Diodorus Siculus

BOOK XIII - The Library of History

Page 300


The Athenian Fleet rigg'd out for Sicily. Alcibiades accus'd; Flies; Is Condemned; Goes to Sparta out of Italy. The Syracusians send for Aid to Lacedemon. Gylippus is sent to them. The Battel at Syracuse.

WHen Cabrias bore the Office of Archon at Athens, and the Romans invested Lucius Sergius, Marcus Servilius, and Marcus Papyrius, Three Military Tribunes, with Consular dignity, the Athenians having decreed War against the Syracusians, rigg'd out a Fleet, rais'd Money, and prepar'd with great diligence all other things necessary for the Expedition. To this end they commission'd Three Generals, Alcibiades, Nicias, and Lamachus, to whom they committed the management of the whole War. The richer sort to ingratiate themselves with the People, some of them supply'd the Fleet with Arms, others promis'd to advance Money towards the Victualling the Navy, and providing Pay for the Souldiers. Many likewise of the People, both Citizens and Strangers, freely offer'd themselves to the Generals, to be listed and inroll'd: And all were so confident, that they were ready to divide the Country of Sicily amongst themselves by Lot.

And now the Navy was ready to set sail; when on the sudden in one Night, all the Statues of the Goddess Minerva through the City (which were very many) had their Heads struck off. The Populacy conceiv'd this not to be done by any of the meaner sort, but by some in authority, with a design to destory the Democracy, and therefore they were highly incens'd at the wickedness of the fact, and promis'd great Rewards to find out the Authors. In the mean time, one of the Citizens came to the Senate, and told them, that in the new Moon about Midnight, he saw several Persons go into the House of a Foreigner, amongst whom Alcibiades was one. And when the Senate askt him how he could know him at such a time of the Night? He answered, he discerned him by the light of the Moon: By which Contradiction he detected his own Falshood, and never after could the least Discovery be made of that Fact by any Person whatsoever.

However notwithstanding this Accident, an Hundred and Forty Gallies were rigg'd out, besides Ships of Burden and other Ships, for transporting of Horses, Provisions and other Necessaries, whereof there was a very great number. In this Expedition there went forth with them above Seven Thousand Men at Arms, and Slingers, and Horsemen sent from their Confederates, besides those belonging to their Fleet.

During this time, the Officers had a private Consult with the Senate, concerning the Administration of Affairs in Sicily, in case they should conquer the Island. Where at length it was determined, that they of Selinuntium and Syracuse should be carry'd away as Captives and Slaves, and that the rest should have only a Yearly Tribute impos'd upon them. The next day the Officers with the Army, march'd down into the Piraeum, and were follow'd with a great Multitude, both of Citizens and Strangers throughout the whole City; every one making it his business to take leave of his Friend or Relation. The Ships lay on every side of the Harbour with their Fore-decks adorn'd with Flags and Streamers erect, and shining with the splendor of the Arms. The Shoar round the Harbour was fill'd with Altars of Incense, and Silver Bowls, out of which were poured out into Golden Cups, Drink-Offerings to the Gods, by them who worshipped the Deity, and earnestly pray'd for the happy Success of the Expedition.

At length they set sail from the Pyraeum, and sailing round the Coasts of Peloponesus, arriv'd at Corcyra: For here they were commanded to stay, till they were join'd by some others of their Neighbour Confederates. Being all come up to them, passing through the Ionian Sea, they came to the Promontory of Japygia; hence sailing along the Coasts of Italy, they were refused by the Tarrentines;

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