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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII   


keen competition now ensued at Lacedaemon as to whether a fleet and
army should be sent first to Ionia and Chios, or to the Hellespont.
The Lacedaemonians, however, decidedly favoured the Chians and
Tissaphernes, who were seconded by Alcibiades, the family friend of
Endius, one of the ephors for that year. Indeed, this is how their
house got its Laconic name, Alcibiades being the family name of
Endius. Nevertheless the Lacedaemonians first sent to Chios Phrynis,
one of the Perioeci, to see whether they had as many ships as they
said, and whether their city generally was as great as was reported;
and upon his bringing word that they had been told the truth,
immediately entered into alliance with the Chians and Erythraeans, and
voted to send them forty ships, there being already, according to
the statement of the Chians, not less than sixty in the island. At
first the Lacedaemonians meant to send ten of these forty
themselves, with Melanchridas their admiral; but afterwards, an
earthquake having occurred, they sent Chalcideus instead of
Melanchridas, and instead of the ten ships equipped only five in
Laconia. And the winter ended, and with it ended also the nineteenth
year of this war of which Thucydides is the historian.
At the beginning of the next summer the Chians were urging that
the fleet should be sent off, being afraid that the Athenians, from
whom all these embassies were kept a secret, might find out what was
going on, and the Lacedaemonians at once sent three Spartans to
Corinth to haul the ships as quickly as possible across the Isthmus
from the other sea to that on the side of Athens, and to order them
all to sail to Chios, those which Agis was equipping for Lesbos not
excepted. The number of ships from the allied states was thirty-nine
in all.
Meanwhile Calligeitus and Timagoras did not join on behalf of
Pharnabazus in the expedition to Chios or give the
money- twenty-five talents- which they had brought with them to help
in dispatching a force, but determined to sail afterwards with another
force by themselves. Agis, on the other hand, seeing the
Lacedaemonians bent upon going to Chios first, himself came in to
their views; and the allies assembled at Corinth and held a council,
in which they decided to sail first to Chios under the command of
Chalcideus, who was equipping the five vessels in Laconia, then to
Lesbos, under the command of Alcamenes, the same whom Agis had fixed
upon, and lastly to go to the Hellespont, where the command was
given to Clearchus, son of Ramphias. Meanwhile they would take only
half the ships across the Isthmus first, and let those sail off at
once, in order that the Athenians might attend less to the departing
squadron than to those to be taken across afterwards, as no care had
been taken to keep this voyage secret through contempt of the
impotence of the Athenians, who had as yet no fleet of any account
upon the sea. Agreeably to this determination, twenty-one vessels were
at once conveyed across the Isthmus.
They were now impatient to set sail, but the Corinthians were not
willing to accompany them until they had celebrated the Isthmian
festival, which fell at that time. Upon this Agis proposed to them
to save their scruples about breaking the Isthmian truce by taking the
expedition upon himself. The Corinthians not consenting to this, a
delay ensued, during which the Athenians conceived suspicions of
what was preparing at Chios, and sent Aristocrates, one of their
generals, and charged them with the fact, and, upon the denial of
the Chians, ordered them to send with them a contingent of ships, as
faithful confederates. Seven were sent accordingly. The reason of
the dispatch of the ships lay in the fact that the mass of the
Chians were not privy to the negotiations, while the few who were in
the secret did not wish to break with the multitude until they had
something positive to lean upon, and no longer expected the
Peloponnesians to arrive by reason of their delay.

In the meantime the Isthmian games took place, and the Athenians,

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