Lamachus was of opinion that they ought to sail direct to Syracuse, and fight as soon as possible1
under the walls of the city, while the inhabitants were unprepared and the consternation was at its height. He argued that all armies are most terrible at first;
if the appearance of them is long delayed the spirits of men revive, and, when they actually come, the sight of them only awakens contempt2
. If the Athenians could strike suddenly, while their opponents were still in fear and suspense, that would be the best chance of victory. Not only the sight of the armament which would never seem so numerous again, but the near approach of suffering, and above all the immediate peril of battle, would create .a panic among the enemy. Many of the Syracusans would probably be cut off in the country, not believing in the approach of an invader;
and while the villagers were trying to convey their property into the city, their own army, which would be encamped close under the walls, would be masters of the field and could have no lack of provisions.
In the end, the other Sicilian Greeks, instead of joining the Syracusan alliance, would come over to them, and would no longer hesitate and look about them to see which side would conquer. He was also of opinion that they should make Megara their naval station,3
the fleet returning thither from Syracuse and anchoring in the harbour4
The place was deserted, and was not far distant from Syracuse either by land or by sea.