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56. The Syracusans at once sailed round the shore of the harbour without fear, and determined1 to close the mouth, that the Athenians might not be able, even if they wanted, to sail out by stealth. [2] For they were now striving, no longer to achieve their own deliverance, but to cut off the escape of the Athenians; they considered their position already far superior, as indeed it was, and they hoped that if they could conquer the Athenians and their allies by sea and land, their success would be glorious in the eyes of all the Hellenes, who would at once be set free, some from slavery, others from fear. For the Athenians, having lost so much of their power, would never be able to face the enemies who would rise up against them. And the glory of the deliverance would be ascribed to the Syracusans, who would be honoured by all living men and all future ages.2 [3] The conflict was still further ennobled by the thought that they were now conquering3, not only the Athenians, but a host of their allies. And they themselves were not alone, but many had come to their support; they were taking the command in a war by the side of Corinth and Lacedaemon; they had offered their own city to bear the brunt of the encounter, and they had made an immense advance in naval power. [4] More nations met at Syracuse than ever gathered around any single city, although not so many as the whole number of nations enrolled in this war under the Athenians and Lacedaemonians.

1 The Syracusans prepare to close the mouth of her harbor. They aspire to take the lead in the liberation of Hellas.

2 Or, taking the words as a reflection, not of the Syracusans, but of Thucydides himself: 'And indeed there was everything to ennoble the conflict; for they were now conquering' etc.

3 Or, taking the words as a reflection, not of the Syracusans, but of Thucydides himself: 'And indeed there was everything to ennoble the conflict; for they were now conquering' etc.

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