73.But Hermocrates of Syracuse, suspecting their purpose, and apprehending it as a matter dangerous that so great an army, going away by land and sitting down in some part or other of Sicily, should there renew the war, repaired unto the magistrates and admonished them that it was not fit, through negligence, to suffer the enemy in the night time to go their ways (alleging what he thought best to the purpose), but that all the Syracusians and their confederates should go out and fortify in their way and prepossess all the narrow passages with a guard.
Now they were all of them of the same opinion no less than himself and thought it fit to be done;but they conceived withal that the soldier now joyful and taking his ease after a sore battle, being also holiday (for it was their day of sacrifice to Hercules), would not easily be brought to obey.For through excess of joy for the victory, they would most of them, being holiday, be drinking, and look for anything rather than to be persuaded at this time to take up arms again and go out.
But seeing the magistrates upon this consideration thought it hard to be done, Hermocrates, not prevailing, of his own head contrived this.Fearing lest the Athenians should pass the worst of their way in the night and so at ease out-go them, as soon as it grew dark he sent certain of his friends, and with them certain horsemen, to the Athenian camp;who, approaching so near as to be heard speak, called to some of them to come forth, as if they had been friends of the Athenians (for Nicias had some within that used to give him intelligence) and bade them to advise Nicias not to dislodge that night for that the Syracusians had beset the ways;
but that the next day, having had the leisure to furnish their army, they might march away.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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