GYLIPPUS and Pythen, after refitting their ships at Tarentum, coasted along to the Epizephyrian Locri. They now learned the truth, that Syracuse was not as yet completely invested, but that an army might still enter by way of Epipolae. So they considered whether they should steer their course to the left or to the right of Sicily. They might attempt to throw themselves into Syracuse by sea, but the risk would be great; or they might go first to Himera, and gathering a force of the Himeraeans, and of any others whom they could induce to join them, make their way by land. They determined to sail to Himera, especially as the straits were unguarded. Nicias, when he heard that they were at Locri, although he had despised them at first, now sent out four Athenian ships to intercept them; but these had not as yet arrived at Rhegium, and came too late. So they sailed through the strait and, touching by the way at Rhegium and Messenè, reached Himera. They persuaded the Himeraeans to make common cause with them, and not only to join in the expedition themselves, but to supply arms to all their unarmed sailors, for they had beached their ships at Himera. They then sent to the Selinuntians and told them to come and meet them with their whole army at an appointed place. The Geloans and certain of the Sicels also promised to send them a small force; the latter with the more alacrity because Archonides, a Sicel king in these parts who was a powerful man and friendly to the Athenians, had recently died, and because Gylippus seemed to have come from Lacedaemon with hearty good-will. And so, taking with him about seven hundred of his own sailors and marines for whom he had obtained arms, about a thousand Himeraean infantry, heavy and light-armed included, and a hundred Himeraean horsemen, some light-armed troops and cavalry from Selinus, a few more from Gela, and of the Sicels about a thousand in all, Gylippus marched towards Syracuse.
In the meantime the Corinthian ships1 had put to sea from Leucas and were coming with all speed to the relief of the besieged. Gongylus, one of the Corinthian commanders, who started last in a single ship, arrived at Syracuse before the rest of the fleet, and a little before Gylippus. He found the citizens on the point of holding an assembly at which the question of peace was to be discussed; from this intention he dissuaded them by the encouraging announcement that more ships, and Gylippus the son of Cleandridas, whom the Lacedaemonians had sent to take the command, were on their way. Whereupon the Syracusans were reassured, and at once went forth with their whole army to meet Gylippus, who, as they were informed, was now close at hand. He had shortly before captured the Sicel fort Geta on his march, and drawing up his men in readiness to fight, came to Epipolae, which he ascended by the Euryelus; where the Athenians had found a way before him.2 Having formed a junction with the Syracusans, he marched against the Athenian lines. He arrived just at the time when the Athenians had all but finished their double wall,3 nearly a mile long, reaching to the Great Harbour; there remained only a small portion toward the sea, upon which they were still at work. Along the remainder of the line of wall, which extended towards Trogilus and the northern sea, the stones were mostly lying ready; a part was half-finished, a part had been completed and left. So near was Syracuse to destruction.
The Athenians, though at first disconcerted by the sudden advance of Gylippus and the Syracusans, drew up their forces in order of battle. He halted as he approached, and sent a herald to them offering a truce if they were willing to quit Sicily within five days taking what belonged to them. But they despised his offer, and sent away the herald without an answer. Whereupon both armies set themselves in order of battle. Gylippus, seeing that the Syracusans were in confusion, and could with difficulty form, led back his troops to the more open ground. Nicias did not follow, but lay still, close to his own wall. When Gylippus observed that the Athenians remained where they were, he led away his army to the height called Temenites; there they passed the night. On the following day he stationed the greater part of his troops in front of the Athenian wall that the enemy might not despatch a force to any other point, and then sent a detachment against the fort of Labdalum, which was out of sight of the Athenian lines. He took the place, and killed every one whom he found in it. On the same day an Athenian trireme which was keeping watch over the mouth of the harbour was taken by the Syracusans.
The Syracusans and their allies now began to build4 a single line of wall starting from the city and running upwards across Epipolae at an angle with the Athenian wall; this was a work which, unless it could be stopped by the Athenians, would make the investment of the city impossible. Towards the sea the Athenian wall was now completed, and their forces had come up to the high ground. Gylippus, knowing that a part of the wall was weak, instantly went by night with his army to attack it. But the Athenians, who happened to be passing the night outside the walls, perceived this movement and marched to oppose him; whereupon he at once withdrew. They then raised the weak portion of their wall higher; and guarded it themselves, while they posted the allies on the other parts of the fortification in the places severally assigned to them.
Nicias now determined to fortify Plemmyrium, a promontory which runs out opposite the city and narrows the entrance to the Great Harbour. He thought that this measure would facilitate the introduction of supplies.5 His forces would then be able to watch the harbour of the Syracusans from a nearer point, whereas they had hitherto been obliged to put out from the further corner of the Great Harbour whenever a Syracusan ship threatened to move. He was inclined to pay more attention than hitherto to naval operations; for since the arrival of Gylippus the Athenian prospects by land were not so encouraging. Having therefore transferred his ships and a portion of his army to Plemmyrium, he built three forts in which the greater part of the Athenian stores were deposited; and the large boats as well as the ships of war were now anchored at this spot. The removal was a first and main cause of the deterioration of the crews. For when the sailors went out to procure forage and water, of which there was little, and that only to be obtained from a distance, they were constantly cut off by the Syracusan cavalry, who were masters of the country, a third part of their force having been posted in a village at the Olympieum6 expressly in order to prevent the enemy at Plemmyrium from coming out and doing mischief. About this time Nicias was informed that the rest of the Corinthian fleet7 was on the point of arriving, and he sent twenty ships, which were ordered to lie in wait for them about Locri and Rhegium and the approach to Sicily.
While Gylippus was building the wall across Epipolae, employing the stones which the Athenians had previously laid there for their own use, he at the same time constantly led out and drew up in front of the wall the Syracusans and their allies, and the Athenians on their part drew up in face of them. When he thought that the moment had arrived he offered battle; the two armies met and fought hand to hand between the walls. But there the Syracusan cavalry was useless; the Syracusans and their allies were defeated, and received their dead under a flag of truce, while the Athenians raised a trophy. Gylippus then assembled his army and confessed that the fault was his own and not theirs; for by confining their ranks too much between the walls he had rendered useless both their cavalry and their javelin-men. So he would lead them out again. And he reminded them that in material force they were equal to their enemies, while as for resolution they ought to be far superior. That they, who were Peloponnesians and Dorians,8 should allow a mixed rabble of Ionians and islanders to remain in the country and not determine to master them and drive them out, was a thing not to be thought of.
On the first opportunity he led them out again. Nicias and the Athenians had determined that, whether the Syracusans would offer battle or not, they must not allow them to carry on their counter-work. For already it had almost passed the end of the Athenian wall, and if the work advanced any further it would make no difference to the Athenians whether they fought and conquered in every battle, or never fought at all. So they went out to meet the Syracusans. Gylippus before engaging led his heavy-armed further outside the walls than on the former occasion; his cavalry and javelin-men he placed on the flanks of the Athenians in the open space between the points at which their respective lines of walls stopped. In the course of the battle the cavalry attacked the left wing of the Athenians which was opposed to them, and put them to flight; the defeat became general, and the whole Athenian army was driven back by main force within their lines. On the following night the Syracusans succeeded in carrying their wall past the works of the enemy. Their operations were now no longer molested by them, and the Athenians, whatever success they might gain in the field, were utterly deprived of all hope of investing the city.
Not long afterwards the remaining Corinthian with the Ambraciot and Leucadian ships9 sailed in, under the command of Erasinides the Corinthian, having eluded the Athenian guardships. They assisted the Syracusans in completing what remained of the Syracusan wall up to the Athenian wall which it crossed. Gylippus meanwhile had gone off into Sicily to collect both naval and land forces, and also to bring over any cities which either were slack in the Syracusan cause or had stood aloof from the war. More ambassadors, Syracusan and Corinthian, were despatched to Lacedaemon and Corinth, requesting that reinforcements might be sent across the sea in merchantships or small craft, or by any other available means, since the Athenians were sending for assistance. The Syracusans, who were in high spirits, also manned a fleet, and began to practise, intending to try their hand at this new sort of warfare.
Nicias observing how they were employed, and seeing that the strength of the enemy and the helplessness of the Athenians was daily increasing, sent to Athens a full report of his circumstances, as he had often done before, but never in such detail. He now thought the situation so critical that, if the Athenians did not at once recall them or send another considerable army to their help, the expedition was lost. Fearing lest his messengers, either from inability to speak or from want of intelligence,10 or because they desired to please the people, might not tell the whole truth, he wrote a letter, that the Athenians might receive his own opinion of their affairs unimpaired in the transmission, and so be better able to judge of the real facts of the case. The messengers departed carrying his letter and taking verbal instructions. He was now careful to keep his army on the defensive, and to run no risks which he could avoid.
At the end of the same summer, Euetion, an Athenian general, in concert with Perdiccas and assisted by a large force of Thracians, made an attack upon Amphipolis, which he failed to take. He then brought round triremes into the Strymon and besieged the place from the river, making Himeraeum his head-quarters. So the summer ended.
In the following winter the messengers from Nicias arrived at Athens. They delivered their verbal instructions, and answered any questions which were put to them. They also presented his letter, which the registrar of the city, coming forward, read to the Athenian people. It ran as follows:
'Athenians, in many previous despatches I have reported to you the course of events up to this time, but now there is greater need than ever that you should inform yourselves of our situation, and come to some decision. After we had engaged the Syracusans, against whom you sent us, in several battles, and conquered in most of them, and had raised the lines within which we are now stationed, Gylippus, a Lacedaemonian arrived, bringing an army from Peloponnesus and from certain of the cities of Sicily. In the first engagement he was defeated by us, but on the following day we were overcome by numerous horsemen and javelin-men, and retired within our lines. We have therefore desisted from our siege-works and remain idle, since we are overpowered by the superior numbers of the enemy, and indeed cannot bring our whole army into the field, for the defence of our wall absorbs a large part of our heavy-armed. The enemy meanwhile have built a single wall which crosses ours, and we cannot now invest them, unless a large army comes up and takes this cross-wall. So that we, who are supposed to be the besiegers, are really the besieged,11 at least by land; and the more so because we cannot go far even into the country, for we are prevented by their horsemen.
'Moreover they have sent ambassadors to Peloponnesus asking for reinforcements, and Gylippus has gone to the cities in Sicily intending to solicit those who are at present neutral to join him, and to obtain from his allies fresh naval and land forces. For they purpose, as I hear, to attack our walls by land, and at the same time to make an effort at sea. And let no one be startled when I say "at sea." Our fleet was originally in first-rate condition: the ships were sound and the crews were in good order, but now, as the enemy are well aware, the timbers of the ships, having been so long exposed to the sea, are soaked, and the efficiency of the crews is destroyed. We have no means of drawing up our vessels and airing them, because the enemy's fleet is equal or even superior in numbers to our own, and we are always expecting an attack from them. They are clearly trying their strength; they can attack us when they please, and they have far greater facilities for drying their ships, since they are not, like us, engaged in a blockade.
'Even if we had a great superiority in the number of our ships, and were not compelled as we are to employ them all in keeping guard, we could hardly have the like advantage. For our supplies have to pass so near the enemy's city that they are with difficulty conveyed to us now, and if we relax our vigilance ever so little we shall lose them altogether.
'It has been, and continues to be the ruin of our crews, that the sailors, having to forage and fetch water and wood from a distance, are cut off by the Syracusan horse,12 while our servants, since we have been reduced to an equality with the enemy, desert us. Of the foreign sailors, some who were pressed into the service run off at once to the Sicilian cities; others, having been originally attracted by high pay, and fancying that they were going to trade and not to fight, astonished at the resistance which they encounter, and especially at the naval strength of the enemy, either find an excuse for deserting to the Syracusans, or they effect their escape into the country; and Sicily is a large place. Others, again, have persuaded the trierarchs to take Hyccarian slaves in their room while they themselves are busy trading; and thus the precision of the service is lost.
'You to whom I am writing know that the crew of a vessel does not long remain at its prime, and that the sailors who really start the ship and keep the rowing together are but a fraction of the whole number.13 The most hopeless thing of all is that, although I am general, I am not able to put a stop to these disorders, for tempers like yours are not easily controlled, and that we cannot even fill up the crews, whereas the enemy can obtain recruits from many sources. Our daily waste in men and stores can only be replaced out of the supplies which we brought with us; and these we have no means of increasing, for the cities which are now our confederates, Naxos and Catana, are unable to maintain us. There is only one advantage more which the Syracusans can gain over us: if the towns of Italy from which our provisions are derived, seeing in what a plight we are and that you do not come to our help, go over to the enemy, we shall be starved out, and they will have made an end of the war without striking a blow. I could have written you tidings more cheering than these, but none more profitable; for you should be well-informed of our circumstances if you are to take the right steps. Moreover I know your dispositions; you like to hear pleasant things, but afterwards lay the fault on those who tell you them if they are falsified by the event; therefore I think it safer to speak the truth.
