The Sicilian Expedition Was a Potemkin Fleet Author(s): B.
Jordan Source: The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 50, No. 1 (2000), pp. 63-79 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1558935 . Accessed: 15/08/2013 12:50
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2).88.At the present placed secondand fourth.Its glitteringfaqadeconcealedits essentialweakness.42 on Thu.If he upon the relationship has spent his fortune on race horses. and therefore horse-breeding 6.12. 1977).The verbaland thematic echoes often consistof wordsof sight and hearing.Kohl.phrases. make money from high office and the expedition(a'd 7roAvrEAELtav '?EA?)qOf TL.
This content downloaded from 65.3. seekingglamourand admiration a't'ta <WEA-qral•t.1 63-79 (2000)Printed in Great Britain ClassicalQuarterly
THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION WAS A POTEMKIN FLEET
The speechesof Nicias and Alcibiadesin the debateleadingup to the launchingof the Sicilianexpedition(Thuc. 'LSlavavAovv.12.' Alcibiadesnot only refutesthese allegations.It allowshim in one stroketo introduceinto his speech the OlympicGames. the contrast also sortoaL 1Sla-_• at 6.With the chargeof horse-breeding Nicias praiseworthy hands him an openingto his most effectivedefence. and being (srnloaLa'SLtKEV.The picturethat he presentsof himself to the assemblyis that of a competitor.the greatestathleticfestivalof the the festivities Greeks. but managesto transform them into acts benefitinghis country.16-18) containa significantnumber laterchaptersreporting of words. Having appealed to the appetite for competitive spectaclesin his audience. which they regardedas most desirable.12. a slaveto passionsforwhichhe cannotpay(6.20-3. THE SPEECH OF ALCIBIADES thatNicias andThucydides The allegations makeagainstAlcibiades at the end of his in Book 6 mainlyhaveto do with the effectof his first speechat the secondassembly the expeditionfromself-interest privatelife on the state:favouring (-rd avroivpdvov to be at by his fellow citizens because of his marvelled 6.beinga spendthrift wantingto (. 6.9-14.and themesthat recurin Thucydides' the launchingof the expeditionand its ultimatefate in Sicily.2 .6.rd at the risk of 6.He has enteredmore chariotsat Olympiathan any otherprivateperson.'va Oavkaoc^a^. and on making his theoriaand his victory
Redetrias vor der sizilischen Expedition (Meisenheim am Glan.has won a victoryand has been of plays. and striking The echoesarenumerous intended enoughto suggestthatThucydides links to establish between the speeches and the narrative I proposeto strong chapters.15.2). 101-3. 7T•T0s his own property whilespending 6. the desirefor acquisitionand financialprofit.4). ruiningthe state AEWSKLV8UV) '8a atAL7TrpvEUaOaL.2).12.88. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. 6.2).the themeof competition.and has competedas a producer timehe is competing withNiciasforthe command of the expedition..to whichall Greekswereaddicted.50.the contrastbetweenpublicand privateexpenditures.2).cf. argue that Thucydideswished to expose the Sicilianarmadaas a hollow force.in the same way that Potemkin's but non-existing farmhouses concealedthe impoverfacades of prosperous-looking ishedcountryside fromCatherine the Greatduringhertourin 1787.
' Thefrequent occurrence of thepublic-private contrast hasalsobeen noted Die byW. werefamiliar. 6.15.15. the state (-rw V 6. Alcibiadesnext expatiates of privateand publicservice.withwhichthe Athenians from such a victory. and the rewards followingan athleticvictory.12. themesare amongthe recurring and rivalryand competition. craving UKorr7WV.
6UvajtLS U6ovoEti-at. 2).16.2-4). 72. 6. Alcibiades does his bestto claimdisinterested buthe cannothidethe statesmanship. 71 also points out the echo. A man who has spenthis private the chargeof self-interest.12. 102.24.16. Kagan.Alcibiades rAEct---rV rd7tvA .2).4).LOEa).6d'SKELV--iSta 8-qota uLEraXEtPI~tWo. Finley.16.3).5 . whichhe makeshimselfshine 6. a benefitfrom investing Alcibiades'maximthat thereis nothingwrongin receiving one's own money in the state.2: r7TEp pJEL Evoutcrav SUvatLLv (cf.E'AAak7rpv'vEcrat. as a diplomathas also benefitedthe state. he has done so in the interestsof the splendid(rw 8LtarpE7E^. a considerable extentby his own interests.16. 1985).2 The (Aat7rpptvojzat. (Aarppd'r1qrT TrrpoE~aXv.3. lyav
mentionedat least fourtimes:6. Finally.decriedfor his private 6.JAAaAurpvvEcrOat. his however. and in Alcibiades' speech. It is in fact an appearance is a which claim by the pleonastic actuallypossesses. Imperialismin the Ancient World(Cambridge. country. for they are impressedby his words about financialgain.Insteadof investing o&7Aots. of power greaterthan the state appearanceof power.the Sicilianshoardit and on the contrarytry to get whatever they can out of the publictreasury. 6.16. although ensuresposthumousfame. JORDAN
celebrations 6.he addresses in return.). as long as this benefits the state as well (18otLs doesnot sayexplicitly thatthe personal . Ancient History: Evidenceand Models (London. 6. which.but since this is precisely to financialprofitas well. thatin his actionsas a statesman he was guidedto fact.12. Kohl (n. Whittaker (edd. acknowledged by Thucydides. and of any of his otherservices state.12.4aT0roL OL KaL tcrvpIpaXOt qEA-rcrUO. dvaAooiv.2 6.whereAlcibiades his doctrineof private investment forprivate and publicprofitagainstthe Sicilians. That this is refuting.16.is the (Eirlpor-qdS.The sameis trueof his choregiai to the statefor 6. Macleod.15.3). 1). disregard special pleading. His performance he hasmanaged thoseof the statesecondto none affairs.64
•r7tvpulav.3All this is summedup by resentedby contemporaries. 6.4 The assemblymen.the youngerlong to see new
2 C.3-4.1.18. again. hope expect permanent fromtheirnewpossessions. 6. 'Rhetoric and history'.18. Theirgreedis so greatthatno opponentof the expedition
dares to vote no (6.LUcrXUs alvcrat. in P.Althoughhe is.13. id. which contain at least thirty-two such expressions. 77. 1978). 1983). Collected Essays (Oxford.88. Garnsey and C. heavily emphasized comparative W at 6. so no one in that as to convincethe assemblyof theirsupposedradicalparticularism: mixed rabblebothersto equip himself with arms and armour(ra rr pEp 7T acupLa theirmoneyin the defenceand economyof their 6.5The oldermembers of the assembly hope for successor at least for a safe returnof the force.2) and a superiorposition in life. I. 3 The theme of competition and rivalry is amplified by a large number of comparatives and superlatives or their equivalents in Nicias' and Thucydides' characterizationof Alcibiades. An undertone is in of financial also the gain present passagesof his speechin whichhe advocates the extensionof Athens'empire(6. 5 For the greed of the Athenians.15. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. forwhichhe is decried benefitto the statefromhis activities.88. They his remarks as a call to conquestand enrichment: most civilians and soldiers interpret to make and for in incomes the future money immediately. 103.6.
cf.eAV benefit includesmaking the accusationthat he is money.16.2. Thesearehonourfor fortuneto helpthe statemayalso fairlyexpectrewards and for himselfcelebrity both himselfand for his ancestors.. rtflodqC0Evos-Ta 7toUtLa (ra 't'Sta 6.thereis no doubt that he is referring what he meansis supported turns by the secondpartof his speech. Cf. 4 Macleod (n.17. 'The fifth-century Athenian Empire.42 on Thu. see M. 1t'a-iSpoul'a.3).6.16.1). Alcibiades' irLrvtulda which has been
This content downloaded from 65.2). a balance-sheet'. D.
16.7both adjectives may be heardin a good sense.1). Because of its daring and splendour the fleet is cried about.3).7rpE7la. Hornblower. vTovoEtiratc. Jordan. cf.v. replicated The crowdsfrom the city gather in the harbouras do the multitudesat Olympia c 6dvEL. 6. 6. 7rEptPo-grsr (6. 8. Following the Olympic victor's at station competes with everybody else (iptv everyone duty every example. The generationgap createdby Nicias (6.rpoauxov.12.1.so that the echo of
in Alcibiades' deliberate-Alcibiades can be calledupon to speechis almostcertainly his An allusion to his service in to the state fact roundsout the visual help country. 6.31.2. is a marvelto behold standsout in beauty theoria. rrpodE'e. The spectatorsalso observea fleet which. The double meaning of the word
6. but since notflo~rIds also has the meaning 'to call upon someone (including
gods) for help'. 6.10. 6 Thuc.31. They have come to watch a spectacle (co&pwv.2-3). famous. (6.the otherwith of frame the theme warships. and with its intendedadversariesto whom it is the superior(6.31. NY and London. AaLprrpdrrplt. Thucydides(Baltimore.31.31.18.
6. The spectacle ends with an actual athletic competition. 6.6.2-3 .3).31.31. .on all sides. yEVErOaL.4.one with chariots.2).Thereis competitionbetweenits variousconstituentmembers: trierarchs competewith each other to havethe best-lookingand fastest-sailing ship
6.5).16.the Athenianshaveinvested heavilyin the expedition. competitionintroduced by Alcibiades' victoryin the Olympicgames. i-rrflodiw.31. For regattas with triremes at the Isthmian games.31.the ship race to
Aegina (pu1AAavdrotoi'vro.30.r^ 8tarpE7ti.likehis Olympic 6.THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION WAS A POTEMKIN FLEET
sights (6. Aajluipdir-q.so also the Sicilianexpeditionis a show and portrayal Hellenes (7r36EL8Lr 6.6)is closed. which Athenian theoriai attended.6). S.1) and deprecatedby Alcibiades unlikethe Sicilians. 283.32.
This content downloaded from 65. udALta-ra E. Competitionis of the armadawith its predecessors. areunitedfor war. It is also 0avuaaljj^.from whichmanyof themexpectto receivea financialreturn. A V7Tp dpor. 162.88.6 (OdlpELt.
(raxvvavruEv. 6.like Alcibiades. KadT O&av.1.both figurativeand literal.24.
7rrEpL3o-rosis closer than might appear at first sight.Aa/Li-pdrp-rt.3 ~ 6.16.3). 8 The contrasts 'Hellenes-Athenians' and 'foreign-native' are another link between Alcibiades' speech and the departure scene.6). Svatvw CLztLV W 6vvd•/Ewsg. 7 LSJ s.8 ?atvETraq.31. 173.5).4). and the soldiers compete with one another for the best equipment (7rps JAAnAovu~ J~uAAl• v.1 6. 1987). 6. 6.30. 1975).88.16. (6.1-3).31.
6. verygood-lookingand eachof its ships.and all Athenians.2.13. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. 154-5.16. The Athenian Navy in the Classical Period (Berkeley and Los Angeles.2. 1981).16. whichit surpasses in impliedin the comparison costliness and looks (6. aspect:just as his actions have given an impressionof Athenianpower to other of this powerto the Greeks. rda YE?Ao6ols
Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition (Ithaca.6 Twospectacular regularly racingevents.42 on Thu.
aX•v Alcibiades and Convinced by following his example of privateinvestmentfor privateand publicprofit. It is reminiscent of the regattas with triremes
which were one of the events of the Isthmian games.
(E1rrpE7•rnardrq. and they see competition.2-3). THE RESPONSE IN THE HARBOURTO ALCIBIADES OF THE PEOPLE The spectaclethat Alcibiadeshad evokedwith the mentionof his Olympictheoriais in the chaptersdescribing the embarkation and departure of the armada.31. see B. The word echoes Alcibiades' irlpo-g-rd = notorious. The description of the fleet whichacts as a frame:the Athenians beginsand ends with the themeof acquisition have come to the Piraeus in the hope of gain (pEir' %gv oS KKT77OLVT1O.I'va 6.4.
5). IoV UIpaIEUOpLEVWoV tav.3).66
B.1. theavarice andpenury of the money Knowing Athenians will who to if have the (6.but also masons.9.cf.31. By the end of chapter 31 the military has virtually a commercial become expedition than andinfactmore weseethat forat6.31.31. cupsfrom pour Almost we libations before hear that soldiers. thathis countrymen willvotedowntheexpedition because it willcostthemmoney. funds supplement theyalso (6. to a large-scale writer amounted effort to plantan Athenian in colony it was. he counsels he does not mentionrewards of honourand only whatnot to do. TEpt pt KaL r rdo aowa ro7TAot. Theexpedition.1). from6.4-5). -r7s 7AEwrs o" aa r7eV
Kat EJ`EAEV IcoV j o ca Kat IptlTpaPXoS vCoV'7AKElt J'VaAw'dEtLV. [5A•nlrtwv] the satisfaction of his passions exceeds his nrrdpxovaav to makemoneybecause oviuiav).31.17.1).5retails thepublic andprivate Thenarrative for expenditures Thestate hasadopted Alcibiades' in organizing anarmada theexpedition.88. UnlikeAlcibiades.3 7Ta 6.8. judge placed aVEU70t TOO 8g)[Looiou
with 6. tStLoTV To from VK theemphasis on (6. whohopes t86Lov tLaOocopdv a6rdpEtLv. and188.8.131.52to 6. C.6. I E T 6. thehyperesiai. As a further inducement to theAthenians notto go to Sicily herecommends thatthe of 421bespent funds accumulated aftertheplague andthepeace at homefor public
theirown benefit(6.3: the 6.
in Thucydides' 'Themes accountof the Sicilian Hermes101(1973). Thelarge private expenditure Athens areevidence forthesuperabundance of money of Athenian amounts leaving which thewarriors wealth symbolized bythegoldandsilver (6. 8-11. incidentally alsotakemoney forthepurpose andmerchants overseas of trading along (6.31. Avery.
as great it would seemthatit wasnearly as thepublic.31.6.2-3. expedition'.1 not that. only the fleetin manycargoships. 9 H. appeals by telling whoarecareful withtheirownproperty is not)willalsolook people (as Alcibiades out fortheinterests andproperty of thestate(6.
This content downloaded from 65..in effect. andthe thatis roAvvrEAEUcdr`(6. or military whether man. to arm bad example the best armsand armour at theirownexpense areeagerto procure themselves. non-combatants.30. millers.9 Sicily. builders.15. rrpoarKTr-aEUGaL SUvaptV80EV saidof Alcibiades.24.The cumulation of phrases expenses versus in the is the contrast remarkable: private expense expressing public passage r^S rrO•7Ews cVLwaWLV 6floaav. oAUvrIAEta Ithasspent fortheships. many for merchants and so on. THESPEECHES OFNICIAS on the matter Nicias'remarks of expenditure and the use of publicandprivate aretheexactopposite of Alcibiades'.5).44.32.2). JORDAN
resources theirpresent P7T Jv LE AA6v p-WV rd radpxovIra. ('r7Awv TWjV woLtoaUKEU•wV.4). Niciashopes. leaving port(6.3).31.5).1). and has providedthe generalswith Sav&dvats. (rd T/tLEyrT JA7r' are 6.31. sailors. in otherwords. heavily Thetrierarchs thewages from their ownpocket.2. assemblymen E'AknTLEs. venture.12. pennants pay for the veryexpensive Thehoplites. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.andthe fleetleavesportwiththe highesthopesfor thefutureas compared
sailors' wages (pLEydatrLs 6.1).31.takes person money alongfortravelling Everybody.The restof his advicein this speechis negative. as another voluntarily accompanied hasobserved. a 'cityonthemove'. pay theyapprove projected Niciasin hisfirstspeech to theirparsimony themthat campaign. 7TPOETE•EAEKElt..31. andtakemoney the (6. looking profit.42 on Thu.6. private in addition to the wagepaid by the state. andotherfittings of theirships(ToAvrEAEL.3).2). alongforfuture expenses rejecting who according to Alcibiades are unwilling of the Sicilians.88.31. 6.19.
They accept it because it makes the expedition
another of Nicias' admonitions.2-4). a safe.3) for the sake of things unseen and i'irdpxovra. The rest of Nicias' advice they reject with striking doqJAEd (rroAA)i variations on Nicias' vivid phrase. the younger have a longing for the sights and vistas of a distant land (7TdOw 0EWS• KaL O'Ewp'as 7qiS but the assemblymen drror-aqs. rapaa•KEv As far as the spec6.2). " J.1). of sailing out possessed all of them Tad EK7TAEVcraL. acrLOEv 7rt7S 6.10. that the 6.3).26. The armadais a sufficientlyequippedenterprise.25. He ends his second speech with an assurance of safety and
whichhe makesdependon wisecounsel.13.
