Nikij (born Nicias)( The statesman and military leader in ancient Greece)
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Biography Nikij (born Nicias)
(died in 413 BC, BC)
Greeks rightly considered the world's greatest good and happiness for the people. That is why many ancient historians recognize Nikia opponent of the war, an eminent statesman, although he did not have these - brilliant talents, as Themistocles and Pericles. In the eyes of contemporaries and posterity the memory of all the major shortcomings Nikia as a statesman and military leader swam one of his quality - the generous and consistent devotion to the cause of peace.
The main features of his character were indecision, procrastination and timidity, which was considered enemies of cowardice, and friends - a prudent caution.
With such qualities Nikij not fond of war, of course, could not be a good general. However, he often had to fight. By the end of his life as the head of a large fleet and army, he was forced to campaign in the success of which he did not believe, considering the enterprise doomed to failure. However Nikij fought honestly to the extent of its powers and abilities, and was killed along with his army.
About childhood and adolescence Nikia unknown. We know only that he came from a wealthy and distinguished family and was a major slave-owner. At the state silver mines worked in 1000 Nikia slaves, which he rented out, receiving for each slave to 1 obol day. Capital him, they said, was a huge sum for that time - 100 talents.
According to the custom of the time, noblemen and wealthy people dedicated themselves to early state of. Nikia Young during the life of the great Pericles repeatedly elected to the position of a strategist, and he repeatedly managed to distinguish himself in the campaigns on land and at sea.
Popularly known young man won thanks to his exceptional generosity. When he had to do the honorable position choregia, he gave theatrical performances with unprecedented luxury.
Nikij differ astonishing, even for that time, superstition. In order not to offend the gods, he made his daily sacrifices. With its enormous costs of theatrical productions, he also thought to deserve the mercy of the gods (theatrical performances were under the patronage of the god Dionysus).
Every year, from Athens, went to the sacred island of Delos at the feast of Apollo - the solemn procession of singers celebrate the god of sacred hymns.
Once, when the choir was in charge Nikij, from Athens, the ship sailed on holiday with singers, who landed on the nearby island of Delos. The ship was brought to pre-built portable bridges, decorated with gold, garlands of flowers and expensive cloth. At night the bridge thrown across the narrow strait separating the island of Delos. In the morning the next day the choir in luxurious robes, singing songs in honor of Apollo was the bridge to the temple of God. After sacrifice, games and refreshments abundant Nikij set before the temple of Apollo, the precious gift of God - a brass palm tree - and he devoted a large plot of land near the temple of.
In private life Nikij not start any important matter without knowing the will of the gods through a prophet who ever lived in his house. For example, he sought from the gods, how to act in a particular case, the management of their mines.
But even more than the gods, Nikij afraid of their fellow citizens. He lived in perpetual fear of sycophants. Nikij tried to buy off their money, giving generously in debt to friends and foes. Out of caution, he even avoided close contact with citizens, never joined the conversation and did not dine together. From morning till evening he was engaged in public affairs, and in his spare time locked up at home and did not take even friends and relatives.
Constant fear of making the already by nature cautious and indecisive Nikia more timid and cautious. He was unwilling and afraid of any change and it was believed that one must live by the "customs of our fathers, as fathers lived. As a man noble and wealthy, Nikij was an opponent of the Athenian poor and its leaders, whom he hated and feared.
Extreme caution, indecision and procrastination Nikij displayed in war. He'd rather shy away from his command in dangerous expeditions, knowing that in the event of a major setbacks he could face expulsion or even death. Yet, when he had to be a military leader, he usually had success. Enemies and friends attributed his victory sole happiness, which has always accompanied her life, and acquired with years of experience.
However, in the campaigns Nikij remained faithful to their prejudices. Thus, for example, breaking the Corinthians in a fierce battle, he completed the victory, and concluded a truce with the enemy for the burial of two of the Athenians.
After the death of Pericles Nikij moved into the front ranks of public figures. He immediately proved himself a determined opponent of the war and soon found support among the population of Attica, affected by the war and tended to the world.
