Thucydides’ History, Book 6

Chapter 6

Thus such tribes of the Hellenes and the barbarians inhabited Sicily, and the Athenians were zealous to campaign against it, despite it being so much, and they longed, if their truest motive were revealed, to rule over the whole island, while at the same time, they plausibly wished to give aid both to their own kinfolk and to those joined to them as allies. The ambassadors of Egesta were at hand, eagerly calling on them, and they incited them the most. For being neighbours to the Selinuntines they had gone to war over certain marriages and over disputed land, and the Selinuntines had won over the Syracusians as allies and they pressed hard against them in war, across land and sea ; such that the Egestaioi needed the Athenians to send ships to assist them, reminding them of the alliance  of the Leontinoi, made in the time of Laches and first war, saying much and sundry but chiefly that if the Syracusians were unpunished for driving out the Leontinoi and the rest of those who were yet their allies, then they would hold the entire power of Sicily, destroying them, that there was danger lest they, at some point and with a great armament, giving aid as Dorians for Dorians, according to their kinship, and at the same time as settlers giving aid to the Peloponnesians who had sent them out, they too might join in putting down the power of the Athenians ; that it was prudent to stand against the Syracusians with the allies still left alive, especially since they themselves were providing sufficient wealth for war. The Athenians, since they often heard the Egestaioi speaking in the Assembly and those advocating on their behalf, cast their votes to send ambassadors first to Egesta concerning the wealth, to verify whether it was, just as they said, held in common and in the temples, and at the same time, with respect to the affairs of the war against the Selinutines, in what state it was stood.

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