'And now, do not imagine that your soldiers and their generals have failed in the fulfilment of the duty which you originally imposed upon them. But when all Sicily is uniting against us, and the Syracusans are expecting another army from Peloponnesus, it is time that you should make up your minds. For the troops which we have here certainly cannot hold out even against our present enemies, and therefore you ought either to recall us or to send another army and fleet as large as this, and plenty of money. You should also send a general to succeed me, for I have a disease in the kidneys and cannot remain here. I claim your indulgence; while I retained my health I often did you good service when in command. But do whatever you mean to do at the very beginning of spring, and let there be no delay. The enemy will obtain reinforcements in Sicily without going far, and although the troops from Peloponnesus will not arrive so soon, yet if you do not take care they will elude you; their movements will either be too secret for you, as they were before,14 or too quick.'
Such was the condition of affairs described in the letter of Nicias. The Athenians, after hearing it read, did not release Nicias from his command, but they joined with him two officers who were already in Sicily, Menander and Euthydemus, until regular colleagues could be elected and sent out, for they did not wish him to bear the burden in his sickness alone. They also resolved to send a second fleet and an army of Athenians taken from the muster-roll and of allies. As colleagues to Nicias they elected Demosthenes the son of Alcisthenes, and Eurymedon the son of Thucles. Eurymedon was despatched immediately to Sicily about the winter solstice; he took with him ten ships conveying a hundred and twenty talents15 of silver, and was to tell the army in Sicily that they should receive assistance and should not be neglected. Demosthenes remained behind, and busied himself in getting ready the expedition which he was to bring out in the spring. He announced to the allies that troops would be required, collected money, and mustered ships, and hoplites at Athens. The Athenians also sent twenty ships to cruise off the Peloponnesian coast and intercept any vessels trying to pass to Sicily from the Peloponnesus or Corinth. The Sicilian envoys16 had now arrived at Corinth, and the Corinthians had heard from them that affairs were looking better in Sicily. Seeing how opportune had been the arrival of the ships which they had already despatched they were more zealous than ever. They prepared to convey hoplites to Sicily in merchant-vessels; the Lacedaemonians were to do the like from Peloponnesus. The Corinthians also proceeded to man twenty-five ships of war, intending to hazard a naval engagement against the Athenian squadron stationed at Naupactus. They hoped that, if the attention of the Athenians was diverted by an opposing force, they would be unable to prevent their merchant-vessels from sailing.
The Lacedaemonians also prepared for their already projected invasion of Attica.17 They were kept to their purpose by the Syracusans and Corinthians, who, having heard of the reinforcements which the Athenians were sending to Sicily, hoped they might be stopped by the invasion. Alcibiades was always at hand insisting upon the importance of fortifying Decelea and of carrying on the war with vigour. Above all, the Lacedaemonians were inspirited by the thought that the Athenians would be more easily overthrown now that they had two wars on hand, one against themselves, and another against the Sicilians. They considered also that this time they had been the first offenders against the treaty, whereas in the former war the transgression had rather been on their own side. For the Thebans had entered Plataea in time of peace,18 and they themselves had refused arbitration when offered by the Athenians, although the former treaty forbade war in case an adversary was willing to submit to arbitration.19 They felt that their ill success was deserved, and they took seriously to heart the disasters which had befallen them at Pylos and elsewhere. But now the Athenians with a fleet of thirty ships had gone forth from Argive territory and ravaged part of the lands of Epidaurus and Prasiae, besides other places;20 marauding expeditions from Pylos were always going on; and whenever quarrels arose about disputed points in the treaty and the Lacedaemonians proposed arbitration, the Athenians refused it. Reflecting upon all this, the Lacedaemonians concluded that the guilt of their former transgression was now shifted to the Athenians, and they were full of warlike zeal. During the winter they bade their allies provide iron, and themselves got tools in readiness for the fortification of Decelea. They also prepared, and continually urged the other Peloponnesians to prepare, the succours which they intended to send in merchant-vessels to the Syracusans. And so the winter ended, and with it the eighteenth year in the Peloponnesian War of which Thucydides wrote the history.
At the very beginning of the next spring, and earlier than ever before, the Lacedaemonians and their allies entered Attica under the command of Agis the son of Archidamus the Lacedaemonian king. They first devastated the plain and its neighbourhood. They then began to fortify Decelea, dividing the work among the cities of the confederacy. Decelea is distant about fourteen miles from Athens, and not much further from Boeotia. The fort was designed for the devastation of the plain and the richest parts of the country, and was erected on a spot within sight of Athens.
While the Peloponnesians and their allies in Attica were thus engaged, the Peloponnesians at home were despatching the hoplites in the merchant-vessels to Sicily. The Lacedaemonians selected the best of the Helots and Neodamodes, numbering in all six hundred, and placed them under the command of Eccritus, a Spartan. The Boeotians furnished three hundred hoplites, who were commanded by two Thebans, Xenon and Nicon, and by Hegesander, a Thespian. These started first and put out into the open sea from Taenarus in Laconia. Not long afterwards the Corinthians sent five hundred heavy-armed, some of them from Corinth itself, others who were Arcadian mercenaries; they were all placed under the command of Alexarchus, a Corinthian. The Sicyonians also sent with the Corinthians two hundred hoplites under the command of Sargeus, a Sicyonian. Meanwhile the twenty-five ships which the Corinthians had manned in the winter lay opposite to the twenty Athenian ships at Naupactus until the merchant-vessels conveying the heavy-armed troops had got safely off. So the design succeeded, and the attention of the Athenians was diverted from the merchant-ships to the triremes.
At the beginning of spring, whilst the Lacedaemonians were fortifying Decelea, the Athenians sent thirty ships under the command of Charicles the son of Apollodorus to cruise about Peloponnesus. He was told to touch at Argos, and there to summon and take on board a force of heavy-armed which the Argives, being allies of the Athenians, were bound to furnish. Meanwhile they despatched under Demosthenes their intended expedition to Sicily: it consisted of sixty Athenian ships and five Chian, twelve hundred heavy-armed Athenians taken from the roll, and as many others as could possibly be obtained from the different islanders; they had also collected from their subject-allies supplies of all sorts for the war. Demosthenes was told first of all to co-operate with Charicles on the coast of Laconia. So he sailed to Aegina, and there waited until the whole of his armament was assembled and until Charicles had taken on board the Argives.
In the same spring and about the same time Gylippus returned to Syracuse, bringing from each of the cities which he had persuaded to join him as many troops as he could obtain. He assembled the Syracusans and told them that they should man as large a fleet as possible and try their fortune at sea; he hoped to obtain a decisive result which would justify the risk. Hermocrates took the same view, and urged them strongly not to be faint-hearted at the prospect of attacking with their ships. He said that the Athenians had not inherited their maritime skill, and would not retain it for ever;21 there was a time when they were less of a naval people than the Syracusans themselves,22 but they had been made sailors from necessity by the Persian invasion. To daring men like the Athenians those who emulated their daring were the most formidable foes. The same reckless courage which had often enabled the Athenians, although inferior in power, to strike terror into their adversaries might now be turned against them by the Syracusans. He was quite sure that if they faced the Athenian navy suddenly and unexpectedly, they would gain more than they would lose; the consternation which they would inspire would more than counterbalance their own inexperience and the superior skill of the Athenians. He told them therefore to try what they could do at sea, and not to be timid. Thus under the influence of Gylippus, Hermocrates, and others, the Syracusans, now eager for the conflict, began to man their ships.
When the fleet was ready, Gylippus, under cover of night, led forth the whole land-army, intending to attack in person the forts on Plemmyrium. Meanwhile the triremes of the Syracusans, at a concerted signal, sailed forth, thirty-five from the greater harbour and forty-five from the lesser, where they had their arsenal. These latter sailed round into the Great Harbour, intending to form a junction with the other ships inside and make a combined attack on Plemmyrium, that the Athenians, assailed both by sea and land, might be disconcerted. The Athenians however quickly manned sixty ships; and with twenty-five of them engaged the thirty-five of the Syracusans which were in the Great Harbour: with the remainder they encountered those which were sailing round from the arsenal. These two squadrons met at once before the mouth of the Great Harbour: the struggle was long and obstinate, the Syracusans striving to force an entrance, the Athenians to prevent them.
Meanwhile Gylippus, quite early in the morning, while the Athenians in Plemmyrium who had gone down to the water-side had their minds occupied by the sea-fight, made a sudden attack upon their forts. He captured the largest of them first, then the two lesser, their garrisons forsaking them when they saw the largest so easily taken. Those who escaped from the fortress first captured, getting into a merchant-vessel and some boats which were moored at Plemmyrium, found their way to the main station of the Athenians, but with difficulty; for they were chased by a swift trireme, the Syracusans at that time having the advantage in the Great Harbour. But when the two lesser fortresses were taken, the Syracusans were already losing the day, and the fugitives got past them with greater ease. For the Syracusan ships which were fighting before the mouth of the harbour, having forced their way through the enemy, entered in disorder, and falling foul of one another gave away the victory to the Athenians, who routed not only these, but also the others by whom they were at first worsted inside the harbour. Eleven Syracusan ships were disabled; the crews in most of them were slain, in three, made prisoners. The Athenians themselves lost three ships. They now drew to land the wrecks of the Syracusan ships, and erecting a trophy on the little island in front of Plemmyrium returned to their own station.
But although the Syracusans were unsuccessful in the sea-fight, still they had taken the fortresses of Plemmyrium. They erected three trophies, one for each fort. Two out of the three forts they repaired and garrisoned, but one of the two which were captured last they demolished. Many perished and many prisoners were made at the capture of the forts, and abundant spoil of different kinds was taken, for the Athenians had used them as a store, and much corn and goods of traders were deposited in them; also much property belonging to the trierarchs, including the sails and other fittings of forty triremes which fell into the enemy's hands, and three triremes which had been drawn up on the beach. The loss of Plemmyrium was one of the greatest and severest blows which befell the Athenians. For now they could no longer even introduce provisions with safety, but the Syracusan ships lay watching to prevent them; and they had to fight for the passage.23 General discouragement and dismay prevailed throughout the army.
The Syracusans next sent out twelve ships under the command of Agatharchus, a Syracusan. One of these hastened to Peloponnesus conveying envoys who were to report their improved prospects, and to urge more strongly than ever the prosecution of the war in Hellas. The remaining eleven sailed to Italy, hearing that ships laden with supplies were on their way to the Athenians. They fell in with and destroyed most of these ships, and burnt a quantity of ship-timber which was lying ready for the Athenians in the territory of Caulonia. Then they came to Locri, and while they were at anchor there, one of the merchant-vessels from Peloponnesus sailed in, bringing some Thespian hoplites.24 These the Syracusans took on board, and sailed homewards. The Athenians watched for them near Megara with twenty ships and took one ship with the crew, but the rest made their escape to Syracuse.
There was some skirmishing in the harbour about the palisades which the Syracusans had fixed in the sea in front of their old dock-houses, that their ships might ride at anchor in the enclosed space, where they could not be struck by the enemy, and would be out of harm's way. The Athenians brought up a ship of ten thousand talents25 burden, which had wooden towers and bulwarks; and from their boats they tied cords to the stakes and wrenched and tore them up;26 or dived and sawed them through underneath the water. Meanwhile the Syracusans kept up a shower of missiles from the dock-houses, which the men in the ship returned. At length the Athenians succeeded in pulling up most of the palisade. The stakes which were out of sight were the most dangerous of all, there being some which were so fixed that they did not appear above the water; and no vessel could safely come near. They were like a sunken reef, and a pilot, not seeing them, might easily catch his ship upon them. Even these were sawn off by men who dived for hire; but the Syracusans drove them in again. Many were the contrivances employed on both sides, as was very natural, when two armies confronted each other at so short a distance. There were continual skirmishes, and they practised all kinds of stratagems.
The Syracusans also sent to the Siciliot cities Corinthian, Ambraciot, and Lacedaemonian ambassadors announcing the taking of Plemmyrium, and explaining that in the sea-fight they had been defeated not so much by the superior strength of the enemy as through their own disorder. They were also to report their great hopes of success, and to ask for assistance both by land and sea. They were to add that the Athenians were expecting reinforcements; if they could succeed in destroying the army then in Sicily before these arrived, there would be an end of the war. Such was the course of events in Sicily.