Most affected by the war, the Athenian farmers, their land was plundered by the enemy, the vineyards have been cut down, and the cattle stolen. Therefore, farmers have complained the loudest war and demanding peace. They joined together with the rich landowners and made a modest party - the party of peace, the leader of which was Nikij
. The other party (the so-called "pireyskaya") consisted of groups, . not feel so much hardships of war, . mainly from the urban artisans, . Shard, . sailors and merchants, . leading overseas trade, she sought to fight to the finish,
. Led pireyskoy parties were famous speaker and leader Cleon, hyperbole, and other.
Cleon and his party managed to win power. Cleon immediately began preparations for offensive operations against Sparta. He decided to raise the helots revolt in the Peloponnese.
The Athenian general Demosthenes received orders to attack the Spartans in the Peloponnese. The appearance here of the Athenians was a revolt helots. Demosthenes took an important harbor on the Spartans Messenskom coast city of Pylos, where you can easily helots revolt. The Spartans, understanding the threats to them, sent a large land and sea forces and occupied the island Sphacteria lying against Pylos. However, the Athenians defeated the Spartan squadron and besieged the garrison Sphacteria, consisting of 400 persons.
The Spartans, seeing that the fortunes of war began to smile Athenians, first offered to make peace on terms favorable to the Athenians. But now the Athenians, despite the opposition of Nicias, refused.
The war continued, but was unsuccessful siege Sphacteria. Despite the blockade, the Spartans still managed to ship foodstuffs to the island, and therefore the besieged could not take attrition.
Then Cleon made in the Athenian popular assembly against Demosthenes and Nicias. He accused Demosthenes in the conduct of the siege sluggish. In response to accusations Nikij said: "Why would you, Cleon, most will not go against spartantsevN" After a brief hesitation Cleon Nicias accepted the offer and became the head of the troops besieging Sphacteria. He said that after twenty days after his departure in the Peloponnese Spartans destroy or take them prisoners to Athens.
Appearing under Sphacteria, Cleon led with Demosfenom siege so that after twenty days the surviving Spartans (about 300) have surrendered and were brought to Athens. This led the Spartans to think about the world on terms acceptable to the Athenians.
Cleon Spartans warned that if they again invade Attica, the prisoners would be executed. Indeed, the Spartan invasion of Attica from then stopped.
Cleon unparalleled victory over the hitherto invincible on land led the Spartans in Athens triumph. The National Assembly has identified him honors as a hero, the savior of the State. Many Nikia accused of cowardice and apathy for the fact that he voluntarily relinquished command in favor of his opponent. Thus, the famous comic poet Aristophanes heaped ridicule him for this:
Witness Zeus, this is no time to doze us
How sleepy Nikij, fluctuate once.
Cleon, meanwhile, with his characteristic energy and perseverance, continued an offensive war against Sparta and its allies. First, fortunes of war on the side of the Athenians, they were able to cut Megara from the Aegean Sea by seizing their harbor Nisei and take home park Spartan fleet - Kiefer island to the south of the Peloponnese.
Then the fortunes of war changed the Athenians, and they suffered a major setback in the battle with Boeotians with Delia. It boosted the morale of the Athenians defeated the Spartans, they decided to move to military action in Thrace, to capture the Thracian possessions of the Athenians.
Talented Spartan commander Brasid a short time, coming into Thrace, managed to induce some of the Thracian towns to secede from the Athenian.
Cleon opposed Brasida led the Athenian militia. In the Battle of the Thracian city of Amphipolis, where they fell both commanders - Cleon and Brasid - Athenians were defeated (422 g. BC).
After the death of Cleon and Brasida peace party in Athens and Sparta were the predominance. Athenian peasants rejoiced at the death of Cleon and Brasida, believing that now no longer exist obstacles to the peace.
In one of the comedies of Aristophanes jubilation of the people affected by the loss of Cleon. In the comedy "The World" Aristophanes portrays the terrible demons of war and terror, which in a huge mortar pounding the Greek cities, and pistils are Cleon and Brasid
. Vanished pusher Athenian celebrities,
. Killed tanner that pounded all Hellas
. In a huge mortar ...
. Vanished pusher Spartan best
. (Cleon was tanners, pusher - Brasid)
. Farmer, the hero of this comedy, tells of the death of Cleon:
. About Mrs. Athena, nicely done, he
. What time podoh for the benefit of the city
. And the mess will not be able to brew a new one.
