The Athenians were greatly depressed at the loss of their supremacy. But when Lysander robbed them of their freedom too, and handed the city over to thirty men, then, their cause being lost, their eyes were opened to the course they would not take when salvation was yet in their power. They sorrowfully rehearsed all their mistakes and follies, the greatest of which they considered to be their second outburst of wrath against Alcibiades.
He had been cast aside for no fault of his own; but they got angry because a subordinate of his lost a few ships disgracefully, and then they themselves, more disgracefully still, robbed the city of its ablest and most experienced general. And yet, in spite of their present plight, a vague hope still prevailed that the cause of Athens was not wholly lost so long as Alcibiades was alive. He had not, in times past, been satisfied to live his exile's life in idleness and quiet; nor now, if his means allowed, would he tolerate the insolence of the Lacedaemonians and the madness of the Thirty.
It was not strange that the multitude indulged in such dreams, when even the Thirty were moved to anxious thought and inquiry, and made the greatest account of what Alcibiades was planning and doing. Finally, Critias tried to make it clear to Lysander that as long as Athens was a democracy the Lacedaemonians could not have safe rule over Hellas;
and that Athens, even though she were very peacefully and well disposed towards oligarchy, would not be suffered, while Alcibiades was alive, to remain undisturbed in her present condition. However, Lysander was not persuaded by these arguments until a dispatch-roll came from the authorities at home bidding him put Alcibiades out of the way; either because they too were alarmed at the vigor and enterprise of the man, or because they were trying to gratify Agis.