'Even supposing we leave Athens with a force of our own, not merely equal to that of the1
enemy, but in every way superior, except indeed as regards the number of hoplites which they can put into the field, for in that respect 'equality is impossible, still it will be no easy task to conquer Sicily, or indeed to preserve ourselves.
You ought to consider that we are like men going to found a city in a land of strangers and enemies, who on the very day of their disembarkation must have command of the country; for if they meet with a disaster they will have no friends.
And this is what I fear. We shall have much need of prudence; still more of good fortune (and who can guarantee this to mortals?). Wherefore I would trust myself and the expedition as little as possible to accident, and would not sail until I had taken such precautions as will be likely to ensure our safety.
This I conceive to be the course which is the most prudent for the whole state, and, for us who are sent upon the expedition, a condition of safety. If any one thinks otherwise, to him I resign the command'