. Aristophanes wrote, urging all to the world:
. Now is the time, the brothers Greeks,
. Leaving strife, forgetting strife,
. At will lead the world favorite,
. While the pusher will not prevent us new
Through the efforts of Nicias and his supporters soon managed to conclude a 50-year peace with Sparta, known Nikieva, based on the provisions of the former pre-war. Athenians Spartans pledged to return the prisoners to give Sphacteria and Pylos, the Spartans also had to return Amphipolis.
Peace, however, did not last long: both parties were dissatisfied, and regarded it as a breather before another decisive battle. The Spartans did not return the Athenians Amphipolis. In response, the Athenians kept in the hands of Pylos and Sphacteria.
Despite the peace and alliance of Athens with Sparta, in Greece was dominated by feuds. In the Peloponnese began discord and dissatisfaction with the actions of Sparta. Particularly unhappy were the Corinthians, and Mantineans argostsy. Argostsy and Mantineans - sworn enemies of the Spartans - have searched for a rapprochement with the Athenians.
At this time in Athens, moved Alcibiades. He began to prepare the alliance with Argos and other Peloponnesian states. Nikij struggled in vain against these plans, Alcibiades, believing that they will lead to war. Nikij led the Athenian embassy even went to Sparta, to eliminate the differences between the Athenians and Spartans and the Athenians to keep the alliance with Argos. The embassy, however, ended in complete failure. Effect Nikia then fell.
Having joined the Alcibiades, who formed an alliance with Argos and other Peloponnesian states.
Sparta was a very difficult and dangerous situation: she was surrounded by a tight circle of democratic states hostile to her. Prevail over the enemies of Sparta was now for the question of life and death.
When Mantinea allied militia met with the Spartans. The Athenians did not have time to provide effective assistance to the Allies because of the slowness of Nicias, and they suffered a complete defeat.
Democratic governments in Argos and other Peloponnesian city-states were overthrown, and the States once again entered the Peloponnesian League.
Mantineyskoe defeat in Athens led to the collapse of the Alcibiades and supporters of the war. At the head of the government again became Nikij.
By custom, the Athenian leader of the group have failed, been expelled by the stigma. Exile Alcibiades seemed imminent, but he managed to negotiate with supporters of Nicias, and was exiled leader of the Democratic Party of hyperbole. Alcibiades and Nikij are again in power. Nikia Opponents accused him that he can not get a Sparta return Amphipolis.
Her life had against his will to go with the army in Thrace to win Amphipolis. The campaign ended in complete failure, as the Macedonian king, through the land which lay in the path, took the side of Sparta and does not allow the passage of the Athenian troops. Failure Nikia led to a drop in the influence of his party. Alcibiades now made friends with the Democratic Party of Piraeus, which stood for the war.
Supporters pireyskoy party dreamed of the expansion of Athenian dominance in the West, the conquest of Sicily, Carthage and the northern coast of Africa (Libya).
Alcibiades had long been plotting to become the ruler-tyrant united under the leadership of Athens Greece. He enjoyed aristocratic and democratic parties in Athens. Only for their own purposes, associating it to one, then. To another. Now Alcibiades plans coincided with the plan pireyskoy Democratic Party, and he became the leader of the supporters of the campaign in Sicily.
All his eloquence and influence in the assembly Alcibiades applied in order to induce the Athenians to send an expedition to Sicily. Impressionable Athenians carried away with tempting pictures that they drew a gifted speaker. "We have to - he said - first master Sicily as a basis for further military action in the west. Having conquered Sicily, and Carthage, the Athenians captured fabulously rich booty, and then all citizens are rich, will not have to work, but only to rule his subjects ".
Excitation of the Athenians and their enthusiasm for plans to campaign in Sicily, reached the highest degree, when in Athens were the ambassadors of the Sicilian cities Leontine and Egesty. After asking for help from the Athenians and assured him that the island erupts democratic uprising, only to arrive there the Athenian army, and they also promised to lend large sums of money to pay the Athenian army, if it arrives in Sicily.
At a public meeting a heated debate about whether to provide assistance to residents and Leontine Egesty. Most of the Athenian people did not have a clear idea of the remote island, considering it a fabulously rich country, possession of which is worth nothing. Of the People's Assembly debate transported to the streets in the square, the shops and workshops. People of all ages - old and young - the devil in the sand maps of Sicily and was told all sorts of fables about the island.
