In the meantime the Athenian generals
consulted upon the disaster which had happened, and upon the general
weakness of the army.They saw themselves unsuccessful in their enterprises, and the soldiers
disgusted with their stay;
disease being rife among them owing to its being the sickly season of the
year, and to the marshy and unhealthy nature of the spot in which they were
encamped; and the state of their affairs generally being thought desperate.
Accordingly, Demosthenes was of opinion that they ought not to stay any
longer; but agreeably to his original idea in risking the attempt upon Epipolae,
now that this had failed, he gave his vote for going away without further
loss of time, while the sea might yet be crossed, and their late
reinforcement might give them the superiority at all events on that element.
He also said that it would be more profitable for the state to carry on the
war against those who were building fortifications in Attica, than against
the Syracusans whom it was no longer easy to subdue; besides which it was not right to squander large sums of money to no
purpose by going on with the siege.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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