During the same summer the Athenians with sixty ships, two thousand hoplites, and a few1
cavalry, taking also certain Milesian and other allied forces, made an expedition against Cythera, under the command of Nicias the son of Niceratus, Nicostratus the son of Diotrephes, and Autocles the son of Tolmaeus.
Cythera is an island which lies close to Laconia off Cape Malea; it is inhabited by Lacedaemonian Perioeci, and a Spartan officer called the Judge of Cythera was sent thither every year. The Lacedaemonians kept there a garrison of hoplites, which was continually relieved, and took great care of the place.
There the merchant vessels coming from Egypt and Libya commonly put in; the island was a great protection to the Lacedaemonians against depredation by sea, on which element, though secure by land, they were exposed to attack, for the whole of Laconia runs out towards the Sicilian and Cretan seas2