The envoys whom the Four Hundred had sent to pacify the army and give explanations left1
and came to Samos after the return of Alcibiades, and an assembly was held at which they endeavoured to speak.
At first the soldiers would not listen to them, but shouted 'Death to the subverters of the democracy.'
When quiet had been with difficulty restored, the envoys told them that the change was not meant for the destruction but for the preservation of the state, and that there was no intention of betraying Athens to the enemy, which might have been effected by the new government already if they had pleased during the recent invasion. They declared that all the Five Thousand were in turn to have a share in the administration3
; and that the families of the sailors were not being outraged, as Chaereas slanderously reported, or in any way molested;
they were living quietly in their several homes. They defended themselves at length, but the more they said, the more furious and unwilling to listen grew the multitude. Various proposals were made; above all they wanted to sail to the Piraeus. Then Alcibiades appears to have done as eminent4
a service to the state as any man ever did. For if the Athenians at Samos in their excitement had been allowed to sail against their fellow-citizens, the enemy would instantly have obtained possession of Ionia and the Hellespont.
This he prevented, and at that moment no one else could have restrained the multitude: but he did restrain them, and with sharp words protected the envoys against the fury of individuals in the crowd.
He then dismissed them himself with the reply that he had nothing to say against the rule of the Five Thousand, but that the Four Hundred must be got rid of, and the old council of Five Hundred restored.
If they had reduced the expenditure in order that the soldiers on service might be better off for supplies, he highly approved. For the rest he entreated them to stand firm, and not give way to the enemy; if the city was preserved, there was good hope that they might be reconciled amongst themselves, but if once anything happened either to the army at Samos or to their fellow-citizens at home, there would be no one left to be reconciled with.
There were also present envoys from Argos, who proffered their aid 'to the Athenian people5
Alcibiades complimented them, and requested them to come with their forces when they were summoned; he then dismissed them. These Argives came with the Parali who had been ordered by the Four Hundred to cruise off Euboea in a troop-ship6
; they were afterwards employed in conveying to Lacedaemon certain envoys sent by the Four Hundred, Laespodias, Aristophon, and Melesias. But when they were near Argos on their voyage the crews seized the envoys, and, as they were among the chief authors of the revolution, delivered them over to the Argives; while they, instead of returning to Athens, went from Argos to Samos, and brought with them in their trireme the Argive ambassadors.