previous next

When Chabrias was archon in Athens, the Romans elected in place of consuls three military tribunes, Lucius Sergius, Marcus Papirius, and Marcus Servilius. This year the Athenians, pursuant to their vote of the war against the Syracusans, got ready the ships, collected the money, and proceeded with great zeal to make every preparation for the campaign. They elected three generals, Alcibiades, Nicias, and Lamachus, and gave them full powers over all matters pertaining to the war. [2] Of the private citizens those who had the means, wishing to indulge the enthusiasm of the populace, in some instances fitted out triremes at their own expense and in others engaged to donate money for the maintenance of the forces; and many, not only from among the citizens and aliens of Athens who favoured the democracy but also from among the allies, voluntarily went to the generals and urged that they be enrolled among the soldiers. To such a degree were they all buoyed up in their hopes and looking forward forthwith to portioning out Sicily in allotments. [3]

And the expedition was already fully prepared when it came to pass that in a single night the statues of Hermes which stood everywhere throughout the city were mutilated.2 At this the people, believing that the deed had not been done by ordinary persons but by men who stood in high repute and were bent upon the overthrow of the democracy, were incensed at the sacrilege and undertook a search for the perpetrators, offering large rewards to anyone who would furnish information against them. [4] And a certain private citizen,3 appearing before the Council, stated that he had seen certain men enter the house of an alien about the middle of the night on the first day of the new moon and that one of them was Alcibiades. When he was questioned by the Council and asked how he could recognize the faces at night, he replied that he had seen them by the light of the moon. Since, then, the man had convicted himself of lying, no credence was given to his story, and of other investigators not a man was able to discover a single clue to the deed. [5]

One hundred and forty triremes were equipped, and of transports and ships to carry horses as well as ships to convey food and all other equipment there was a huge number; and there were also hoplites and slingers as well as cavalry, and in addition more than seven thousand men from the allies,4 not including the crews. [6] At this time the generals, sitting in secret session with the Council, discussed what disposition they should make of Sicilian affairs, if they should get control of the island. And it was agreed by them that they would enslave the Selinuntians and Syracusans, but upon the other peoples they would merely lay a tribute severally which they would pay annually to the Athenians.

1 415 B.C.

2 The principal sources for this famous incident are Thuc. 6.27-29, 53, 60-61; Plut. Alc. 18-21, and especially Andoc. 1 The faces of the statues were mutilated, and perhaps also τὰ αἰδοῖα (Aristoph. Lys. 1094). Andocides gives the names of those whose goods were confiscated and sold after the mutilation of the Hermae, and many of these are confirmed on a fragmentary inscription (I.G. I(2). 327, 332).

3 Probably the Diocleides mentioned by Andoc. 1.37 ff., who gives the story in considerable detail.

4 Or "slingers as well as more than seven thousand cavalry from both the citizens and allies."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1989)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Sicily (Italy) (1)
Athens (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
415 BC (1)
hide References (9 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: