At the close of the same summer the Athenians sent twenty ships under the command of Laches, son of Melanopus, and Charceades, son of Euphiletus, to Sicily,
where the Syracusans and Leontines were at war.
The Syracusans had for allies all the Dorian cities except Camarina—these had been included in the Lacedaemonian confederacy from the commencement of the war, though they had not taken any active part in it—the Leontines had Camarina and the Chalcidian cities.
In Italy the Locrians were for the Syracusans, the Rhegians for their Leontine kinsmen.
The allies of the Leontines now sent to Athens and appealed to their ancient alliance and to their Ionian origin, to persuade the Athenians to send them a fleet, as the Syracusans were blockading them by land and sea.
The Athenians sent it upon the plea of their common descent, but in reality to prevent the exportation of Sicilian corn to Peloponnese and to test the possibility of bringing Sicily into subjection.
Accordingly they established themselves at Rhegium in Italy, and from thence carried on the war in concert with their allies.