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NICIAS

it were defeated. In a battle which took place in the marsh Lamachus was slain. It fortunately happened at this juncture that Nicias, who was afflicted with a painful disorder of the eyes, was left upon Epipolae, and his presence prevented the Syracusans from succeeding in a bold attempt which they made to gain possession of the heights and destroy the Athenian works. The circumval-lation was now nearly completed, and the doom of Syracuse seemed sealed, when Gylippus arrived in Sicily [gylippus]. Nicias, for the first time in his life probably, allowed his confidence of success to render him remiss, and he neglected to prevent Gylippus from making his way into Syracuse. He seems now to have supposed that he should be un­able to stop the erection of a counter-wall on Epipolae, and therefore abandoned the heights and established his army on the headland of Plemmy-rium, where he erected three forts. His forces were defeated in an attempt to hinder the completion of the counterwork of the Syracusans. Succours were now called in by the Syracusans from all quarters, and Nicias found himself obliged to send to Athens for reinforcements, as his ships were becoming unsound, and their crews were rapidly thinned by deaths and desertions. He requested at the same time that another commander might be sent to supply his place, as his disorder rendered him unequal to the discharge of his duties. The Athe­nians voted reinforcements, which were placed under the eommand of Demosthenes and Euryme-don. But they would not allow Nicias to resign his command.

Meantime, Gylippus induced the Syracusans to try their fortune in a sea-fight. During the heat of the action he gained possession of the forts on Plemmyrium. The sea-fight at first was against the Athenians ; but the confusion caused by the arrival of the reinforcements to the Syracusans from Corinth enabled the Athenians to attack them at an advantage, and gain a victory. Other con­tests followed in the great harbour, and in a severe engagement the Athenians were defeated with con­siderable loss. But at this moment the Athenian reinforcements arrived.

At the suggestion of Demosthenes, a bold at­tempt was made in the night to recover Epipolae, in which the Athenians, after being all but suc­cessful, were finally driven back with severe loss. Demosthenes now proposed to abandon the siege and return to Athens. To this Nicias would not consent. He professed to stand in dread of the Athenians at home, but he appears to have had reasons for believing that a party amongst the Syracusans t/iemselves were likely in no long time to facilitate the reduction of the city, and, at his urgent instance, his colleagues consented to remain for a little longer. But meantime fresh succours arrived for the Syracusans ; sickness was making ravages among the Athenian troops, and at length Nicias himself saw the necessity of retreating. Secret orders were given that every thing should be in readiness for departure, supplies were coun­termanded, and nothing seemed likely to prevent their unmolested retreat, when an eclipse of the moon happened. The credulous superstition of Nicias now led to the total destruction of the Athenian armament. The soothsayers interpreted the event as an injunction from the gods that they should not retreat before the next full moon, and Nicias resoluteiy determined to -abide by their de-

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cision. The Syracusans now resolved to bring the enemy to an engagement, and, after some successful skirmishing, in a decisive naval battle defeated the Athenians, though abody of their land forces received an unimportant check. They were now masters of the harbour, and the Athenians were reduced to the necessity of making a desperate effort to es­cape. Nicias exerted himself to the utmost to en­courage the men, but the Athenians were deci­sively defeated, and could not even be induced to attempt to force their way at day-break through the bar at the mouth of the harbour. They set out on their retreat into the interior of Sicily. Nicias, though bowed down by bodily as well as mental sufferings, used all his arguments to cheer the men. For the details of the retreat the reader is referred to Thucydides. Nicias and Demo­sthenes, with the miserable remnant of the troops, were compelled to surrender. Gylippus was desi­rous of carrying Nicias to Sparta ; but those of the Syracusans with whom Nicias had opened a secret correspondence, fearing lest its betrayal should bring them into difficulties, eagerly urged that he should be put to death. His execution draws the following just remarks from Bishop Thirlwall (Hist, of Greece, vol. iii. p. 455): "His death filled up the measure of a singular destiny, by which the reputation he had acquired by his pru­dence and fortune, his liberality and patriotism, his strength as well as his weakness, all the good and the bad qualities of his mind and character, his talents and judgment, as well as his credulity and superstition, his premature timidity, his tardy cou­rage, his long-protracted wavering arid his unsea­sonable resolution, contributed in nearly equal degrees to his own ruin and to the fall of his country. The historian deplores his undeserved calamity-; but the fate of the thousands whom he involved in his disasters was perhaps still more pitiable.'' According to Pausanias (i. 29. § 12), his name was omitted on a monument raised at Athens to the memory of those who fell in Sicily, because he surrendered himself voluntarily. (Plut. Nicias ; Diod. xii. 83, &c. ; Thuc. vi. and vii. ; Thirlwall, Hist, of Greece, vol. iii. co. 25 and 26.)

4. A herald of Philip, king of Macedonia, who was carried off from Macedonia, and kept ten months in custody at Athens. The letters of which he was the bearer were publicly read at Athens. (Philippi Epist. in Dem. Op. p. 159, ed. Reiske).

5. An Athenian, a relative of Apollodorus, who brought a suit against Phormion, on whose behalf Demosthenes wrote the speech virep <bop/j.ioovos. Nicias, Deinias, and Andromenes had induced Apol­lodorus to desist from a previous suit of the same kind. Nicias and Apollodorus married sisters, the daughters of Deinias. Nicias was uncle to a man named Stephanus, by whom he was stripped of his property. (Dem. adv. Steph. p. 1122, ed. Reiske.)

6. An officer in the service of Alexander the Great. After the capture of Sardes, he was ap­pointed to collect the revenues of the province. (Arrian, i. 17. § 8.)

7. A friend and relation of Mennaeus, and a general in the service of Ptolemaeus Philopator. He was sent to oppose Antiochus and succour the city of Abila, but was defeated. (Polyb. v. 71.)

8. Praetor of the Achaean league in b. c. 207. (Liv. xxviii. 8.)

9. An officer in the service of Perseus, king of

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