When the day arrived and the assembly was on the point of meeting in the theatre of1
Dionysus, news came that Agesandridas and his forty-two ships had crossed over from Megara, and were sailing along the coast of Salamis. Every man of the popular party thought that this was what they had been so often told by Theramenes and his friends, and that the ships were sailing to the fort, happily now demolished.
Nor is it impossible that Agesandridas may have been hovering about Epidaurus and the neighbourhood by agreement; but it is equally likely that he lingered there of his own accord, with an eye to the agitation which prevailed at Athens, hoping to be on the spot at the critical moment.
Instantly upon the arrival of the news the whole city rushed down to the Piraeus,2
thinking that a conflict with their enemies more serious than their domestic strife3
was now awaiting them, not at a distance, but at the very mouth of the harbour. Some embarked in the ships which were lying ready; others launched fresh ships; others manned the walls and prepared to defend the entrance of the Piraeus.