46.The three galleys sent before to Egesta returned to the Athenians at Rhegium and brought word that for the rest of the money promised there was none, only there appeared thirty talents.
At this the generals were presently discouraged, both because this first hope was crossed, and because also the Rhegians, whom they had already begun to persuade to their league, and whom it was most likely they should have won, as being of kin to the Leontines and always heretofore favourable to the Athenian state, now refused.And though to Nicias this news from the Egestaeans was no more than he expected, yet to the other two it was extreme strange.
But the Egestaeans, when the first ambassadors from Athens went to see their treasure, had thus deceived them.They brought them into the temple of Venus in Eryx and showed them the holy treasure, goblets, flagons, censers, and other furniture, in no small quantity;which being but silver, appeared to the eye a great deal above their true value in money.Then they feasted such as came with them in their private houses, and at those feastings exhibited all the gold and silver vessels they could get together, either in the city of Egesta itself, or could borrow in other as well Phoenician as Grecian cities, for their own.
So all of them in a manner making use of the same plate, and much appearing in every of those houses, it put those which came with the ambassadors into a very great admiration, insomuch as at their return to Athens they strove who should first proclaim what wealth they had seen.
These men, having both been abused themselves and having abused others, when it was told that there was no such wealth in Egesta, were much taxed by the soldiers.But the generals went to counsel upon the business in hand.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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