Demosthenes, when the reinforcements which he was to take to Sicily had all been collected, sailed from Aegina to Peloponnesus and joined Charicles and his thirty ships.27 He embarked the Argive hoplites, and, proceeding to Laconia, first devastated some part of the lands of Epidaurus Limera. Next the Athenians landed in the district of Laconia opposite Cythera, where there is a temple of Apollo. They ravaged various parts of the country, and fortified a sort of isthmus in the neighbourhood, that the Helots of the Lacedaemonians might desert and find a refuge there, and that privateers might make the place, as they did Pylos, their head-quarters for marauding expeditions. Demosthenes assisted in the occupation, and then sailed for Corcyra, intending to collect additional forces from the allies in that region, and to make his way with all speed to Sicily. Charicles waited until he had completed the fort, and then leaving a garrison he sailed home with his thirty ships, accompanied by the Argives.
During the same summer there arrived at Athens thirteen hundred Thracian targeteers of the Dian race, who carried dirks; they were to have sailed with Demosthenes to Sicily, but came too late, and the Athenians determined to send them back to their native country. Each soldier was receiving a drachma28 per day; and to use them against Decelea would have been too expensive.
For during this summer Decelea had been fortified by the whole Peloponnesian army, and was henceforward regularly occupied for the annoyance of the country by a succession of garrisons sent from the allied cities, whose incursions did immense harm to the Athenians: the destruction of property and life which ensued did as much as anything to ruin the city. Hitherto the invasions had been brief and did not prevent them from getting something from the soil in the interval; but now the Peloponnesians were continually on the spot; and sometimes they were reinforced by additional troops, but always the regular garrison, who were compelled to find their own supplies, overran and despoiled the country. The Lacedaemonian king, Agis, was present in person, and devoted his whole energies to the war. The sufferings of the Athenians were terrible. For they were dispossessed of their entire territory; more than twenty thousand slaves had deserted,29 most of them workmen; all their sheep and cattle had perished, and now that the cavalry had to go out every day and make descents upon Decelea or keep guard all over the country, their horses were either wounded by the enemy, or lamed by the roughness of the ground and the incessant fatigue.
Provisions, which had been formerly conveyed by the shorter route from Euboea to Oropus and thence overland through Decelea, were now carried by sea round the promontory of Sunium at great cost. Athens was obliged to import everything from abroad, and resembled a fort rather than a city. In the daytime the citizens guarded the battlements by relays; during the night every man was on service except the cavalry; some at their places of arms, others on the wall,30 summer and winter alike, until they were quite worn out. But worse than all was the cruel necessity of maintaining two wars at once; and they carried on both with a determination which no one would have believed unless he had actually seen it. That, blockaded as they were by the Peloponnesians, who had raised a fort in their country, they should refuse to let go Sicily, and, themselves besieged, persevere in the siege of Syracuse, which as a mere city might rank with Athens, and whereas the Hellenes generally were expecting at the beginning of the war, some that they would survive a year, others two or perhaps three years, certainly not more, if the Peloponnesians invaded Attica--that in the seventeenth year from the first invasion, after so exhausting a struggle, the Athenians should have been strong enough and bold enough to go to Sicily at all, and to plunge into a fresh war as great as that in which they were already engaged--how contrary was all this to the expectation of mankind! Through the vast expense thus incurred, above all through the mischief done by Decelea, they were now greatly impoverished. It was at this time that they imposed upon their allies, instead of the tribute, a duty of five percent on all things imported and exported by sea, thinking that this would be more productive. For their expenses became heavier and heavier as the war grew in extent, and at the same time their sources of revenue were drying up.
And so, being in extreme want of money, and desirous to economise, they at once sent away the Thracians who came too late for Demosthenes, ordering Diitrephes to convey them home, but, as they must needs sail through the Euripus, to employ them in any way which he could against the enemy. He landed them at Tanagra and there made a hasty raid; in the evening he sailed from Chalcis in Euboea across the Euripus, and disembarking his troops in Boeotia led them against the town of Mycalessus. He passed the night unperceived at the temple of Hermes, which is distant from Mycalessus about two miles, and at the dawn of day he assaulted and captured the city, which is not large. The inhabitants were taken off their guard; for they never imagined that an enemy would come and attack them at so great a distance from the sea. The walls were weak, and in some places had fallen down; in others they were built low; while the citizens, in their sense of security, had left their gates open. The Thracians dashed into the town, sacked the houses and temples, and slaughtered the inhabitants. They spared neither old nor young, but cut down, one after another, all whom they met, the women and children, the very beasts of burden, and every living thing which they saw. For the Thracians, when they dare, can be as bloody as the worst barbarians.31 There in Mycalessus the wildest panic ensued, and destruction in every form was rife. They even fell upon a boys' school, the largest in the place, which the children had just entered, and massacred them every one. No calamity could be worse than this, touching as it did the whole city, none was ever so sudden or so terrible.
When the news reached the Thebans they hastened to the rescue. Coming upon the Thracians before they had gone far, they took away the spoil and, putting them to flight, pursued them to the Euripus, where the ships which had brought them were moored. Of those who fell, the greater number were slain in the attempt to embark; for they did not know how to swim, and the men on board, seeing what was happening, had anchored their vessels out of bow-shot.32 In the retreat itself the Thracians made a very fair defence against the Theban cavalry which first attacked them, running out and closing in again, after the manner of their country; and their loss was trifling. But a good many who remained for the sake of plunder were cut off within the city and slain. The whole number who fell was two hundred and fifty, out of thirteen hundred. They killed, however, some of the Thebans and others who came to the rescue, in all about twenty, both horsemen and hoplites. Scirphondas, one of the Theban Boeotarchs, was slain. A large proportion of the Mycalessians perished. Such was the fate of Mycalessus; considering the size of the city, no calamity more deplorable occurred during the war.33
Demosthenes, who after helping to build the fort on the Laconian coast, had sailed away to Corcyra,34 on his way thither destroyed a merchant-vessel anchored at Phea in Elis, which was intended to convey some of the Corinthian hoplites to Sicily. But the crew escaped, and sailed in another vessel. He went on to Zacynthus and Cephallenia, where he took on board some hoplites, and sent to the Messenians of Naupactus for others; he then passed over to the mainland of Acarnania, and touched at Alyzia and Anactorium,35 which were at that time occupied by the Athenians. While he was in those regions he met Eurymedon returning from Sicily, whither he had been sent during the winter in charge of the money which had been voted to the army;36 he reported, among other things, the capture of Plemmyrium by the Syracusans, of which he had heard on his voyage home. Conon too, the governor of Naupactus, brought word that the twenty-five Corinthian ships37 which were stationed on the opposite coast were still showing a hostile front, and clearly meant to fight. He requested the generals to send him reinforcements, since his own ships--eighteen in number--were not able to give battle against the twenty-five of the enemy. Demosthenes and Eurymedon sent ten ships, the swiftest which they had, to the fleet at Naupactus, while they themselves completed the muster of the expedition. Eurymedon, sailing to Corcyra, ordered the Corcyraeans to man fifteen ships, and himself levied a number of hoplites. He had turned back from his homeward voyage, and was now holding the command, to which, in conjunction with Demosthenes, he had been appointed. Demosthenes meanwhile had been collecting slingers and javelin-men in the neighbourhood of Acarnania.
The ambassadors from Syracuse who had gone to the cities of Sicily after the taking of Plemmyrium, and had persuaded them to join in the war, were now about to bring back the army which they had collected. Nicias, having previous information, sent word to the Sicel allies of Athens who commanded the road, such as the Centoripes and Alicyaei, and told them not to let the forces of the enemy pass, but to unite and stop them; there was no likelihood, he said, that they would even think of taking another road, since they were not allowed to go through the country of the Agrigentines. So when the forces of the Sicilian towns were on their way, the Sicels, complying with the request of the Athenians, set an ambush in three divisions, and falling upon them suddenly when they were off their guard, destroyed about eight hundred of them, and all the envoys except the Corinthian; he brought the survivors, numbering fifteen hundred, to Syracuse.
About the same time arrived a reinforcement from Camarina38 of five hundred hoplites, three hundred javelin-men, and three hundred archers. The Geloans also sent five ships with four hundred javelin-men and two hundred horsemen. Hitherto the Sicilian cities had only watched the course of events, but now the whole island, with the exception of Agrigentum, which was neutral, united with the Syracusans against the Athenians.
After their misfortune in the Sicel country, the Syracusans deferred their intended attack for a time. The forces which Demosthenes and Eurymedon had collected from Corcyra and the mainland were now ready, and they passed over the Ionian Sea to the promontory of Iapygia. Proceeding onwards, they touched at the Iapygian islands called Choerades, and took on board a hundred and fifty Iapygian javelin-men of the Messapian tribe. After renewing an ancient friendship with Artas, a native prince who had furnished the javelin-men, they went on to Metapontium in Italy. They persuaded the Metapontians, who were their allies, to let them have two triremes and three hundred javelin-men; these they took with them and sailed to Thurii. At Thurii they found that the party opposed to the Athenians had just been driven out by a revolution. Wishing to hold another muster and inspection of their whole army, and to be sure that no one was missing, they remained there for some time. They also did their best to gain the hearty co-operation of the Thurians, and to effect an offensive and defensive alliance with them, now that they had succeeded in expelling the anti-Athenian party.
About the same time the Peloponnesians in their fleet of twenty-five ships, which was stationed opposite the Athenian fleet at Naupactus to protect the passage of the merchant-vessels going to Sicily, made ready for action. They manned some additional ships, which raised their number nearly to that of the Athenians, and anchored at Erineus off Achaia, which is in the territory of Rhypae. The bay, off the shore of which they were stationed, has the form of a crescent, and the infantry of the Corinthians and of the allies, which had come from the country on both sides to co-operate with the fleet, was disposed on the projecting promontories. The ships, which were under the command of Polyanthes the Corinthian, formed a close line between the two points. The Athenians sailed out against them from Naupactus with thirty-three ships, under the command of Diphilus. For a while the Corinthians remained motionless; in due time the signal was raised and they rushed upon the Athenians and engaged with them. The battle was long and obstinate. Three Corinthian ships were destroyed. The Athenians had no ships absolutely sunk, but about seven of them were rendered useless; for they were struck full in front by the beaks of the Corinthian vessels, which had the projecting beams of their prows designedly built thicker, and their bows were stoven in. The engagement was undecided and both sides claimed the victory; but the Athenians gained possession of the wrecks because the wind blew them towards the open sea and the Corinthians did not put out again. So the two fleets parted. There was no pursuit, nor were any prisoners taken on either side. For the Corinthians and Peloponnesians were fighting close to the land and thus their crews escaped, while on the Athenian side no ship was sunk. As soon as the Athenians had returned to Naupactus the Corinthians set up a trophy, insisting that they were the victors, because they had disabled more of the enemy's ships than the enemy of theirs. They refused to acknowledge defeat on the same ground which made the Athenians unwilling to claim the victory. For the Corinthians considered themselves conquerors, if they were not severely defeated; but the Athenians thought that they were defeated because they had not gained a signal victory. When however the Peloponnesians had sailed away and the land-army was dispersed, the Athenians raised another trophy in Achaia, at a distance of about two miles and a quarter from the Corinthian station at Erineus. Such was the result of the engagement.
Demosthenes and Eurymedon, when the Thurians had been prevailed upon to help them, and had furnished seven hundred hoplites and three hundred javelin-men, commanded the ships to sail towards the territory of Crotona, and themselves, after holding a review of all their infantry at the river Sybaris, led them through the territory of Thurii. On their arrival at the river Hylias the people of Crotona sent to them, and said that they could not allow the army to march through their country. So they directed their march down to the sea and passed the night at the mouth of the river, where they were met by their ships. On the following day they re-embarked the army and coasted along, touching at the cities which they passed, with the exception of Locri,39 until they came to the promontory of Petra near Rhegium.
