The Chians were now blockaded more closely than ever both by sea and land, and there was1
a great famine in the place. Meanwhile Peisander and his colleagues came to Tissaphernes and proposed an agreement.
But Alcibiades was not as yet quite sure of Tissaphernes, who was more afraid of the Peloponnesians than of the Athenians, and was still desirous, in accordance with the lesson which he had been taught by Alcibiades himself, to wear them both out. So he had recourse to the device of making Tissaphernes ask too much, that the negotiations might be broken off. And I imagine that Tissaphernes himself equally wanted them to fail;
he was moved by his fears, while Alcibiades, seeing that his reluctance was insuperable, did not wish the Athenians to think that he was unable to persuade him—he wanted them to believe that Tissaphernes was already persuaded and anxious to make terms but could not, because they themselves would not grant enough.
And so, speaking on behalf of Tissaphernes who was himself present, he made such exorbitant demands that, although for a time the Athenians were willing to grant anything which he asked, at length the responsibility of breaking off the conference was thrown upon them. He and Tissaphernes demanded, first the cession of all Ionia to the King, then that of the neighboring islands; and there were some other conditions. Thus far the Athenians offered no opposition. But at last, fearing that his utter inability to fulfil his promise would be exposed, at the third interview he demanded permission for the King to build ships, and sail along his own coast wherever and with as many vessels as he pleased. This was too much; the Athenians now perceived that matters were hopeless, and that they had been duped by Alcibiades. So they departed in anger to Samos.