Nicias and his party opposed this plan; but when it was put to the vote, it was found that the eloquence of Alcibiades had prevailed. A large fleet was prepared, and Nicias, Lamachus, and Alcibiades were chosen generals of the expedition. The fleet was on the point of sailing out of the Piraeus, when the Athenians found out that all the statues of their god Hermes, which were used as boundary marks and milestones, had been shamefully broken.

The excited people assembled on the market place to discuss this event; and all cried loudly against it, for the statues were considered sacred, as they represented a god. Alcibiades’ enemies -and he had a number, although he was so popular- now stepped forward, and declared that he had done it after the banquet which he had given to celebrate his departure.

The young man denied having broken the statues, and asked that his trial might take place at once, so that he might prove his innocence before he started out; but, in spite of this urgent request, it was postponed, and he was forced to depart with this cloud hanging over him.

From: H. A. Guerber, The Story of the Greeks; edited for this online publication, by ELLOPOS BLOG