The Syracusans, hearing of their approach, desired to have another trial of the fleet, and to use the army which they had collected with the express purpose of bringing on an engagement before Demosthenes and Eurymedon arrived in Sicily. Profiting by the experience which they had acquired in the last sea-fight, they devised several improvements in the construction of their vessels. They cut down and strengthened the prows, and also made the beams which projected from them thicker; these latter they supported underneath with stays of timber extending from the beams to and through the sides of the ship a length of nine feet within and nine without, after the fashion in which the Corinthians had refitted their prows before they fought with the squadron from Naupactus. For the Syracusans hoped thus to gain an advantage over the Athenian ships, which were not constructed to resist such improvements, but had their prows slender, because they were in the habit of rowing round an enemy and striking the side of his vessel instead of meeting him prow to prow. The plan would be the more effectual, because they were going to fight in the Great Harbour, where many ships would be crowded in a narrow space. They would charge full in face, and presenting their own massive and solid beaks would stave in the hollow and weak forepart of their enemies' ships;40 while the Athenians, confined as they were, would not be able to wheel round them or break their line before striking, to which manoeuvres they mainly trusted--the want of room would make the one impossible, and the Syracusans themselves would do their best to prevent the other. What had hitherto been considered a defect of skill on the part of their pilots, the practice of striking beak to beak, would now be a great advantage, to which they would have constant recourse; for the Athenians, when forced to back water, could only retire towards the land, which was too near, and of which but a small part, that is to say, their own encampment, was open to them. The Syracusans would be masters of the rest of the harbour, and, if the Athenians were hard pressed at any point, they would all be driven together into one small spot, where they would run foul of one another and fall into confusion. (Which proved to be the case; for nothing was more disastrous to the Athenians in all these sea-fights than the impossibility of retreating, as the Syracusans could, to any part of the harbour.) Again, while they themselves had command of the outer sea and could charge from it and back water into it whenever they pleased, the Athenians would be unable to sail into the open and turn before striking;41 besides, Plemmyrium was hostile to them, and the mouth of the harbour was narrow.
Having thus adapted their plans to the degree of naval skill and strength which they possessed, the Syracusans, greatly encouraged by the result of the previous engagement, attacked the Athenians both by sea and land. A little before the fleet sailed forth, Gylippus led the land-forces out of the city against that part of the Athenian wall which faced Syracuse, while some of the heavy-armed troops, which together with the cavalry and light infantry were stationed at the Olympieum, approached the lines of the enemy from the opposite side. Nearly at the same instant the ships of the Syracusans and their allies sailed out. The Athenians at first thought that they were going to make an attempt by land only, but when they saw the ships suddenly bearing down upon them they were disconcerted. Some mounted the walls or prepared to meet their assailants in front of them; others went out against the numerous cavalry and javelin-men, who were hastening from the Olympieum and the outer side of the wall; others manned the ships or prepared to fight on the beach. When the crews had got on board they sailed out with seventy-five ships; the number of Syracusan ships being about eighty.
During a great part of the day the two fleets continued advancing and retreating and skirmishing with one another. Neither was able to gain any considerable advantage, only the Syracusans sank one or two ships of the Athenians; so they parted, and at the same time the infantry retired from the walls. On the following day the Syracusans remained quiet and gave no sign of what they meant to do next. Seeing how close the conflict had been, Nicias expected another attack; he therefore compelled the trierarchs to repair their ships wherever they were injured, and anchored merchant-vessels in front of the palisades which the Athenians had driven into the sea so as to form a kind of dock for the protection of their own ships; these he placed at a distance of about two hundred feet from one another, in order that any ship which was hard pressed might have a safe retreat and an opportunity of going out again at leisure. These preparations occupied the Athenians for a whole day from morning to night.
On the next day, in the same manner as before but at an earlier hour, the Syracusans attacked the Athenians both by sea and land. Again the ships faced one another, and again a great part of the day was passed in skirmishing. At length Ariston the son of Pyrrhichus, a Corinthian, who was the ablest pilot in the Syracusan fleet, persuaded the commanders to send a message to the proper authorities in the city desiring them to have the market transferred as quickly as possible to the shore, and to compel any one who had food for sale to bring his whole stock thither. The sailors would thus be enabled to disembark and take their midday meal close to the ships; and so after a short interval they might, without waiting until the next day, renew the attack upon the Athenians when least expected.
The generals, agreeing to the proposal, sent the message, and the market was brought down to the shore. Suddenly the Syracusans backed water and rowed towards the city; then disembarking they at once took their meal on the spot. The Athenians, regarding their retreat as a confession of defeat, disembarked at leisure, and among other matters set about preparing their own meal, taking for granted that there would be no more fighting that day. Suddenly the Syracusans manned their ships and again bore down upon them; the Athenians, in great disorder and most of them fasting, hurried on board, and with considerable difficulty got under weigh. For some time the two fleets looked at one another, and did not engage; after a while the Athenians thought they had better not delay until they had fairly tired themselves out, but attack at once. So, cheering on one another, they charged and fought. The Syracusans remained firm, and meeting the enemy prow to prow, as they had resolved, stove in by the strength of their beaks a great part of the bows of the Athenian ships. Their javelin-men on the decks greatly injured the enemy. Still more mischief was done by Syracusans who rowed about in light boats and dashed in upon the blades of the enemy's oars, or ran up alongside and threw darts at the sailors.
By such expedients as these the Syracusans, who made a great effort, gained the victory; and the Athenians, retreating between the merchant-vessels, took refuge at their own moorings. The ships of the enemy pursued them as far as the entrance, but they were prevented from following further by leaden dolphins, which were suspended aloft from beams placed in the merchant-vessels. Two Syracusan ships, in the exultation of victory, approached too near and were disabled; one of them was taken with its whole crew. The Syracusans damaged many of the Athenian ships and sank seven; the crews were either killed or taken prisoners. They then retired and raised trophies of the two sea-fights. They were now quite confident that they were not only equal but far superior to the Athenians at sea, and they hoped to gain the victory on land as well. So they prepared to renew the attack on both elements.
But in the midst of their preparations Demosthenes and Eurymedon arrived with the Athenian reinforcements. They brought a fleet, including foreign ships, of about seventy-three sail, carrying five thousand heavy infantry of their own and of their allies, numerous javelin-men, slingers, and archers, both Hellenic and Barbarian, and abundant supplies of every kind. The Syracusans and their allies were in consternation. It seemed to them as if their perils would never have an end when they saw, notwithstanding the fortification of Decelea, another army arriving nearly equal to the former, and Athens displaying such varied and exuberant strength; while the first Athenian army regained a certain degree of confidence after their disasters. Demosthenes at once saw how matters stood; he knew that there was no time to be lost, and resolved that it should not be with him as it had been with Nicias. For Nicias was dreaded at his first arrival; but when, instead of at once laying siege to Syracuse, he passed the winter at Catana, he fell into contempt, and his delay gave Gylippus time to come with an army from Peloponnesus. Whereas if he had struck, hard at first, the Syracusans would never even have thought of getting fresh troops; strong in their own self-sufficiency, they would have discovered their inferiority only when the city had been actually invested, and then, if they had been sent for reinforcements, they would have found them useless. Demosthenes, reflecting on all this, and aware that he too would never again be in a position to inspire such terror as on the day of his arrival, desired to take the speediest advantage of the panic caused by the appearance of his army. Accordingly, seeing that the cross-wall of the Syracusans which had prevented the Athenians from investing them was but a single line, and that if he could gain the command of the way up to Epipolae and take the camp which was on the high ground the wall would be easily captured, for no one would so much as stand his ground against them, he resolved to make the attempt at once. This would be the shortest way of putting an end to the war. If he succeeded, Syracuse would fall into his hands; if he failed, he meant to bring away the expedition; he would no longer wear out the Athenian army, and weaken the state to no purpose.
The Athenians began by ravaging the fields of the Syracusans about the Anapus, and regained their former superiority both by sea and land. At sea the Syracusans no longer opposed them; and on land they merely sent out parties of cavalry and javelin-men from the Olympieum.
Before he attacked Epipolae, Demosthenes wished to try what could be done with engines against the counter-wall. But the engines which he brought up were burnt by the enemy, who fought from the wall, and, after making assaults at several points, the Athenian forces were repulsed. He now determined to delay no longer, and persuaded Nicias and his colleagues to carry out the plan of attacking Epipolae. To approach during the daytime and ascend the heights undetected appeared to be impossible; so he resolved to attack by night. He ordered provisions for five days, and took with him all the masons and carpenters in the army; also a supply of arrows and of the various implements which would be required for siege-works if he were victorious. About the first watch he, Eurymedon, and Menander led out the whole army and marched towards Epipolae. Nicias was left in the Athenian fortifications. Reaching Epipolae at the Euryelus, where their first army had originally ascended,42 and advancing undiscovered by the garrison to the fort which the Syracusans had there erected, they took it and killed some of the guards. But the greater number made good their escape and carried the news to the three fortified camps, one of the Syracusans, one of the other Sicilian Greeks, and one of the allies, which had been formed on Epipolae; they also gave the alarm to the six hundred who were an advanced guard stationed on this part of Epipolae.43 They hastened to meet the enemy, but Demosthenes and the Athenians came upon them and, in spite of a vigorous resistance, drove them back. The Athenians immediately pressed forward; they were determined not to lose a moment or to slacken their onset until they had accomplished their purpose. Others captured the first part of the Syracusan counter-wall and, the guards taking to flight, began to drag off the battlements. Meanwhile the Syracusans, the allies, and Gylippus with his own troops, were hurrying from the outworks. The boldness of this night attack quite amazed them. They had not recovered from their terror when they met the Athenians, who were at first too strong for them and drove them back. But now the conquerors, in the confidence of victory, began to fall into disorder as they advanced; they wanted to force their way as quickly as they could through all that part of the enemy which had not yet fought, and they were afraid that if they relaxed their efforts the Syracusans might rally. The Boeotians were the first to make a stand: they attacked the Athenians, turned, and put them to flight.
The whole army was soon in utter confusion, and the perplexity was so great that from neither side could the particulars of the conflict be exactly ascertained. In the daytime the combatants see more clearly; though even then only what is going on immediately around them, and that imperfectly--nothing of the battle as a whole. But in a night engagement, like this in which two great armies fought--the only one of the kind which occurred during the war--who could be certain of anything? The moon was bright, and they saw before them, as men naturally would in the moonlight, the figures of one another, but were unable to distinguish with certainty who was friend or foe. Large bodies of heavy-armed troops, both Athenian and Syracusan, were moving about in a narrow space; of the Athenians some were already worsted, while others, still unconquered, were carrying on the original movement. A great part of their army had not yet engaged, but either had just mounted the heights, or were making the ascent; and no one knew which way to go. For in front they were defeated already; there was nothing but confusion, and all distinction between the two armies was lost by reason of the noise. The victorious Syracusans and their allies, who had no other means of communication in the darkness, cheered on their comrades with loud cries as they received the onset of their assailants. The Athenians were looking about for each other; and every one who met them, though he might be a friend who had turned and fled, they imagined to be an enemy. They kept constantly asking the watchword (for there was no other mode of knowing one another), and thus they not only caused great confusion among themselves by all asking at once, but revealed the word to the enemy. The watchword of the Syracusans was not so liable to be discovered, because being victorious they kept together and were more easily recognised. So that when they were encountered by a superior number of the enemy they, knowing the Athenian watchword, escaped; but the Athenians in a like case, failing to answer the challenge, were killed. Most disastrous of all were the mistakes caused by the sound of the Paean, which, the same being heard in both armies, was a great source of perplexity. For there were in the battle Argives, Corcyraeans, and other Dorian allies of the Athenians, and when they raised the Paean they inspired as much alarm as the enemy themselves; so that in many parts of the army, when the confusion had once begun, not only did friends terrify friends and citizens their fellow-citizens whom they had encountered, but they attacked one another, and were with difficulty disentangled. The greater number of those who were pursued and killed perished by throwing themselves from the cliffs; for the descent from Epipolae is by a narrow path. The fugitives who reached the level ground, especially those who had served in the former army and knew the neighbourhood, mostly escaped to the camp. But of the newly-arrived many missed their way, and, wandering about until daybreak, were then cut off by the Syracusan cavalry who were scouring the country.
On the following day the Syracusans erected two trophies, one on Epipolae at the summit of the ascent, the other at the spot where the Boeotians made the first stand. The Athenians received their dead under a flag of truce. A considerable number of them and of their allies had fallen; there were however more arms taken than there were bodies of the slain; for those who were compelled to leap from the heights, whether they perished or not, had thrown away their shields.
The confidence of the Syracusans was restored by their unexpected success, and they sent Sicanus with fifteen ships to Agrigentum, then in a state of revolution, that he might win over the place if he could. Gylippus had gone off again by land to collect a new army in the other parts of Sicily, hoping after the victory of Epipolae to carry the Athenian fortifications by storm.
Meanwhile the Athenian generals, troubled by their recent defeat and the utter discouragement which prevailed in the army, held a council of war. They saw that their attempts all failed, and that the soldiers were weary of remaining. For they were distressed by sickness, proceeding from two causes: the season of the year was that in which men are most liable to disease; and the place in which they were encamped was damp and unhealthy. And they felt that the situation was in every way hopeless. Demosthenes gave his voice against remaining; he said that the decisive attack upon Epipolae had failed, and, in accordance with his original intention, he should vote for immediate departure while the voyage was possible, and while, with the help of the ships which had recently joined them, they had the upper hand at any rate by sea. It was more expedient for the city that they should make war upon the Peloponnesians, who were raising a fort in Attica, than against the Syracusans, whom they could now scarcely hope to conquer; and there was no sense in carrying on the siege at a vast expense and with no result. This was the opinion of Demosthenes.
