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28. Provisions, which had been formerly conveyed by the shorter route from Euboea to Oropus1 and thence overland through Decelea, were now carried by sea round the promontory of Sunium at great cost. Athens was obliged to import everything from abroad, and resembled a fort rather than a city. [2] In the daytime the citizens guarded the battlements by relays; during the night every man was on service except the cavalry; some at their places of arms, others on the wall2, summer and winter alike, until they were quite worn out. [3] But worse than all was the cruel necessity of maintaining two wars at once; and they carried on both with a determination which no one would have believed unless he had actually seen it. That, blockaded as they were by the Peloponnesians, who had raised a fort in their country, they should refuse to let go Sicily, and, themselves besieged, persevere in the siege of Syracuse, which as a mere city might rank with Athens, and— whereas the Hellenes generally were expecting at the beginning of the war, some that they would survive a year, others two or perhaps three years, certainly not more, if the Peloponnesians invaded Attica—that in the seventeenth year from the first invasion, after so exhausting a struggle, the Athenians should have been strong enough and bold enough to go to Sicily at all, and to plunge into a fresh war as great as that in which they were already engaged— how contrary was all this to the expectation of mankind! [4] Through the vast expense thus incurred, above all through the mischief done by Decelea, they were now greatly impoverished. It was at this time that they imposed upon their allies, instead of the tribute, a3 duty of five per cent. on all things imported and exported by sea, thinking that this would be more productive.

1 Provisions brought a long way round. Citizens on guard by turns in the day, and the in the day, and the hole population by night, summer and winter. Two wars instead of one; the besiegers besieged. The great paradox.

2 Cp. 2.13 fin.; 8.69 init.

3 New financial measure.

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