The History of the Peloponnesian War
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Years of the War—Arrival of Gylippus at Syracuse—Fortification of Decelea—Successes of the Syracusans
After refitting their ships, Gylippus and Pythen coasted along from Tarentum to Epizephyrian Locris. They now received the more correct information that Syracuse was not yet completely invested, but that it was still possible for an army arriving at Epipolae to effect an entrance; and they consulted, accordingly, whether they should keep Sicily on their right and risk sailing in by sea, or, leaving it on their left, should first sail to Himera and, taking with them the Himeraeans and any others that might agree to join them, go to Syracuse by land. Finally they determined to sail for Himera, especially as the four Athenian ships which Nicias had at length sent off, on hearing that they were at Locris, had not yet arrived at Rhegium. Accordingly, before these reached their post, the Peloponnesians crossed the strait and, after touching at Rhegium and Messina, came to Himera. Arrived there, they persuaded the Himeraeans to join in the war, and not only to go with them themselves but to provide arms for the seamen from their vessels which they had drawn ashore at Himera; and they sent and appointed a place for the Selinuntines to meet them with all their forces. A few troops were also promised by the Geloans and some of the Sicels, who were now ready to join them with much greater alacrity, owing to the recent death of Archonidas, a powerful Sicel king in that neighbourhood and friendly to Athens, and owing also to the vigour shown by Gylippus in coming from Lacedaemon. Gylippus now took with him about seven hundred of his sailors and marines, that number only having arms, a thousand heavy infantry and light troops from Himera with a body of a hundred horse, some light troops and cavalry from Selinus, a few Geloans, and Sicels numbering a thousand in all, and set out on his march for Syracuse.