Nicias in his own mind took the same gloomy view of their affairs; but he did not wish openly to confess their weakness, or by a public vote given in a numerous assembly to let their intention reach the enemy's ears, and so lose the advantage of departing secretly whenever they might choose to go. He had moreover still some reason to suppose that the Syracusans, of whose condition he was better informed than the other generals, were likely to be worse off than themselves if they would only persevere in the siege; they would be worn out by the exhaustion of their resources; and now the Athenians with their additional ships had much greater command of the sea.--There was a party in Syracuse itself which wanted to surrender the city to the Athenians, and they kept sending messages to Nicias and advising him not to depart. Having this information he was still wavering and considering, and had not made up his mind. But in addressing the council he positively refused to withdraw the army; he knew, he said, that the Athenian people would not forgive their departure if they left without an order from home. The men upon whose votes their fate would depend would not, like themselves, have seen with their own eyes the state of affairs; they would only have heard the criticisms of others, and would be convinced by any accusations which a clever speaker might bring forward.44 Indeed many or most of the very soldiers who were now crying out that their case was desperate would raise the opposite cry when they reached home, and would say that the generals were traitors, and had been bribed to depart; and therefore he, knowing the tempers of the Athenians, would for his own part rather take his chance and fall, if he must, alone by the hands of the enemy, than die45 unjustly on a dishonourable charge at the hands of the Athenians. And, after all, the Syracusans were in a condition worse than their own; for they had to maintain mercenary troops; they were spending money on garrisons, and had now kept up a large navy for a whole year; already in great difficulties, they would soon be in greater; they had expended two thousand talents,46 and were heavily in arrear; and if by a failure in the pay they suffer any diminution of their present forces their affairs would be ruined. For they depended on mercenaries, who, unlike the Athenian allies, were under no compulsion to serve. Therefore, he said, they ought to persevere in the siege, and not go away disheartened by the greatness of the expense, for they were far richer than the enemy.47
Nicias spoke thus decidedly because he knew exactly how matters stood in Syracuse; he was aware of their want of money, and of the secret existence of that party within the walls which wished well to the Athenians, and was continually sending word to him not to depart; and the confidence in his navy, if not in his army, which now possessed him was greater than ever. But Demosthenes would not hear for an instant of persisting in the siege; if, he said, the army must remain and ought not to be removed without a vote of the assembly, then they should retire to Thapsus or Catana, whence they might overrun the whole country with their land-forces, maintaining themselves at the expense of the enemy and doing him great damage. They would thus fight their battles, not cooped up in the harbour, which gave an advantage to the enemy, but in the open sea, where their skill would be available and their charges and retreats would not be circumscribed by the narrow space which now hampered their movements whenever they had to put in or out. In a word, he wholly disapproved of the Athenians continuing in their present position; they should with all speed break up the siege and be gone. Eurymedon took the same side. Still Nicias resisted; there was delay and hesitation, and a suspicion that he might have some ground which they did not know for his unwillingness to yield. And so the Athenians stayed on where they were.
Meanwhile Gylippus and Sicanus returned to Syracuse. Sicanus had not succeeded in his design upon Agrigentum; for while he was at Gela on his way the party inclined to friendship with the Syracusans had been driven out. But Gylippus brought back a large army, together with the hoplites who had been sent in merchant-vessels from Peloponnesus in the spring,48 and had come by way of Libya to Selinus. They had been driven to Libya by stress of weather, and the Cyrenaeans had given them two triremes and pilots. On their voyage they had made common cause with the Evesperitae, who were besieged by the Libyans. After defeating the Libyans they sailed on to Neapolis, a Carthaginian factory which is the nearest point to Sicily, the passage taking two days and a night only; thence they crossed and came to Selinus. On their arrival, the Syracusans immediately prepared to renew their attack upon the Athenians, both by land and sea. And the Athenian generals, seeing that their enemy had been reinforced by a new army, and that their own affairs, instead of improving, were daily growing worse in every respect, and being especially troubled by the sickness of their troops, repented that they had not gone before. Even Nicias now no longer objected, but only made the condition that there should be no open voting. So, maintaining such secrecy as they could, they gave orders for the departure of the expedition; the men were to prepare themselves against a given signal. The preparations were made and they were on the point of sailing, when the moon, being just then at the full, was eclipsed. The mass of the army was greatly moved, and called upon the generals to remain. Nicias himself, who was too much under the influence of divination and such like, refused even to discuss the question of their removal until they had remained thrice nine days, as the soothsayers prescribed. This was the reason why the departure of the Athenians was finally delayed.
And now the Syracusans, having heard what had happened, were more eager than ever to prosecute the war to the end; they saw in the intention of the Athenians to depart a confession that they were no longer superior to themselves, either by sea or land; and they did not want them to settle down in some other part of Sicily where they would be more difficult to manage, but sought to compel them forthwith to fight at sea under the disadvantages of their present position. So they manned their ships and exercised for as many days as they thought sufficient. When the time came they began by attacking the Athenian lines. A small number both of the hoplites and of the cavalry came out of some of the gates to meet them; they cut off however a portion of the hoplites, and, putting the main body to flight, drove them within their walls. The entrance was narrow, and the Athenians lost seventy horses and a few infantry.
The Syracusan army then retired. On the morrow their ships, in number seventy-six, sailed forth, and at the same time their landforces marched against the walls. The Athenians on their side put out with eighty-six ships; and the two fleets met and fought. Eurymedon, who commanded the right wing of the Athenians, hoping to surround the enemy, extended his line too far towards the land, and was defeated by the Syracusans, who, after overcoming the Athenian centre, cooped him up in the inner bay of the harbour. There he was slain, and the vessels which were under his command and had followed him were destroyed. The Syracusans now pursued and began to drive ashore the rest of the Athenian fleet.
Gylippus, observing the discomfiture of the enemy, who were being defeated and driven to land beyond their own palisade and the lines of their camp, hastened with a part of his army to the causeway which ran along the harbour, intending to kill all who landed, and to assist the Syracusans in capturing the ships, which could be more easily towed away if the shore was in the hands of their friends. The Tyrrhenians, who guarded this part of the Athenian lines, seeing Gylippus and his forces advance in disorder, rushed out, and attacking the foremost put them to flight, and drove them into the marsh called Lysimelea. But soon the Syracusans and their allies came up in greater numbers. The Athenians in fear for their ships advanced to the support of the Tyrrhenians, and joined in the engagement; the Syracusans were overcome and pursued, and a few of their heavy-armed slain. Most of the Athenian ships were saved and brought back to the Athenian station. Still the Syracusans and their allies took eighteen, and killed the whole of their crews. Then, hoping to burn the remainder of the fleet, they procured an old merchant-vessel, which they filled with faggots and brands; these they lighted, and as the wind blew right upon the enemy they let the ship go. The Athenians, alarmed for the safety of their fleet, contrived means by which they extinguished their flames, and succeeded in keeping the fireship at a distance. Thus the danger was averted.
The Syracusans now raised a trophy of their naval victory, and another marking their interception of the hoplites on the higher ground close to the wall at the place where they took the horses. The Athenians raised a trophy of the victory over the land-forces whom the Tyrrhenians drove into the marsh, and another of that which they had themselves gained with the rest of the army.
The Syracusans, who up to this time had been afraid of the reinforcements of Demosthenes, had now gained a brilliant success by sea as well as by land; the Athenians were in utter despair. Great was their surprise at the result, and still greater their regret that they had ever come. The Sicilian were the only cities which they had ever encountered similar in character to their own,49 having the same democratic institutions and strong in ships, cavalry, and population. They were not able by holding out the prospect of a change of government to introduce an element of discord among them which might have gained them over,50 nor could they master them by a51 decided superiority of force. They had failed at almost every point, and were already in great straits, when the defeat at sea, which they could not have thought possible, reduced their fortunes to a still lower ebb.
The Syracusans at once sailed round the shore of the harbour without fear, and determined to close the mouth, that the Athenians might not be able, even if they wanted, to sail out by stealth. For they were now striving, no longer to achieve their own deliverance, but to cut off the escape of the Athenians; they considered their position already far superior, as indeed it was, and they hoped that if they could conquer the Athenians and their allies by sea and land, their success would be glorious in the eyes of all the Hellenes, who would at once be set free, some from slavery, others from fear. For the Athenians, having lost so much of their power, would never be able to face the enemies who would rise up against them. And the glory of the deliverance would be ascribed to the Syracusans, who would be honoured by all living men and all future ages. The conflict was still further ennobled by the thought that they were now conquering,52 not only the Athenians, but a host of their allies. And they themselves were not alone, but many had come to their support; they were taking the command in a war by the side of Corinth and Lacedaemon; they had offered their own city to bear the brunt of the encounter, and they had made an immense advance in naval power. More nations met at Syracuse than ever gathered around any single city, although not so many as the whole number of nations enrolled in this war under the Athenians and Lacedaemonians.
I will now enumerate the various peoples who came to Sicily as friends or enemies, to share either in the conquest or in the defence of the country, and who fought before Syracuse,53 choosing their side, not so much from a sense of right, or from obligations of kinship, as from the accident of compulsion or of their own interest.
The Athenians themselves, who were Ionians, went of their own free will against the Syracusans, who were Dorians; they were followed by the Lemnians and Imbrians54 and the then inhabitants of Aegina,55 and by the Hestiaeans dwelling at Hestiaea in Euboea:56 all these were their own colonists, speaking the same language with them, and retaining the same institutions.
Of the rest who joined in the expedition, some were subjects, others independent allies, some again mercenaries. Of the subjects and tributaries, the Eretrians, Chalcidians, Styreans, and Carystians came from Euboea; the Ceans, Andrians, and Tenians from the islands; the Milesians, Samians, and Chians from Ionia. Of these however the Chians57 were independent, and instead of paying tribute, provided ships. All or nearly all were Ionians and descendants of the Athenians, with the exception of the Carystians, who are Dryopes. They were subjects and constrained to follow, but still they were Ionians fighting against Dorians. There were also Aeolians, namely, the Methymnaeans,58 who furnished ships but were not tributaries, and the Tenedians and Aenians, who paid tribute. These Aeolians were compelled to fight against their Aeolian founders, the Boeotians, who formed part of the Syracusan army. The Plataeans were the only Boeotians opposed to Boeotians, a natural result of mutual hatred. The Rhodians and Cytherians were both Dorians; the Cytherians, although Lacedaemonian colonists, bore arms in the Athenian cause against the Lacedaemonians who came with Gylippus; and the Rhodians, though by descent Argive, were compelled to fight against the Syracusans, who were Dorians, and against the Geloans, who were actually their own colony,59 and were taking part with Syracuse. Of the islanders around Peloponnesus, the Cephallenians and Zacynthians were independent;60 still, being islanders, they followed under a certain degree of constraint; for the Athenians were masters of the sea. The Corcyraeans, who were not only Dorians but actually Corinthians, were serving against Corinthians and Syracusans, although they were the colonists of the one and the kinsmen of the other; they followed under a decent appearance of compulsion, but quite readily, because they hated the Corinthians.61 The Messenians too, as the inhabitants of Naupactus were now called, including the garrison of Pylos, which was at that time held by the Athenians, were taken by them to the war. A few Megarians,62 having the misfortune to be exiles, were thus induced to fight against the Selinuntians, who were Megarians like themselves.63
The service of the remaining allies was voluntary. The Argives,64 not so much because they were allies of Athens, as owing to their hatred of the Lacedaemonians, and the desire of each man among them to better himself at the time, followed the Athenians, who were Ionians, being themselves Dorians, to fight against Dorians. The Mantineans and other Arcadians were mercenaries accustomed to attack any enemy who from time to time might be pointed out to them, and were now ready, if they were paid, to regard the Arcadians, who were in the service of the Corinthians,65 as their enemies. The Cretans and Aetolians also served for hire; the Cretans, who had once joined with the Rhodians in the foundation of Gela,66 came with reluctance; nevertheless for pay they consented to fight against their own colonists. Some of the Acarnanians came to aid their Athenian allies, partly from motives of gain, but much more out of regard for Demosthenes67 and good-will to Athens. All these dwelt on the eastern side of the Ionian Gulf.
Of the Hellenes in Italy, the Thurians and Metapontians, constrained by the necessities of a revolutionary period, joined in the enterprise; of the Hellenes in Sicily, the Naxians and Catanaeans. Of Barbarians, there were the Egestaeans, who invited the expedition, and the greater part of the Sicels, and, besides native Sicilians, certain Tyrrhenians68 who had a quarrel with the Syracusans; also Iapygians,69 who served for hire. These were the nations who followed the Athenians.
