But Alcibiades, yearning at last to see his home, and still more desirous of being seen by his fellow citizens, now that he had conquered their enemies so many times, set sail.1
His Attic triremes were adorned all round with many shields and spoils of war; many that he had captured in battle were towed along in his wake; and still more numerous were the figure-heads he carried of triremes which had been overwhelmed and destroyed by him. There were not less than two hundred of these all together.
Duris the Samian, who claims that he was a descendant of Alcibiades, gives some additional details. He says that the oarsmen of Alcibiades rowed to the music of a flute blown by Chrysogonus the Pythian victor; that they kept time to a rhythmic call from the lips of Callipides the tragic actor; that both these artists were arrayed in the long tunics, flowing robes, and other adornment of their profession; and that the commander's ship put into harbors with a sail of purple hue, as though, after a drinking bout, he were off on a revel.
But neither Theopompus, nor Ephorus, nor Xenophon mentions these things, nor is it likely that Alcibiades put on such airs for the Athenians, to whom he was returning after he had suffered exile and many great adversities. Nay, he was in actual fear as he put into the harbor, and once in, he did not leave his trireme until, as he stood on deck, he caught sight of his cousin Euryptolemus on shore, with many other friends and kinsmen, and heard their cries of welcome.
When he landed, however, people did not deign so much as to look at the other generals whom they met, but ran in throngs to Alcibiades with shouts of welcome, escorting him on his way, and putting wreaths on his head as they could get to him, while those who could not come to him for the throng, gazed at him from afar, the elderly men pointing him out to the young. Much sorrow, too, was mingled with the city's joy, as men called to mind their former misfortunes and compared them with their present good fortune, counting it certain that they had neither lost Sicily,
nor had any other great expectation of theirs miscarried if they had only left Alcibiades at the head of that enterprise and the armament therefor. For now he had taken the city when she was almost banished from the sea, when on land she was hardly mistress of her own suburbs, and when factions raged within her walls, and had raised her up from this wretched and lowly plight, not only restoring her dominion over the sea, but actually rendering her victorious over her enemies everywhere on land.