chamber. Suddenly, an intruder hast entered to assassinate him. The guards of Critias are not fortunate enough to prevent the death of Critias.

CRITIAS.

Who is there that hath interrupted my leisure?

GUARD.

Forgive the sudden interruption, my lord, but I had to apprise thee of the capture of the assassin that entered the house.

CRITIAS.

An assassin thou hast said?

GUARD.

Aye, my noble Critias!

CRITIAS.

Where is he? And how did he entered into mine home undetected?

GUARD.

At the moment, we do not have his identity, and as for how he entered, that too we shall discover.

CRITIAS.

Bring me the assassin now, so that I can see him and interrogate him.

GUARD.

Of course, my lord!

The assassin is brought to Critias and forced to kneel before him.

CRITIAS.

Who art thou and who hast paid thee to assassinate me?

ASSASSIN.

I was sent by no one.

CRITIAS.

Liar! If thou wishest to live, then tell me, who sent thee. Tell me now!

ASSASSIN.

I told thee before, no one hath sent me.

CRITIAS.

I wonder, if thou shalt think the same, once I have sliced thine ear.

ASSASSIN.

Thou needest me alive!

CRITIAS.

True! However, thou hast another ear to hear me.

Critias sliced off the right ear of the assassin.

ASSASSIN.

Thou cannot kill me!

CRITIAS.

I can do anything, including burning thee in the flame of my torches if I desire at will.

ASSASSIN.

I shall tell thee only that I was paid, by an eminent member of the assembly.

CRITIAS.

What is his name?

The assassin grabs a dagger from inside his garment and kills himself, but not before he utters.

ASSASSIN.

Thy reign of terror is over Critias. Thy death is nigh!

CRITIAS.

Fool, I shall reign for decades to come!

Act 5

The bloody day of the revolt and downfall of the Thirty Tyrants.

SCENE I.

Critias awakes to a terrible nightmare that shall haunt him till his imminent death. He goes to the Round Chamber and speaks to Onomacles, about his ghastly nightmare.

CRITIAS.

Onomacles, thou shalt not believe what I have dreamt ere.

ONOMACLES.

What horrific nightmare hast unsettled thee, my lord?

CRITIAS.

Thou wouldst not believe me, if I told thee that the ghost of Theramenes appeared before me. He warned me that I would die upon this exact day.

ONOMACLES.

The ghost of Theramenes. Impossible! The dead do not rise from the grave, my lord!

CRITIAS.

I do not know, if they do or not Onomacles, but I swear 'twas him Theramenes harrowing me!

ONOMACLES.

Art thou not overreacting, my lord?

CRITIAS.

Perhaps, I am overreacting or am I going mad?

ONOMACLES.

Mad? Thou art only wearisome and disconcerted.

CRITIAS.

There is another matter, I must inform thee that is entirely different.

ONOMACLES.

What is this matter that I may enquire its origin?

CRITIAS.

Last night, an assassin had attempted to murder me in mine home.

ONOMACLES.

But how was this possible, my lord? Who sent him?

CRITIAS.

A member of the assembly.

ONOMACLES.

Which member did the assassin confess?

CRITIAS.

That I do not know, since he killed himself, before he could reveal the name of the scoundrel that sent him.

ONOMACLES.

What dost thou plan on doing?

CRITIAS.

O, I have devised an exciting diversion that shall amuse the members of the assembly.

ONOMACLES.

Such as, what type of diversion hast thou devised, my lord?

CRITIAS.

Thou shalt know sooner than later. Come and follow me to the assembly.

ONOMACLES.

Shalt thou dare to unmask the actual identity of the anonymous member, without knowing who sent the assassin?

CRITIAS.

I guarantee thee that it shall be a secretive surprise that shall leave the assembly in complete awe.

SCENE II.

At the assembly.

Critias has gathered all the members of the assembly, to address the portentous issue of the assassin.

CRITIAS.

Ye the members of the assembly. I have gathered ye all to address a very important matter. Last night, an assassin entered mine home and attempted to murder me.

HIERO.

Who was the assassin, o noble Critias?

CRITIAS.

The assassin died, before he could reveal his identity.

PHEIDO.

Who sent him?

