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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VI   


outside, incredulous of their coming; and at the moment that the enemy
was carrying in his property the army would not want for booty if it
sat down in force before the city. The rest of the Siceliots would
thus be immediately less disposed to enter into alliance with the
Syracusans, and would join the Athenians, without waiting to see which
were the strongest. They must make Megara their naval station as a
place to retreat to and a base from which to attack: it was an
uninhabited place at no great distance from Syracuse either by land or
by sea.
After speaking to this effect, Lamachus nevertheless gave his
support to the opinion of Alcibiades. After this Alcibiades sailed
in his own vessel across to Messina with proposals of alliance, but
met with no success, the inhabitants answering that they could not
receive him within their walls, though they would provide him with a
market outside. Upon this he sailed back to Rhegium. Immediately
upon his return the generals manned and victualled sixty ships out
of the whole fleet and coasted along to Naxos, leaving the rest of the
armament behind them at Rhegium with one of their number. Received
by the Naxians, they then coasted on to Catana, and being refused
admittance by the inhabitants, there being a Syracusan party in the
town, went on to the river Terias. Here they bivouacked, and the
next day sailed in single file to Syracuse with all their ships except
ten which they sent on in front to sail into the great harbour and see
if there was any fleet launched, and to proclaim by herald from
shipboard that the Athenians were come to restore the Leontines to
their country, as being their allies and kinsmen, and that such of
them, therefore, as were in Syracuse should leave it without fear
and join their friends and benefactors the Athenians. After making
this proclamation and reconnoitring the city and the harbours, and the
features of the country which they would have to make their base of
operations in the war, they sailed back to Catana.

An assembly being held here, the inhabitants refused to receive
the armament, but invited the generals to come in and say what they
desired; and while Alcibiades was speaking and the citizens were
intent on the assembly, the soldiers broke down an ill-walled-up
postern gate without being observed, and getting inside the town,
flocked into the marketplace. The Syracusan party in the town no
sooner saw the army inside than they became frightened and withdrew,
not being at all numerous; while the rest voted for an alliance with
the Athenians and invited them to fetch the rest of their forces
from Rhegium. After this the Athenians sailed to Rhegium, and put off,
this time with all the armament, for Catana, and fell to work at their
camp immediately upon their arrival.
Meanwhile word was brought them from Camarina that if they went
there the town would go over to them, and also that the Syracusans
were manning a fleet. The Athenians accordingly sailed alongshore with
all their armament, first to Syracuse, where they found no fleet
manning, and so always along the coast to Camarina, where they brought
to at the beach, and sent a herald to the people, who, however,
refused to receive them, saying that their oaths bound them to receive
the Athenians only with a single vessel, unless they themselves sent
for more. Disappointed here, the Athenians now sailed back again,
and after landing and plundering on Syracusan territory and losing
some stragglers from their light infantry through the coming up of the
Syracusan horse, so got back to Catana.
There they found the Salaminia come from Athens for Alcibiades, with
orders for him to sail home to answer the charges which the state
brought against him, and for certain others of the soldiers who with
him were accused of sacrilege in the matter of the mysteries and of
the Hermae. For the Athenians, after the departure of the
expedition, had continued as active as ever in investigating the facts
of the mysteries and of the Hermae, and, instead of testing the
informers, in their suspicious temper welcomed all indifferently,

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