Demosthenes was led to make these reflections from his experience in Aetolia1
, where his defeat2
had been in a great measure owing to the forest.
However, while the Athenian soldiers were taking their midday meal, with a guard posted in advance, at the extremity of the island, compelled as they were by want of room to land on the edge of the shore at meal-times, some one unintentionally set fire to a portion of the wood; a wind came on;
and from this accident, before they knew what was happening, the greater part of it was burnt. Demosthenes, who had previously suspected that the Lacedaemonians when they sent in provisions to the besieged had exaggerated their number, saw that the men were more numerous than he had imagined. He saw too3
the increased zeal of the Athenians, who were now convinced that the attempt was worth making; and the island seemed to him more accessible.
So he prepared for the descent, despatching messengers to the allies in the neighbourhood for additional forces and putting all in readiness. Cleon sent and announced to Demosthenes his approach, and soon afterwards, bringing with him the army which he had requested, himself arrived at Pylos. On the meeting of the two generals they first of all sent a herald to the Lacedaemonian force on the mainland, proposing that they should avoid any further risk by ordering the men in the island to surrender with their arms; they were to be placed under surveillance but well treated until a general peace was concluded.