CRITIAS.

That hath not been yet determined.

THEOGNIS

Perhaps, he was sent, by the deplorable democrats in exile?

CRITIAS.

Perhaps!

LYCOMEDES.

Or by one of the noblemen in Athens?

CRITIAS.

Perhaps!

CHREMO.

Or a madman, from amongst the plebes?

CRITIAS.

Perhaps!

MNESILOCHUS.

Or an assassin sent by the Persians.

CRITIAS.

Perhaps!

HIERO.

Then, who sent him?

CRITIAS.

Why not from amongst ye, my faithful assembly and council.

THEOGNIS.

Surely, thou dost not believe that from amongst thy loyal members of the assembly and council present, there is a villain capable of such ineffable act, my lord?

CRITIAS.

I cannot allow myself to believe or not believe in any probability.

PHEIDO.

Let us be practical in the matter, why would anyone of us attempt such foolishness, my lord?

CRITIAS.

Foolishness? No more than the foolish nature of mine enemies that disguise themselves, amongst men, as cowards.

HIERO.

Art thou calling us all cowards, we that have serve thee with devotion and reverence?

CRITIAS.

Nay, but there is one or more that is conspiring, against this government.

HIERO.

Who?

CRITIAS.

'Tis thee Hiero! Thou hast conspired to murder me!

HIERO.

I am innocent of this charge!

CRITIAS.

Guards, take this traitor away from the assembly and execute him. I detest his complacency with the democrats and his reprehensible laxity.

At the assembly.

Hiero has been taken away to be executed, without any evidence of his guilt. As the members of the assembly and council are still gathered fearful, a messenger enters the assembly and informs Critias of the advance of the army of Thrasybulus.

CRITIAS.

Now that we have discovered who is the culprit I must then disclose that an army of our enemies is heading towards the city. Therefore, I have instructed a force of the Athenian cavalry and Spartans to Phyle to defeat the enemies of Athens, before they reach us.

SCENE III.

At the walls of the city.

The multitude has begun the revolt and have gathered at the agora to demand the exile of Critias. Amongst them are the commoners, noblemen and disenchanted merchants. Critias has been informed and goes to the walls, with Onomacles.

ONOMACLES.

My noble Critias, what are we to do, the revolt has started?

CRITIAS.

I shall deal with the mob with force amain!

ONOMACLES.

What are thee planning?

CRITIAS.

Guard!

GUARD.

Aye, my lord!

CRITIAS.

Throw down the bodies of the others killed.

GUARD.

Aye!

ONOMACLES.

Tell me what thou hast planned?

CRITIAS.

Come, thou shalt observe!

The dead bodies of Hierro and others are hanged from the walls, beside the rotting flesh of the other dead bodies that were hanged before.

ONOMACLES.

What dost thou plan to achieve with this ploy?

CRITIAS.

Hush and watch!

Critias addressing the unruly crowd therewith.

CRITIAS.

Ye the citizens of Athens, desist in thy revolt if not, ye shall be arrested for civil disobedience and unrest.

THE MOB.

We shall revolt, until the oligarchy is finished!

CRITIAS.

If ye do not disperse, I shall have ye executed or exiled.

THE MOB.

Death to the Thirty Tyrants! Death to Critias!

CRITIAS.

Fools! I shall release the Spartan guards against ye!

THE MOB.

Death to the Thirty Tyrants! Death to Critias!

CRITIAS.

Guard!

THE MOB.

Death to the Thirty Tyrants! Death to Critias!

The Spartan guards are released on the people, the mob does not dispersed, and quickly the situation is out of control. As Critias is bewildered by the defiance of the crowd, Onomacles threatens to kill him with a sharp dagger.

CRITIAS.

What is this act of sedition Onomacles?

ONOMACLES.

If thou art dead, then the mob shall spare us.

CRITIAS.

Ignorant fool! Thou shall not get away with this.

ONOMACLES.

I may be a fool, but thou art a madman sentenced to his death!

CRITIAS.

Thus, it was thee who sent the assassin.

ONOMACLES.

Aye! I shall finish the deed!

Onomacles thrusts forward to stab Critias, but he pulls out his dagger in time to kill Onomacles first.

