Meanwhile the Athenian generals, troubled by their recent defeat and the utter discouragement1
which prevailed in the army, held a council of war. They saw that their attempts all failed, and that the soldiers were weary of remaining. For they were distressed by sickness, proceeding from two causes:
the season of the year was that in which men are most liable to disease; and the place in which they were encamped was damp and unhealthy. And they felt that the situation was in every way hopeless. Demosthenes gave his voice against remaining;
he said that the decisive attack upon Epipolae had failed, and, in accordance with his original intention, he should vote for immediate departure while the voyage was possible, and while, with the help of the ships which had recently joined them, they had the upper hand at any rate by sea.
It was more expedient for the city that they should make war upon the Peloponnesians, who were raising a fort in Attica, than against the Syracusans, whom they could now scarcely hope to conquer; and there was no sense in carrying on the siege at a vast expense and with no result. This was the opinion of Demosthenes.