This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206.21. it must consist of an adequate number of Athenian.11 means'fromAthensitself' (as opposedto 'fromthe allies'or elsewhere) is 0 That aVrdOEv demonstrated 6.1).and. means'counterbalancing a need'.1). Nicias has warned them against FrtOvl•[a. roEWOLOtsr.2).2) opponents of the expedition.10and it must have large 7TapaaKEVOdypEq.If this force is to be adequate for its task.THE SICILIANEXPEDITION WAS A POTEMKIN FLEET
superior standing.4).42 on Thu. but large enough to deal with the enemy cavalry.22). Classenand J.3).24.13.`adAx. forces (ao 8Ltavolas. TWrv avkdXov = 'actually 220.127.116.11. they have (ard 6. as opposed to allied or mercenary.that security is to say a large.3 ~ aiAov arpatuis. 6.22: from KaTaOyOUS 8E Ka a.The assemblymen ignorecompletelythe conditionswith whichNicias had
hedged his assurance.2:EK roJ 77tkE-'pov 7d7OUV.88.21. and is
the opposite of ordinary (E'r' d4LoXPEWv taLvoLav. theyhavealso followedsome of Nicias' recommendations. Cf.1 'OLdXPEW.EvTE UCTrov Kat aoTO E7TOLOV70.'an immense undertaking'. 6.24.2:-roeor1tWV ad'rO'EvKa EK Kpg-r7qS. in warns the and them future.1-2 ~ -oLdXPE? 8vvd/LEL. 70rTOLg E'VE••TE While the older men hope for success ('pwso or at least to save the armada.21.good luck.24. 6.here stupendous mightof the expedition. excessive (&yav mrrtOvl[a.22:Xpm'ka-ra and the scholiast(Hude)on aT-r60Ev. do exactly the opposite:they remainsilent from fear of seemingcowards(6. which is to win the war at the first assault. 6. 6. Steup(Berlin.6. E7ZE/OV7ZOV rOv aEVa Atticaitself'. translate thesewords'ein gewaltiges Untera meaning whichtheyapparently inferfromthe seemingly nehmen'. achieves least. 6. a pointed reference to Alcibiades' Em7LOV/~[a (6.15. 7rapaaKEv. Refusing to speak against his conviction for self-serving reasons. their ears register only what they want to hear: great safety aLar&at. 6. in fatal love with what is out of reach (8varEpwTas which is still ringing in their ears and echoing in their minds: the love Trjv d7Trrv•Wv). THE RESPONSE TO NICIASIN THE ASSEMBLY AND IN THE HARBOUR The assemblymenaccept only what they want to hear from Nicias.2:Es -rob7s by 6.23.army(6. which is the possible. In his second speech Nicias again raises the stakes by requesting a fleet whose component of infantry troops is not merely ordinary (bav•Aos.1.31. 6.1963)ad loc.3. Their desire is so desire the voyage anyway (v E'rt7vyFov 70o rTAo03. foresight most'.9.1).aboveall. amounts of money (6.31.24. he advises the assemblymen not to risk what rot.6.24.2. lying against falling in fatal love with distant gain He caps this advice with the maxim 'greed 6. so Dover in HCTad loc. (38v•pwras rJv dlnrVw7wv.13.88. basically dsL6'XPEWS it echoesNicias'wordand hasits regular meaning 'adequate'. and promises no personal enrichment. rejecting yet qualified promise of safety in Sicily. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.2).not to be ashamedof seemingto be cowardsby voting against it (6.2). and otherGreeksin the harbour havein the mainfollowed Althoughthe Athenians Alcibiades' call to spendand investin the expedition.6.
18. 3. JORDAN
Nicias'demandat 6.~AoylaraTo subordinate clausescompressed into a vastconditional period.2) impartingan extraordinary rhythmand the mainbodyof whichconsistsof two enormous sonorityto the narrative.88.2.2. represent aspect. Thukydides(Darmstadt. Herter (ed.6.
MANNEROF REPORTING THUCYDIDES' THE ATHENIANS' REACTION A remarkable feature of the narrativereportingthe fleet's departureis its visual a spectacle. as at Olympia.
This content downloaded from 65. semi-poetic words (&dAoqvp'0~s . 10-17.88.31.and it is the imagesthat he has calledup that float beforetheireyes. with a full analysis of the formal structureof the periods in 6.30. cf.and the joined by the civilians.318.104.22.168. Regenbogen.31. item and take Quitestrikingis the pictureof the peoplewho inspecteach particular
some emotionally charged.5). as in chapter
"2 The use of OdiBcos is especially effective. or a scene.2) and following ltuw (rauvXa40vwov Alcibiades (el 71"avXaot0iLEV .3). 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. 6. has also beenmet:the armadais sailingwith the armedmightof one Greekstate.).say their prayersand sing the paean departing warriors.4.22).1). Athens.1. Ignoring Nicias v. expressed by participial ydp (6. TErptLdv7TES vxiav 7.12
courage at the sight of it (T7o 'rAi00os
the acousticarecombinedin the religiousceremony at the end of the scenewhenthe herald'strumpetsilencesthe lamentations and other noises of the crowd.
difiogs). hope.13 The Athenians reactto the speeches of the two demagogues in two different venues and by two different meansof senseperception: hearingand sight.2).21.30. used only here by Thucydides. their eyes.beginning withEL clauses. Od.i.31. and fear.31.31. 6.in H. (6.as in the theatre. Alcibiadeswho has mouldedtheirthoughtsto his own wishesin his speech.The chapters in which the civiliansare the spectators and the militarythe actors.1for a largeforceof Athenians tatorsareconcerned.42 on Thu.10.31.31.6. 4. Nicias' argumentfor taking along as much money as possiblefrom Athens hasbeen (6.1).e. The visual and E•KaCrTTWv
unparalleled weight and power.31. 1968).31. In both places their perceptionsare colouredby the statementsof the that havemadethe strongest on theirminds.4)alternate withlonger and more complexperiods(6.. full of actionand movement: the hustle and bustle of embarkation. 6. rv7TE.Relatively shortand simpleclauses(6.whichhe makesagainsthis truebeliefin orderto aborttheexpedition. Again.32.68
B. 6. gold
silver. The visual impressionsare intensifiedby the elaborateformal structureof the whole.
dv "Wdpwv.the ships putting to sea
and beginning the race. 'Drei Thukydidesinterpretationen'.79. periodsof formsa diminuendo the second.Thucydides speakers impression reports the assemblymen's theiremotions negativeresponseto Nicias with wordsdescribing and subjectivethoughts:the Athenians desire.7Vv the Athenians do not rest. the mixing of the wine followedby the pouringof libations.3 (aig
Svvd•tEws. In the harbourthey see the sight mainlyas refracted It is throughthe eyes of Alcibiades. The vividness of the spectacle is 6. beginning with 7t pLEv vaVTLKdO (6.love. the motions of the variouscompetitors. manytalentsin all arebeingtakenfromAthens(6.The spectacleis the gathering of the crowdfromthe city in the harbour. to the contraryis a crescendoconsisting of a series of 7ts .1. it conveys in Homer the paralysis caused by amazement and surprise:II.5). The first.24.
no allied troops or ships are mentioned at 6. "3 0.yEv) of visualwordssuchas increased the use and and of
beauty. long. respected: 1rdAEwsg
6. In the assembly in thePiraeus to whattheyseeunfolding before theyreactto whattheyhave just heard.brilliance. 6. -oCrvXiav 7.
subjective power gramcome to see what in their minds is a sufficient the crowd has andincredible matically: With ' LOXpOXEWV W 7Tdc theydpin KaL rrtaLrov (6. powerful ringing the Atheniansseem to imagine. T in the minds thisis nowpredominant force(aU Arr•"Ews. anda chorus to the protagonists with theirthoughts responds andverbal echoes from their thematic speeches. Sicily hardly In allof thisThucydides seems to be delving intothepsychology of themasses: with forextraordinarily and in Nicias' demand sea land forces their ears. the Athenians havebecomethe willingdupesof Alcibiades. numbers thata great were to knowfrom many people likely in the navy. the subjective feelings.1).both the exactnumbers manyalliedtroops.andfrom from what sums what theysee. 254-5. 12. put expedition 430.consider. much from rather thanfrom theonlookers do substance. of the twoexpeditions is incomplete andtherefore so thatthe comparison armada. is Nicias' Thereason forthevagueness insistence on a purely apparently quitevague. enterprise. of thedramatist's of creating whoexpress avails himself characters technique chapters which in a dialogue.THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION WAS A POTEMKIN FLEET
andothermentalprocesses of theAtheniansfind reflexes. awayby the of from a master rhetorician and an victor promises personal optimistic gain Olympic
to boot.88. compare. 10). who also remembered the sizeandcomposition of the largeexpedition onlookers In anycase.e. is that.lament. people.thelarge i.000hoplites.