CRITIAS.

Fool! Thou underestimated my wit!

ONOMACLES.

Thy downfall is inevitable!

SCENE IV.

At the home of Critias.

The Spartan guards have been unable to stop the insurrection of the mob from spreading to the streets of the agora that were the Piraean Street, the Panathenaic Way, and the Street of the Tripods. But they are able to prevent them from reaching the buildings of the assembly and council, where the members of the government of the Thirty Tyrants have sought refuge inside.

SPARTAN GUARD.

We have been able to halt the mob in the agora from reaching the assembly and council, but for how long I do not know, my lord.

CRITIAS.

Good! I shall give every brave soldier that defends the assembly and council 3,000 drachmae and property to redound to his honour. I have faith in the disposition of our army.

SPARTAN GUARD.

And the acropolis? We must defend it. If not, the armies of the exiled democrats shall entered the city, through there.

CRITIAS.

Forget the acropolis! I have sent a powerful army to defeat and destroy them.

SPARTAN GUARD.

But what if, our army is defeated and not theirs? We must have a contingency prepared, my lord.

CRITIAS.

I have not pretermitted that threat, but I am confident that our forces shall defeat them.

Critias retires to his palatial throne in the chamber of the council to meditate his thought alone. Whilst he does this, he is visited by the ghost of Theramenes again.

CRITIAS.

Who art thee that haunteth me?

THERAMENES.

'Tis I thy noble friend that thou betrayed!

CRITIAS.

Theramenes! Wherefore dost thou haunt me?

THERAMENES.

I have returned to see thee murdered, as I was brutally murdered.

CRITIAS.

Avaunt thee! The dead do not rise from the grave!

THERAMENES.

Whether thou believe or not doth concern me, when thy death shall befall. Thou art a madman!

CRITIAS.

When shall this day betide?

THERAMENES.

Today! I shall take thee to the underworld of Hades!

CRITIAS.

Nay, I shall not permit this occurrence!

The ghost of Theramenes disappears and madness begins to torment him, as he starts to mumble to himself.

CRITIAS.

No! No! I am not a madman!

The eerie voices of the dead that were executed by Critias manifest.

CRITIAS.

Who are ye? If ye are ethereal spectres, then what do ye want? Dost thou want my soul? I can give ye in return, the pelf of minted gold coins, if thou leave me be. I am Critias! Do not hasten me, within this trepidation and uncertainty!

Enters the guard.

GUARD.

My lord! My Lord, to whom wert thou speaking to that I see no one present?

CRITIAS.

Ghosts! Hast thou not seen them, as I have?

THE GUARD.

Nay!

CRITIAS.

What dost thou want?

THE GUARD.

The mob hath taken the domain of the acropolis, my lord. What are we do next?

CRITIAS.

The acropolis! Then, what are the orders, my lord?

CRITIAS.

Protect the assembly and council. Let them have the agora and acropolis for now.

GUARD.

But that would mean gradual defeat. Hast thou conceded?

CRITIAS.

Of course not! I am only biding time. Let me be now, I must ponder mine immediate step!

SCENE V.

At the buildings of the assembly and council.

Critias remains defiantly in his golden throne, reluctant to flee the city. His madness heightens, with the sounds of the revolt and the thought of his demise. He is determined to quell the revolt. Mnesitheides enters the chamber.

CRITIAS.

Those bloody scoundrels! I shall execute every one of them.

MNESITHEIDES.

Noble Critias, we cannot stop the revolt, because it hath spread! Thou must abdicate thy power and escape, before 'tis too late!

CRITIAS.

Abdicate my power! Never! I shall not leave this throne and city, to the despicable democrats!

MNESITHEIDES.

Thou must be reasonable. The city shall go up in flames, with us included.

CRITIAS.

Dost thou expect me to leave so suddenly, like a worthless craven?

MNESITHEIDES.

I beg of thee, my noble Critias to flee with us to Sparta, whilst thou art able to.

CRITIAS.

Never, I told thee! I am confident that the revolt shall be crushed and also the army of the democrats.

MNESITHEIDES.

Critias, the days of imposing fear are over! I have seen the mob of insurgents and they are driven with rage and conviction that I have not descried before.

