A Great Mistake Of The Athenians

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This was a great mistake of the Athenians, as Thucydides claims, ‘most of them (Athenians) being ignorant of its (Sicily) size and of the number of its inhabitants, Hellenic and barbarian, and of the fact that they were undertaking a war not much inferior to that against the Peloponnesians’. So, Athens undervalued Sicily and overvalued their (the Athenians) greatness. Nicias tried to warn citizens about the wealth and strength of the Sicilian states - enemies they would have to challenge, and insisted on a great preparation and investments in the expedition to make it possible. He also added: ‘Indeed, even if we leave Athens with a force not only equal to that of the enemy except in the number of heavy infantry in the field, but even at all points superior to him, we shall still find it difficult to conquer Sicily or save ourselves’.

The preparation for the expedition began and the departure to Sicily took place. It worth saying that all Athenians were taking part in preparation, the government and citizens did their best. ‘Indeed this armament that first sailed out was by far the most costly and splendid Hellenic force that had ever been sent out by a single city up to that time’.

Alcibiades, one of the generals of the expedition, had a lot of enemies in Athens, due to his luxury life and desire to get as much fame as possible. So, before the departure of expedition his enemies tried to do everything to implicate him in scandals and expose. All in all Alcibiades was
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