'5 Perhaps because Alcibiades had alluded to his policy. benecessary since it should to point outthepresence of ships.
This content downloaded from 65. to thecrowd thetwoforces under to beequal. 100ships. 300knights. givenfor the former Forthe Sicilian armada arejust two. of the Athenian 6.2-3)..'5 appear knowthe amount of money Athens.31. Judging impressions.
witha tension created inthemoodof the inclauses packed bygreat swings expression of theexpedition's assessment Their is expressed areamazed.31. theyhaveheard.that this beauteousbut conventional forcecomposed of landand sea contingents is somehow the extradouble hadwarned wasnecessary.beginning displayof powerand wealththanan invasion ydp rsT tojudge from is alsoa subjective itsconditional form assessment.There of 430under oddfeatures comparison andHagnon withtheSicilian thecommand of Pericles More are numbers (6.88. exactly military Finally there is thevery curious as a contrast to the of statement. No hoplites.31. (6.e.24.are encouraged. money.i. 6. impressionistic quality is first thestrange of theexpedition in it.
Ibid.thatthe and elaborately armada is 'ornamented fittedout in both its navaland infantry of 430alsowasmade Buttheexpedition andinfantry. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. surmise that it is great the crowd leaving They lavished on decorating thefleet. ordinary bylandandseathatNicias expedition The realitybehindthe impressionism. AoylaaTro than in in more elsewhere his these andgeneral work. (oiV0uav) 8&6voav theexplanation believe to be clause thearmada the following begins whythepeople The otherlongperiod and incredible. up of ships is anisland. Nordoes Pericles.14They hope.5). and fear. and allies are mentioned forthe theirpastservice knights. carried however. notbother to askthemselves or anyone elsejusthowmuch thefleethasbeen money nordo theywonder what makes fora 'sufficient' force.42 on Thu. so Dover (n.2). given. sufficient whythe fleetis morea explaining with EL' force. Perhaps Thucydides vagueness. thanforthe latter: and 4. to the fleet:100Athenian shipsanda dailywageof one pertaining significantly drachma forthesailors. of the departure sceneexplains somevery Thesubjective.31. disbelieve. Alcibiades' callforprivate andNicias' demand for investment.somewhat naively. and contingents'.
Alcibiadesuses wordsthat denote impressions as opposed to facts: 'he expects resultsfrom the mere fact that Nicias is "evidently
16 Dover (n. hereThucydides respondences that the Sicilian expedition was conceived. their contemporaries obnoxious. view of the Sicilians. 17 LSJ s. 66-77. for they approved them immediately (6. albeit obliquely. the 100 ships and 5. is evidentlydrivinghome the point.equipped. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. meaninghimself:fellow citizensenvy them.15. evenif no suchkinshipexists. it is honoured if very many citizens of one state can do so.Forhim for himselfand for his ancestors by definition his worth is the worth that others see in him. In the absence of concrete numbers and comparisons it is impossible to say how large a force the Athenians envisaged.just as Thucydides represents represents see it.30-2) contain more verbalechoes from Alcibiades'speechthan they do from Nicias'. using no comparatives. JORDAN
AND THE ARMADA SELF-EVALUATION ALCIBIADES' The discussion above shows that the departurechapters (6. 866a III. the word that he uses is s80oa.not Nicias'. 296.It was Alcibiades' be extended to armada as This to the well: it may apply judgement assembly. 18 The utility to the state of victories in chariot races seems to have been a topic of discussion in the fourth century.3).16). because the Athenians voted to send a much largerforce than they had envisaged. But it is worth pointing out that Nicias argues only for a large and adequate force. in contrast to Alcibiades). but only of having money and being able to squander it (Moralia 212b).18 whatotherpeoplethinkof thosewho standout by virtueof theirpre-eminent position find them in life. Cf.000 hoplites that Nicias proposed (6. 10). and the armada:the prominence himselfas othersperceive Alcibiades the him. that prevailed in the the debate.1).17If he is 'cried about'. organized. who adds that Nicias also prevails in a way.16 the perceptions.
This content downloaded from 65. because he wanted to demonstrate that this sort of thing was no sign of excellence.and regards Withthis last phraseAlcibiades himselfto the rankof a hero. it is others who do the glamourof his personand of his theoriaare what others the crying.63-4 pleads that his father's victories have brought honour to the state (not to his father or his other forebears.16. them.26. The wealthy defendant in Lysias 19. Alcibiades gives the assemblyhis own subjectiveassessmentof how others perceivehim and his deeds. events. In the view of Xenophon (again in contrast to Alcibiades) the state is not honoured if one single person breeds and enters in the races more teams than the rest of the Hellenes.88. aims.values. 'the opinion which others have of one'. their equals find them still more so.42 on Thu. Dover (n.v. 5).His discoursedeals mainlywith externals.70
B. The themesthat With the frequencyof the corAlcibiades strikesin his speech also predominate.12.2):non-existing createsan appearance money is to create power. 10).3) evidently did not strike them as very large.Likewise.5). He tellsthe assembly in the samewaythatthey observethe sporting observe. However. WhatAlcibiades tellsthe assembly arethe impressions armadaas the spectators that othershaveformedof him and of his actions. spent non-existing In sum. '9 Cf.25.2.from maybe elevating whomlatermenwill claima descentthatdoes not exist.posterityboasts about themas benefactors and as kinsmen. (6. Hornblower (n. 248.The kindof honourthat he seeks existsin the eyes of the world. substance. represented Alcibiades' Thereis yet anotherlink between the firstpartof it speech. he gives them an interpretation of an interwith appearances ratherthan pretation.19but his remark also reminds the readerthat he spendsmoney that he does not have(6. and that he of powerthat does not exist (6.and ambitionsof Alcibiades.As Macleod observes. According to Plutarch.6.specifically of visual and auralwordsand expressions. for this testifies to the state's prosperity (Hiero 11.88. and sent on its its chief advocateand the victorin way mainlyin the spiritand imageof Alcibiades. Agesilaos persuaded his sister to enter a chariot race at Olympia.
1.8. 866OLEV. There is in any case.395-400on themagnificent Dreadnought of the shipsin the Victorian appearance RoyalNavy.4. But the word also means 'unreliable. 7TEPLgrIp-roS~ r 22 Thuc. with which Egesta led the Athenians to expect money that did not exist (6.andwhiteand thencouldnot be got into the barrel.4. Thucydides does something similar in his narrative of the last battle at Syracuse (see below).in the bombardment roundsat the Egyptian forts. an impression they have formed from its cost. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. is a dangerous and often fatal proposition.Ammunition waspainted blue.2). (6. like the arguments of Alcibiades. Alcibiades 'deals above all in semblances.46. K7TrrpaTa pvUaG Kaia pyvpdi. while best-looking force. LSJs.1). mTLUTro (6.3.flpt in some other passages. R.
This content downloaded from 65. Thuc. Evr7rpE7r?n ardrTq (6. To take some of the more obvious hints first. To the observers.As a result.
Ev6`tUTaav. Massie. To the multitude of Greeks at the piers the departing fleet is more a show and demonstration of power and resources than an expedition sailing against an enemy. and emotions of a people facing a fateful moment in their history comes under the legitimate purview of the historian.45.In the yearsbeforethe turnof the century with the spick-and-span smartness of theirships.1992).22.214.171.124With these meanings the expedition becomes an unreliable enterprise that is notorious for its recklessness and arrogant in its aim.2.4).6.31.1).6.32. where it means 'licence'.88.3). Cf. may also be 'the most specious'.24His boast. as any number of historical examples can show.5. Nevertheless they believe that the
rTOVOEdTaL.4.21 The mean 'notorious.with burnishing of captainswerepreoccupied a commander's guns andgleaming hinges.v.82.1.THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION WAS A POTEMKIN FLEET
successful" and that Athens "will be seen" to sail against Sicily'.66. is mostly semblance.whoquotes 8OKEd.3.82.1). 20 21
the'tell-tale words' Macleod (n. which seems to refer to Athens' abundance of wealth. a facade.v.3. no logical connection between the handsome appearance of a military formation and its fighting power and battle efficiency. dAa. Yet the strength of the armada. or 'arrogance'. because of its daring. is used again of the gold and silver cups. the enterprise is surpassing belief.3.20 THE QUALITY OF THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE A representation of the reflections. namely to cast doubt on the quality of the Sicilian expedition. (NewYork.gold. 24 See.2.31.butmadeonlyten hits. The intelligent and prudent doctrine.38. the KwrrcpLaTra Xpvad KaL apyvpdL.Therewasa cultof paintandbrightwork. any more than there is between the brilliance of Alcibiades' deeds and the power of Athens.Handsomeappearance was everything.8. But the former word may also 7rrFpLBdqTros. moreover.1.42 on Thu. that his doings make Athenian power appear greater than it actually is.38.2. The expedition is said to be famous.4). this is actually the more common meaning of the word in Thucydides. 23 For the meaning of E'ovalasee Classenand Steup(n. holds the exact opposite: an enemy becomes dangerous only if he is stronger than he appears to be (4.31. is joined with . set out by the successful field commander Brasidas.6). 1. from which the troops pour libations before the fleet sails (6.22 ovala (6. Next there are the double meanings.000 ignored. gunneryand its practicewere of Alexandria in 1881the Englishships fired3. K.126. scandalous'. and a fleet whose appearance of beauty is deceptive. and his attempt to show that they are something more only rams home this judgement'. it inspires no great confidence in the enterprise when the phrase gold and silver cups.forexample.LSJs. who followthe scholiast. 1.4. shipwasto be as beautiful as his person.amtUros~. 11)ad loc. T-'A•ArkL the latter can mean 'recklessness'.86.not to be trusted'. reactions.73. But there are some strong hints that he wants to say something else.88.8.37.
