About the same time three envoys, of whom one was Phaeax the son of Erasistratus, were1
sent by the Athenians with two ships to Italy and Sicily.
After the general peace and the withdrawal of the Athenl ians from Sicily2
, the Leontines had enrolled many new citizens, and the people contemplated a redistribution of the land.
The oligarchy, perceiving their intention, called in the Syracusans and drove out the people, who separated and wandered up and down the island. The oligarchy then made an agreement with the Syracusans; and, leaving their own city deserted, settled in Syracuse, and received the privileges of citizenship.
Not long afterwards some of them grew discontented, and, quitting Syracuse, seized a place called Phocaeae, which was a part of the town of Leontini, and Bricinniae, a fortress in the Leontine territory. Here they were joined by most of the common people who had been previously driven out, and from their strongholds they carried on a continual warfare against Syracuse.
It was the report of these events which induced the Athenians to send Phaeax to Sicily. He was to warn the Sicilians that the Syracusans were aiming at supremacy, and to unite the allies of Athens, and if possible the other cities, in a war against Syracuse.
The Athenians hoped that they might thus save the Leontine people. Phaeax succeeded in his mission to the Camarinaeans and Agrigentines, but in Gela he failed, and, convinced that he could not persuade the other states, went no further. Returning by land through the country of the Sicels, and by the way going to Bricinniae and encouraging the exiles, he arrived at Catana, where he embarked for Athens.