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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII   


deposed and the Council of Five Hundred reinstated in power: meanwhile
any retrenchments for economy, by which pay might be better found
for the armament, met with his entire approval. Generally, he bade
them hold out and show a bold face to the enemy, since if the city
were saved there was good hope that the two parties might some day
be reconciled, whereas if either were once destroyed, that at Samos,
or that at Athens, there would no longer be any one to be reconciled
to. Meanwhile arrived envoys from the Argives, with offers of
support to the Athenian commons at Samos: these were thanked by
Alcibiades, and dismissed with a request to come when called upon. The
Argives were accompanied by the crew of the Paralus, whom we left
placed in a troopship by the Four Hundred with orders to cruise
round Euboea, and who being employed to carry to Lacedaemon some
Athenian envoys sent by the Four Hundred- Laespodias, Aristophon, and
Melesias- as they sailed by Argos laid hands upon the envoys, and
delivering them over to the Argives as the chief subverters of the
democracy, themselves, instead of returning to Athens, took the Argive
envoys on board, and came to Samos in the galley which had been
confided to them.
The same summer at the time that the return of Alcibiades coupled
with the general conduct of Tissaphernes had carried to its height the
discontent of the Peloponnesians, who no longer entertained any
doubt of his having joined the Athenians, Tissaphernes wishing, it
would seem, to clear himself to them of these charges, prepared to
go after the Phoenician fleet to Aspendus, and invited Lichas to go
with him; saying that he would appoint Tamos as his lieutenant to
provide pay for the armament during his own absence. Accounts
differ, and it is not easy to ascertain with what intention he went to
Aspendus, and did not bring the fleet after all. That one hundred
and forty-seven Phoenician ships came as far as Aspendus is certain;
but why they did not come on has been variously accounted for. Some
think that he went away in pursuance of his plan of wasting the
Peloponnesian resources, since at any rate Tamos, his lieutenant,
far from being any better, proved a worse paymaster than himself:
others that he brought the Phoenicians to Aspendus to exact money from
them for their discharge, having never intended to employ them: others
again that it was in view of the outcry against him at Lacedaemon,
in order that it might be said that he was not in fault, but that
the ships were really manned and that he had certainly gone to fetch
them. To myself it seems only too evident that he did not bring up the
fleet because he wished to wear out and paralyse the Hellenic
forces, that is, to waste their strength by the time lost during his
journey to Aspendus, and to keep them evenly balanced by not
throwing his weight into either scale. Had he wished to finish the
war, he could have done so, assuming of course that he made his
appearance in a way which left no room for doubt; as by bringing up
the fleet he would in all probability have given the victory to the
Lacedaemonians, whose navy, even as it was, faced the Athenian more as
an equal than as an inferior. But what convicts him most clearly, is
the excuse which he put forward for not bringing the ships. He said
that the number assembled was less than the King had ordered; but
surely it would only have enhanced his credit if he spent little of
the King's money and effected the same end at less cost. In any
case, whatever was his intention, Tissaphernes went to Aspendus and
saw the Phoenicians; and the Peloponnesians at his desire sent a
Lacedaemonian called Philip with two galleys to fetch the fleet.
Alcibiades finding that Tissaphernes had gone to Aspendus, himself
sailed thither with thirteen ships, promising to do a great and
certain service to the Athenians at Samos, as he would either bring
the Phoenician fleet to the Athenians, or at all events prevent its
joining the Peloponnesians. In all probability he had long known
that Tissaphernes never meant to bring the fleet at all, and wished to
compromise him as much as possible in the eyes of the Peloponnesians
through his apparent friendship for himself and the Athenians, and

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