The Syracusans, on the other hand, were assisted by the Camarinaeans, who were their nearest neighbours, and by the Geloans, who dwelt next beyond them; and then (for the Agrigentines, who came next, were neutral) by the still more distant Selinuntians. All these inhabited the region of Sicily which lies towards Libya. On the side looking towards the Tyrrhenian Gulf the Himeraeans, the only Hellenic people in those parts, were also their only allies. These were the Hellenic peoples in Sicily who fought on the side of the Syracusans; they were Dorians and independent. As for Barbarians, they had only such of the Sicels as had not gone over to the Athenians.
Of Hellenes who were not inhabitants of Sicily, the Lacedaemonians provided a Spartan general; the Lacedaemonian forces were all Neodamodes and Helots. (The meaning of the word Neodamode is freedman.) The Corinthians were the only power which furnished both sea and land forces. Their Leucadian and Ambraciot kinsmen accompanied them; from Arcadia came mercenaries sent by Corinth; there were also Sicyonians who served under compulsion;70 and of the peoples beyond the Peloponnese, some Boeotians.--This external aid however was small compared with the numerous troops of all kinds which the Sicilian Greeks themselves supplied; for they dwelt in great cities, and had mustered many ships and horses and hoplites, besides a vast multitude of other troops. And again, the proportion furnished by the Syracusans themselves was greater than that of all the rest put together; their city was the largest, and they were in the greatest danger.
Such were the allies who were assembled on both sides. At that time they were all on the spot, and nothing whatever came afterwards to either army.
The Syracusans and the allies naturally thought that the struggle would be brought to a glorious end if, after having defeated the Athenian fleet, they took captive the whole of their great armament, and did not allow them to escape either by sea or land. So they at once began to close the mouth of the Great Harbour, which was about a mile wide, by means of triremes, merchant-vessels, and small boats, placed broadside, which they moored there. They also made every preparation for a naval engagement, should the Athenians be willing to hazard another; and all their thoughts were on a grand scale.
The Athenians, seeing the closing of the harbour and inferring the intentions of the enemy, proceeded to hold a council. The generals and officers met and considered the difficulties of their position. The most pressing of all was the want of food. For they had already sent to Catana, when they intended to depart, and stopped the supplies for the present; and they could get no more in the future unless they recovered the command of the sea. They resolved therefore to quit their lines on the higher ground and to cut off by a cross-wall a space close to their ships, no greater than was absolutely required for their baggage and for their sick; after leaving a guard there they meant to put on board every other man, and to launch all their ships, whether fit for service or not; they would then fight a decisive battle, and, if they conquered, go to Catana; but if not, they would burn their ships, and retreat by land in good order, taking the nearest way to some friendly country, Barbarian or Hellenic. This design they proceeded to execute, and withdrawing quietly from the upper walls manned their whole fleet, compelling every man of any age at all suitable for service to embark. The entire number of the ships which they manned was about a hundred and ten. They put on board numerous archers and javelin-men, Acarnanians, and other foreigners, and made such preparations for action as their difficult situation and the nature of their plan allowed. When all was nearly ready, Nicias, perceiving that his men were depressed by their severe defeat at sea, which was so new an experience to them, while at the same time the want of provisions made them impatient to risk a battle with the least possible delay, called the whole army together, and before they engaged exhorted them as follows:
'Soldiers of Athens and of our allies, we have all the same interest in the coming struggle;71 every one of us as well as of our enemies will now have to fight for his life and for his country, and if only we can win in the impending sea-fight, every one may see his native city and his own home once more. But we must not be faint-hearted, nor behave as if we were mere novices in the art of war, who when defeated in their first battle are full of cowardly apprehensions and continually retain the impress of their disaster. You, Athenians, have had great military experience; and you, allies, are always fighting at our side. Remember the sudden turns of war; let your hope be that fortune herself may yet come over to us; and prepare to retrieve your defeat in a manner worthy of the greatness of your own army which you see before you.72
'We have consulted the pilots about any improvements which seemed likely to avail against the crowding of ships in the narrow harbour, as well as against the force on the enemy's decks, which in previous engagements did us so much harm, and we have adopted them as far as we had the means. Many archers and javelin-men will embark, and a great number of other troops, whom if we were going to fight in the open sea we should not employ because they increase the weight of the ships, and therefore impede our skill; but here, where we are obliged to fight a land-battle on ship-board,73 they will be useful. We have thought of all the changes which are necessary in the construction of our ships, and in order to counteract the thickness of the beams on the enemy's prows, for this did us more mischief than anything else, we have provided iron grapnels, which will prevent any ship striking us from getting off if the marines are quick and do their duty. For, as I tell you, we are positively driven to fight a land-battle on ship-board, and our best plan is neither to back water ourselves nor to allow the enemy to back water after we have once closed with him. Recollect that the shore, except so far as our land-forces extend, is in their hands.
'Knowing all this, you must fight to the last with all your strength, and not be driven ashore. When ship strikes ship, refuse to separate until you have swept the enemy's heavy-armed from their decks. I am speaking to the hoplites rather than to the sailors; for this is the special duty of the men on deck. We may still reckon on the superiority of our infantry. The sailors I would exhort, nay I would implore them, not to be paralysed by their disasters; for they will find the arrangements on deck improved, and the numbers of the fleet increased. Some among you have long been deemed Athenians, though they are not; and to them I say, Consider how precious is that privilege, and how worthy to be defended. You were admired in Hellas because you spoke our language and adopted our manners, and you shared equally with ourselves in the substantial advantages of our empire, while you gained even more than we by the dread which you inspired in subject-states and in your security against wrong. You alone have been free partners in that empire; you ought not to betray it now. And so, despising the Corinthians whom you have beaten again and again, and the Sicilians who never dared to withstand us when our fleet was in its prime, repel your enemies, and show that your skill even amid weakness and disaster is superior to the strength of another in the hour of his success.
'Let me appeal once more to you who are Athenians, and remind you that there are no more ships like these in the dockyards of the Piraeus, and that you have no more young men fit for service. In any event but victory your enemies here will instantly sail against Athens, while our countrymen at home, who are but a remnant, will be unable to defend themselves against the attacks of their former foes reinforced by the new invaders. You who are in Sicily will instantly fall into the hands of the Syracusans (and you know how you meant to deal with them), and your friends at Athens into the hands of the Lacedaemonians. In this one struggle you have to fight for yourselves and them. Stand firm therefore now, if ever, and remember one and all of you who are embarking that you are both the fleet and army of your country, and that on you hangs the whole state and the great name of Athens: for her sake if any man exceed another in skill or courage let him display them now; he will never have a better opportunity of doing good to himself and saving his country.'
Nicias, as soon as he had done speaking, gave orders to man the ships. Gylippus and the Syracusans could see clearly enough from the preparations which the Athenians were making that they were going to fight. But they had also previous notice, and had been told of the iron grapnels; and they took precautions against this as against all the other devices of the Athenians. They covered the prows of their vessels with hides, extending a good way along the upper part of their sides, so that the grapnels might slip and find no hold. When all was ready, Gylippus and the other generals exhorted their men in the following words:
'That our actions so far have been glorious, and that in the coming conflict we shall be fighting for a glorious prize, most of you, Syracusans and allies, seem to be aware: what else would have inspired you with so much energy? But if any one has failed to understand our position, we will enlighten him. The Athenians came hither intending to enslave first of all Sicily, and then, if they succeeded, Peloponnesus and the rest of Hellas, they having already the largest dominion of any Hellenic power, past or present. But you set mankind the example of withstanding that invincible navy; which you have now defeated in several engagements at sea, and which you will probably defeat in this. For when men are crippled in what they assume to be their strength, any vestige of self-respect is more completely lost than if they had never believed in themselves at all. When once their pride has had a fall they throw away the power of resistance which they might still exert. And this we may assume to be the condition of the Athenians.
'Far otherwise is it with us. The natural courage, which even in the days of our inexperience dared to risk all, is now better assured, and when we have the further conviction that he is the strongest who has overcome the strongest, the hopes of every one are redoubled. And in all enterprises the highest hopes infuse the greatest courage. Their imitation of our modes of fighting will be useless to them. To us they come naturally, and we shall readily adapt ourselves to any arrangements of ours which they have borrowed. But to them the employment of troops on deck is a novelty; they will be encumbered with crowds of hoplites and crowds of javelin-men, Acarnanians and others, who are mere awkward landsmen put into a ship, and will not even know how to discharge their darts when they are required to keep their places. Will they not make the ships unsteady? And their own movements will be so unnatural to them that they will all fall into utter confusion. The greater number of the enemy's ships will be the reverse of an advantage to him, should any of you fear your inequality in that respect; for a large fleet confined in a small space will be hampered in action and far more likely to suffer from our devices. And I would have you know what I believe on the best authority to be the simple truth. Their misfortunes paralyse them, and they are driven to despair at finding themselves helpless. They have grown reckless, and have no confidence in their own plans. They will take their chance as best they can, and either force a way out to sea, or in the last resort retreat by land; for they know that they cannot in any case be worse off than they are.
'Against such disorder, and against hateful enemies whose good fortune has run away from them to us, let us advance with fury. We should remember in the first place that men are doing a most lawful act when they take vengeance upon an enemy and an aggressor, and that they have a right to satiate their heart's animosity; secondly, that this vengeance, which is proverbially the sweetest of all things, will soon be within our grasp. I need not tell you that they are our enemies, and our worst enemies. They came against our land that they might enslave us, and if they had succeeded they would have inflicted the greatest sufferings on our men, and the worst indignities upon our wives and children; and would have stamped a name of dishonour upon our whole city. Wherefore let no one's heart be softened towards them. Do not congratulate yourselves at the mere prospect of getting safely rid of them. Even if they conquer they can only depart. But supposing that we obtain, as we most likely shall, the fulness of our desires, in the punishment of the Athenians and in the confirmation to Sicily of the liberties which she now enjoys, how glorious will be our prize! Seldom are men exposed to hazards in which they lose little if they fail, and win all if they succeed.'
When Gylippus and the other Syracusan generals had, like Nicias, encouraged their troops, perceiving the Athenians to be manning their ships, they presently did the same. Nicias, overwhelmed by the situation, and seeing how great and how near the peril was (for the ships were on the very point of rowing out), feeling too, as men do on the eve of a great struggle, that all which he had done was nothing, and that he had not said half enough, again addressed the trierarchs, and calling each of them by his father's name, and his own name, and the name of his tribe, he entreated those who had made any reputation for themselves not to be false to it, and those whose ancestors were eminent not to tarnish their hereditary fame. He reminded them that they were the inhabitants of the freest country in the world, and how in Athens there was no interference with the daily life of any man.74 He spoke to them of their wives and children and their fathers' Gods, as men will at such a time; for then they do not care whether their common-place phrases seem to be out of date or not, but loudly reiterate the old appeals, believing that they may be of some service at the awful moment. When he thought that he had exhorted them, not enough, but as much as the scanty time allowed, he retired, and led the land-forces to the shore, extending the line as far as he could, so that they might be of the greatest use in encouraging the combatants on board ship. Demosthenes, Menander, and Euthydemus, who had gone on board the Athenian fleet to take the command, now quitted their own station, and proceeded straight to the closed mouth of the harbour, intending to force their way to the open sea where a passage was still left.
The Syracusans and their allies had already put out with nearly the same number of ships as before. A detachment of them guarded the entrance of the harbour; the remainder were disposed all round it in such a manner that they might fall on the Athenians from every side at once, and that their land-forces might at the same time be able to co-operate wherever the ships retreated to the shore. Sicanus and Agatharchus commanded the Syracusan fleet, each of them a wing; Python and the Corinthians occupied the centre. When the Athenians approached the closed mouth of the harbour the violence of their onset overpowered the ships which were stationed there; they then attempted to loosen the fastenings. Whereupon from all sides the Syracusans and their allies came bearing down upon them, and the conflict was no longer confined to the entrance, but extended throughout the harbour. No previous engagement had been so fierce and obstinate. Great was the eagerness with which the rowers on both sides rushed upon their enemies whenever the word of command was given; and keen was the contest between the pilots as they manoeuvred one against another. The marines too were full of anxiety that, when ship struck ship, the service on deck should not fall short of the rest; every one in the place assigned to him was eager to be foremost among his fellows. Many vessels meeting--and never did so many fight in so small a space, for the two fleets together amounted to nearly two hundred--they were seldom able to strike in the regular manner, because they had no opportunity of first retiring or breaking the line; they generally fouled one another as ship dashed against ship in the hurry of flight or pursuit. All the time that another vessel was bearing down, the men on deck poured showers of javelins and arrows and stones upon the enemy; and when the two closed, the marines fought hand to hand, and endeavoured to board. In many places, owing to the want of room, they who had struck another found that they were struck themselves; often two or even more vessels were unavoidably entangled about one, and the pilots had to make plans of attack and defence, not against one adversary only, but against several coming from different sides. The crash of so many ships dashing against one another took away the wits of the crews, and made it impossible to hear the boatswains, whose voices in both fleets rose high, as they gave directions to the rowers, or cheered them on in the excitement of the struggle. On the Athenian side they were shouting to their men that they must force a passage and seize the opportunity now or never of returning in safety to their native land. To the Syracusans and their allies was represented the glory of preventing the escape of their enemies, and of a victory by which every man would exalt the honour of his own city. The commanders too, when they saw any ship backing without necessity, would call the captain by his name, and ask, of the Athenians, whether they were retreating because they expected to be more at home upon the land of their bitterest foes than upon that sea which had been their own so long;75 on the Syracusan side, whether, when they knew perfectly well that the Athenians were only eager to find some means of flight, they would themselves fly from the fugitives.
