History of the Peloponnesian War


Thucydides. The history of the Peloponnesian War, Volume 1-2. Dale, Henry, translator. London: Heinemann and Henry G. Bohn, 1851-1852.

After the battle had been thus obstinately disputed, and many ships and men destroyed on both sides, the Syracusans and allies, having gained the victory, took up their wrecks and dead, and then sailed away to the city, and erected a trophy.

The Athenians, from the extent of their present misery, did not so much as think about their dead or their wrecks, or of asking permission to take them up, but wished to retreat immediately during the night.

Demosthenes, however, went to Nicias, and expressed it as his opinion, that they should still man their remaining ships, and force their passage; out, if they could, in the morning; alleging that they still had left more ships fit for service than the enemy; for the Athenians had about sixty remaining, while their adversaries had less than fifty.

But when Nicias agreed with this opinion, and they wished to man them, the seamen would not embark, through being dismayed at their defeat, and thinking that they could not now gain a victory. And so they all now made up their minds to retreat by land.