30 in the among them are so many and so blatant that they amount to fraudulence have as for Some been instance his claims about overlooked. of the Athenians with his idea of investment he appealsto the cupidityand rapacity as papertigersby delibthe Siciliansand the Peloponnesians for profit. Hornblower of Athenianresources at the (n. aggregate.butminimizes someothers.22. Kagan (n. scription fromThuc. 27 Jordan (n. 106-8 underestimates the frequency of conFinancingthe Athenian eventhoughhe listsa host of passages in a footnote(p. 6).his claimto successful of the Spartans ponnesian diplomacy (249).6. 225-6. he speaksof Alcibiades''tinsel his 'egoismandmisleading andthe speciousness andfloridexpression of his phrases'.88.2~ 3. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.31.23. contradictory the Sicilianhoplites.31. Butin 29 Dover(n.whichis Thucydides' 26 Thuc. Inividuals in 30 Forexample by Kohl(n.3. 10).but this was apparently at the expenseof the state. Thuc. 5). e. optimism.2. as the in 6. 6.42 on Thu. Alcibiades.2thatthemarines werenormally thetes.Thevariousassertions but the outrightmisrepresentations and contradictions or not entirelytrustworthy. force sailing from this single city was not even as large as that of 430.the pointthatreallymatters.nevermentionsnumbers.29 hoplite In the debate in the assemblya kind of bidding contest takes place in which Nicias.butin size.Cf.the 700 marineswerethetes(6.25.Classen 1968). 57. ships without crews).28.It is Niciaswho asksfor a strongdomesticforceof ships underbids Alcibiades and of hoplitesfromAthensitself. did the expeditionof 430 whichsailedon a shortercampaign The state may havegone to greatexpensein payinga wage of one drachmato the the going rate. V. 195-200. 293.and it is he on the otherhand. 11). H.g. may havebeen the costliestand most the splendidto sailout of 'a singleGreekcity'. 148: 'the splendourand arrogance of Book 6 is brought out by vaguesuperlatives rather thanthe precise enumeration of beginning morenormalmethod'. Westlake.his descriptions as discouraged afterthebattleof Mantineia.28 of greaturgency rolls. of the Sicilians as a 'disorganized rabble' (250).72
B. appearance the on board ships. untruths for what they are. 1). has several instances of wholesale Jordan Thucydides conscription. (n.1.see the next note.6.88.
This content downloaded from 65. 41-6.2).310concludes thatcaseThucydides neednot havespecified thatthe marines on thisoccasionwerethetes. 102.2-3 shows.24.e.43).248). speech'.the Athenians could resortto conscription to providenavalcrews.17.95.he says in virtuallythe same breaththat no Sicilianbothersto and that the Siciliansdo not have as many providehimself with hopliteequipment
25 Cf.av'rdOEv (6. butso comparison with nearerobjectives. moreover.4. 6). Fleet (Baltimore. 10) recognizesAlcibiades' Thucydides (Cambridge.8.the trierarchsreceivedempty ships from the state (i. JORDAN
as forits is equallyfamousfor its amazingdaringand splendid appearance expedition overthe Sicilians But thisbeliefhas already beenundermined in (6.Gabrielsen. D.But in othercircumstances hoplites from the cataloguecould be compelledto serve as marines(8. his calling Argos and Mantineia'the most powerfulPelostates'(248).6).but the The shipswereprovided moneygivenby Egesta.1.8).the only Whilethe hopliteswereselected fromsuperior muster instanceof thisin Thucydides.48. Dover (n. 6. 126.96.36.199.and certainly was no more than the sailors. 5). Hornblower(n.26 state always providedthe hulls and their gear.1994). detail.and of Athensand Sparta in thePersian as enemies wars(252-3).Dover(n. e. Instead who namesnumbers.It certainly consisted of both shipsandinfantry. is more to the point.g. 10).2).221.27 On this occasion. 6).Jordan (n. There in Thucydides and elsewhere is otherevidence werenormally showingthatthe marines hoplites.25 superiority The Sicilianexpedition the very same chapter.and portrays the strength andminimizing the threatfromthe of the former eratelyunderestimating in his speechhavebeendescribed as exaggerated latter(6. 5). The the realitya sizeable of an inferiortype of number hereis pickedfighters. 182. andSteup(n.21. 28 When the need arose.
use of the carrot. 1.therewasno giveand takein Alcibiades' doctrineof investment the debate about the exact amountsnecessaryto fund the expedition.88.32 The Siciliansmay or may not havebeen a mixed of commonactionagainstan external thattheyareincapable but his assertion rabble. aimedat findingresources the force:to extract for the or at least to the from whole collect Egesta army. distortionsof reality. wasalsodeceptive strength apparent (J'TTIEL6LV tUaiAAov 8UVaVfkLEWS.17.88. (n.
ALV Alcibiades' speech (V5"i•p &~vaCLLv ~vdLacav.42 on Thu.whichin effectejectedan Athen(6.The essentialfraudulence of afterwards punishedthe generalscommanding his speech.Thismeansthattheyhadsome.22).andsomeis not none. E•KatIvcaL 7T7•
whatThucydides wantsthe readerto con6.e. Niciasand Lamachus continued to deal commanders.THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION WAS A POTEMKIN FLEET
hoplitesas theyboastof (6. not assurances to trust such promises.e.17. Schwartz. 5. who would then help with troopsand and to captureenoughSyracusan with whichto feed the army.Thucydides is quiteclear that each of the different plans of action proposedby Nicias.apart from that it mustsail with as muchmoneyas possible(6.3)is beliedby the Congress aggressor ian army from Sicily in 424.For Dover(n.5).18. 10). device. Thuc.1-3).and for maintaining Lamachus(6. 35
This content downloaded from 65. of Gela.and the Sicilians the prospectthat he hardlyjoin forcesin an attack on Athens. self-aggrandizement. SuvataLS70rovoEaL-t.17.4).35 with this problem. Dover (n.31 Two of Alcibiades'misleadingassertionslead him into anotheregregious were discouraged self-contradiction. 10).deception. Alcibiades. fearof fallinginto enemyhands. in which he also calls the temporarytruce a period of peace (6. 254: Alcibiades' generalization true in Greekhistory'. property These proposalsleaveno doubt thatlack of moneywas the mainproblem facingthe Afterthe recallof Alcibiades.33 in persuading a credulous the stick. werk des Thukydides drastic (Hildesheim. provisions. money sixty talentsEgesta had promised. foundthemselves short seriously of money.and thenwith difficulty (6.theycould neverso hopeless(6.16. Alcibiades' shrewd and fromappearances. 1960). 'one defendsoneself againsta superior 32 Cf.expressed elsewhere. If.thussucceeds to proceed to its destruction. 30).the reality largeamountsof moneysaidto be leaving Whentheyarrived in Sicilythe generals underfunded.Despitethe Nicias'insistence wasthatthe armada was Athens. The question of money was then also pre-emptedby for profit. as he says. the Peloponnesians (6.i.and self-deception.334-5 proposed changesin the text.47-49).46). to make allies of the Sicilians.4). and easilyswayed peopleto allowthe expedition and greed34 had led the Atheniansto believethe A combination of theircredulity andto ignoreNicias'warning thatEgestawouldfinancetheexpedition.6) and a disorganized mob (6.17.As a result. That this appearsto be precisely that one cannotjudgepower cludeis shownby his trueopinion.16.65).8). 175-6. above n.Yet this is precisely the Athenians into a pre-emptive in order to the to launching frighten assembly paints attack against Sicily (6.31.3-5).