CRITIAS.

I have grown weary of listening to thy feckless rhetoric. Now, begone and do not bother me!

MNESITHEIDES.

I hope that 'tis not too late for thee! I dread that the mob shall be crueler than what thou hast been to them.

Enters the guard.

GUARD.

My noble Critias, forgive me for the unanticipated intrusion.

CRITIAS

What is it?

THE GUARD.

We have received tidings that our army has been soundly defeated at the Battle of Pyle.

CRITIAS.

Art thou certain of that information?

THE GUARD.

One of the soldiers of the cavalry hath returned.

CRITIAS.

Then bring him to me, without delay!

THE GUARD.

Aye, my noble Critias.

The soldier is brought to the chamber to speak to Critias.

CRITIAS.

Well, do not remain quiet. Tell me what hath happened to our men? Thou look too gaunt and shabby.

SOLDIER.

O my noble Critias, we fought valiantly, but our men were ambushed. The enemy marches to Piraeus.

CRITIAS.

Then I shall send more men to stop their advance in Piraeus! We cannot afford defeat at this moment in time!

SCENE VI.

At the prison of the Eleven.

The mob has reached the prison and frees the prisoners, including Basileios. They then all head towards the buildings of the assembly and council enraged. Basileios joins the mob. Along the way, he stops and sees the hideous images of the hanging bodies of the victims of the tyranny of Critias. Amongst the bodies are the familiar guises of Heroides and Phaedrias. He is emboldened and enraged as well to exact revenge.

They reach the building of the assembly, where they overtake the outnumbered Spartan guards. Soon, they reach the building of the council, where the Thirty Tyrants have sought refuge. The elite guards of the Spartans are left to defend the politicians, but they also are quickly outnumbered.

POLYCHARES.

What are we going to do Critias? The mob is everywhere!

CRITIAS.

We shall stay. They shall not dare to enter and defy me!

POLYCHARES.

That is a tactless remark. Art thou not cognisant Critias? Look outside and observe thy reality! 'Tis a matter of time, before they enter. Forget thine incorrigible refusal!

CRITIAS.

Run like a coward, if thou or other members of the council choose. But I shall not abdicate my throne. I am the embodiment of a living God on Earth.

POLYCHARES.

Thou art no God Critias, but a mortal man like me!

CRITIAS.

Go, and leave me be!

Polychares escapes through a hidden tunnel, whilst Critias remains. The members of the council escape, but some of the assembly are not fortunate enough and are killed by the mob.

Enters a guard swiftly.

THE GUARD.

We cannot hold back the mob any longer noble Critias. We have lost many men. Escape whilst thou cannst!

CRITIAS.

Call more men!

THE GUARD.

My lord, we have no more men.

CRITIAS.

What dost thou mean guard?

THE GUARD.

Hast thou forgotten that more men were sent to combat the armies of the democrats?

CRITIAS.

Excuses! Enough with excuses and send more men to the streets.

By the hour's end, the mob enter the building of the council, killing the Spartan guards that had remained to defend the council. They are near to reaching the chamber of Critias, who is seated on his throne. The modulation of a familiar voice of a mysterious stranger is heard from behind Critias.

BASILEIOS.

So brash is the figure that I see before me presently shrivelling in his paranoia like a coward?

CRITIAS.

Who goeth thither that I cannot see? Theramenes, hast thou return for my soul?

BASILEIOS.

Dost thou not recognise the nonpareil voice of the man thou condemned to death?

CRITIAS.

Come out of the shadow of darkness and confront me, ghost of Theramenes!

The stranger emerges and 'tis Basileios.

CRITIAS.

Come forth Theramenes! Theramenes! I am not mad!

Critias turns around, where Basileios confronts him, with a dagger.

BASILEIOS.

Theramenes, I am not, but I am the clear avenger of Theramenes, Heroides, Phaedrias and many others that thou murdered.

CRITIAS.

Basileios, thou art still alive!

Basileios stabs to death Critias.

BASILEIOS.

The hour of reckoning hath arrived.

Thy death shall bring rejoice to them.

CRITIAS.

I am a God! I cannot be defeated!

BASILEIOS.

