Although the Thirty Tyrants ruled in Athens but a short time, they condemned fifteen hundred men to death, and drove many good citizens into exile. During their brief period of authority they even found fault with Socrates, and would have liked to kill him, though he was the greatest philosopher the world has ever known.
As the rule of the Thirty Tyrants had been forced upon them by the victorious Spartans, the Athenians soon resolved to get rid of them. Among the good citizens whom these cruel rulers had driven away into exile, was Thrasybulus, who was a real patriot.
He had seen the sufferings of the Athenians, and his sympathy had been roused. So he began plotting against the Thirty Tyrants, assembled a few brave men, entered the city, drove out the Spartans, and overturned their government when they least expected it.
Some years later the Athenians rebuilt the Long Walls, which Lysander, the Spartan general, had torn down to the sound of festive music. They were so glad to be rid of the cruel tyrants, that they erected statues in honor of Thrasybulus, their deliverer, and sang songs in his praise at all their public festivals.
The Spartans, in the mean while, had been changing rapidly for the worse, for the defeat of the Athenians had filled their hearts with pride, and had made them fancy they were the bravest and greatest people on earth. Such conceit is always harmful.
Lysander, in capturing Athens and the smaller towns of Attica, had won much booty, which was all sent to Sparta. The ephors refused at first to accept or distribute this gold, saying that the love of wealth was the root of all evil; but they finally decided to use it for the improvement of their city.
Lysander himself was as noble a man as he was a good general, and kept none of the booty for his own use. On the contrary, he came back to Sparta so poor, that, when he died, the city had to pay his funeral expenses.