Thucydides’ History, Book 6

Chapter 31

And in the present moment, as they were about to leave each other behind with risks, fear came upon them more than when they voted to sail ; nevertheless, in the might present with them, due to the size of each thing which they saw, they regained their courage. The foreigners and the rest of the crowd had come for the spectacle, as for a noteworthy or even unbelievable purpose. For this preparation for sailing was the first most expensive and the most glorious in Hellenic power of a single city of any at that time. In number of ships and hoplites, the one against Epidauros with Pericles and the same against Potidaia with Hagnon were not not lesser ; for four times a thousand hoplites of the Athenians themselves and three-hundred chariot-fighters and a hundred triremes, and fifty from Lesbos and Chios, and many more allies still had all sailed together. But they had set themselves in motion for a short voyage and with slight preparation, whereas this expedition would be for a length of time and with respect to both, that they would not be lacking, were well-equipped with ships and foot-soldiers, the naval power having been wrought at great cost to the trireme-captains and the to city, since each sailor was given a drachma per day from the public treasury, and sixty empty swift ships had been furnished, and forty troop-transport ships and the strongest ship-crews for these, and the trireme-captains also gave bonuses, in addition to the wage from the public treasury, to the upper-rowers and the crews of sailors, too, and otherwise made use of very costly standards and preparations, each one being zealous to the utmost, such that for the man himself, his ship especially excelled in majesty and in speed of sailing, too, and the infantry, singled out by the best registries, vied with each other with great zeal concerning both their armaments and their personal gear. And it came to pass both that even as rivalry occurred amongst themselves, at whatever place each was appointed, and that for the other Hellenes, it was more likened to a demonstration of might and power than for any preparation of war. For if anyone calculated the public expenditure of the city and the private (costs) of those serving in the army, as much as had already been spent beforehand by the city, and what the generals had dispatched, and what any given man spent for personal gear from private funds,  and also what trireme-captains had for their ship, and as much as they yet were about to spend, and apart from that, everything which anyone was likely, even without the wage from the public treasury, to have prepared for himself for the voyage, for a campaign of length, and as much as anyone sailed for trading, whether they were soldier or merchant, it would be found that, in all, the a great many talents were drawn off from the city. And the expedition was much talked of abroad, not less for the marvel of its bravado and the brilliance of its spectacle than for the superiority of the army compared with whomever they attacked, and because it was the greatest passage from home and for the highest hopes of what they intended to acquire compared to their present state that was ever yet attempted.

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