Such is the list of the peoples, Hellenic and
barbarian, inhabiting Sicily, and such the magnitude of the island which the
Athenians were now bent upon invading; being ambitious in real truth of conquering the whole, although they had
also the specious design of succouring their kindred and other allies in the
But they were especially incited by envoys from Egesta, who had come to
Athens and invoked their aid more urgently than ever.The Egestaeans had gone to war with their neighbours the Selinuntines upon
questions of marriage and disputed territory, and the Selinuntines had
procured the alliance of the Syracusans, and pressed Egesta hard by land and
sea.The Egestaeans now reminded the Athenians of the alliance made in the time
of Laches, during the former Leontine war, and begged them to send a fleet
to their aid, and among a number of other considerations urged as a capital
argument, that if the Syracusans were allowed to go unpunished for their
depopulation of Leontini, to ruin the allies still left to Athens in Sicily,
and to get the whole power of the island into their hands, there would be a
danger of their one day coming with a large force, as Dorians, to the aid of
their Dorian brethren, and as colonists, to the aid of the Peloponnesians
who had sent them out, and joining these in pulling down the Athenian
empire.The Athenians would, therefore, do well to unite with the allies still left
to them, and to make a stand against the Syracusans; especially as they, the Egestaeans, were prepared to furnish money
sufficient for the war.
The Athenians, hearing these arguments constantly repeated in their
assemblies by the Egestaeans and their supporters, voted first to send
envoys to Egesta, to see if there was really the money that they talked of
in the treasury and temples, and at the same time to ascertain in what
posture was the war with the Selinuntines.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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