A little while after this Alcibiades sailed away from Sicily,1
and then Nicias took the entire command. Lamachus was, it is true, a sturdy and honorable man, one who put forth his might without stint in battle, but so poor and petty that in every campaign where he served as general he would charge up to the Athenian people certain trifling moneys for his own clothes and boots.
Nicias, on the contrary, was a man of great dignity and importance, especially because of his wealth and reputation. It is said that once at the War Department, when his fellow commanders were deliberating on some matter of general moment, he bade Sophocles the poet state his opinion first, as being the senior general on the Board. Thereupon Sophocles said:
‘I am the oldest man, but you are the senior general.’
So also in the present case he brought Lamachus under his orders, although more of a general than himself, and, always using his forces in a cautious and hesitating manner, he first gave the enemy courage by cruising around Sicily as far as possible from them, and then, by attacking the diminutive little city of Hybla, and going off without taking it, he won their utter contempt.
Finally, he went back to Catana without effecting anything at all except the overthrow of Hyccara, a barbarian fastness. From this place it is said that Lais the courtesan was sold as a prisoner of war, being still a girl, and brought into Peloponnesus.