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After the Laconian had made these and similar representations, the sentiments of the most reasonable men among the Athenians inclined toward the peace, but those who made it their practice to foment war and to turn disturbances in the state to their personal profit chose the war. [2] A supporter of this sentiment was, among others, Cleophon, who was the most influential leader of the populace at this time. He, taking the floor and arguing at length on the question in his own fashion, buoyed up the people, citing the magnitude of their military successes, as if indeed it is not the practice of Fortune to adjudge the advantages in war now to one side and now to the other. [3] Consequently the Athenians, after taking unwise counsel, repented of it when it could do them no good, and, deceived as they were by words spoken in flattery, they made a blunder so vital that never again at any time were they able truly to recover. [4] But these events, which took place at a later date, will be described in connection with the period of time to which they belong; at the time we are discussing the Athenians, being elated by their successes and entertaining many great hopes because they had Alcibiades as the leader of their armed forces, thought that they had quickly won back their supremacy.

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