continued to enjoy the richest parts of the country for near three hundred
years before any Hellenes came to Sicily; indeed they still hold the centre and north of the island.
There were also Phoenicians living all round Sicily, who had occupied
promontories upon the sea coasts and the islets adjacent for the purpose of
trading with the Sicels.
But when the Hellenes began to arrive in considerable numbers by sea, the
Phoenicians abandoned most of their stations, and drawing together took up
their abode in Motye, Soloeis, and Panormus, near the Elymi, partly because
they confided in their alliance, and also because these are the nearest
points, for the voyage between Carthage and Sicily.
although some spoke on the other
By far the warmest advocate of the expedition was, however, Alcibiades, son
of Clinias, who wished to thwart Nicias both as his political opponent and
also because of the attack he had made upon him in his speech, and who was,
besides, exceedingly ambitious of a command by which he hoped to reduce
Sicily and Carthage, and personally to gain in wealth and reputation by
means of his successes.
For the position he held among the citizens led him to indulge his tastes
beyond what his real means would bear, both in keeping horses and in the
rest of his expenditure; and this later on had not a little to do with the ruin of the Athenian
Alarmed at the greatn
, therefore, confidently begin
preparations here; let us send and confirm some of the Sicels, and obtain the friendship and
alliance of others, and despatch envoys to the rest of Sicily to show that
the danger is common to all, and to Italy to get them to become our allies,
or at all events to refuse to receive the Athenians.
I also think that it would be best to send to Carthage as well; they are by no means there without apprehension, but it is their constant
fear that the Athenians may one day attack their city, and they may perhaps
think that they might themselves suffer by letting Sicily be sacrificed, and
be willing to help us secretly if not openly, in one way if not in another.
They are the best able to do so, if they will, of any of the present day,
st those who refused to join, and forced some of
them to do so; in the case of others they were stopped by the Syracusans sending garrisons
Meanwhile the Athenians moved their winter quarters from Naxos to Catana,
and reconstructed the camp burnt by the Syracusans, and stayed there the
rest of the winter.
They also sent a galley to Carthage, with proffers of friendship, on the
chance of obtaining assistance, and another to Tyrrhenia; some of the cities there having spontaneously offered to join them in the
They also sent round to the Sicels and to Egesta, desiring them to send
them as many horses as possible, and meanwhile prepared bricks, iron, and
all other things necessary for the work of circumvallation,
So much then for the prejudices with which I
am regarded: I now can call your attention to the questions you must
consider, and upon which superior knowledge perhaps permits me to speak.
We sailed to Sicily first to conquer, if possible, the Siceliots, and after
them the Italiots also, and finally to assail the empire and city of
In the event of all or most of these schemes succeeding, we were then to
attack Peloponnese, bringing with us the entire force of the Hellenes lately
acquired in those parts, and taking a number of barbarians into our pay,
such as the Iberians and others in those countries, confessedly the most
warlike known, and building numerous galleys in addition to those which we