No armament so magnificent or costly had ever been sent out by any single Hellenic power,1
though in mere number of ships and hoplites that which sailed to Epidaurus under Pericles and afterwards under Hagnon to Potidaea2
was not inferior. For that expedition consisted of a hundred Athenian and fifty Chian and Lesbian triremes, conveying four thousand hoplites all Athenian citizens, three hundred cavalry, and a multitude of allied troops.
Still the voyage was short and the equipments were poor, whereas this expedition was intended to be long absent, and was thoroughly provided both for sea and land service, wherever its presence might be required. On the fleet the greatest pains and expense had been lavished by the trierarchs and the state. The public treasury gave a drachma3
a day to each sailor, and furnished empty hulls for sixty swiftsailing vessels, and for forty transports carrying hoplites.
All these were manned with the best crews which could be obtained. The trierarchs, besides the pay given by the state, added somewhat more out of their own means to the wages of the upper ranks of rowers and of4
the petty officers . The figure-heads and other fittings provided by them were of the most costly description. Every one strove to the utmost that his own ship might excel both in beauty and swiftness. The infantry had been well selected and the lists carefully made up.
There was the keenest rivalry among the soldiers in the matter of arms and personal equipment. And while at home the Athenians were thus competing with one another in the performance of their several duties, to the rest of Hellas the expedition seemed to be a grand display of their power and greatness, rather than a preparation for war.
If any one had reckoned up the whole expenditure, both of the state and of individual soldiers and others, including in the first not only what the city had already laid out, but what was entrusted to the general, and in the second what either at the time or afterwards private persons spent upon their outfit, or the trierarchs upon their ships, the provision for the long voyage which every one may be supposed to have carried with him over and above his public pay, and what soldiers or traders may have taken for purposes of exchange, he would have found that altogether an immense sum amounting to many talents was withdrawn from the city.
Men were quite amazed at the boldness of the scheme and the magnificence of the spectacle, which were everywhere spoken of, no less than at the great disproportion of the force when compared with that of the enemy against whom it was intended. Never had a greater expedition been sent to a foreign land; never was there an enterprise in which the hope of future success seemed to be better justified by actual power.