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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII   


of their number, under the Megarian Helixus, made good their passage
to the Hellespont, and effected the revolt of Byzantium. After this,
the commanders at Samos were informed of it, and sent a squadron
against them to guard the Hellespont; and an encounter took place
before Byzantium between eight vessels on either side.
Meanwhile the chiefs at Samos, and especially Thrasybulus, who
from the moment that he had changed the government had remained firmly
resolved to recall Alcibiades, at last in an assembly brought over the
mass of the soldiery, and upon their voting for his recall and
amnesty, sailed over to Tissaphernes and brought Alcibiades to
Samos, being convinced that their only chance of salvation lay in
his bringing over Tissaphernes from the Peloponnesians to
themselves. An assembly was then held in which Alcibiades complained
of and deplored his private misfortune in having been banished, and
speaking at great length upon public affairs, highly incited their
hopes for the future, and extravagantly magnified his own influence
with Tissaphernes. His object in this was to make the oligarchical
government at Athens afraid of him, to hasten the dissolution of the
clubs, to increase his credit with the army at Samos and heighten
their own confidence, and lastly to prejudice the enemy as strongly as
possible against Tissaphernes, and blast the hopes which they
entertained. Alcibiades accordingly held out to the army such
extravagant promises as the following: that Tissaphernes had
solemnly assured him that if he could only trust the Athenians they
should never want for supplies while he had anything left, no, not
even if he should have to coin his own silver couch, and that he would
bring the Phoenician fleet now at Aspendus to the Athenians instead of
to the Peloponnesians; but that he could only trust the Athenians if
Alcibiades were recalled to be his security for them.
Upon hearing this and much more besides, the Athenians at once
elected him general together with the former ones, and put all their
affairs into his hands. There was now not a man in the army who
would have exchanged his present hopes of safety and vengeance upon
the Four Hundred for any consideration whatever; and after what they
had been told they were now inclined to disdain the enemy before them,
and to sail at once for Piraeus. To the plan of sailing for Piraeus,
leaving their more immediate enemies behind them, Alcibiades opposed
the most positive refusal, in spite of the numbers that insisted
upon it, saying that now that he had been elected general he would
first sail to Tissaphernes and concert with him measures for
carrying on the war. Accordingly, upon leaving this assembly, he
immediately took his departure in order to have it thought that
there was an entire confidence between them, and also wishing to
increase his consideration with Tissaphernes, and to show that he
had now been elected general and was in a position to do him good or
evil as he chose; thus managing to frighten the Athenians with
Tissaphernes and Tissaphernes with the Athenians.
Meanwhile the Peloponnesians at Miletus heard of the recall of
Alcibiades and, already distrustful of Tissaphernes, now became far
more disgusted with him than ever. Indeed after their refusal to go
out and give battle to the Athenians when they appeared before
Miletus, Tissaphernes had grown slacker than ever in his payments; and
even before this, on account of Alcibiades, his unpopularity had
been on the increase. Gathering together, just as before, the soldiers
and some persons of consideration besides the soldiery began to reckon
up how they had never yet received their pay in full; that what they
did receive was small in quantity, and even that paid irregularly, and
that unless they fought a decisive battle or removed to some station
where they could get supplies, the ships' crews would desert; and that
it was all the fault of Astyochus, who humoured Tissaphernes for his
own private advantage.
The army was engaged in these reflections, when the following
disturbance took place about the person of Astyochus. Most of the
Syracusan and Thurian sailors were freemen, and these the freest crews

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