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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VI   

with which all this shall be done depends, Lacedaemonians, upon
yourselves; as to its possibility, I am quite confident, and I have
little fear of being mistaken.
"Meanwhile I hope that none of you will think any the worse of me
if, after having hitherto passed as a lover of my country, I now
actively join its worst enemies in attacking it, or will suspect
what I say as the fruit of an outlaw's enthusiasm. I am an outlaw from
the iniquity of those who drove me forth, not, if you will be guided
by me, from your service; my worst enemies are not you who only harmed
your foes, but they who forced their friends to become enemies; and
love of country is what I do not feel when I am wronged, but what I
felt when secure in my rights as a citizen. Indeed I do not consider
that I am now attacking a country that is still mine; I am rather
trying to recover one that is mine no longer; and the true lover of
his country is not he who consents to lose it unjustly rather than
attack it, but he who longs for it so much that he will go all lengths
to recover it. For myself, therefore, Lacedaemonians, I beg you to use
me without scruple for danger and trouble of every kind, and to
remember the argument in every one's mouth, that if I did you great
harm as an enemy, I could likewise do you good service as a friend,
inasmuch as I know the plans of the Athenians, while I only guessed
yours. For yourselves I entreat you to believe that your most
capital interests are now under deliberation; and I urge you to send
without hesitation the expeditions to Sicily and Attica; by the
presence of a small part of your forces you will save important cities
in that island, and you will destroy the power of Athens both
present and prospective; after this you will dwell in security and
enjoy the supremacy over all Hellas, resting not on force but upon
consent and affection."
Such were the words of Alcibiades. The Lacedaemonians, who had
themselves before intended to march against Athens, but were still
waiting and looking about them, at once became much more in earnest
when they received this particular information from Alcibiades, and
considered that they had heard it from the man who best knew the truth
of the matter. Accordingly they now turned their attention to the
fortifying of Decelea and sending immediate aid to the Sicilians;
and naming Gylippus, son of Cleandridas, to the command of the
Syracusans, bade him consult with that people and with the Corinthians
and arrange for succours reaching the island, in the best and
speediest way possible under the circumstances. Gylippus desired the
Corinthians to send him at once two ships to Asine, and to prepare the
rest that they intended to send, and to have them ready to sail at the
proper time. Having settled this, the envoys departed from Lacedaemon.
In the meantime arrived the Athenian galley from Sicily sent by
the generals for money and cavalry; and the Athenians, after hearing
what they wanted, voted to send the supplies for the armament and
the cavalry. And the winter ended, and with it ended the seventeenth
year of the present war of which Thucydides is the historian.
The next summer, at the very beginning of the season, the
Athenians in Sicily put out from Catana, and sailed along shore to
Megara in Sicily, from which, as I have mentioned above, the
Syracusans expelled the inhabitants in the time of their tyrant
Gelo, themselves occupying the territory. Here the Athenians landed
and laid waste the country, and after an unsuccessful attack upon a
fort of the Syracusans, went on with the fleet and army to the river
Terias, and advancing inland laid waste the plain and set fire to
the corn; and after killing some of a small Syracusan party which they
encountered, and setting up a trophy, went back again to their
ships. They now sailed to Catana and took in provisions there, and
going with their whole force against Centoripa, a town of the
Sicels, acquired it by capitulation, and departed, after also
burning the corn of the Inessaeans and Hybleans. Upon their return
to Catana they found the horsemen arrived from Athens, to the number
of two hundred and fifty (with their equipments, but without their

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