Almost no one dared to speak out against this fantastic idea. Only Nikij, contrary to its usual timidity and indecision, this time expressly opposed the hike. He pointed to the large size of the island. "In Sicily, - he said - a large population that is hostile to the Athenians. The island's inhabitants are armed and have a very large funds for war. As for us, the Athenians, the treasury exhausted for so many years of war ".
The National Assembly has decided to send a squadron in Sicily with 6000 chosen men. At the head of the campaign put Alcibiades, Nicias and Lamachus (who was famous for his military valor). The Athenians believed that Nikij great benefit to his experience and caution, combined with daring courage and zeal Alcibiades Lamachus.
The next public meeting, after the decision to hike, Nikij again tried to reason with fellow. He openly accused Alcibiades that he for the sake of personal gain and in pursuit of fame exposes State terrible danger overseas campaign. "After all, none of the Athenians, and Alcibiades himself, - he said - did not really know what represents Sicily and what will happen to the Athenians in a large and hostile island. If our business in Sicily will fail, then the enemies attack us, because with Sparta world is not reliable. Hiking and even the conquest of Sicily only weaken our strength ".
National Assembly, however, paid no heed to these words. The whole city was moved: the rich citizens were involved in building and rigging of ships, the Allies delivered the necessary funds; farmers procured food, and all citizens, . capable of bearing arms, . actively preparing for a hike, . engaging in military exercises, the pilot and the sailors were trained in seamanship,
The cost of straining all of the state treasury was built a large fleet of 134 cleaning block. On the expedition were spent huge sums: one thing only pay the soldiers reached the enormous amount of talent in 1620. Meanwhile, on the eve of the sailing of the fleet happened fatal, . event, . stirring Athenians, . and already in a highly excited state: at night by unknown persons smashed and mutilated statue of the god Hermes (Germany), . standing at the crossroads of Athens streets,
. Rumor accused of this crime Alcibiades. Alcibiades demanded an immediate hearing, but the enemy did not dare to inflict a blow open. In addition, the trial was to delay the departure of the squadron, and the Athenian popular assembly impatient with the march. It was decided that Alcibiades to stand trial after the war, and yet he must sail for Sicily.
Finally, it was the day appointed for the sailing of the fleet (415 g. BC). The Athenians and the allies landed on the ships and preparing to sail. Almost all the urban population had gathered to farewell; citizens accompanied their loved ones, friends and acquaintances. Many covered heavy feeling of anxiety and uncertainty: whether they will see again someday their loved ones and it will end far pohodN
. A lot of idle onlookers gathered in the harbor to gaze at a rare sight, and, indeed, a large number of well-equipped and lavishly decorated vessels, armed warriors brilliant impression of a formidable force
When the soldiers got on ships and loading is over, there was a bugle. At the same time on all ships heralds pray, who repeated the soldiers and the crowd on the shore. The sailors and military leaders committed libation to the gods of gold and silver cups, mixing wine with water. Then all began to sing a solemn hymn (paean). The ships weighed anchor and set out to sea.
The Athenian fleet rounded the Peloponnese, and came to the island of Corfu (off the coast of Epirus), where gathered the rest of the allied forces. It made the strategic review of its forces. The fleet was divided into three squadrons, each under the command of Admiral special. Then all three of the squadron, accompanied by numerous transport ships headed to the shores of Italy.
All three selected for the campaign strategist, even after the departure could not develop a common action plan. Alcibiades - a man of strong will - sought to take all power into their own hands and offered not to attack at once on the main enemy - the Sicilian city of Syracuse, and to achieve breakaway union sirakuzyanam cities. Lamakh - fiery commander - proposed to sail directly to Syracuse and to give battle under the walls of the city, while residents had not yet ready to resist. Nikij objected to both: he did not believe in the success of the expedition, and advised to only a small aid to Egesty, and then the fleet to sail around Sicily, and to intimidate the enemy, to return home. The proposal Nikij immediately weakened the morale and determination of the Athenian troops. Moreover, even after going out to sea, he continued to show indecision and procrastination. This behavior Nikia deprived morale of other commanders, and the Navy lost in vain time.
