Alcibiades had no sooner sailed, however, than his enemies, grown bolder, began to talk louder, and soon convinced the people of his guilt. In their wrath, the Athenians now sent a messenger to Sicily to overtake him, and bid him return to Athens to be tried.
His friends, seeing the excitement of the people, and fearing that they would condemn him in anger, sent word to him not to return, but to wait until the popular fury had had time to blow over.
In obedience to this advice, Alcibiades left the fleet, and, instead of going to Athens, went straight to Sparta, where he took up his abode. Here the changeable youth adopted the Spartan dress, lived with the utmost simplicity and frugality, and even used the laconic mode of speech.
As he was tall and strong, and a very good athlete, he soon won the admiration of the Spartans, and made many friends. During his stay here, he heard that he had been tried at Athens, although absent, found guilty of sacrilege, and even sentenced to death.
This ingratitude on the part of his people so angered Alcibiades, that he told the Spartans all the Athenian plans, and showed how to upset them. By his advice, the Spartans sent aid to the Greeks in Sicily, helped them to resist the Athenian attack, and even captured both generals and seven thousand soldiers, who were put to death.
The Spartans, still under Alcibiades’ instructions, now took and fortified the small town of Decelea, only twelve miles from Athens. Here they kept an armed force, ready to spring out at any minute and molest the Athenians, who thus found themselves in a continual state of warfare and insecurity.
The small cities and islands which the Athenians had won by force now seized this favorable opportunity to revolt; and the Persians, at Alcibiades’ invitation, joined them, and again began to wage war with the proud city.