Nay, thou bleedest like a man and not a God! Thou shalt die like an agonous wretch!

CRITIAS.

I am Critias!

Critias falls to the floor in disbelief, and dies in his final act and breath.

The doors of his chamber are opened wide, by the mob that had entered.

BASILEIOS.

The deed is done. The noble Critias is dead!

The crescive mob plunder the wealth of Critias. They pick up his dead body tinctured in crimson blood, and carry it outside to the streets, so that the people of Athens know that Critias is dead.

BASILEIOS.

Ye the liberated Athenians, know that the tyranny is over. Behold the dead body of the tyrant. Critias the eponymous villain is dead!

There is absolute silence amongst the mob. Then their voices becomes audible.

THE MOB.

And the Thirty Tyrants?

BASILEIOS.

They are arrested or dead! Our enfranchisement is over too! We are all liberated!

THE MOB.

Give us the body of Critias, so that we may hang it on the wall and do what he hath done unto others.

BASILEIOS.

We must display heart and compassion again for our democracy and brethren. We have ended the ruthless tyranny. Let us not be ruthless in the destruction of our city. We cannot let Athens be in ruin! We are proud Athenians and therefore we must abate this unseemly behaviour for vengeance. Honour our cadent heroes! Our struggle hath only begun Athenians!

THE MOB.

Give us his opulence!

Basileios picks up the minted coins of Critias and exclaims emphatically.

BASILEIOS.

Give unto Critias what is deserving of his tribute which is death, and take unto ye what is undeserving of his wealth! Long live the memory of Cleisthenes and Ephialtes. Long live the institution of our beloved democracy!

SCENE VII

At the agora of the city. Basileios and Demetria stand and observe the result of the bloodbath of the rebellion. They are in astonishment by the vivid view of their beloved Athens.

BASILEIOS.

We must not permit the streets of Athens to be tainted, in such unnecessary blood with a wanion.

DEMETRIA.

What shall happen now that the tyranny has been conquered?

BASILEIOS.

That I do not know, but I hope that the merciless days of war can be conquered, by the wisdom and knowledge of the Athenians!

DEMETRIA.

Can democracy remain and survive the irreversible damage of another tyranny?

BASILEIOS.

For the sake of Athens I believe in the volition of the people. We cannot forget the chirocracy of the Thirty Tyrants.

DEMETRIA.

I believe then. Athens hath survived centuries, and it shall survive, even when we are dead. 'Tis the provenance of our democracy.

BASILEIOS.

History shall record this event, as a resolved people that fought to restore their democracy with vehemence.

DEMETRIA.

Can we celebrate a tragedy, especially one that has left an indelible impression upon us?

BASILEIOS.

Nay, but from this tragedy, we can celebrate the wondrous triumph of our liberty.

DEMETRIA.

I wonder Basileios, if there ever shall be another tyrannical government in Athens?

BASILEIOS.

All that I pronounce is the articulation of the very foundation that we have established ere, the seeds of democracy! We cannot allow the legacy of our forefathers to be effaced, by the vile men of tyranny and the incidence of corruption. I shall procure to see that fruition, as long as I am alive. 'Tis a debt I owe to my father and to those that fought and died, in the name of democracy.

DEMETRIA.

What civil recourse do we have if not?

BASILEIOS.

I cannot foresee the future with providence, but the people of Athens have quickened democracy, and we must be there along their side to see its rapid growth and expansion.

DEMETRIA.

Wherefore must people die for their beliefs always?

BASILEIOS.

I can only presume that the main reason is that we forget that we are brethren that live and die for our principles within society, regardless of the tyranny of our oppressor.

DEMETRIA.

Whither are we bound?

BASILEIOS.

Hence, we are bound to the glorious days of democracy!

DEMETRIA.

Let us not renounce the equitable principles of its establishment and origin.

BASILEIOS.

Democracy cannot survive, if we do not adhere to those democratic principles in essence.

DEMETRIA.

To see Athens rise from the temporary ashes of ruination is sufficient to aspire the beauty of its majesty!

BASILEIOS.

To see the acropolis standeth tall is to witness the grandeur of Athens!

DEMETRIA.

Whence our democracy began in earnest!

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