Eventually Lamakh joined Alcibiades. and Nikij had to obey
. The emergence of huge Athenian fleet off the coast of Italy has caused among yuzhnoitaliyskih of great concern: they understood, . that the Athenians came not for the assistance, . but to win them, so until the city Regia (southern Italy), the Athenians were not only unable to land, . even stock up drinking water,
. It had finally managed to replenish food. But the Athenian strategists suffered a new disappointment: it turned out that instead of the promised representatives Egesty large sums of money in the pay of sailors, they offer only a small sum of 30 talents.
Hence the Athenian ships headed for the Sicilian town of Naxos and Katana, which sided with the Athenians.
At this moment arrived from Athens, the ship of state "Salamaniya" with the order of the national assembly: Alcibiades to pass command and immediately return to Athens for trial. The fact that in Athens alleged newly discovered evidence of guilt Alcibiades with insulting religion. Alcibiades did, but the road ran. The Athenians considered flight Alcibiades proof of his guilt, and he was sentenced in absentia to death.
After the departure of Alcibiades command passed to her life. He should immediately begin the siege of Syracuse, while sirakuzyane not enough time to gather more troops and resources to defense and has undeniable superiority on land and at sea was on the side of the Athenians. This was the only way to win the war.
Meanwhile Nikij not dare to engage in serious military action. He was still trying to display its naval power to persuade the city to the Sicilian side of the Athenians. To this end, he spent precious time on futile summer swimming in the Sicilian coast, and eventually returned to Cotonou with nothing.
Sirakuzyane at this time prepared to defend. They sent for help to Sparta and other Greek states hostile to the Athenians, and managed to collect a large army of mercenaries. Finally, sirakuzyane felt so strong that they themselves decided to attack the Athenians.
Rumors of plans were sirakuzyan reach the Athenians. Then only Nikij barely agreed to sail to Syracuse. The fact is that in ancient times fighting the Greeks were bound seasons: winter is usually not fought. It was already autumn, and the Athenian strategist wanted to launch military action in spring.
With the help of military stratagem, the Athenians managed to lure the army sirakuzyan from the city. Then Nikij sailed from Katana, seized harbors Syracuse and took a comfortable place to camp. When sirakuzyane returned under the walls of their city, a battle took place and the Athenians defeated. However Nikij did not take a victory and instead make an attempt at once to take Syracuse, returned to winter in Naxos.
Learning of this, sirakuzyane attacked the Athenian camp in Katana and burned it. In this failure, all accused the Athenian commander.
Now, finally, Nikij took up the siege of Syracuse. Athenians managed to land undetected near Syracuse and capture the height, the dominant west of the city. Came to the rescue at this time the cavalry sirakuzyan, rushed to the Athenians. Hot battle ensued, and the Athenians had won a brilliant victory, capturing 300 prisoners.
Then Nikij a short time built a wall around Syracuse to block the city from the sea and land. The Athenian fleet entered the harbor of Syracuse great.
Besieged sirakuzyane defended and built, in turn, the wall, which was supposed to go from town to meet with the wall of the Athenians. Besieged all the time made forays to hinder the work of the Athenians, and they tried to prevent them. There were constant skirmishes. During one of them second Athenian strategist, brave Lamah, was killed.
Now head left alone Nikij. Sirakuzyane continued to stand at bay, but their position from one day to worse: the walls, built by the Athenians around the city, have been almost ready. The ring is about the siege was to link up. Some Sicilian town began to go over to the Athenians. Sirakuzyane already considered the situation hopeless and entered the city with the Athenian commander in negotiating the terms of delivery.
At this point, something happened that changed the whole course of the war. On the advice of Alcibiades, who fled to Sparta and became a traitor to the motherland, the Spartans sent to help sirakuzyanam 700 soldiers under the command of an experienced military commander Gilippa. He managed to secretly cross the Strait and land on the north-west of Sicily. Nikij was so confident of victory that not even a guard, although he knew of the approach Gilippa.
Upon arriving at Syracuse, Gilipp first sent a herald of her life, offering the Athenians immediately sit down on the ships and return to Athens. Nikij not even responded to this proposal Spartan commander. Then Gilipp with sirakuzyanami attacked the Athenians. In the first battle the Athenians were victorious, but then the enemy has captured several Athenian fortifications, and broke into the besieged city.
