(The), B.C. 479. Corcyra was a colony of Corinth, but in the year of the famous Battle of Platæa revolted from the mother country and formed an alliance with the Athenians. The Corinthians made war on the colony and took 1,000 prisoners; of these 250 were men of position, who promised as the price of liberty to bring back the Corcyreans to the mother country. This was the cause of the sedition. The 250 returned captives represented the oligarchical party; their opponents represented the democratic element. The latter prevailed, but it would be difficult to parallel the treachery and brutality of the whole affair.
(Thucydides, book iv. 46, 48.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894