When the ships were manned and everything required for the voyage had been placed on1
board, silence was proclaimed by the sound of the trumpet, and all with one voice before setting sail offered up the customary prayers; these were recited, not in each ship separately, but by a single herald, the whole fleet accompanying him. On every deck both the officers and the marines, mingling wine in bowls, made libations from vessels of gold and silver.
The multitude of citizens and other well-wishers who were looking on from the land joined in the prayer. The crews raised the paean and, when the libations were completed, put to sea. After sailing out for some distance in single file, the ships raced with one another as far as Aegina; thence they hastened onwards to Corcyra, where the allies who formed the rest of the army were assembling.
Meanwhile reports of the expedition were coming in to Syracuse from many quarters, but for2
a long time nobody gave credit to them. At length an assembly was held. Even then different opinions were expressed, some affirming and others denying that the expedition was coming. At last Hermocrates the son of Hermon, believing that he had certain information, came forward, and warned the Syracusans in the following words:—