Those failures led the Athenian strategist in despair, he realized that the Athenians were no longer able to cut off the city from the land. Moreover, the Athenians themselves could soon be under siege, as sirakuzyane built a wall at an angle to the Athenian fortifications, and the enemy's cavalry began to interfere with their communications.
Now, the Athenians remained one option - to request the immediate despatch of reinforcements from Athens. He sent a letter to the Athenian popular assembly, which drew a bleak situation and asked for the disease to replace it with other strategies. "While I was healthy, - wrote Nikij - I had a lot of services to the State, but now I can no longer fulfill the position of strategist. Help is needed immediately, because our ships are deteriorating, the Allies had run away, a regular supply troops violated, no money and get nowhere, because the Allies refused to help us ".
Nikia letter was delivered to Athens during this difficult time for the city: the Spartans again went to war, on the advice of Alcibiades, they occupied an important fortified point in the center of Attica - Dhekelia. Hence the Spartans prevented the delivery of grain to Athens from the fields of Attica and Euboea from the neighboring. Day and night the enemy did not give the rest of the Athenians. The entire population of Athens was drawn to the defense of the city, skirmishes with the enemy occurred almost daily.
Despite all this, the national assembly to exert all efforts the state made ready to help in Sicily, two more squadrons of ships under the command of an experienced commander from 1200 Demosthenes the Athenian hoplites and a lot of allies. In addition, were collected and sent large sums of money.
Even before the arrival of these reinforcements Nikij suffered a sudden attack by land and sea. Seven of the Athenian ships were sunk, others have major damage. But most importantly - the enemies captured Athenian base - Cape Plemmiry - with a lot of stocks, equipment and money.
Once the enemies of the Athenians drove Plemmiriya, supply Athenian troops extremely difficult, because the enemy ships were let food deliveries. This defeat of the Athenians led to a shift of almost all the cities on the Sicilian side sirakuzyan.
The Athenian army finally fell spirit, none of the Athenians no longer believed in victory and safe return to their homeland.
At this point in the Athenian camp noticed the approach of a large squadron. The sounds of music Demosthenes fleet, consisting of 73 ships with 5000 hoplites and 3000 lightly allies and plenty of gear, entered the harbor. The Athenians took heart, rejoiced, at last, they thought, we will take Syracuse and with the rich booty back to their homeland.
Sirakuzyane, conversely, depressed: they saw that the troops arrived at least a first and that the Athenians still powerful.
Meanwhile, Demosthenes, having studied the situation, decided to immediately attack the enemy. "We need to - he said - to stake everything: to capture or Syracuse, or go home".
Nikij, as always, was of decisive action against. He pointed out that funds have been depleted of enemies and allies will soon leave them, then, he said, they will sue for peace. And indeed, sirakuzyane again brought secret negotiations with the Athenians of the world. Other strategists supported Demosthenes, saying that Nikij previously hesitated and lost precious time and is now engaged in delaying tactics.
Nikij with difficulty, under pressure from his comrades, lost. Demosthenes in the same night made an attempt to capture Syracuse. First, the Athenians managed to press the enemy, but then in the pursuit of the retreating enemy in the darkness there was a messy battle with the Athenians could not distinguish their enemies from. In this battle Demosthenes suffered a decisive defeat. Few soldiers managed to escape; the field of battle left 2,000 dead bodies of the Athenians and allies.
After this setback, the Athenian strategists gathered at the council. We had to decide what to do next. In the Athenian camp, which was located in an unhealthy area, the disease began, the spirit of the warriors fell, the situation seemed almost hopeless. Therefore, Demosthenes said that he hoped to immediately return home or move to another parking place, away from Syracuse, and thence to ravage the country. But Nikij suddenly objected to this plan. He still did not believe in victory, but more than sirakuzyan, afraid of their enemies-Democrats, who on his return to Athens, as he thought, to betray him on trial and executed for his failure. "I prefer death at the hands of enemies, - he said - than from the hand of fellow-citizens".
