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He, however, laid all the blame on Nicias, and denounced him, saying that it was through cowardice and weakness that he was letting the men on the island slip through his hands, whereas, had he himself been general instead of Nicias, they would not have held out so long. Thereupon it occurred to the Athenians to say: ‘It's not too late! Why don't you sail yourself and fetch the men?’ Nicias too rose in the assembly and resigned his command of the expedition to Pylos in favour of Cleon, bidding him take as large a force as he wished, and not to vent his boldness in mere words which brought no peril with them, but to perform some deed for the city which would be worth its notice.

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