When by arguing on the other side he1
produced no effect among the allies, by pretending to go over to their opinion he brought all into agreement with his plan.
“May success attend us,” he said, “and let us lay siege to Sparta, since that is your will: but do not be deceived about this: since the siege of cities is a slow business, as you know, which often exhausts the patience of the besiegers sooner than that of the besieged, you ought even now to hold this prospect before your minds, that we must winter around the walls of Lacedaemon.
If this delay involved merely toil and danger, I should urge you to prepare both minds and bodies to resist them;
but now it demands much money also, for siege-works, for engines and artillery with which we must attack so strong a town, and for the purchase of provisions for you and us against the winter.
Therefore, to prevent any sudden fear or a disgraceful abandonment of an unfinished enterprise, I propose that you should write to your states in advance, to ascertain what is the temper and what the strength of each. Of troops to aid me, I have enough and more; but the more numerous we are, the more supplies we shall require.
The enemy's country already offers nothing but the naked soil. Besides, winter will soon be here, making it difficult to transport supplies from a distance.”
This speech at once directed the minds of all to thoughts of the domestic difficulties of each, the sloth, the ill-will, and the jealousy of those who stayed at home towards the soldiers in the field, the liberty that made agreement difficult, the public poverty, the unwillingness to make contributions from private funds.
Their inclinations accordingly suffered a sudden change, [p. 511]
and they granted authority to the commander to do
what he considered consistent with the general interest of the Roman people and the allies.