Meanwhile, in Syracuse came to the aid of a new large army. Then Nikij realized that the war is lost and must soon remove the siege and go home. When everything was ready to sail at night there was a lunar eclipse, which greatly alarmed Nikia and many soldiers. The fortune-tellers who were in the army of the Athenians, announced that the gods are clearly opposed to the retreat and that we should wait until the next full moon.
But here there was the worst of all, that we might have expected the Athenians. After two days of sea battle, killing many Athenians, sirakuzyane hath Athenian fleet out of harbor. Athenian fleet was trapped in.
In the Athenian camp again assembled a council of war, and it was decided, leaving under the protection of wounded and sick, go on ships and in whatever has to break through the barriers and sail home.
The best part of the land forces of the Athenians was planted on the remaining ships. Before departure Nikij addressed the soldiers with a short speech: "We have to fight for the fatherland. Remember that you - the last hope of the motherland, the state has no more, no navy, no army. If we fail, then the homeland would be defenseless. All that is needed, we have provided. Our ships are equipped with devices for boarding battle. We grappled with the enemy ships and will fight, both on land ".
There was a hot battle in unfavorable conditions for the heavy ships of the Athenian. In the small space of the bay were gathered up to two hundred ships.
Army sirakuzyan and the Athenians from the shore watching the battle. Light ships sirakuzyan from all sides attacked the Athenian heavy cleaning block. The enemies of the Athenians threw huge stones, the Athenians answered them with arrows and spears. However, all attempts to break the Athenians failed. Finally, sirakuzyane made a decisive attack and put to flight the Athenian ships. The wholesale slaughter of the defeated, the Athenians were in a hopeless situation: the way to the sea was cut off, . and land-based retreat was also barred by the enemies, . who occupied the commanding heights, , . destroyed bridges, . The valleys occupied units of cavalry,
Now the Athenian army had one salvation - depart by land in the interior of Sicily. Another could be saved if the retreat began immediately. But Nikij made only two days after the defeat at sea.
After all the losses of the army of the Athenians numbered about 40 thousand. man. It was divided into two groups; Nikij went ahead, behind - Demosthenes. The soldiers carried with them the meager supply of food, only 5 days.
Misfortune has befallen the Athenians from the beginning. They were forced to turn away from the intended path, since he was barred sirakuzyanami. Since then they wandered almost at random, where expected to find less resistance, or hoping to get food and water. The enemy's cavalry all the time gave them no peace. Hunger and thirst drove retreating to madness.
Nikij himself, despite his illness and misfortune that befell him, retained his presence of mind and tried to instill in their hapless Warriors hope for salvation.
On the sixth day of retreat behind by their unit was surrounded by Demosthenes; enemies day Athenians showered with arrows and spears. When it became clear that further resistance would lead to the complete annihilation of the detachment, Demosthenes, after an unsuccessful suicide attempt surrendered on condition of preserving the life of soldiers.
Two days later, laid down their arms and Nikij, also received a promise to save his life.
Siracusa popular assembly, however, decided to execute Nicias, Demosthenes, and other strategies; Athenian allies sold into slavery, and the Athenians themselves locked in a close quarries near Syracuse.
Most of the Athenian prisoners perished in the quarries. The wretched prisoners were suffering from thirst and cold, from the terrible overcrowding, among them have developed an epidemic of disease, and some died from exhaustion, caused by the poor and monotonous food. Only a few were sold into slavery, and thus saved his life. It is said that some prisoners managed to save his life, and even get free because they knew by heart extracts from the works of the great Athenian tragedian Euripides, whose fame spread throughout the Greek world.
The news of the death of the whole army and navy had brought to Athens a foreigner. Pireyskoy landed in the harbor, he went to the barbershop haircut and began talking about the misfortune, as something already known. Owner of the salon after the first of his words had rushed headlong into the city and told the terrible news to officials.
There was a terrible commotion. Immediately summoned the national assembly. They brought an alien and have asked for details about how and from whom he learned about this disaster. Since it nothing intelligible from fright could say, it felt an intruder, intentionally spreading false rumors to produce confusion in the State. Miserable was tortured and tormented him for a long time, until it finally arrived the messengers who confirmed the terrible truth.
Thus died Nikij. He brought home his misfortune indecision, as well as the fact that he was afraid of his rivals in the struggle for power more than the enemies of the homeland.