seems to suggest that the entire raisonnementof the Sicilian expedition was based on
The echoes from spuriousfacts. d•oE4W -nVtv
of thearmada seemto be saying thatits 6.18.only thirtytalentswereavailable at Egesta(6.2-3) in thedescription laxbs calvETraL. Cf. they sailedto Egestain searchof the moneythereand wereforced to wastetime and effortin transporting and sellingthe enslaved for whom Hyccarans
31 Alcibiades also saysthat the Greekstatesraisedadequate of hoplitesonly during number the Peloponnesian war. the same assemblylistening to Alcibiades in 415 it (4. 34 Cf.Westlake 33 For example.5).10.252 this is no more thana rhetorical is so outrageously buttheremark Das GeschichtsfalsethatE.i.3.17.17. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.This is yet another enemyby attackinghim first'is 'not conspicuously of Alcibiades: self-contradiction as discouraged and hopelessand havinglabelledthe Spartans the Sicilians as disorganized andwithouthopliteshe nowsaysthattheyarestronger thanAthens.
This sumclearlywas not enough.' The clearest interpretation of the passage is that in Classen and Steup ad loc.whichthose who had followedAlcibiades' examplehad taken along to invest in trade. proved its criticalweakness. 11) has emended comdTTrALTLK6V.The only surrender outrightdesertionfromthe ranksof the armythat we hearof was that of the slave attendantsof the hoplites.22. Nicias gives his of the fleet:deteriorating a full and detailedreportof the disintegration government ships. 35: 'The Athenians have thought of the proposed force as a "match"for the enemy. whomtheybribedto permitthe substitution.74. Other sailors oppositionby bought up the unexpectedly untrainedHyccaranslaves. pletely and in my view correctly. also Dover's comment in ThucydidesBook VI (Oxford. to go backon boardthe ships(7.13. and 260: 'Nikias' most conspicuous fear is that the Athenians will not send enough hoplites'. JORDAN
they received120 talents(6. This is discipline fight army.Thucydides trueevenof the mercenaries. had been forcedto serve.2. many hardships effectonly on the sailorsand not on the land troops. 'for you must not count on others'.72.2. 1).2).1. probably captains.21.42 on Thu. and put with the connivance of themselves of their them on boardthe shipsas replacements withthe samemoney. hoplites who neithersurrender nor desert. but actuallycontributedto the of the force.The foreigners who had been recruited into the navy at disintegration to in and had make deserted whenthe enemy money Sicilypromptly hoped high pay offered sea and on land.57.13. Nicias could not possiblypredictthe loyaltyof the foreigners.the counterparts of the deserting slaverowersin the fleet is It remarkable that the and reversals shouldhavehad (7.4). casualtiesamong the sailors. when the foreigners were called upon to in the final throesof defeat.4). the ad'ro`points to a silent contrast.not only was of no help.1. givesonly a smallhint thatin the armytoo all maynot havebeenright.including such a deleterious the mercenaries them.7. Cf. the most provisions.no doubt with the money broughtfrom home.3).88. 6.2).: Nicias has been warning the Athenians in chapter 22 that Athens itself must supply most of what the expedition needs: the most troops. 6.4). Later. Whilewe thussee the navyfall apart. it is the sailorswhomutinyandrefuse afterthe finaldefeatin Syracuse harbour. 259: 'a force raised at Athens. but actually superior'. When he askedfor largenumbersof Athenianhoplites. Kohl (n. others fought to save their lives above all. /e 7Trp 7dTO i7rAyv which Steup in Classen and Steup (n. 10). 188.8.131.52.whichhe did repeatedly. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.82.and above all the the men fromthe subjectisland-states who desertionof the fleet'slargestcomponent.In the firstbattleoutside someof the foreigners foughthardso thattheymightseetheirowncountries Syracuse again. not merely a match for the enemy.7.they do not suggest a particularly high morale or great enthusiasmfor the cause of Athens. Nikias reminds them that it is not a match in the arm that will be needed for the decisive fighting. it is quite clear that Nicias has in mind very many Athenian hoplites. Cf. Dover (n.74
B.thereis no similar of the reportof a break-up their and continue to The retain to the bitter end.the desertionof the slaves.6.in Sicilyits strength to be democracy. and the most money.Still.2).13.5.1).36 He was awarethat. had to be foundin Sicilyand requested The privatemoney.69.1.
This content downloaded from 65.
ItaXLIoV a. and in the hope of more lenient of theirhomelandsin the future(6.Despitethe verydifficultparenthesis at 23. In this way they ruinedthe battle efficiencyof the ships (7. 159-66 surveys the numerous interpretations and emendations of the passage.23. 1965).Td7J.and moremoney fromAthens(6.and who went home as soon as they could (7.Whiletheseweregood Atheniantreatment motives for persevering. But the historian leaves no doubt about the and among paradoxical tragic reversalin the fortunes of the favouritemilitary service of the Athenian rulerof the sea formorethanfiftyyears.
Thuc.75.only a few of them did so (7.
The Athenians did not abandon their design. Nicias has been severely criticized by modern historians37 for insisting on an extraordinarilylarge force.42 on Thu. Cythera: Thuc.1). were not forthcoming. 5). whether they were paid or not (7.22).430.2.000 talents on its defence and had incurred
37 For example by Westlake (n. 4.7. 6. These.1). In any case. off the top of his head.4). Whatever his motives.100 hoplites assembled at Corcyra. the region around Oropos).94. In these operations he commanded fleets numbering between sixty and eighty ships and land troops between 2. Kagan (n. and that he made it unwillingly. 221.his experience should have told him that many more were needed. When he made his case in the assembly.1. 184.108.40.206. the crews of the allied ships. 4. 30 mounted archers and 300 talents of silver.54.96. If the Sicilians had few. Nicias failed to achieve either of his aims.2. as regards the soldiers.25.11. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.to say nothing about the wages for the supply corps personnel who had been hired for pay (6. if any. during the year between the fleet's departure and Nicias' letter. Although he wanted to forestall the expedition with his request for a large army of hoplites (6.24.3).19.1.1. 461. and he did not get the number of soldiers that he wanted. 7. and his situation reports to Athens (7.
This content downloaded from 65. As with the matter of money. 38 Melos: Thuc. Corinthia: Thuc. Nicias evidently also believed that such a force would provide him with the security that he sought. Alcibiades' views also prevailed. whether we reckon with the 5. 4.91. The armada's strength could have been increased by timely and sufficient reinforcements from Athens. the total inadequacy of the Sicilian expedition leaps to the eye. Mende and Skione: Thuc. 30).enough for only three months' wages of the crews in the 100 Athenian ships (6. The attacks that he led were against islands insignificant compared with Sicily (Melos. or include the auxiliaries and the cavalry there.53. many of whom were mercenaries. and he may reasonably have expected the soldiers from the subject states and the mercenariesnot to show the same loyalty as his countrymen in a campaign whose sole objective was Athenian self-aggrandizement.the hoplites of Athens could be relied upon to fight. In the matter of hoplites Nicias can be faulted for requesting only 5.91. but he had very good reasons for it.1).8. Dover (n.2. This sum was a mere trifle compared to the sums needed to pay the Athenian crews for the rest of the year. 66-7.THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION WAS A POTEMKIN FLEET
unlike foreigners and mercenaries. and the more than 1. 190-1. 256.000 and 4. for a total of 6.000 of them in the assembly. as a result the Athenian fighting men mobilized for Sicily were fewer than those in the expedition of 430.42. or at most one-third of the way to Sicily (Mende and Scione). Despite Nicias' urgent requests for money and cavalry (6.5). there was no discussion about hard and fast numbers of hoplites in the assembly. although it must be said in fairness to him that this request was a minimum.2). By the summer of 413 Syracuse itself had spent 2. and against comparatively small territories a mere stone's throw away from Athens (the east coast of the Corinthia. The startling insufficiency of the sum becomes even more obvious when we compare it with the 2.93. Nicias was speaking from great experience as the commander of invasion forces in amphibious campaigns. 3.129. and the infantry troops.4. Oropos: Thuc. 4. and without prior consultation with his fellow generals (6.1. Athens sent to Sicily 250 knights without their horses.000 talents that Athens spent on the siege of Potideia.276 talents on that of Samos. 6. 3. 6.1. there was no need to send a particularlylarge Athenian army to the island. and the price of the horses bought in Sicily (6. hoplites.300 men. Cythera).48. 10). 220.127.116.11.1.71.38When we take account of the size and distance of Sicily. however. 5). Hornblower (n.