While the naval engagement hung in the balance the two armies on shore had great trial and conflict of soul. The Sicilian soldier was animated by the hope of increasing the glory which he had already won, while the invader was tormented by the fear that his fortunes might sink lower still. The last chance of the Athenians lay in their ships, and their anxiety was dreadful. The fortune of the battle varied; and it was not possible that the spectators on the shore should all receive the same impression of it. Being quite close and having different points of view, they would some of them see their own ships victorious; their courage would then revive, and they would earnestly call upon the Gods not to take from them their hope of deliverance. But others, who saw their ships worsted, cried and shrieked aloud, and were by the sight alone more utterly unnerved than the defeated combatants themselves. Others again, who had fixed their gaze on some part of the struggle which was undecided, were in a state of excitement still more terrible; they kept swaying their bodies to and fro in an agony of hope and fear as the stubborn conflict went on and on; for at every instant they were all but saved or all but lost. And while the strife hung in the balance you might hear in the Athenian army at once lamentation, shouting, cries of victory or defeat, and all the various sounds which are wrung from a great host in extremity of danger. Not less agonising were the feelings of those on board. At length the Syracusans and their allies, after a protracted struggle, put the Athenians to flight, and triumphantly bearing down upon them, and encouraging one another with loud cries and exhortations, drove them to land. Then that part of the navy which had not been taken in the deep water fell back in confusion to the shore, and the crews rushed out of the ships into the camp.76 And the land-forces, no longer now divided in feeling, but uttering one universal groan of intolerable anguish, ran, some of them to save the ships, others to defend what remained of the wall; but the greater number began to look to themselves and to their own safety. Never had there been a greater panic in an Athenian army than at that moment. They now suffered what they had done to others at Pylos. For at Pylos the Lacedaemonians, when they saw their ships destroyed, knew that their friends who had crossed over into the island of Sphacteria were lost with them.77 And so now the Athenians, after the rout of their fleet, knew that they had no hope of saving themselves by land unless events took some extraordinary turn.
Thus, after a fierce battle and a great destruction of ships and men on both sides, the Syracusans and their allies gained the victory. They gathered up the wrecks and bodies of the dead, and sailing back to the city, erected a trophy. The Athenians, overwhelmed by their misery, never so much as thought of recovering their wrecks or of asking leave to collect their dead. Their intention was to retreat that very night. Demosthenes came to Nicias and proposed that they should once more man their remaining vessels and endeavour to force the passage at daybreak, saying that they had more ships fit for service than the enemy. For the Athenian fleet still numbered sixty, but the enemy had less than fifty. Nicias approved of his proposal, and they would have manned the ships, but the sailors refused to embark; for they were paralysed by their defeat, and had no longer any hope of succeeding. So the Athenians all made up their minds to escape by land.
Hermocrates the Syracusan suspected their intention, and dreading what might happen if their vast army, retreating by land and settling somewhere in Sicily, should choose to renew the war, he went to the authorities, and represented to them that they ought not to allow the Athenians to withdraw by night (mentioning his own suspicion of their intentions), but that all the Syracusans and their allies should go out in advance, wall up the roads, and occupy the passes with a guard. They thought very much as he did, and wanted to carry out his plan, but doubted whether their men, who were too glad to repose after a great battle, and in time of festival--for there happened on that very day to be a sacrifice to Heracles--could be induced to obey. Most of them, in the exultation of victory, were drinking and keeping holiday, and at such a time how could they ever be expected to take up arms and go forth at the order of the generals? On these grounds the authorities decided that the thing was impossible. Whereupon Hermocrates himself, fearing lest the Athenians should gain a start and quietly pass the most difficult places in the night, contrived the following plan: when it was growing dark he sent certain of his own acquaintance, accompanied by a few horsemen, to the Athenian camp. They rode up within earshot, and pretending to be friends (there were known to be men in the city who gave information to Nicias of what went on)78 called to some of the soldiers, and bade them tell him not to withdraw his army during the night, for the Syracusans were guarding the roads; he should make preparation at leisure and retire by day. Having delivered their message they departed, and those who had heard them informed the Athenian generals.
On receiving this message, which they supposed to be genuine, they remained during the night. And having once given up the intention of starting immediately, they decided to remain during the next day, that the soldiers might, as well as they could, put together their baggage in the most convenient form, and depart, taking with them the bare necessaries of life, but nothing else.
Meanwhile the Syracusans and Gylippus, going forth before them with their land-forces, blocked the roads in the country by which the Athenians were likely to pass, guarded the fords of the rivers and streams, and posted themselves at the best points for receiving and stopping them. Their sailors rowed up to the beach and dragged away the Athenian ships. The Athenians themselves had burnt a few of them, as they had intended,79 but the rest the Syracusans towed away, unmolested and at their leisure, from the places where they had severally run aground, and conveyed them to the city.
On the third day after the sea-fight, when Nicias and Demosthenes thought that their preparations were complete, the army began to move. They were in a dreadful condition; not only was there the great fact that they had lost their whole fleet, and instead of their expected triumph had brought the utmost peril upon Athens as well as upon themselves, but also the sights which presented themselves as they quitted the camp were painful to every eye and mind. The dead were unburied, and when any one saw the body of a friend lying on the ground he was smitten with sorrow and dread, while the sick or wounded who still survived but had to be left were even a greater trial to the living, and more to be pitied than those who were gone. Their prayers and lamentations drove their companions to distraction; they would beg that they might be taken with them, and call by name any friend or relation whom they saw passing; they would hang upon their departing comrades and follow as far as they could, and, when their limbs and strength failed them, and they dropped behind, many were the imprecations and cries which they uttered. So that the whole army was in tears, and such was their despair that they could hardly make up their minds to stir, although they were leaving an enemy's country, having suffered calamities too great for tears already, and dreading miseries yet greater, in the unknown future. There was also a general feeling of shame and self-reproach,--indeed they seemed, not like an army, but like the fugitive population of a city captured after a siege; and of a great city too. For the whole multitude who were marching together numbered not less than forty thousand. Each of them took with him anything he could carry which was likely to be of use. Even the heavy-armed and cavalry, contrary to their practice when under arms, conveyed about their persons their own food, some because they had no attendants, others because they could not trust them; for they had long been deserting, and most of them had gone off all at once. Nor was the food which they carried sufficient; for the supplies of the camp had failed. Their disgrace and the universality of the misery, although there might be some consolation in the very community of suffering, were nevertheless at that moment hard to bear, especially when they remembered from what pride and splendour they had fallen into their present low estate. Never had an Hellenic army80 experienced such a reverse. They had come intending to enslave others, and they were going away in fear that they would be themselves enslaved. Instead of the prayers and hymns with which they had put to sea, they were now departing amid appeals to heaven of another sort. They were no longer sailors but landsmen, depending, not upon their fleet, but upon their infantry. Yet in face of the great danger which still threatened them all these things appeared endurable.
Nicias, seeing the army disheartened at their terrible fall, went along the ranks and encouraged and consoled them as well as he could. In his fervour he raised his voice as he passed from one to another and spoke louder and louder, desiring that the benefit of his words might reach as far as possible.
'Even now, Athenians and allies, we must hope: men have been delivered out of worse straits than these, and I would not have you judge yourselves too severely on account either of the reverses which you have sustained or of your present undeserved miseries. I too am as weak as any of you; for I am quite prostrated by my disease, as you see. And although there was a time when I might have been thought equal to the best of you in the happiness of my private and public life, I am now in as great danger, and as much at the mercy of fortune, as the meanest. Yet my days have been passed in the performance of many a religious duty, and of many a just and blameless action. Therefore my hope of the future is still courageous, and our calamities do not appal me as they might.81 Who knows that they may not be lightened? For our enemies have had their full share of success, and if we were under the jealousy of any God when our fleet started,82 by this time we have been punished enough. Others ere now have attacked their neighbours; they have done as men will do, and suffered what men can bear. We may therefore begin to hope that the Gods will be more merciful to us; for we now invite their pity rather than their jealousy. And look at your own well-armed ranks; see how many brave soldiers you are, marching in solid array,83 and do not be dismayed; bear in mind that wherever you plant yourselves you are a city already, and that no city in Sicily will find it easy to resist your attack, or can dislodge you if you choose to settle. Provide for the safety and good order of your own march, and remember every one of you that on whatever spot a man is compelled to fight, there if he conquer he may find a native land and a fortress. We must press forward day and night, for our supplies are but scanty. The Sicels through fear of the Syracusans still adhere to us, and if we can only reach any part of their territory we shall be among friends, and you may consider yourselves secure. We have sent to them, and they have been told to meet us and bring food. In a word, soldiers, let me tell you that you must be brave; there is no place near to which a coward can fly.84 And if you now escape your enemies, those of you who are not Athenians will see once more the home for which they long, while you Athenians will again rear aloft the fallen greatness of Athens. For men, and not walls or ships in which are no men, constitute a state.'
Thus exhorting his troops Nicias passed through the army, and wherever he saw gaps in the ranks or the men dropping out of line, he brought them back to their proper place. Demosthenes did the same for the troops under his command, and gave them similar exhortations. The army marched disposed in a hollow oblong: the division of Nicias leading, and that of Demosthenes following; the hoplites enclosed within their ranks the baggage-bearers and the rest of the host. When they arrived at the ford of the river Anapus they found a force of the Syracusans and of their allies drawn up to meet them; these they put to flight, and getting command of the ford, proceeded on their march. The Syracusans continually harassed them, the cavalry riding alongside, and the light-armed troops hurling darts at them. On this day the Athenians proceeded about four and a half miles and encamped at a hill. On the next day they started early, and, having advanced more than two miles, descended into a level plain, and encamped. The country was inhabited, and they were desirous of obtaining food from the houses, and also water which they might carry with them, as there was little to be had for many miles in the country which lay before them. Meanwhile the Syracusans had gone forward, and at a point where the road ascends a steep hill called the Acraean height, and there is a precipitous ravine on either side, were blocking up the pass by a wall. On the next day the Athenians advanced, although again impeded by the numbers of the enemy's cavalry who rode alongside, and of their javelin-men who threw darts at them. For a long time the Athenians maintained the struggle, but at last retired to their own encampment. Their supplies were now cut off, because the horsemen circumscribed their movements.
In the morning they started early and resumed their march. They pressed onwards to the hill where the way was barred, and found in front of them the Syracusan infantry drawn up to defend the wall, in deep array, for the pass was narrow. Whereupon the Athenians advanced and assaulted the barrier, but the enemy, who were numerous and had the advantage of position, threw missiles upon them from the hill, which was steep, and so, not being able to force their way, they again retired and rested. During the conflict, as is often the case in the fall of the year, there came on a storm of rain and thunder, whereby the Athenians were yet more disheartened, for they thought that everything was conspiring to their destruction.85 While they were resting, Gylippus and the Syracusans despatched a division of their army to raise a wall behind them across the road by which they had come; but the Athenians sent some of their own troops and frustrated their intention. They then retired with their whole army in the direction of the plain and passed the night. On the following day they again advanced. The Syracusans now surrounded and attacked them on every side, and wounded many of them. If the Athenians advanced they retreated, but charged them when they retired, falling especially upon the hindermost of them, in the hope that, if they could put to flight a few at a time, they might strike a panic into the whole army. In this fashion the Athenians struggled on for a long time, and having advanced about three-quarters of a mile rested in the plain. The Syracusans then left them and returned to their own encampment.
