Alcibiades further advised Tissaphernes not
to be in too great a hurry to end the war, or to let himself be persuaded to
bring up the Phoenician fleet which he was equipping, or to provide pay for
more Hellenes, and thus put the power by land and sea into the same hands; but to leave each of the contending parties in possession of one element,
thus enabling the king when he found one troublesome to call in the other.
For if the command of the sea and land were united in one hand, he would
not know where to turn for help to overthrow the dominant power; unless he at last chose to stand up himself, and go through with the
struggle at great expense and hazard.The cheapest plan was to let the Hellenes wear each other out, at a small
share of the expense and without risk to himself.
Besides, he would find the Athenians the most convenient partners in empire
as they did not aim at conquests on shore, and carried on the war upon
principles and with a practice most advantageous to the king; being prepared to combine to conquer the sea for Athens, and for the king
all the Hellenes inhabiting his country, whom the Peloponnesians, on the
contrary, had come to liberate.Now it was not likely that the Lacedaemonians would free the Hellenes from
the Hellenic Athenians, without freeing them also from the barbarian Mede,
unless overthrown by him in the meanwhile.
Alcibiades therefore urged him to wear them both out at first, and after
docking the Athenian power as much as he could, forthwith to rid the country
of the Peloponnesians.
In the main Tissaphernes approved of this policy, so far at least as could
be conjectured from his behaviour; since he now gave his confidence to Alcibiades in recognition of his good
advice, and kept the Peloponnesians short of money, and would not let them
fight at sea, but ruined their cause by pretending that the Phoenician fleet
would arrive, and that they would thus be enabled to contend with the odds
in their favour, and so made their navy lose its efficiency, which had been
very remarkable, and generally betrayed a coolness in the war that was too
plain to be mistaken.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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