For some time Theramenes had been circulating whispers of their designs, and when the envoys1
returned from Lacedaemon without having effected anything in the nature of a treaty for the Athenian people, he declared that this fort was likely to prove the ruin of Athens.
Now the Euboeans had requested the Peloponnesians to send them a fleet2
, and just at this time two and forty ships, including Italian vessels from Tarentum and Locri and a few from Sicily, were stationed at Las in Laconia, and were making ready to sail to Euboea under the command of Agesandridas the son of Agesander, a Spartan. Theramenes insisted that these ships were intended, not for Euboea, but for the party who were fortifying Eetionea, and that, if the people were not on the alert, they would be undone before they knew where they were.
The charge was not a mere calumny, but had some foundation in the disposition of the ruling party. For what would have best pleased them would have been, retaining the oligarchy in any case, to have preserved the Athenian empire over the allies; failing this, to keep merely their ships and walls, and to be independent; if this too proved impracticable, at any rate they would not see democracy restored, and themselves fall the first victims, but would rather bring in the enemy and come to terms with them, not caring if thereby the city lost walls and ships and everything else, provided that they could save their own lives.