The army was now in a miserable plight, being in want of every necessary; and by the continual assaults of the enemy great numbers of the soldiers had been wounded. Nicias and Demosthenes, perceiving their condition, resolved during the night to light as many watch-fires as possible and to lead off their forces. They intended to take another route and march towards the sea in the direction opposite to that from which the Syracusans were watching them. Now their whole line of march lay, not towards Catana, but towards the other side of Sicily, in the direction of Camarina and Gela, and the cities, Hellenic or Barbarian, of that region. So they lighted numerous fires and departed in the night. And then, as constantly happens in armies,86 especially in very great ones, and as might be expected when they were marching by night in an enemy's country, and with the enemy from whom they were flying not far off; there arose a panic among them, and they fell into confusion. The army of Nicias, which was leading the way, kept together, and got on considerably in advance, but that of Demosthenes; which was the larger half, was severed from the other division, and marched in worse order. At daybreak, however, they succeeded in reaching the sea, and striking into the Helorine road marched along it, intending as soon as they arrived at the Cacyparis to follow up the course of the river through the interior of the island. They were expecting that the Sicels for whom they had sent would meet them on this road. When they had reached the river they found there also a guard of the Syracusans cutting off the passage by a wall and palisade. They forced their way through and, crossing the river, passed on towards another river which is called the Erineus, this being the direction in which their guides led them.
When daylight broke and the Syracusans and their allies saw that the Athenians had departed, most of them thought that Gylippus had let them go on purpose, and were very angry with him. They easily found the line of their retreat, and quickly following, came up with them about the time of the midday meal. The troops of Demosthenes were last; they were marching slowly and in disorder, not having recovered from the panic of the previous night, when they were overtaken by the Syracusans, who immediately fell upon them and fought. Separated as they were from the others, they were easily hemmed in by the Syracusan cavalry and driven into a narrow space. The division of Nicias was now as much as six miles in advance, for he marched faster, thinking that their safety depended at such a time, not in remaining and fighting, if they could avoid it, but in retreating as quickly as they could, and resisting only when they were positively compelled. Demosthenes, on the other hand, who had been more incessantly harassed throughout the retreat, because marching last he was first attacked by the enemy, now, when he saw the Syracusans pursuing him, instead of pressing onward, ranged his army in order of battle. Thus lingering he was surrounded, and he and the Athenians under his command were in the greatest confusion. For they were crushed into a walled enclosure, having a road on both sides and planted thickly with olive-trees, and missiles were hurled at them from all points. The Syracusans naturally preferred this mode of attack to a regular engagement. For to risk themselves against desperate men would have been only playing into the hands of the Athenians. Moreover, every one was sparing of his life; their good fortune was already assured; and they did not want to fall in the hour of victory. Even by this irregular mode of fighting they thought that they could overpower and capture the Athenians.
And so when they had gone on all day assailing them with missiles from every quarter, and saw that they were quite worn out with their wounds and all their other sufferings, Gylippus and the Syracusans made a proclamation, first of all to the islanders; that any of them who pleased might come over to them and have their freedom. But only a few cities accepted the offer. At length an agreement was made for the entire force under Demosthenes. Their arms were to be surrendered, but no one was to suffer death, either from violence or from imprisonment, or from want of the bare means of life. So they all surrendered, being in number six thousand, and gave up what money they had. This they threw into the hollows of shields and filled four. The captives were at once taken to the city. On the same day Nicias and his division reached the river Erineus, which he crossed, and halted his army on a rising ground.
On the following day he was overtaken by the Syracusans, who told him that Demosthenes had surrendered, and bade him do the same. He, not believing them, procured a truce while he sent a horseman to go and see. Upon the return of the horseman bringing assurance of the fact, he sent a herald to Gylippus and the Syracusans, saying that he would agree, on behalf of the Athenian state, to pay the expenses which the Syracusans had incurred in the war, on condition that they should let his army go; until the money was paid he would give Athenian citizens as hostages, a man for a talent. Gylippus and the Syracusans would not accept these proposals, but attacked and surrounded this division of the army as they had the other, and hurled missiles at them from every side until the evening. They too were grievously in want of food and necessaries. Nevertheless they meant to wait for the dead of the night and then to proceed. They were just resuming their arms, when the Syracusans discovered them and raised the Paean. The Athenians, perceiving that they were detected, laid down their arms again, with the exception of about three hundred men who broke through the enemy's guard, and made their escape in the darkness as best they could.
When the day dawned Nicias led forward his army, and the Syracusans and the allies again assailed them on every side, hurling javelins and other missiles at them. The Athenians hurried on to the river Assinarus. They hoped to gain a little relief if they forded the river, for the mass of horsemen and other troops overwhelmed and crushed them; and they were worn out by fatigue and thirst. But no sooner did they reach the water than they lost all order and rushed in; every man was trying to cross first, and, the enemy pressing upon them at the same time, the passage of the river became hopeless. Being compelled to keep close together they fell one upon another, and trampled each other under foot: some at once perished, pierced by their own spears; others got entangled in the baggage and were carried down the stream. The Syracusans stood upon the further bank of the river, which was steep, and hurled missiles from above on the Athenians, who were huddled together in the deep bed of the stream and for the most part were drinking greedily. The Peloponnesians came down the bank and slaughtered them, falling chiefly upon those who were in the river. Whereupon the water at once became foul, but was drunk all the same, although muddy and dyed with blood, and the crowd fought for it.
At last, when the dead bodies were lying in heaps upon one another in the water and the army was utterly undone, some perishing in the river, and any who escaped being cut off by the cavalry, Nicias surrendered to Gylippus, in whom he had more confidence than in the Syracusans. He entreated him and the Lacedaemonians to do what they pleased with himself, but not to go on killing the men. So Gylippus gave the word to make prisoners. Thereupon the survivors, not including however a large number whom the soldiers concealed, were brought in alive. As for the three hundred who had broken through the guard in the night, the Syracusans sent in pursuit and seized them. The total of the public prisoners when collected was not great; for many were appropriated by the soldiers, and the whole of Sicily was full of them, they not having capitulated like the troops under Demosthenes. A large number also perished; the slaughter at the river being very great, quite as great as any which took place in the Sicilian war; and not a few had fallen in the frequent attacks which were made upon the Athenians during their march. Still many escaped, some at the time, others ran away after an interval of slavery, and all these found refuge at Catana.
The Syracusans and their allies collected their forces and returned with the spoil, and as many prisoners as they could take with them, into the city. The captive Athenians and allies they deposited in the quarries, which they thought would be the safest place of confinement. Nicias and Demosthenes they put to the sword, although against the will of Gylippus. For Gylippus thought that to carry home with him to Lacedaemon the generals of the enemy, over and above all his other successes, would be a brilliant triumph. One of them, Demosthenes, happened to be the greatest foe, and the other the greatest friend of the Lacedaemonians, both in the same matter of Pylos and Sphacteria. For Nicias had taken up their cause,87 and had persuaded the Athenians to make the peace which set at liberty the prisoners taken in the island. The Lacedaemonians were grateful to him for the service, and this was the main reason why he trusted Gylippus and surrendered himself to him. But certain Syracusans, who had been in communication with him, were afraid (such was the report) that on some suspicion of their guilt he might be put to the torture and bring trouble on them in the hour of their prosperity. Others, and especially the Corinthians, feared that, being rich, he might by bribery escape and do them further mischief. So the Syracusans gained the consent of the allies and had him executed. For these or the like reasons he suffered death. No one of the Hellenes in my time was less deserving of so miserable an end; for he lived in the practice of every virtue.
Those who were imprisoned in the quarries were at the beginning of their captivity harshly treated by the Syracusans. There were great numbers of them, and they were crowded in a deep and narrow place. At first the sun by day was still scorching and suffocating, for they had no roof over their heads, while the autumn nights were cold, and the extremes of temperature engendered violent disorders. Being cramped for room they had to do everything on the same spot. The corpses of those who died from their wounds, exposure to heat and cold, and the like, lay heaped one upon another. The smells were intolerable; and they were at the same time afflicted by hunger and thirst. During eight months they were allowed only about half a pint of water and a pint of food a day. Every kind of misery which could befall man in such a place befell them. This was the condition of all the captives for about ten weeks. At length the Syracusans sold them, with the exception of the Athenians and of any Sicilian or Italian Greeks who had sided with them in the war. The whole number of the public prisoners is not accurately known, but they were not less than seven thousand.
Of all the Hellenic actions which took place in this war, or indeed, as I think, of all Hellenic actions which are on record, this was the greatest--the most glorious to the victors, the most ruinous to the vanquished; for they were utterly and at all points defeated, and their sufferings were prodigious. Fleet and army perished from the face of the earth; nothing was saved, and of the many who went forth few returned home.
Thus ended the Sicilian expedition.
1. Cp. vi. 93 med., 104 med.
2. Cp. vi. 97 med.
3. Cp, vi. 103 init.
4. Or, omitting 'upwards': `began to build on the high ground.'
5. Cp. vii. 13 init., 24 fin.
6. Cp. vi. 75 init.
7. Cp. vii 2 init.
8. Cp. i. 124 init.; v. 9 init.; vi. 77 med.; viii. 25 med.
9. Cp. vii. 4 fin.
10. Or, reading mnêmês instead of gnômês: 'from defect of memory.'
11. Cp. iv. 29 init.
12. Cp. vii. 4 fin.
13. Or, 'and that there are few sailors who can start a ship and keep the rowing together.'
14. Cp. vii. 2 init.
16. Cp. vii. 7.
17. Cp. vi. 93 init.
18. Cp. ii. 2 foll.; iii. 56 init.
19. Cp. i. 78 fin, 85, 140 med.
20. Cp. vi. 105.
21. Or, 'or been sailors from all time.'
22. Cp. I. 14.
23. Cp. vii. 4 med., 13 init.
24. Cp. vii. 19 med.
25. About 250 tons.
26. Or, 'wrenched them up and broke them off.'
27. Cp. vii. 20 init.
29. Cp. viii. 40 med.
30. Cp. ii. 13 fin.; viii. 69 init.
31. Or, 'For the Thracians, like all very barbarous tribes, are most bloody when they are least afraid.'
32. Reading toxeumatos with Valla's translation.
33. Cp. iii. 113 fin.
34. Cp. vii. 26.
35. Cp. iv. 49; v. 30 med.
36. Cp. vii. 16 fin.
37. Cp, vii. 17 fin., 19 fin.
38. Cp vi. 88 init.
39. Cp. vi. 44 med.
40. Omitting the comma at autois.
41. Cp. ii. 91 med.
42. Cp. vi. 97 med.
43. Cp. vi. 96 fin.
44. Cp. iii. 38 med.
45. Or, 'would for his own part rather take his chance, and fall, if he must, by the hands of the enemy, like any private soldier, than die.'
47. Or, 'disheartened at the idea of the enemy's riches; for they were far richer themselves.'
48. Cp. vii. 19.
49. Cp. viii. 96 fin.
50. Cp. vi. 20 init.
51. Or, 'by their.'
52. Or, taking the words as a reflection, not of the Syracusans, but of Thucydides himself: 'And indeed there was everything to ennoble the conflict; for they were now conquering' etc.
53. Adopting the conjecture Syrakousais.
54. Cp. iv. 28, n.
55. Cp. ii. 27 med.
56. Cp. i. 115 fin.
57. Cp. vi. 85 med.
58. Cp. iii. 50 med.; vi. 85 med.
59. Cp. vi. 4 med.
60. Cp. ii. 7 fin.; vi. 85 med.
61. Cp. i. 25 med.
62. Cp. iv. 74; vi. 43 fin.
63. Cp. vi. 4 init.
64. Cp. vi. 43.
65. Cp. vii. 19 fin.
66. Cp, vi. 4 med.
67. Cp. iii. 105 foll.; vii. 31. fin.
68. Cp. vi. 103 med.
69. Cp. vii. 33 med.
70. Cp. v. 81 med.; vi. 19 fin.
71. Cp. vi. 68 init.
72. Cp. vi. 68 init.; vii. 77 med.
73. Cp. i. 49 init.
74. Cp. ii. 37.
75. Or, reading ponou after oligou: 'which by the labour of years they had made their own.'
76. Cp. vii. 41 init., 74 fin.
77. Cp. iv. 14 init.
78. Cp. vii. 48 med.
79. Inserting a comma after dienoêthêsan.
80. Omitting tô.
81. Or, taking kat axian closely with phobousi: 'and our calamities do not appal me, as if they were deserved;' or, ' although our calamities, undeserved as they are, do certainly appal me.'
82. Cp. vii. 50 fin.
83. Cp. vi. 68 init.; vii. 61 fin.
84. Cp. vi. 68 med. and fin.
85. Cp. vi. 70 init.
86. Cp. iv. 125 init.
87. Cp. v. 16 med.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:14