71.70.3 they are the sailors. they think that 'probabilityis in favour'of 120.hoplites.and rhetorical expressions presentin his speech in the accountsof the seafight of the launchingarereplicated and in the description of the expeditionary force. Diodorus. But the first expedition. W Gomme.7.72 wrotethatthis statement own narrative in Books VI and VII'. and in good measure'.69.48. 7. 195-6 and JHS 78 (1943). while.1) ~ o0K as_ E a_ a~aToUKro7TOrw0V. evidently because. JORDAN
In view of all this it is not surprising thatNiciashad to tell a huge debt in addition.2).11). Syracuse. rTo 'A00os r rOv r7 E 7LTVES l80tEV. 13. 7. 55. while splendid.65. 38.3). 1969). OEL dWEldpUovv (6. 7.As at the gamesin Olympiaand at the from the Piraeus.31. 2.is prizes.49..8. 115.13.12. harbourand of the finaldestruction in Syracuse of the launching of the fleetand of its destruction The narratives beginin a similar manner.71. hearing reinforcement thattheysentwasa mereten 7. For a brief history of the efforts to justify 120. and military men in general. ~ EELXv cdrr cvEodpc~plcav T7"v -vayKa•.3.1. like Dover (n. to helptheirdepleted themselves Nicias'letter.1.14. the support from Athens was minimal until the second expedition arrived. This may also have been the view of the scribe who first added KaL 'EKaTr•v. Samos: R. 9). resumedhere in the same form.. E"KUTWV (6.11. and 7(V to EKa-rUTwv syntactically very close (v TrCV oyEwS. A Selection of Greek Historical
This content downloaded from 65.7.2).Valla.76
B.cf.3). as pointed out above. 8PW(ko•VV TEs f3AEV/IavTES. watchthe contest. cf. reproduce Herethe hoplitesof both sidesline the shoreof the harbourto crowdof onlookers.3)do-avWaAov (7. no.with the manningof the ships (6. 7.7.39 the Athenians as diplomaticallyas he could that they were not supportingthe expedition (7. see Classen and Steup (n.30. Avery (n. In 6.originally introduced with the recitalof by Alcibiades whichreappears in the departure his Olympic scene(6. The theme of competition.88. Meiggs and D. was not adequate. This is also the judgementof Thucydideswho says that the additional and Atheniansfailedto vote the necessary supportfor theirforcesoverseas after so bluntedthe edgeof theirfightingpower(2. at had time this the Athenians (7.3)in tripartite form. 10) ad loc. actually money THE ACCOUNTOF THE FINALATHENIANDEFEAT betweenAlcibiades'speechin the summerof 415 and The verbalcorrespondences the story of the armada'sfate in Sicily continue in Book 7. 7.
supplies and reinforcements were sent.7. 11) ad loc. apparently following H.42 on Thu. and so increased the sum to 140.the immediate ships and twentytalents(7. apparently also thought twenty talents too little.1.31.3 the three groupsof contestantsare the trierarchs. it is impossible to knowhow much As. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. 7TSVO (7. setting. 'is not borne 40 A.HCT.2)~ 8t' JA)tyov ydp olVa59 COpwv.) 0 opwv.3). Virtuallythe entire dramatic thematicstructure.2).2. however.in 7.
Potidaea: Thuc.1).65. also has 120 talents. as its numbers and failure show.31. because'the originalexpeditionwas out by Thucydides' splendidly adequateto its object'. Syracuse:Thuc. Sr OVTO also OL (7.71. The accidentalgeofact of two harbours to havinga similarcircular shapepermitsThucydides graphical a spectacleas at Olympiawith a large Alcibiades'originalmise-en-scene.71.in this case a navalbattle.The languagein both passagesis similarand occasionally
(Oxford.bestirred armyand fleet(7.and after the defeat at EpipolaeNicias could say that he had muchmore money than he did not namethe sum.88.31.and marines. Inscriptions Gabrielsen (n. helmsmen. Editors print the reading of H.4.41 The secondarmadadid bringsome money.18.104.22.168Evenwhenthe Athenians. 28). 41 EL'KOUL is the reading of the all manuscripts except one (H) which adds the words KaL EKaTrov. Lewis.and because'on each occasionthat Nikias askedfor them.48.the emphasisis on the visual: o"XAOs departure Ka-rd Oaav -KEV O (7.5-6.5-6).70.
4the military engagein greatrivalry.12.1-3).71. is expandedand of wordsof hearing: developedfully at the end of the dramawith an accumulation
vpi4p ALE-rfpor (7.7). AoovpCLbs.2).
deckswas no less skilfulthanthatof the sailors.The roarof battle is so great that orderscannot be heard.4)..In the departure
EvTrpEvrEta 47vai3s po~EEt Ka 7w raXvvav-rEv.30-32. 142-3. and similarto the shock that the Atheniansadministered the Atheniandisasterin Sicilyhas becomethe mirror Pylos and Sphakteria: imageof their successat Pylos. and the astonishment at the daring of the armada (rdo'ApLOd'L4Et. and therewas countermeasures
greatcompetitionamong many men in general wherever each one them.6.thereare in the formof questions exhortations andappeals to combatants by name. A similarspiritof rivalryis shownalso by the
boatswains (irpN9 Tv r
arvlKGa qtAOVKl'av. vatrvEuOat.69.At 6.70. 'Thucydides and tragedy'.3: 7roAA.31.•AE TrEOtalt Td TLSE O aro KaTaaUTpco/LCaTOS T-clAhhs"TEXV7s9.Thereis shouting..71.3).2. 7.cries of announcedlike an victory and cries of defeat.3). the helmsmenemployed KvUfEpv7q-rwv dLyWVLUtLS T7rp•A of the.a shock as greatas any experienced before XqS.2). Macleod.Ao
•rLV As in chapter6.70. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.70.31. OEWcv.70.') Kat ovS (ytyvE70ro).71.
outstanding in beauty and speed: Es 7taKprara LaKpd7o"T lrpoUv tvro
hoplites compete to have the best equipment. and mental struggleat 7. but also retainingits meaningof athletic stillis the echo of athletic contest.42 Short of a miraclethe Atheniansat this junctureare in a VT U hopeless situation.3 by rroAA there was great s T.thelong-lasting SUVEXEN ula'AArl' T7•S LKpLTWs• harks back to the &•afAAa with ships to Aegina (6. cf.
the theme of contest and com-
reinforced criticalmomentof decision by the use of meaning petitionis further dydov.experience or dejected.
.The admiration whichNicias had said
terribledefeat. r7TaCs CEKaaUTOS 7rpOUET-aKTo a-TOS ro the marines were seeing to it that the fighting from the -77rELyET 4rpOo.7). 1983). operatic leitmotif in the descriptionof the launching(6.7).wherever was stationed.Ships crashtogether. scene the eagernesson the part of the sailorsto sail to the attack.At the sight of a nearvictoryor near fear.stroveto be the best.32.71.2). whomthe heraldordersto silence(6. c/itAAat The acoustic elementthat Thucydidesdeftlyinsinuates into the chapterson the withtheirlargecrowds.71.71. . and ultimatelyto /LLAAa Alcibiades' at Olympia (6.3: This is answered 7TpoUETLrxOl. 7.71.
