The Sicilian Expedition is the decisive event in the Peloponnesian war. In fact that is what motivated Thucydide's to record it in his historical records. Thucydides prophesized that it would be `the greatest in all Greek history' and "it was a major turning point for Athens',moreover, it was the `most glorious victory for the winners, and the worst calamity for the loosers.' The outcome was that Athens lost the war which lead to the eventual collapse of her empire and dignity. The Athenians lost the war due to their ill preparedness for the expedition, illogical and hasty decisions, and poor leadership during the expedition.
First of all, it is feasible to say that one of the most important reasons for the Athenian defeat was due to the fact that they were essentially not ready for another battle. The importance of prepraredness was exemplified by Percile's in his War speech, he was recollecting the Athenian ancestors success against the Persians and he stated it was "more good planning than good luck." The problem is that the Sicilian expedition was spontaneous and unanticipated, thus unplanned. As Thucydides recounts "that same winter, immediately after the destruction of Melos, Athens decided to attempt the conquest of the Greeks on Sicily."
However, they were not "well informed about the relative strength of their allies and their enemies in Sicily" . The Athenians had sent some ambassadors in early spring to Egesta to evaluate the situation. Instead of bringing back useful information, they brought back some ambassadors and sixty talents of uncoined silver (which was only one months pay for the Athenian naval fleet).
Although the Athenians were still not properly informed, they still set out a date to take on the expedition in mid-summer, which essentially did not allow them enough time to prepare a strategic plan for invasion. A second aspect that led to failure was the illogical and hastiness of the Athenians decisions. The Athenians were quite attracted to the idea because they had "long wanted to establish a base on Sicily" in the hope that they would "increase there power...Peleponnesians would not be able to resist" . In truth, from this example one can see that the Athenians were basing there decisions on their epithumeticon, and their main focus was on the rewards.
Even though many Athenians favoured the expedition not all the members of the assembly agreed, in fact opinions were devided as exemplified by Nicias (who was put into command against his own will), and Alcibiades'in the Athenian debate.
Unlike the others, Nicias is not easily persuaded by words of victory, and does not favor the war due to his Aristocratic soul where his logistikon governs his thumos and epithumeticon. In Nicias' speech he produces sound arguments that show protest to their irrationality and quick decision- making of the Athenians. First he makes sensible suggestion to the assembly when says ."..not to draw on ourselves a...