(8.1) THE news was brought to Athens, but the Athenians could not believe that the armament had been so completely annihilated, although they had the positive assurances of the very soldiers who1 had escaped from the scene of action. At last they knew the truth; and then they were furious with the orators who had joined in promoting the expedition--as if they had not voted it themselves2--and with the soothsayers, and prophets, and all who by the influence of religion had at the time inspired them with the belief that they would conquer Sicily. Whichever way they looked there was trouble; they were overwhelmed by their calamity, and were in fear and consternation unutterable. The citizens and the city were alike distressed; they had lost a host of cavalry and hoplites and the flower of their youth, and there were none to replace them.3 And when they saw an insufficient number of ships in their docks, and no crews to man them, nor money in the treasury, they despaired of deliverance. They had no doubt that their enemies in Sicily, after the great victory which they had already gained, would at once sail against the Piraeus. Their enemies in Hellas, whose resources were now doubled, would likewise set upon them with all their might both by sea and land, and would be assisted by their own revolted allies. Still they determined, so far as their situation allowed, not to give way. They would procure timber and money by whatever means they might, and build a navy. They would make sure of their allies, and above all of Euboea. Expenses in the city were to be economised, and they were to choose a council of the elder men, who should advise together, and lay before the people the measures which from time to time might be required. After the manner of a democracy, they were very amenable to discipline while their fright lasted. They proceeded to carry out these resolutions. And so the summer ended.
(8.2) During the following winter all Hellas was stirred by the great overthrow of the Athenians in Sicily. The states which had been neutral determined that the time had come when, invited or not, they could no longer stand aloof from the war; they must of their own accord attack the Athenians. They considered, one and all, that if the Sicilian expedition had succeeded, they would sooner or later have been attacked by them. The war would not last long, and they might as well share in the glory of it. The Lacedaemonian allies, animated by a common feeling, were more eager than ever to make a speedy end of their great hardships. But none showed greater alacrity than the subjects of the Athenians, who were everywhere willing even beyond their power to revolt; for they judged by their excited feelings,4 and would not admit a possibility that the Athenians could survive another summer. To the Lacedaemonians themselves all this was most encouraging; and they had in addition the prospect that their allies from Sicily would join them at the beginning of spring with a large force of ships as well as men; necessity having at last compelled them to become a naval power. Everything looked hopeful, and they determined to strike promptly and vigorously. They considered that by the successful termination of the war they would be finally delivered from dangers such as would have surrounded them if the Athenians had become masters of Sicily.5 Athens once overthrown, they might assure to themselves the undisputed leadership of all Hellas.
(8.3) At the beginning therefore of this winter, Agis the Lacedaemonian king led out a body of troops from Decelea, and collected from the allies contributions towards the expenses of a navy. Then passing to the Malian Gulf he carried off from the Oetaeans, who were old enemies,6 the greater part of their cattle, and exacted money of them; from the Achaeans of Phthia, and from the other tribes in that region, without the leave and in spite of the remonstrance of the Thessalians, to whom they were subject, he likewise extorted money and took some hostages, whom he deposited at Corinth, and tried to force upon them the Lacedaemonian alliance. The whole number of ships which the allies were to build was fixed by the Lacedaemonians at a hundred: twenty-five were to be built by themselves and twenty-five by the Boeotians, fifteen by the Phocians and Locrians, fifteen by the Corinthians, ten by the Arcadians, Pellenians, and Sicyonians, ten by the Megarians, Troezenians, Epidaurians, and Hermionians. Every sort of preparation was made, for the Lacedaemonians were determined to prosecute the war at the first appearance of spring.
(8.4) The Athenians also carried out their intended preparations during this winter. They collected timber and built ships; they fortified Sunium for the protection of their corn-ships on the voyage round to Athens; also they abandoned the fort in Laconia which they had erected while sailing to Sicily,7 and cut down any expenses which seemed unnecessary. Above all, they kept strict watch over their allies, apprehending revolt.
(8.5) During the same winter, while both parties were as intent upon their preparations as if the war were only just beginning, first among the Athenian subjects the Euboeans sent envoys to negotiate with Agis. Agis accepted their proposals, and summoned from Lacedaemon Alcamenes the son of Sthenelaidas, and Melanthus, that they might take the command in Euboea. They came, accompanied by three hundred of the Neodamodes. But while he was making ready to convey them across the strait, there arrived envoys from Lesbos, which was likewise anxious to revolt; and as the Boeotians8 were in their interest, Agis was persuaded to defer the expedition to Euboea while he prepared to assist the Lesbians. He appointed Alcamenes, who had been designed for Euboea, their governor; and he further promised them ten ships, the Boeotians promising ten more. All this was done without the authority of the Lacedaemonian government; for Agis, while he was with his army at Decelea, had the right to send troops whithersoever he pleased, to raise levies, and to exact money. And at that particular time he might be said to have far more influence over the allies than the Lacedaemonians at home, for he had an army at his disposal, and might appear in formidable strength anywhere at any time.
While he was supporting the Lesbians, certain Chians and Erythraeans (who were also ready to revolt) had recourse, not to Agis, but to Lacedaemon; they were accompanied by an envoy from Tissaphernes, whom King Darius the son of Artaxerxes had appointed to be military governor of the provinces on the coast of Asia. Tissaphernes too was inviting the assistance of the Lacedaemonians, and promised to maintain their troops; for the King had quite lately been demanding of him the revenues due from the Hellenic cities in his province, which he had been prevented by the Athenians from collecting, and therefore still owed. He thought that if he could weaken the Athenians he would be more likely to get his tribute; he hoped also to make the Lacedaemonians allies of the King, and by their help either to slay or take alive, in accordance with the King's orders, Amorges the natural son of Pissuthnes, who had revolted in Caria.