This content downloaded from 65.Here indecision (7.7A nauticalart. TrdvoS(7.
of them was stationed.theiranxietyand suspense with the movementof theirbodies(7.31.The wailingespecially('Ao vpp0'g).2).31.42 on Thu. 7. TOS 6vvffl• rrps in 7.71.0flo (7.v(6. olCwy5. ) LEKaUTOS upaS ais-o ao V ptv yevEuOat.31. Collected Essays (Oxford.EE7rtL7rAEY EKaWTEpOtS rp poevlta a7ro -rw7v vavUrwv E E~)V ro70. -wov7TrEp aud a N atUKEUWCv_t'key rt' dvtr eV-tS rTo^v ur7ov3) 7rpT caAA'Aovs-ituAAq0'. (E'KrT to the Spartansat 7.2 and 7.3)..2).3). o[ E7TL3CtratL atEpdTEUvov. he everysingleone of them.6).3 the trierarchsare vying with each other to have ships This is echoedin 7. Ka TOTE S2oe7VcOLS CV7TLUTOV 7 Oj EUO Gat 'Ka TOrr r T•victorsin the The in this reversal of roles from (7.71.88.Clearer conveyed by the expression competition rT of the contest.are encouraged unparalleled becomeso verygreatthattheyrevealtheseemotions defeat. The 7gs prayers offered to the gods at the outset (EvXds 6.6).wailing. Thucydides the subjective reports thoughtsand emotionsof the an spectatorswatchingthe combatfromshore:they feel mentalanguish. here become a sudden shock at the sight of a
C.60.2) now have vooLtoMoELva'. 22.214.171.124.6. tragicironypresent bay at
that Alcibiades craves ("'va Oav~yauaOj.finds launching full and loud expressionin his reportof the battle. become an appeal to the gods for salvation (dvdKA 7.88. 7.THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION WAS A POTEMKIN FLEET
nearly identical:at 6.16.1.
The balance of the whichon the surfaceis a laudation of Atheniandemocracy.EXWArr7T~E.16. The wealth.24.rv
oat ltra'rpieos. 126.96.36.199
B. with these expressions Alcibiades' at 6.
r7 is appealing to the samebrilliance of his captains momentNicias thathe hadcensured in Alcibiadestwo years before-another piece of tragicirony.2. Alcibiadean flavouron closerscrutiny. 5.
and wages 6. signpost connecting uf3JdAAE•L
in Sicily.2: dVE7TtrdKTOVU 7TcULV ES TNV ~LvtrTav TO E9 7rTV E'ovUlas with 6. Cornford. 9).17. attheoutset forconquest. 6.69. affordsall its citizensunrestrained freedomin the conductof their daily life. cf.7TP'T?7T6S f-7TpOLva Ka' (o7TnPXE 7 V ? 8 (7. (n.43 VLEyadXAr&vri' EqcAt'•8-S. 44 Cf. daring. arpaav-rwv ad
This content downloaded from 65. mfl rdTOS LEv 7TPOYdVOtS 8E It almost as if in the desperation looks of the (6.42 on Thu.15. At theend of thatbattle. 9).16.75. Kat and 6. JORDAN
Pylos to losers in the harbourof Syracuseis striking. GLL OLUELV UEU OOEV Kat LtV 6.madehis own. TrrEp and high hopes that had been the pride of the original expedition have now become an also forma considerable themeconnecting all the chapters on the 43Hope and hopelessness Sicilian expedition.4). 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.6).2).88. the Syracusansmake their last assault againstthe Athenianships on land the wordis stillringingin (7.44 Compare with this Alcibiades' Etodr7dS EctiL. splendour.andnot to obliterate dMc^v rTO'TE
KaOE' EcavTO cV
K TglS TaTPLKaS tL? TL TtVa Aa/.Thucydides Mythistoricus (London. of lawlessness at everystepin the dailylife of a manpursuing his is not interest private too far awayfromthe notionof a dailylife thatis subject to no controlwhatsoever. Compare 7. Kat v'v o aA E -S OUTE aVEA7TLU-rOi . Nicias reminds the trierarchs that Athens.16.worksout theconnection. theymayhave. Xp ('1ArWv ZELKEAt'aV aiat Woq•E•rELV.69.4: T-NPLE0YEOS KaTa 7r'S EavrTOU 7rapavoLtalas aoCoLa (JJVKaO' EV 5V OT0 The notion o
E7rpaU•EV. The languageand the thought seem not too differentfrom Thucydides'
words about on Alcibiades.the Athenians down(dviAmrUrot. EVO (6.Avery(n.the wordingof the passage also recallsthe languageof Alcibiades' confidentassertionto the assembly.5).71. so to not to betrayanyshining that speak.3. irarpli&
AartrppdrTqros cry out to friends and relatives (TmfPoWJULEvot.2). 7.16. 42).and which Alcibiadesin justifyinghimself had.3. 7TPOUKTJ apyptLOV OoOpaV ErM " •Lat 8o •LLU 7TrapELV.88. 0aot iV oua AaptrpvSvotaLt. Hopeful profit.6) and his boast. also Macleod(n.after much fighting. 1-5 buildingon E M.
ral77 a5'x'quav dv
(6. now see -a 7Tapd~(wv 7TP~urd LEylUTor7L A7•8lTT rjv rdpxovra. it proclaims the grandeur of the departing fleet.It is present twice in his speechto the assembly.In his address to the trierarchs Thereis yet anotherstrangereversal before of theveryword(E'AAaVtbpl'vealt) withwhich the battleNiciasusesthe denominative he first attackedAlcibiades.31. 86oav 4b'peL.Compare S pE7~ 7r TcLVEf~ aav oL CITpNyovoL cav 7Tarpt8 E~LV•.1907). AoiEuOat.5). also acquires an sentence.16. The AaLvrp6d7r7S of Alcibiades runsthroughthe chapters of the Sicilianexpedition like a red threadconnectingeach of the crucialmomentsin its history. Those who can still walk rememberthe radianceand boasting with which they had first sailed from Athens and contrast it with their miserableend: dan" ol'as OS o TO rp'rov (7. withthed6bicle Alcibiades riches.Justbeforethe finalcatastrophe Aa[Lrrpw6 the mindsof the Athenians whentheyareaboutto marchawayafterthe defeatat sea. while those being left behind Kat ax' arov~x LatLTavKaL 7T9S 8tavoLags
and(v 7TEpt ELtL TOi^LS E74 [ov TwVOAaftarpdr~1Lt lrpoECaxoV.9 rv YqV iWjV 7T pa EyEVV ES HE7TOVV7)ULOL q/a another subtle andhalf-hidden butdeliberate (6. ol8a 'aUot E•moTlO Aatzvrpdr-Lt
&AAA K aprovTwv. and Nicias repeatsit at the battlein Syracuse harbour. all thesehopescomecrashing 7.Niciasasksthecaptains reputation the gloriousdeedsof theirancestors.6).15.the freeststate of all.
of roles. 6.75.1).75.
This content downloaded from 65.3 (AlciE'AAal biades). AatiTpldvotat:6.6.69. 7. their boasts have come to nothing. The
To cite an examplefrom recenthistory.3.1963). 7. the invading force did not prove strong enough to overpower the enemy at the first assault.edu
45 AavTrpOTrIg: Thuc. which he exposes with specific and systematic parallels between the debate in the assembly and the narratives of the launching and the destruction of the whole force. as it turned out. 4.4. (EA)AaWrp'vEuoaat is rarer still.62.4.
their huge battle fleet several ways and threw away their chance of victory: S.86. Of the six occurrences of Aa krrpd'-rls avX75qaros a aAAdpLEvot is used dides. four refer to Alcibiades and the Sicilian expedition.2.88. the Athenians wanted to be superior (rrpoSXEtv). 6. Morison. 2.66.in the Battle of Midwaythe Japanesedivided
War (Boston. Beneath his factual reporting lies the awful truth of the tragic futility of human effort.6 (Sicilian expedition). E. 7. Thucydides was aware of the insufficiency of the original expedition. JORDAN bjordan@humanitas. The historian's words suggest that he puts much of the blame for the Sicilian war on Alcibiades.45 CONCLUSION Although it came very close to success.16.47 The overwhelming power of the first and second expeditions combined into one attacking force probably would have achieved the conquest of Sicily. Santa Barbara B.2). they were insufficient.188.8.131.52). 6. 6. Universityof California. rrppvotat: 6.100. 7. 7.5. but. Separately. 46 The narrative of the fighting contains several indications that the expedition was not strong enough: Thuc.62. 15 Aug 2013 12:50:29 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.75. rrapa E'Amrr'a o70T in Thucy(7. caught in a merciless conflict allowing no escape.42 on Thu.7.ucsb.12. The use of av'xryia and av'xqrlau other occurrence besides the threejust cited is Pericles'definition of it: boasting is what lucky but stupid people do (2.2 (speech of Hermocrates).46The Sicilian expedition is an early example of a bad mistake not unknown to later history: throwing armed forces into battle piecemeal and so allowing the victory to slip away.16. The only twice and only of Alcibiades. as Nicias had rightly argued that it should be able to do (6.11.5 (speech of Pericles). As Gylippus says. But Thucydides' purpose is greater than merely apportioning blame.1-2.4). ends its voyage in total ruin.4.150-63.THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION WAS A POTEMKIN FLEET
empty boast.2.23. contrary to their hopes. An entire 'city on the move'.88.