49.Nicias, when he spake this, assured them of it, as knowing the state of Syracuse precisely and their want of money, and that there were some that desired to betray the city to the Athenians and sent him word not to go.Withal he had now confidence in the fleet, which, as being before overcome, he had not.
As for lying where they did, Demosthenes would by no means hear of it.But if the army might not be carried away without order from the Athenians but must needs stay in Sicily, then, he said, they might go to Thapsus or Catana, from whence by their landmen they might invade and turn much of the country to them and wasting the fields of the enemies, weaken the Syracusians;and be to fight with their galleys in the main sea, and not in a narrow (which is the advantage of the enemy), but in a wide place, where the benefit of skill should be theirs, and where they should not be forced, in charging and retiring, to come up and fall off in narrow and circumscribed limits.
In sum, he said, he by no means liked to stay where they were, but with all speed, no longer delaying the matter, to arise and be gone.Eurymedon also gave the like counsel.
Nevertheless, upon the contradiction of Nicias, there grew a kind of sloth and procrastination in the business, and a suspicion withal that the asseveration of Nicias was grounded on somewhat that he knew above the rest.And thereupon the Athenians deferred their going thence and stayed upon the place.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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