But Callicratidas, after cherishing purposes worthy of Lacedaemon, and showing himself worthy to compete with the most eminent of the Greeks by reason of his righteousness, magnanimity, and valor, not long afterwards lost the sea-fight at Arginusae and vanished from among men.1
Then, their cause declining, the allies sent an embassy to Sparta and asked that Lysander be made admiral, declaring that they would grapple much more vigorously with the situation if he were their commander.
Cyrus also sent to make the same request. Now the Lacedaemonians had a law forbidding that the same man should be admiral twice, and yet they wished to gratify their allies; they therefore invested a certain Aracus with the title of admiral, and sent out Lysander as vice-admiral,2
nominally, but really with supreme power. So he came out, as most of those who had political power and influence in the cities had long desired, for they expected to become still stronger by his aid when the popular governments had been utterly overthrown;
but to those who loved simplicity and nobility in the character of their leaders, Lysander, compared with Callicratidas, seemed to be unscrupulous and subtle, a man who tricked out most of what he did in war with the varied hues of deceit, extolling justice if it was at the same time profitable, but if not, adopting the advantageous as the honorable course, and not considering truth as inherently better than falsehood, but bounding his estimate of either by the needs of the hour.
Those who demanded that the descendants of Heracles should not wage war by deceit he held up to ridicule, saying that
‘where the lion's skin will not reach, it must be patched out with the fox's.’