Thucydides’ History, Book 6

Chapter 22

“Thus it seems to me that we must bring many hoplites, both our own and those of our allies, and our subjects too, and if we can either persuade some of the Peloponessians to be brought along or by pay, and many bowmen and slingers too, so that we might hold out against the cavalry of the men there, and we must surpass in ships by much, so that we may readily bring in supplies, both provisions from here in merchantmen, and grains and roasted barley, and bring also paid millers, conscripted proportionately out of the mill-houses, so that if we are in any way cut off without access to sail, the army will have supplies (for since it will be so large, it will not be the part of every city to welcome it), and all the rest, so much as it is possible to have at hand, and not be dependent on others, especially wealth from here, as much as we have. That from the Egestaioi, which is said to be at hand there, believe that too mainly at hand in word alone.”

Chapter 23

“For if we ourselves should go from here not only prepared as an even match, except with respect to their effective force, the hoplite, but even exceeding all of them, we would yet be scarcely able to prevail over them, and also perservere. It is necessary to consider that to go, having settled city amidst foreign and hostile tribes, it behooves those men to prevail over the land staightaway, in the first day in which they occupy, or to know that, if they are thrown down, they shall have everyone as an enemy. And I, fearing this very thing, and knowing that there is a great need for us to plan well, and still even more to be fortunate (a difficult thing, being mortals), that I wish to sail handing myself over to fortune as little as possible, to sail away sure-footed in preparation for likely events. For in the whole city, I believe these things the most constant and the deliverance for those going off to war for you. If anyone thinks otherwise, I’ll resign the command to him.”

Chapter 24

Such did Nicias say, believing either that he turned the Athenians away by the magnitude of the affair, or, if they should be forced to go to war, they would be on especially sure footing to sail ; but the covetousness for the voyage was not removed by the troublesomeness of the preparation, and most desired it more still, and thus it came round opposite for him ; for he seemed to advise them well, that the matters would indeed now be on much sure footing. And love fell upon them all alike to sail away ; for to the older men it was either that they would subdue those places they were sailing upon or that their great power would never be thrown down, and for those in their youth, they yearned to face the far-off and behold it, and they were in good hope that they would be saved ; and the mighty crowd and the soldier among those present, that they would have silver and acquire power for themselves whence there would always be wages. Such that, due to the enthusiasm of the greater number, even if the desire was not pleasing to someone, alarmed lest he, by voting against, seemed to be ill-disposed toward the city, he kept his peace.

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